One of the TV shows I watched as a kid — and I was not alone in this — was The Brady Bunch. There are many facets of this show that might merit discussion: the rampant sexism, the seamless blending of two families into one, poor Robert Reed’s torment as a closeted gay man playing America’s Hetero Dad . . . but I want to talk about the aspect of the show that bothered me then and continues to this day: their house.
Even as a kid, I could never reconcile the exterior shots (“establishing shots” as I learned on my way to many college credits in film classes) of the house to the interior layout. I mean, look at it:
[Yes, I “borrowed” this picture from the Internet as well. It’s my newest bad habit.]
If you watched the series — and you did, if you’re my age — you know that the front door led into a living room, where the stairs to the second floor lay to the right. There are clearly no stairs to the right of the front door in this house.
[Today’s 5-minute research project turned up these fun facts: this is the second-most photographed house in the U.S., behind the White House; and HGTV recently purchased the house and plans to feature the original Brady “kids,” each paired with a designer, as they spend $350,000 remodeling the interior. I’m still not clear how they plan to make it look like the Bradys’ house, but that appears to be the objective. And I learned that Marcia Brady, forever 16 in my mind, is now 62.]
Among my many not-particularly-admirable habits is a touch of voyeurism. Now, I’m not that interested in what people do in their homes, but I’m always curious as to how the layout works (or doesn’t). So if someone has curtains open and lights on, I’m looking in. Not in some creepster way where I tiptoe up to the window and peer over the sill, but from the street. And I’m moving, walking, riding or driving past. Please don’t judge me too harshly.
The houses that drive me bonkers, and not just because I can’t see into them, are the ones without windows. I just can’t envision wanting to live without windows (or even with curtains perpetually closed over those windows, which seems to be how many people live). When we had Dusty remodel this house, we enlarged existing windows and added one. That additional window helped create our “deerquarium,” where we can admire deer at ground level as they ravage Lynn’s flowerbeds.
There are many houses going up in and around Gunnison these days (including ours, although so far we don’t have much vertical to show). When my parents bought our house in the Palisades, back in 1969, there was still one street (Quartz) left to build out, plus the end of Tincup Drive. And very few houses existed between Denver Avenue and our housing addition. Now there are hundreds of houses, all of them built in my lifetime.
Construction has recently turned to the area between the Palisades and Highway 135, and it’s filling in rapidly (when people expand, they fill out). In the last year an entire row popped up along the county road that marks the northern boundary of Gunnison. Lynn and I drive this road on our visits to our lot, and every single time we go past the house with limited windows, I lament the ugliness of it, although I am subsequently immediately cheered by the folks who have a green alien perched jauntily on their porch.
Never mind that none of these houses can as yet easily access their front doors (all the garages lie off the alley in back), and I am wondering how they reconcile their addresses, which must be on a county road and yet they live in the city, The House With Few Windows bothers the heck out of me, and Lynn gets to hear about it every time.
But then I toured the neighborhood we almost bought a lot in, and found an even more egregious new house. It’s blue, about the same shade as our current house, so that’s a point in its favor, but then . . . well, see for yourself:
I haven’t attempted to access the west side (there’s a weird configuration of the streets, and the back of this house faces the front of someone else’s, perhaps via a private road), but on three sides of this house there is not a single window on the ground level. And not one window on the south — honestly!
Now, this house is for sale (yours for $405,000), so one can, voyeuristically, check out the interior through real estate photos, although they’re not really helping define the inside front of this house for me. But I do like the shower curtain.
Here’s the best story about this house: I needed a photo for my Senior Center entry (which: let’s just be upfront and say my photojournalism skills are a lot more rusty than even my writing), so I thought I’d take a photo of this house to show Lynn (and you all, apparently). I didn’t bother to get out of my car, and as I’m taking the picture, my former co-worker Brandon starts talking to me. It turns out, I hit something in the car with my elbow, I guess, and turned on the radio, just as a commercial for another business he used to work at came on, with Brandon providing the narrative.
While I got over that little bout of confusion, I remain at a loss to explain why someone would build a house with no windows, especially with such lovely southern exposure. I don’t know why the city-house-on-a-county-road didn’t install one more window, and I don’t know who the people are with an alien on their porch — but I like them best.