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Display Name: living:room
Member Since: 5/5/09

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This is a beautiful apartment that makes great use of available space and light but the debate that it has sparked is almost as fascinating!

As a place to live, it exemplifies the point made elsewhere about the European lifestyle where the city itself is the extension of the home. Marais is only a few minutes walk to the Louvre, the Tuilleries Gardens, the Pompidou Centre - why have and pay for a 200sqft yard, overlooked and overshadowed, as it inevitably would be in a city, when you have those options on your doorstep? It's only a generation or two since whole families living in one or two rooms was commonplace, particularly in urban environments, so its interesting to see how our expectations of a home have changed in that time - what we now consider to be normal.

For example, the issue of raising children in a small home. By choosing to live in the city, these parents are probably within an easy commute to work, possibly even walking distance. Perhaps they are able to walk their kids to school, come home to make them lunch and dinner. They'll certainly have more time available for their children and for themselves in the evenings. On the weekends, they are within walking distance of any number of interesting places to take their children, in order that they might understand where they live, it's history and their own.

At a time, when suburban living has become the norm, where these suburbs are located in places only accessible by car, where we drop our children in daycare at 7.30am and don't see them again until bedtime, in order to commute for several hours at a time from our shiny, spacious, empty homes, what does it say about our expectations if we then regard the Marais option as unnatural and cruel?

And what about privacy? Well, privacy is easy to find if you can step outside your door and go sit for an hour in a cafe, or take a walk in the park or by the river or visit a museum or... The reason we've had to build it into our homes is because they are increasingly being built in places where there's nothing to do and nowhere to go.

This debate really strikes at the heart of the problems that we face at the moment about how and where we choose to live. As the question of how we heat and light those large suburban homes and how we fuel the multiple cars required to take us to and fro, becomes more pressing, I think that the options and limitations explored in this family home will become easier to understand.

Apartment Therapy DC | Tiny Paris Apartment for 4 Dog Cote Maison
5/6/09 06:26 AM