H Is for House

Quick read before you start the visit

Dear visitor/s,

Welcome to my home.

I live here with my young family.

>Enter please, and yes, that goes without saying, take your shoes off. Thank you.

Here’s some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle for your shoes. Be careful.

We are right now in the third week of de-confinement in France.

On your right, on the wall in the entrance hall, hangs a mounted photography print of a dead bird (64,5 x 52cm).

A European robin, 10 times its size, in vivid colours and detail, with his eyes closed, head up-side-down. A very poetic work of my partner, who is an artist.

He did find this bird, in the nearby forest, Le parc de la calamine, a few houses away.

When I started to live with my partner, he got rid of the dead birds in his freezer.

Living together is a sacrifice.

Behind this “sleeping” bird is our sleeping room.

>Please, walk another 5 steps ahead of you.

That is the bathroom. Here’s a hand towel for you to dry your hands. There is a big block of Savon de Marseille, made of olive oil. It is very effective; you can wash your hands, the surfaces and the clothes with it. I like that.

The light in here is normally mixed—warm and cold light—but the neon tube burned out during COVID-19 lockdown, and it’s a specific size we can only buy online.

We boycott amazon, so we will have to do without the mirror lights for now.

This bathroom contains a washing machine and bathtub. It has no window, but an air circulation vent. I like nothing about our bathroom except my many oils and beauty potions.

The toilette is separate. Next door. The toilette was special. Full of wooden masks, tangkas and ritualistic objects and indigenous photographs and artefacts.

Until it all started scaring little children that came over to play.

I grew up in an old house with a toilette inside the bathroom, in Switzerland. My father used to block the bathroom for hours with long baths or reading on the toilette.

We also had a big double window in front of the bathtub, and another on the side.

This bathroom was cold in winter.

Yet in every room of that house we had windows and natural light. This is so important. I miss that.

>Once you step out of the bathroom, make 1 step forward.

To your left is my 5-year old’s room. He just recently got one. All these

drawings on the door are his, naturally.

Before, he slept in our room. So, for almost 5 years he never spent a night alone since birth. When he was ready, he got his own room.

And the transition functioned very well. I think children must be given autonomy from the get-go. They know so much about their becoming selves.

Zarija’s room has a shaded east oriented window and a monstera in front. He has other plants in the room. We love the morning sun in his room.

He has a black concrete wall and beautifully calming, greenish tinted white paint on the other walls. It reflects the light very softly.

We do his schoolwork on his big painting table, which can be uplifted. He chills often with a book in his hammock, or on his wool carpet with many pillows.

He has many books here. There are also several maps of the world. Interactive ones.

Sometimes we create a tipi with bamboo sticks. It’s my favourite room in the house.

He just said, his room holds a thousand of things!

>Please turn to your right and take another 5 steps ahead. This is our living room.

The living room is also my working room.

The living room is also my son’s working room.

The living room is also a dining room,

And also, a screaming room.

This room suffered under COVID-19 confinement. Our together room became our crammed room.

A room of worries and tensions… Hmm, I cleaned a lot, to get rid of it. I will burn some bay leaves. Right now.

Can you smell it?

We have a lot of books in here. Very special and rare ones. Maybe 800. We got rid of many.

Wladd has more in the cellar and I have again some in Belgrade.

Many possessions I have are still in Serbia. My past is stuck there with all that bulk.

I moved many houses, but these possessions—amongst also my mother’s and father’s—moved infinitely more.

From Germany, over Austria to Switzerland, from Montenegro over Serbia to the French Alps now, and close to Switzerland again.

Almost a loop. Or maybe more like a Moebius strip.

Swiss public architecture and infographics did mark me a lot, as a designer.

Geneva is very close. I enjoy taking the train there.

We have a very low carbon footprint, in a small town. That is important to us too.

>Just at your right leg, where you are standing, is a low armchair.

Have a seat. The perspective is funny in there.

It’s a chair of grand-mère Daniele, my partner’s mother. It is an old rustical, wooden low chair with armrests.

The seat is braided and large, the wood warm yellow. I’d say it’s made of oak.

The oak is a very significant pagan tree that has numerous symbolistic meaning in many cultures.

At the same time, this emblematic chair has something minimalist about its lines.

The kind of minimalist rural wooden object you’d find in Charlotte Perriand’s house.

A house in her native mountains, in Savoie. This is where we live.

The town of Chambéry is architecturally stunning. It is perfectly preserved in its medieval architecture.

We have a grand castle of Savoie, many secretive Traboules (passageways typical of the region), an alchemical door from the XV century, and all beautiful grey slated rooftops that blend in with grey building stone and mountains that surround them.

Here, have a glass of cucumber water. It’s almost summer here.

>In front of you is one big window from floor to ceiling and a balcony. We had also one gigantic fig tree just in front, but that was brutally cut back last winter.

The view from the balcony is to the backyard with green grass and bushes and trees, but also to the new neighbours and their messy backyards.

We have many visits of birds and have breakfasts and eat dinners to their songs.

Mr Blackbird is a very close friend. The days got long and bright. You are looking west. These many houseplants, that normally sit under the tree canopy in a rainforest, sit just there. Behind a curtain. Some pulled away. Some in darker corners.

Isn’t it awkward how we recreate, in one square room, habitat for plants that come from all corners of the world?

My mom had plants. I watched her taking care of them.

She moved all her plants to Serbia in the 90s. Slowly they all died there after she fell ill. Even the 30-year old Yucca.

I think every person should have their own tree.

The sun comes in under an angle in the afternoon. It’s 4:12 pm.

The sunrays appear almost parallel with the north-west facing window at 318 degrees, there. A bit to the left.

Come closer, please.

>Another 5 steps.

Here we sit down to eat every day. To the right is the open kitchen. We love to cook.

Everything is hanged up. There is not one drawer in this kitchen.

But most things revolve here around this dining table. I love this saltbox made of alabaster. I love that mineral.

Did you know that prior to using glass in sacral architecture, thin alabaster sheets where placed in windows to let light in?

Would you sit down, like this, so I can see you whilst putting the kettle on? Coffee or tea?

My son is always losing his gaze through that window… off he goes, into daydream land. Dinner takes ages with him.

When I watch outside it makes me drift off into all houses and lives, I lived before (in).

I’ll let you enjoy the view through the window, to the lush greens. ( here to see the image; upload here what you see in your space)

Please, tell me about your house.



ALTERNATE VIEWS (images uploaded by visitors)

Notify of
1 Feedback
Inline Feedback
View all comments
3 years ago

This journey makes me think of my own obsession with light. I track the suns path from 7:30am till about 3:30pm everyday as it spills through the large north window in the lounge. When the sun slips out of reach in the afternoon, both me and my plants are always left wanting just a little more, I can see the light on the side of the apartment building and the tops of the trees, so close i can feel it’s warmth, but that was our time, now we must all wait for tomorrow – and so it repeats.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x