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Monday, October 10, 2011

El Piso (The Apartment)

Take note of cloudless October sky.
This is the view from my dining room. A lot of people might think that the back side of Spanish apartment blocks are unsightly and hardly qualify as a "view." I'm not saying that I wouldn't trade for a view of the ocean but I love sitting at my dining room table looking out at interior of my block. You hear things more than you see them: caged birds singing away, people talking, football matches on TV, and power tools as there are always renovations to these old places (ugh!). The good news is that this is Spain and construction workers—how do I put this—aren’t exactly killing themselves with long hours.

For people who live in single family homes this urban density may seem a little overwhelming but you have to keep in mind all of the wonderful advantages. Take a walk around the outside of this block and you will see. There are several cafés, a supermarket, a bike shop, a pricey Italian food store, a cinema, a bank, and a hardware store.
Battle Stations Ready!
The Chinese character for disaster is also the word for “shithole,” or something like that—I don’t speak Chinese.  My kitchen is disastrously small for someone who cooks as much as I do so you have to be creative and use every square centimeter (I’m metric!). As you can see I have used the door as a very convenient storage area. To me a kitchen is—above all—a work shop.  Function trumps form every time, at least for me. When I’m cooking I want everything I need to be within easy reach, and this means not having to root around in cupboards. I especially like the little spice rack I put up with my most used tools: kitchen shears, knife sharpener, potato peeler, apple corer (for tomatoes, primarily), and pizza cutter.
 Ah yes, there's nothing like contemplating a fascist massacre of a peasant village while sipping a quiet cup of coffee in the morning. I found the Guernica print and thought it went well in the dining room.

This apartment is very typical of most apartments from this era of the 1930s and 40s. Scores of apartments here have the almost exact floor plan and differ only in minor details. In most of these places the bathrooms are in the back facing the inside courtyard shown in the first picture. This dining room was originally an outdoor patio but has been enclosed to add another room to the house.
Corner Office w/View
 My office is an ongoing project. The painting was a gift from the painter. Florescent paint wouldn't be my first choice but the painting adds light and acts like a window for this interior room of the house.

I really, really love this apartment. You get the sense of what Howard Kunstler means when he talks about places we build that are worth caring about. I really enjoy just being at home these days. Maybe I'll feel differently when it is cold and wet but for right now life is good. Temperature 68 degrees at 10:49 am.

And finally (at least for this post) is a picture of the lovely piano that was here when I moved in. It was for sale and I knew that I should have bought it and worried later about the wisdom of such a purchase. Moving a piano in these apartments can be a costly affair. Someone is supposed to be coming by to take it away. I just started playing again and now I will have to deal with not playing...again! I may start playing the guitar although I tried before and it never really appealed to me. 
Soon to be gone?

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