Rags to riches.
There’s something to be said about those rags to riches stories! Do you remember all the times you’ve lived in those pokey apartments, in such lousy neighborhoods that you thanked the stars that you’d survived the day? It got me wondering about all the charmed people who made it big, starting with
Henry Ford – the quintessential farm boy who revolutionized the automobile industry. From a self-taught watch repairman to machinist to head of the vast Ford Empire worth hundreds of millions.
Walt Disney – the magical theme park magnate who capitalized on childhood fantasies. Yet another farm boy who dabbled in cartoons, animating them and hitting the jackpot with his theme park, Disneyland.
Ralph Lauren – from a humble and conservative Jewish family, he used to sell ties to his classmates to make an extra buck, the hobby that made it possible to get a foot in the fashion world.
Steve Jobs – the founder of the iconic brand ‘apple’, he used to get himself free meals at the Hare Krishna Temple. Tripping on LSD, he found his passion in electronics tinkering out of his step father’s garage.
Oprah Winfrey – born into a dirt poor family and clothed in dresses made out of potato sacks, she was continually molested by relatives. Getting a job as a newsreader in a local black radio station helped launch her career as the queen of talk shows.
Their stories make me want to hum the ‘Rockstar’ lyrics by Nickelback –
I’m through with standing in line
To clubs we’ll never get in
It’s like the bottom of the ninth
And I’m never gonna win
This life hasn’t turned out
Quite the way I want it to be
I want a brand new house
On an episode of Cribs
And a bathroom I can play baseball in
And a king size tub big enough
For ten plus me
I’ll need a credit card that’s got no limit
And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
Gonna join the mile high club at thirty-seven thousand feet
Whoo! Imagine such a life! Not for me, I can tell you that! But I did read the statistics the other day – according to architects and designers, though building luxury houses was on the wane for a while, it’s beginning to boom again in the traditionally high-end South Florida and the Hamptons as the economy continues to show healthy signs. A measure of Obama’s success as the President of the United States of America?! Even people with modest homes in mind are turning their dreams into reality. A study by Liberty Mutual revealed that 44% of Americans are planning to move or renovate their homes this year.
The idea of building a dream home is endlessly captivating – it allows people to create spaces that are uniquely theirs – rec rooms, sound-proofed music rooms, avant-garde kitchens, A/V rooms – you name it and it’s yours! A portrayal of the endless years you slogged away, making so many sacrifices along the way – a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But one’s grand schemes do not always go off as expected. Often there is disharmony among clients, architects and builders. Campion Platt, an architect, and an interior designer, says, “It’s hard for people who are not trained to get subtle nuances of houses right. It’s about scale and proportion. Until a client sees everything assembled, they can be surprised.”
I’ve read that people who are careful and house proud go for the best of interior elements. Miele kitchen equipment, parquet flooring, Swarovski crystal lamps, Lladro objets d’art, Persian carpets, Egyptian cotton bed linen, artisan drapes and blinds or shutters for windows and doors.
When one builds a new home, one, of course, considers energy efficiency. And modern homes HAVE to conform to government stipulations for Green Buildings. Materials used in construction, high-performance windows, HVAC systems, apart from energy star household equipment and water conserving plumbing and outlets.
It has been found that exterior window shading makes for the best energy efficiency for homes – they provide a constant comfortable interior temperature as they’re designed to block the sun’s heat and UV rays before they hit a window or glass door. HVAC systems don’t have to belch and gurgle to keep the home comfortably cool, whatever the ambient temperature. Exterior shades made with Phifer’s Solar Fabrics are some of the best examples of this option. Motorization has made these covers seamlessly efficient, as the shades can be programmed to raise and lower as per the sun’s heat.
For interior window coverings, wood blinds and shutters that have automated vanes set to shade the interiors from the sun’s heat and light have proven to be exceedingly efficient options. Wood being a good insulator makes them top-rate options for new homeowners who wish to make that one time investment. The best thing about wood blinds and shutters is that they can be cleaned and stored away compactly, should you wish for a fey change; a few years down the line, when things begin to look dull, you can always get some new and not-so-expensive shades like Zebra Shades, Sheer Horizontal Shades /Vertical Sheer Shades, or Cellular Shades to spell the blinds and shutters. Alternatively, you could use Artisan sheers and drapes in combination, or team your blinds with sheers or drapes, whatever your requirement may be.
As someone once said, “A budget doesn’t dictate whether a building could be iconic. If someone has an intention, they can make it work.” Break a leg, all you proud new home owners!