Are architects handy?

Every architect, constructing architect or when we are at it, every man, thinks they are handy. The truth is, it is completely different to draw something and to be able to execute it. And architecture needs both. A brilliant mind to invent the construction and golden hands to build it skillfully. However, we often confuse these two things together. We think that when we buy the right (and usually quite expensive) tools, everything is nearly done. And don’t get me wrong, you need the right and quality tools. But you also need to know how to use them. And because architects usually have quite a high opinion of themselves, they often dive into some kind of DIY projects and eventually, the majority fails spectacularly. I have been blessed with a handy father, who could probably repair, build or assemble anything if he wanted and had enough time. And he taught me few things every now and then when I was willing to listen. And I hope I inherited a tiny part of his finesse.

And since my flat was trying to kill me for long enough. One day I decided My girlfriend wanted to have curtains in front of the windows since we are exposed to the views of whoever lives in the building opposite from our flat, plus that murderous maniac, the sun.

However the majority of curtain hangers are meant to be attached in front of the windows or above them, so they are facing inwards. And we needed something that could be attached between two walls and the bar could be inserted between.

And as a true constructing architect, the solution was invented in a heartbeat. However the solution on a piece of paper is one thing, getting it done is something completely else. As I soon discovered.

For industrial grade curtain hanger DYI project you will need:

 

2x Face fix hangers 45X88 mm

Threaded rod M14, length 2m

Drill

Screws depending on your wall type

Confidence

Metal saw

 

And with this shopping list in my head, I headed to local retail chain specialised on home improvement and construction.

Luckily, I had most of the tools from my father (I got the drill for Christmas). So if anyone looked just at my toolbox they would probably think I am a seasoned craftsperson. That could not have been further from the truth. This was not the first project I did in our flat. It was, however, so far the best one (in my opinion). And with all that tools I first marked the exact position where I wanted the hanger to be. Then I predrilled small hole so I could screw it easily.

And that was it. One screw on each side is enough to hold the bar and the curtains, we are not holding the timber joists as is the original purpose of these hangers.

The next fight is an architect with metal saw vs. threaded rod.

Threaded rod fought bravely. Still, no match for my metal saw.

And a finished result with the curtains. I think I nearly busted the myth that architects only think they are handy. But let’s be honest. That was really a simple project. And even though it is simple I love it! I think it works well with the industrial features of our apartment. I think it is an efficient and raw expression of our flat. And since form follows function, these curtains are easily pulled from side to side and at the same time, they are not sliding, since the rod is threaded and can be easily taken out with one simple move.

The solution in detail.

And one of the by-products of this was the boost of my handyman’s self-esteem. In the beginning, I was kind of afraid since my reputation was at stake, but I screwed it nailed it! When I had an idea about this post, I was expecting that the conclusion will be something about how that myth is not a myth at all, but a cold hard truth. And I surprised myself. So for a post about how I miserably failed, you will have to wait until I will decide to tackle another project my girlfriend will want to improve another aspect of our flat.

Cheers

Ondrej

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My flat “As-builts”

What do constructing architects do in their free time? If you would have guessed they do their favourite hobby, you would be wrong. It is known that architects generally do not have hobbies. At least not as normal people. Hobbies of architects are just an extension of their work. Architects take photographs, sketch, read, but all of this is basically architecture in disguise.

And since there is now Easter holiday, I had some time to do what I was putting aside for a long time. I drew flat where my girlfriend and I live. This kind of drawings is called “As-builts” and it is one of the architects favourite thing to do. When architects have enough of drawing in the office and come home late in the evening and they want to relax, they just generate drawing of their own house. There is definitely something wrong with architects.

One of the perks of these drawings is that you will get different perspective of your own house or flat and also you may think about possible extensions, remodels or any other project you your girlfriend/wife wants to do. Well, let´s admit it, working on your own house is pain, but planning and drafting is fun!Our flat-1.png

Okay, here it is. It is definitely just a quick draft. But I was so excited about it that I have to post it now.

Below you can see how the space looked like the minute we moved in. Yes, we have enormous curtain wall facing south that is killing me. But the space is amazing. Nearly 5 meters high ceiling above the main space. It feels so spacious and light.

IMG_2528

And above the kitchen and bathroom is a sleeping platform accessible by ladder. Not for children or elderly people, but for young students it is perfect and it feels really cozy up there.

IMG_2527

But back to the As-builts. We live on the second floor. So we have quite a nice view on the river Grejs and other repurposed factory. (Yes we live in a repurposed factory)

Labeled as Multi-purpose room is our main space. We divided it in the middle by cabinet and wardrobe, so we have privacy when we need to work. The desk by the wider part of the curtain wall is mine, the other one is my girlfriend´s. There is also our tiny dining table, which can be unfold when somebody visits. Note the crosshatched square in the middle, that is column which supports upper floors.

Our kitchen is small, but it has everything we need. And our tiny bathroom. It is fine and again, it has everything, just do not think about the fact that when you sit on the toilet, you are just a step from the kitchen.

Next to the column you can also see the ladder, which is the only access to the sleeping platform.

Our flat-1

And there we sleep, and we love it. It is so nice to snuggle in our elevated bedroom. As you may recall, this bedroom is an example of really secure bedroom. It is above the main floor, so you can see and hear everything that is happening below, and in case somebody wants to murder you in the sleep, you can simply kick him down from the ladder. Convenient.Our flat-2

 

Oh and about that structural column, here is the photo of the atrium in the middle, where the structural part is clearly expressed. There are no flats since those would have no natural sunlight.IMG_2525.JPG

What do you think about our flat? Could you live in it? Should we move some of the furniture? Feel free to leave a comment.

Cheers

Ondrej