Revolutionising the front rooms of our houses

There is something about this architecture racket, that compels we victims of it, to remodel every house we ever live in. Stage 2 of the Dr. Behooving family home project, is about to get underway. Now please don’t tell my Primrose, but my plan for the ground floor of this remodelled old terrace, is to transform it into an unencumbered “minimalist” space, that by stealth will become a parking lot for 8 bikes—2 per family member.

The natural place for bikes, I have realised after much study of cyclists’ abodes, is against the nearest wall to the front door. Though my house, in its present configuration, includes a bike hanging room, the convenience of that first wall inside the front door, means bikes are forever migrating there, rather than being hung in their designated bike store room. As the American architect Louis Kahn would have said, the front room “wants to be” the bicycle storage room. All good intensions, to park our bikes some place discrete, fly out the window when the business of the day determines they be leant over here, against this first wall.


From left: the first wall; the designated hanging room; the bike fitted to the VR bike trainer; bike left where I clean bikes. 

When hat stands were invented to go inside front doors, did people say hats were too unseemly to go where visitors would encounter them, upon arrival? Likewise for elephants’ feet umbrella stands: ghastly a thing that it is, mine lives at my front door, and does not raise an eyebrow. Are raincoats relegated to hangers deep inside houses, so that no-one might know we deign to walk outside in the rain? Bicycles—emblems of our frugality, stoicism, physical strength, and care for the city and planet—deserve pride of place in the home.

Shots from my last trip to Morgans Bicycles, the minimalist art-space of bicycle stores. 

I imagine front rooms designed in the image of Morgan’s Bicycles in Sydney, where bikes sit on display, as though each were made by Henry Moore. My dear Primrose, please don’t be antsy about bikes leaning against the front wall, after we have done our big reno.  Images of that space, and its bikes, will be trending on Twitter, inspiring architects the world over to fill front rooms with bikes, and when we are old, young pilgrim architects will be arranging visits to see the famous bike room, that revolutionised housing.

By the way, I am fairly well qualified to speak on behalf of poor Louis Kahn, even though he is dead. You might even like my book on poor Lou.

5 Comments

  1. Hon. Hamish says:

    Dear Dr. Behooving,

    As a young, hotshot architect in a cutting-edge, inner-city practice, I would like to concur with your brilliant vision for your front door. As a trend-setter myself, I can detect a new trend with a sensitivity one thousand times that of bloodhound. I know, Dr Behooving, that you and your Primrose mix in VERY fashionable circles. Doesn’t she understand that she can be the envy of all her peers? Within weeks your inner-city, latte-sipping, independent-theatre-going friends will tearing gaping holes in their facades to recreate your Porte-Vélocipède. You must reach deep within yourself, Dr Behooving, to engage your inner Howard Roark. Ignore Primrose if she sullies the purity of your vision. Step over the naysayers and the poo-pooers. Crush them under the heel of your greatness. You must embrace the Übermensch!

  2. Steven says:

    Having just ridden to the vineyards, slept like a baby in a one-Übermensch tent, then ridden back, all for fun, and now having read your most welcome comment, I indeed feel sufficiently puffed up (head, chest, thighs, privates… all over) to burst through these glass ceilings, open a crack in the celestial sphere— for the rest of these reply, please read from page page 700 of Atlas Shrugged.

  3. In my last apartment we had 5 bikes, four pairs of cycling shoes 8 helmets (i’m a hoarder without a closet), various bespoke crochet cycling items, a foot pump and tools all within two folding bike rotations of the front door.
    In no other abode have I ever felt more at home.
    The next trick will be to emulate this corporeal cycling exhibit in an apartment without an inglenook at the front door!
    Any suggestions most appreciated!

  4. Steven says:

    I wish I could find the photo. I have an architect friend in New York with a collection of folders, plus a recumbent, on hooks against that first wall. Very compact. Small apartment. Small girlfriend. Tight clothes. He designs small house plans as a hobby, to satisfy his love of compactness. He wrote this brilliant piece on architects and folding bikes: http://www.architakes.com/?p=3869

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