Welcome to the online diary of the “London Ziegs,” as they journal their experiences relocating from the balmy climes of sunny Orlando, Florida to the more chaotically cosmopolitan environment of London, UK!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Double Vision

Having lived all my life in traditional "detached" houses -- specifically, comparatively sprawling American ranch-style homes, with a good-sized yard wrapping around from front to back and a comfortable 20–30' separating you from your closest neighbors to the sides -- I'd kind of wondered what it would be like living in "terraced" (what the English call rowhouses or townhouses) or "semi-detached" (Americans would call these duplexes) homes.

What kind of special relationship do you develop with your wall/yard-mates? Does a feeling of camaraderie evolve from listening to the same creaking pipes every night? Joined at the housing hip like Siamese twins, sharing all the same housing woes, do you grow a unique social bond that none else could ever understand?

In reality, we've found the converse to be true. When a single structure is split into two logical homes, the wall between becomes a major architectural feature. Since there can never be any windows or doors in the separating wall, and connections between rooms (betwixt the "fore" and "aft" of the house) must generally run parallel to it, it is the opposing wall which receives the lion's share of broad, panoramic windows, if any of England's limited supply of natural lighting is to be captured and retained within.

And directly across from these many wide windows sits...the similarly-adorned external side of the house next-door! So the right-half of one duplex has all these huge windows, facing directly against the glassy surface of the left-half of the neighboring duplex; meaning that the family you really get to know quite well is not the one with whom you're sharing heat (side-stacked houses make for great insulation in winter), but sharing light...an interesting distinction.

(BTW, feel free to click on the above graphic...the source site is pretty funny :-)

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