My publicist bought his first house last year. And in short order was on the phone with me asking if I could help him change the unflattering lighting in his Master Bath to the softest lighting known to mankind.

A girl has to look good, right? Even if it is first thing in the morning.

Between our schedules, I finally got out there at the end of January to have the conversation architects have with homeowners often. The one where we say no.

No, you can’t just take the mirror off. The builder glued it to the wall. You’re going to take off the top layer of drywall with it.

No, we can’t just “pop” a couple of lights in the ceiling. You have a lot of stuff up there already and we don’t know for sure what the framer did. And we’ll have to run a new switch.


Regardless the client or project type or size, the no conversation happens somewhere during the project. Hopefully that occurs during the design phase and can be worked out long before submitting to the city for permits.

Most of these talks are centered around code or zoning issues. No, you’re not allowed to have a kitchen in your pool house. That makes it a secondary dwelling. No, the accessory dwelling unit ordinance doesn’t apply to just your house. You have to get the neighborhood to agree. No, you are required to make the customer bathroom handicap accessible even though it might detract from the design aesthetic.

Sometimes we even slide into the “yes but” territory, usually when dealing with structural issues within the design. Why yes, we can tear that entire wall open, but that’s going to take a large piece of steel to make that happen. And no, you don’t want to know how much the steel will cost.

However, with every no conversation, there’s usually a solution to be found. Even for my publicist.

Yes, we can have them patch the drywall and install a framed mirror. Yes, the electrician can climb around in the attic and see where the framing is and where we can fit a couple of extra lights. And yes, if we change the type of sconce, you’ll have the better light you’re looking for.

But no one looks that good in the morning, so you might not feel any more flattered.


Featured image: IBMirror

Spotted Dog Architecture