Foto Friday capped the end of a long week, and we gobbled up our email delivery of construction progress pix like they were candy. The photos from Mérida are very reassuring. Now that they’re finishing the walls, it’s easier to see the casa through the rubble.
But what’s this? The ceiling seems to have a bumpout right over the master bedroom bed! We love high ceilings, and we’ve gotten ours as high as is practical in a new-construction home with an upstairs living area. This kind of compromises the height in an otherwise promising space. Well, they must have a good reason, we say. It must be a soffit for duct work or something. We trust them. They know what they’re doing. We’ve never seen a single room in our architect’s portfolio that we disliked. Their judgment is consistently sound. So it’s OK. When we’re laying in bed, we’ll be looking forward, not up, so it won’t matter. We rationalize it in our minds. It’s OK, it’s OK.
We eventually head to bed, knowing that we’re in good hands, and humbled by the knowledge that we really need to rely on and trust the professionals we hire. Too many projects here at home have ended up with disappointing results because we bypassed a professional and made our own costly decisions: The Waterworks tub with impractical and unreliable “air jets.” The gooseneck faucet that pairs badly with the sink we chose because it splashes water everywhere. The mosaic floor tiles, trendy at the time, that are half tile, half grout. The only problem here is, why didn’t we notice this soffit before? Why are we being surprised by photos when it’s too late? I resolve to try to manage this project better, from my sofa in Connecticut.
This morning, with a fresh set of eyes, I look at the photos again. This time, I load them into Flickr and view them on a slightly larger screen. Hey wait.
That’s not the ceiling. That’s a plank in the foreground! This isn’t the first time a photo has fooled us. The photos are great, but they’re in only two dimensions, and it’s easy to be misled. Scale, color, and even large details like a soffit that isn’t there, are all red herrings that bedevil a property owner who’s a more than a thousand miles away from his property.