Archive for house

Hundred Million Dollar House

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by javedbabar

“Do you want mahogany window frames?”

“Shall I varnish this door with pearlescent coating?”

“Do you prefer a seamed metal roof for the garage, or diamond pattern?”

“Which colour siding looks best, dark blue or brown? The brown is eco-paint, which is twice the price.”

“Shall we install a 50 kilowatt diesel generator?”

“Do you want fibre-optic cable?”

“How about a vertical closed loop geothermal field?”

The other workers ribbed David continuously. They kept asking him for decisions concerning the hundred million dollar house. The plans for the house were drawn, stamped and approved already, but it was a game they enjoyed playing.

Sometimes they went too far and David became moody, but it was his own fault really. He had started the joke that he was the owner of the house, and had joined the crew to ensure they did a good job. They had no idea who the owner was, as he was obscured by lawyers and managers, so they happily played along.

They never did what David said though. In fact they often did the opposite, for which he said he would fire them later. This made them laugh.

As the house neared completion, sign-off was needed for various components. The lawyers said that the owner was unavailable, and the builders should just proceed as contractually agreed.

“God damn those lawyers!” said the foreman. “They tell us to carry on as if its child’s play. Sure we know what we’re doing, I am a third generation builder, but we need to confirm they are happy with the work so far. It will be mighty expensive making changes later.”

“Well, why don’t you ask me? I am here,” said David.

“Quit fooling around now. I’m not in the mood. There’s millions of dollars at stake. It’s not a game.”

“Okay,” said David, walking away. “I was just trying to help.”

“Well then shut your mouth and stick your help up your ass!” The foreman was annoyed, but then forgot about it.

Some days later he thought, what if David really is the owner? That would explain a few things. We give him the crappiest jobs: mudding and taping, sweeping and washing, rubbish and recycling, but he’s always smiling. He’s never had a day off and never gets annoyed. He knows a lot about construction, more than any casual laborer should. What if he really is the boss?

The foreman called him over. “Tell me honestly, son, are you the owner of this house?”

A smile crossed David’s lips, but also a look of horror. “No, I am not.”

The foreman could tell when someone was lying. He knew that David was lying.

After that, they did whatever David said. They installed marble steps and copper railings. They lengthened the swimming pool. They built a root cellar. They added gables.

When the house was finished, they met the owner, Daniel, an older man from the city. He shouted at them, saying, “Why the hell did you make all those changes? They were not on the plan!”

Daniel was pleased with the job his nephew David had done. He’d got them to make many expensive changes that he wasn’t going to pay for. He’d also demand a discount on the house, maybe ten percent. David’s commission would come out of that. It would help him finish acting school.


All White

Posted in Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by javedbabar

There was a knock on Shane’s door. At first he thought it was a fallen bird, or a branch hitting the roof, but then there was another knock, and then a third. He checked his watch – it was 9.15. They were way too early; Martin had said that they’d come at 10.

He shouted, “Just coming!” slipped out of bed, and pulled on his dressing gown. He turned down the music – a tune produced just for him by multi-instrumentalist Seth. He didn’t have time to listen to it now though. The “motivated buyers” were here. He had to show them the main house.

Shane was greeted by two enthusiastic faces, both brown. “Hi, we’re Dev and Priya,” said the man. “And you must be Shane.”

Shane said, “Yes, welcome to Lucerne.”

“I’m sorry we’re so early,” said Dev. “We set off on time, but the journey was much quicker than expected. Have they upgraded the road from the City? It’s better than the last time we came, isn’t it honey?” She nodded, and he continued. “Well, we’ve come all this way to see the house, so may as well take a good look. I hope you don’t mind.” He started to laugh, like a donkey braying, but cut it short.

“No, that’s ok. I was up anyway,” said Shane. “But you’ve got me in my pyjamas rather than my business suit.”

“Were you going to wear a business suit?” said Priya. “It wasn’t necessary.”

“I was just joking,” said Shane. Priya cackled like a hyena, but cut it short. After Seth’s soothing music – gentle layers of wind, rivers, and waterfalls, added strings and hand drums, with flowing chants which appeared and eased – their laughs were fierce assaults. Their braying and cackling had chased away his peace of mind. He said, “Come in. Would you like some tea?”

