Puzzle House

This article is about a pretty amazing “puzzle house.” Basically, the woman gave her architect carte blanche to completely redesign, nay rebuild her apartment. With more than a touch of whimsy.

It all began simply enough, Ms. Sherry said, when she and her husband bought the 4,200-square-foot apartment for $8.5 million in 2003.

What Ms. Sherry didn’t realize until much later was that Mr. Clough had a number of other ideas about her apartment that he didn’t share with her. It began when [her husband] threw in his two cents, a vague request that a poem he had written for and about his family be lodged in a wall somewhere, Ms. Sherry said, “put in a bottle and hidden away as if it were a time capsule.”

That got Mr. Clough, who is the sort of person who has a brainstorm on a daily basis, thinking about children and inspiration and how the latter strikes the former. “I’d just read something about Einstein being inspired by a compass he’d been given as a child,” he said. The Einstein story set Mr. Clough off, and he began to ponder ways to spark a child’s mind. “I was thinking that maybe there could be a game or a scavenger hunt embedded in the apartment — that was the beginning,” he said.

And then it gets even more cool and all kinds of awesome.

But some of that furniture and some of those walls conceal secrets — messages, games and treasures — that make up a Rube Goldberg maze of systems and contraptions conceived by a young architectural designer named Eric Clough…

The apartment even comes with its own book, part of which is a fictional narrative that recalls “The Da Vinci Code” (without the funky religion or buckets of blood) and “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” the children’s classic by E. L. Konigsburg about a brother and a sister who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and discover — and solve — a mystery surrounding a Renaissance sculpture. It has its own soundtrack, too, with contributions by Kate Fenner, a young Canadian singer and songwriter with a lusty, alternative, Joni Mitchell-ish sound, with whom Mr. Clough fell in love during the project.

Really, it is the stuff of fantasy to have the money to design something like this, and find someone who is willing to do it (and I’m sure worked far beyond the money, no matter how good it was), and then have them do it as a surprise to you…like Willy Wonka meeting Holmes on Homes or something.

Not sure if I could ever work it into a story without sounding too far-fetched, but read the whole article here and see for yourself.


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Posted in Current Events, Urban Fables, Writing on July 23, 2008 by Jesse
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Jesse Scoble

Jesse Scoble is a writer, story editor, and game designer in no particular order.

He has won awards, written a Western Horror script, worked on computer games & pen&paper games, contributed to more than 30 titles, and makes a mean mojito.

Currently he is a freelance writer in Montreal, QC.