Over the past few months I have asked a male architect for ideas & drafts for the renovation of the farmhouse, and at every turn I am stunned by his utter disregard for any cleaning-related concerns. For example, he is very into the idea of having in the living-room a big, non-openable window near the ceiling—which, granted, looks pretty, like having a piece of blue sky when you raise your eyes, but immediately I’m like, with a high ceiling, how will I clean this? You can’t open it so you have to clean both sides separately, and you can’t easily reach either side. I’ll need a tool with an absurdly long telescopic handle. He says, a stepladder. I’m like, but I’ll need to carry it by myself to the living-room and the front of the house every time. “So?” So a very tall stepladder is heavy? And it will be hard not to get dirty water dripping down the wall. He reacts like he can’t believe he is being asked to bring the concept of dirty soap water into his grand designs, like these are base, trifling considerations, when to me it’s a crucial factor in the decision to add this decorative window.
Similarly we both agree on leaving most of the wood beams exposed because they’re old and beautiful, but when I ask if we ought to insulate in such a way as to cover every other one, so the remaining ones are farther apart and it’s harder for spiders to use them as ready-made anchors for their webs, he just looks disgusted, like “I am talking about Architecture and you bring up spiderwebs.” At this point I start to entertain the idea that men make horrible architects. You design someone’s house to give them a nice, convenient space to live in, not to make their life more difficult. A man who has never used a sponge in his life should not be allowed to graduate from architect school and that’s the end of it.