Over tea, Dev said, “I’m a doctor and Priya is a lawyer. We’re thinking of getting away from the City. Somewhere more natural and beautiful, with a better sense of community. Of course we’ll keep our place in the City. Keep our options open.”

Shane asked them to wait five minutes and changed into yesterday’s clothes. He could shower later. His rented cabin was near the road. The main house was a hundred metres into the forest, along a gravel driveway. He said to them, “Please follow me.”

The property for sale was a boxy 3-storey house with red bat’n’board siding. It covered 4,000 SF officially, but almost 6,000 SF if you included the basement. It was an abode of ample proportions.

“Wow!” said Dev. “Much bigger than expected!”

“Great value for $500,000,” said Priya. “Three big floors – just imagine what we could do with them.”

“What were you thinking of doing?” said Shane.

“We thought of making the inside entirely white,” she said. “Plain white, endless white, white as far as the eye can see. Walls, carpets, sofas, bookshelves, everything white.”

“Why so much white?”

“It’s a colour that appeals to everyone. I began my career working at an insurance company. Vehicles came in and out. The white ones sold most quickly. No one hates white.”

“But do people like white?” said Shane.

“That’s not what counts. What matters is that they don’t hate white.”

“That’s right,” said Dev. “We repainted our rental apartment white and doubled the rent. That’s what we might do here if we decide not to stay. Repaint and sell it.”

Shane was intrigued by their philosophy. It was opposite to that of the current owners. His landlords loved colour. You could compile a whole Pantone book by taking swatches from their home. Red leather sofas sat on green wool carpets, blue metal vases balanced on yellow plaster pillars, carved silver doorframes were set with embossed golden doors. Lilac acrylic cabinets contained fancy teal china. Tangerine wood kitchen counters had an antique peach kettle and modern mango pots. A square navy table was set with tiny crimson teacups. Small monochrome etchings faced huge fluorescent digital prints. They were both artists and collectors. Makers and patrons. The being and the becoming. Their home was a living record of their fabulous lives.

Their happiness was here. Their inspiration and illumination was here. Their wounds and healing. Their grieving. Their celebrations. And most recently – lovely photos of their first grandchild – their completion. They were a wonderful couple who had built a true home, and also provided one for people in need, like minimum-wage Shane.

He showed Dev and Priya around the main floor. The lounge where the current owners watched Casablanca for the fortieth time, and said to each other, “Here’s looking at you, kid.” The kitchen where they’d roasted the fattest turkeys in the Valley, stuffed with cranberries, sage, oranges, and that special ingredient: Old Speckled Hen beer. The garden where a marquee had been raised, filled with golden planets and silver stars, and their happy, handsome son had been married. Shane showed them upstairs.  The bedrooms where dreams had filled their imaginations, and where they had loved each other fully. The bathroom where they had cleansed their bodies, and washed their worries away. The balcony from which they’d watched sunrises and sunsets together. Shane showed them downstairs. The guts of the house – the boilers, tanks, pipes, and cables – that fed and nourished this haven. The storage areas filled with past and future lives.

Shane had nothing against this young professional couple. They seemed like nice people. Next-generation immigrants with endless ambition. But they were not the right people to own this house. They understood nothing about it.

“Look,” he said. “I shouldn’t really tell you this. But did you know that the previous owners were murdered here? That’s why it’s so cheap.”

The motivated buyers seemed less motivated now. “Who by?” they asked.

“No one knows,” said Shane. “But they shouldn’t have tried to sell this house.”


Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Sacred Geometry, Unknown with tags , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by javedbabar

Amy and David were excited by their new HEARTH home. An enhanced home had always seemed out of reach, so when they heard about “50% OFF” this January – making it as cheap as a regular home – they jumped at the chance.

They knew that they were the man and woman of each other’s dreams, and their next step was making a home together. But everything was so expensive – how could young people afford anything these days? Well they could if they were happy to live in debt for 30 years. David said that they shouldn’t have a mortgage. He invoked the symbolism of Jesus upturning the money changers’ tables at the Temple. People didn’t realize that everyone borrowing money simply meant that everyone had more money available, and supply and demand – basic economics – ensured that prices went up. So ultimately, borrowing money was worthless. In fact, with inflation, it was less than worthless.

