When I was 10 or so, I owned a book called Good Old Archibald, about which I remember very little. But these days, we don’t have to remember anything, because the internet does it for us.
Archibald was a new kid in town, and he came with a lot of money to a place that didn’t have much (or so the internet tells me — I really don’t recall the book at all). To top it off, all the boys his age are missing their friend, “Good Old Ralph,” who has moved away. Prompted by this plot description, I do now recall this: the book was about Archibald’s attempts to fit in, which he eventually does, earning the coveted sobriquet “Good Old” Archibald.
There are lots of young adult books out there with similar plots — it feeds quite well into youthful angst. (It’s probably not going out on much of a limb here to say that trope continues for many people all the way through their lives.) And I didn’t really remember the book, just the title, and it wasn’t the title so much as the name: Archibald.
I don’t mean to insult anyone out in Readerland, but it’s kind of a funny name. Offhand, I can think of two Archies, one of them of comic book fame, so he probably doesn’t count, the other a man here in town whom I never met and who has been gone a very long time. His widow must be in her 70s or 80s. And I’m assuming in both instances that Archie derives from Archibald, which may not really be the case.
No matter. The real point, as much as there ever is one in this space, is that I have arches on the brain.
One of the early things I asked Dusty about was the possibility of arched entryways into the Good Room (back when it was conceptual and “great”). I got the same answer we got every time we asked about anything: “That’s expensive.”
I let it go, because there were many other, more pressing house items to focus on. But as Lynn and I would go through our nightly routine of house-hunting and home-remodeling shows on television (for the most part these days, we’re back to space shows: iterations of Star Trek and The Orville, which might as well be Star Trek), any time people encountered arched walls, I found myself drawn to them (the walls, not the people).
I like Round. I can’t explain it, and don’t know that it’s necessary that I try. I like circles, and spheres. The playground balls my sister wanted to throw out. The globes that litter my bookcases. The window in my current bathroom. Stonehenge. Highway C-470 that will someday encircle Denver. (Okay, that one’s mostly a lie. It’s a useful road, but not a compelling circle. Impelling, maybe.)
When my business partner Kara got married a few years ago, her officiant had an entire passage on the meaning and importance of circles. I wish I could remember what he said, but like the Archibald book the words themselves are nebulous this far removed. But it was good, whatever he said, and he was right: there is power in a circle.
So on Wednesday, when we were meeting in Dusty’s office (and I kept looking up at the round solar tube in his ceiling), I asked again about arches. Lynn assumed I was just going to arch the west entryway, but I thought that would look silly, to have one rounded and one squared off.
Dusty didn’t discuss price (if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, I suppose), just turned to his computer and generated an arch based off our floor plan. He was, very practically, considering things like headspace under the arch.
(I hadn’t realized it until we started shopping for them, but a standard door height is 6 feet 8 inches. I’ve met a few people for whom that’s a ducking bar, but it’s well over my head — as most things are.)
I doubt it was too expensive: it sounds like we’re going to pay for a couple of hours of labor for Dusty and his worker Jayme to design and build the arches, and maybe the drywaller, whose name I should have caught but didn’t, has to take a little extra time, but I think we’re safely below the “expensive” threshold with my request.
[Here’s a word about the drywaller, who was returning to work on a Friday night at 7 with a sandwich in hand: he had a project that was supposed to be a fall/winter job that is just now ready to go, plus ours. A third project was kind of nebulous, so he accepted a different job, and then the waffler called back and said, I need you now. It’s what we in business like to refer to as a “good problem to have,” but what it is really is overwork.]
I got to see my arches last night for the first time, and I’m very happy I asked for them. It does point out to me — Lynn said she always realized it — the difference in the width of the two openings. I thought they were of similar widths, but clearly not. So much for my powers of observation.
Standing there last night, looking from first one to the other, Lynn announced she liked the west, or narrower, archway better. “Oh,” I said. “I kind of like the wider one.”
But I like them both, so it doesn’t matter. It’s a much better option than the squared-off corners. Dusty is also going to round all the points where walls connect (bullnose, he called it), for a softer feel throughout the house.
Lynn did point out I didn’t ask for an arch into the library alcove (which didn’t occur to me until she mentioned it), but I decided we could get decorative sconces to do the same thing. I’d like to see how the shelves work in there before I trim too much space around the corners.
It’s starting to feel like a house, and not just any house. Our house. And there is nothing arch about that.