Thursday 22 March 2018

Radiators generating heat - and tension

Katy McGuinness
Katy McGuinness

Katy McGuinness On The Move

Friends are in the process of building a house from scratch. Their builders are starting within the next couple of weeks and they are hoping to be in for Christmas. Anyway, these friends are organised people and are streets ahead of us when it comes to planning for their new home. Their outdoor pizza oven is already installed. They are about to order their kitchen appliances and I'm sure they have already chosen their paint colours.

I know from being married to an architect that the thing that pushes up costs and causes delays on any building project more than anything else is when the client changes their mind. Indecision comes a close second. And now I am my husband's client, and he is his own client. So I am sleeping with my architect. In fact, we both are. These days, we often have the dog on the bed too - and he's the size of a medium-sized human - so there are either three or four of us in the marriage at the moment, depending on how you look at these things and your understanding of the finer concepts of mathematics.

The great thing about being married to the architect is that I do not have to engage with any of the really boring stuff. The worst thing about being married to the architect is that sometimes discussions about some aspects of our new house move from the realm of professional architect-client communication into something fraught and more emotionally charged.

Take the radiators, for instance.

I don't know much about radiators. Truth be told, I know nothing at all about radiators. I have never had much cause to think about them before. My architect proposed to specify to the builder a particular type of radiator that he has used before in period houses. It's a modern version of the old cast iron radiators and it generates good heat, which is of course one of the key requirements of a good radiator. He showed me a photo of the radiator. I wasn't sure. He reminded me that I had admired said radiator in a house that he had completed last year. I couldn't remember it. I said that I'd need to see it in the flesh (so to speak) again.

Then, within the space of a couple of weeks, I saw the radiator in two houses. The owners are both people whose taste I admire and the radiators looked good in their old houses. I told my architect that I was happy to go ahead with his recommendation. He was affronted that I'd needed this third-party vindication in addition to his professional opinion. And he was right to be miffed. He knows a lot more about radiators than I do, and I should have deferred graciously to his superior knowledge.

Now my architect is putting me under pressure to make decisions about kitchen appliances, and the discussion about paint colours must be imminent.

Sunday Independent

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