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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Me and My Ugly House

Lately, I have been asking the all and sundry whether the new house is a beautiful one. The Panda was very frank. He said, "It's not stylish". "So, it's ugly?" I asked with furrowed brows and a little pout which he thankfully could not see since we were sms-ing each other. "No, it's not ugly. It's just not stylish. Remember your friend? The one you dragged me to visit? HER house is stylish".

Then I ran into Grandpa Panda. He said "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Your house looks like a lego creation. It has a form and shape that defies convention." Again, I asked, "So, it's an ugly house?" The dear man looked into my eyes and said "I have no reason to curry your favour because I already have your job. It is not an ugly house. It's a special and unique house. When Jørn Utzon built the Sydney Opera House, he was hugely criticized, but today, it is an iconic structure."

This is a man with no university degree but he has spent his whole life examining architecture wherever he goes. He takes pictures of houses constantly and then he talked to me about themes. The notion of theme has been broached before. First, by a friend who has definitely an eye for beauty (unlike me). Next, by a lighting vendor who scared me outta his shop because he made me feel quite stupid. According to Grandpa Panda, the house I am building has a theme too. It turns out that it has the Lego theme. It looks like it was made of lego, with sharp angles, interesting cut-ins and layers of different heights. See... the first floor ceiling is 4.5m high, whilst the 2nd floor is a more conventional 3m only. The third floor is a smaller and shorter block sitting atop the lower larger blocks. Like a 3 layer lego wedding cake minus the frost.

The whole lot is topped by metal roof. And it isn't just any metal roof, it's the sort of roof you normally find on factory roofs in the small factory clusters in every HDB estate. AND, it's olive green in colour. Ok... now are you convinced that it is an ugly house?

I built the house for comfort from the inside. Grandpa Panda walked me through every room and showed me how cool and bright they were and how spacious. Then he said "Once you've dressed up the place with your gardener's touch, this house will be very attractive in a very unconventional way". He seemed to be talking about Dovima and not Pet's House.

He forgot to point out that I have cheap homogeneous tiles (and exactly the same ones) in every room on every floor from living to store room to bedroom. The Panda once commented that it is unusual to build a semi-detached house that has homogeneous tiles and no parquet (AND brick and tile kitchens). Homogeneous tiles are fuss-free in maintenance. Milo can pee all over and I wouldn't throw a fit. But they cannot, by a long shot, be associated with luxury.

Grandpa Panda is a dear old man, but I fear very much that I have created a house with a demeanour that only its parents could love. The Husband, Grandpa Panda, The Panda and Me.

I normally wouldn't care how beautiful people think my house is except that it has suddenly occurred to me that if I were to sell my house, who would wanna buy it? And this thought offends the penny-pinching side of Petunia very much. Spending a great deal in investment is far better than spending a great deal to please oneself. In the present case, Petunia has spent too much to please herself and not been wise in investing the money on stylish design features that would please potential buyers.

A little bit of a big regret.

3 comments:

Theanne and Baron said...

Oh Petunia...enjoy your house! I side with Grandpa Panda...it is unique! Why think of moving when you're just building?

petunialee said...

Hi Theanne... Property prices in Singapore seem to be cresting. They've run up very high since early 2010... and I've a sense that they'll be dropping soon enough. I had this thought that we could cash out and buy another at a lower price... rebuild and then stay in the next one. This way, I would build an even better house because I would be able to avoid all the mistakes I made with this one.

Right now, I think I'll move in and market it. If I can get the price I want then I'll move and build again. If not, we'll just enjoy the house.

Wen-ai said...

Hmmm, you have made a very valid point in your comments. I will most prob do the same if I were you. I'm sure there are potential buyers out there who are just as practical as you, and can appreciate how fuss-free your house is when it comes to cleaning!