They used their savings to buy a plot of land, and lived in an RV there for three years. Their house fund built up quickly, and they were set to self-build, so visited the Ideal Home Show for ideas. That’s where they saw the HEARTH home.

“Darling, let’s go in there,” Amy had said. “I like the look of it.”

“Doesn’t that one look better?” said David, pointing to a glassy structure with pronounced, angled timbers, which gave the effect of ascending and expanding.

“It looks like the Transparent Temple’s unwanted child.” said Amy. “You know what happened to the budget of our beloved community centre. Let’s not go there.”

“I just don’t see the attraction?” said David. “It looks like a shiny black box to me; hardly West Coast architecture.”

“Darling, I’m drawn to it,” said Amy. “Can we go see?”

They were dazzled by their walk around the HEARTH home, and booked a full demo at the City factory, which was followed by a bubbly sales lunch. This was where the salesman had mentioned the “50% OFF” promotion for “selected customers” like them. The only condition was that they had to choose from an existing model. They were allowed minor modifications, but no structural changes, or they would be back to “50% ON”.

Amy and David were the first people in the Village to own a HEARTH home. They required a month to lay the foundations and get utilities primed. The HEARTH home was delivered on the Monday after. Its components came on four tractor trailers, and the eight-man construction crew completed it by Friday.

They were told to stay out for the weekend to allow adhesives, paints, and varnishes to cure. The HEARTH home would require a further month of commissioning, giving time for the structure to settle. “There will be thumps, cracks, snaps, creaks, ooh’s and aah’s,” said the salesman by video call. “The house needs to get to know you. It needs to understand your physical movements, and your personal behaviour. Our structural work is the easy part. It is the house that does all the hard work.” He beamed hugely. So many teeth, thought Amy. “It is filled with components that you’ll never see – there are heat, sound, respiration, odour, electromagnetic, and tension sensors, plus as a bonus to my favourite customers I’ve authorized ECG and EEG feedback loops, that pick up your heartbeats and thoughts, which become the house’s heartbeat and thoughts. Can you hear them?”

“The sensors pick up our thoughts?” said David. “How do they do that?”

“I don’t understand the details myself,” said the salesman. “Only the principles. Once your personal pattern is established, the house identifies key emotional stages of your desired outcome, and then works through them progressively. It’s all very subtle though, very natural. You won’t even know. In Ancient Persia, every house had a hearth at its centre, a holy place for offering sacrifices and prayers. This is what we have recreated in this modern house. You are its hearth.”

Even within its first few days, the house functioned beautifully. Rooms lit up as they approached them; just the right music played; beautiful fragrances created delight; micro-cleaners didn’t allow a speck of dust or a stain to remain; the water’s temperature was perfect always, both in the kitchen sink and in the bath. The HEARTH home ensured that their dinners were awesome, their conversations sublime, their yoga divine, their work productive, and their sex out of this world.

The HEARTH home never got in their way. It took them to where they wanted to be, and left them to continue alone. “Darling, this is perfect,” said Amy. “This is how I wanted our life to be.”

“I guess you were right about the house,” said David. “It’s helped us to become more ourselves.” He kissed her passionately, causing classical guitars to play, and roses to scent the room. “Our neighbour’s houses have taken over their lives. They live for their houses. They spend their weeks working to pay their mortgage, and their weekends scrubbing and fixing them. Here we can just be ourselves.”

But one day they had a silly argument about cheese. Amy said that it was still alive, and David said it wasn’t. And because it was a silly argument, the house didn’t know how to behave. Rather than reason, its response was passion. Red colours flashed, whisky smells filled room corners, rap music thumped harder, the air became hotter and steamier, and chilli tastes heightened their emotional disharmony into physical distress. Amy grabbed the cutlery nearby. The HEARTH house played The Ride of the Valkyries, and she became a winged maiden choosing slain warriors. “God help us!” cried David. Both his and their home’s heartbeats stopped together.