The father of my dear friend Rebecca is an architect. This means that whenever we get together at parties or cookouts or whatnot, I want to hang out with him, like a lot. It doesn't hurt that both of her parents are just delightful and super easy to be with, but talking with her dad about houses is something I could do all day long. He speaks my kind of house-speak, and he knows how to make it happen for people, sometimes on a grand scale. When we first started talking about architecture, I asked Bill if there was a typical "Norfolk" home, the way you see homes typical to Santa Fe or Charleston or Nantucket. He pointed me to this book, which now sits on my coffee table. Southern Vernacular. That's what we're talking about. Drawing from other traditions, but paying attention to the landscape.
Bill pays attention, and that's what's so great about talking about him. Homes are living, breathing things to him, and he thinks about what a family needs as he designs for them. Not just the sight lines and how the light falls, but how a family moves through a space and how the kids might run down the hall or the parents might need time to themselves. As we'd talked at pool party after pool party and BBQ after BBQ, I dropped shameless hint after shameless hint that I'd love to come and see some of the houses he's designed in town. Knowing Bill, and knowing the little I'd seen, I imagined they'd be pretty spectacular.
Well, you can imagine my excitement when they (his wife runs his architecture practice for him) called to see if I'd come photograph some houses for them. Christmas and Birthday all rolled up into one for me! It's quite possible that I danced a jig. I can't tell you the sheer and utter delight I felt at working with this lovely gentleman and finally having the opportunity to see inside some of his beautiful homes. This stunning riverside home was the first, and I'll have another for you next week. The family who lives here is downsizing, and they've asked Bill to help them with their new home, to make it fit their needs. As we walked around the house, the photography challenges I felt faded away as Bill showed me why he put a hall where he did, or how he carved an attic out of what was intended to be unused space. Living, breathing things, our homes are. He's constantly thinking about them.
Even when the houses are finished and about to be sold to a new family, he still is.