Building a mansion is no small feat. It may take a decade to finish, and include daily pain staking decisions in the design process. It is, however in the end truly rewarding.
Even if you do not have a ground up building project in your future, you may have a full house gut, extension, or even a one room remodel project. If any of these types of projects are in your future, this blog is for you. I incorporate common mistakes and advice integrated into this fun fictional interview of a movie character.
Most everyone who has built a home – not even a mansion- all say they need a break for awhile and may never do it agin. Today’s blog is an interview with a fictional character, Charity Barnum from the Greatest Showman, on how she designed her mansion. Though she may not inform us exactly how to build your own mansion, she will inspire you to design your home to reach for the stars and give you advice on how to avoid common mistakes made by homeowners.
“The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there.”
— Ellie Rodriguez
Find more inspiring home quotes from Maya Angelou, to Ellen DeGeneres, to Oprah Winfrey, and more! In the blog Home is Where the Heart Is
You may be thinking, Tiffany, Charity Barnum was a true human of history as wife to P.T. Barnum. Yes I am aware that she was a real person in history, I just can’t help loving historical fiction. Along with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The Greatest Showman is one of my daughters’ and I’s favorite movie, for so many reasons. In fact, they are singing their favorite song “Rewrite the Stars” as I type. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d recommend you take the time to watch the film. It will move you.
A mansion of her very own.
Tiffany: Hello Charity, it is so lovely to talk with you this morning.
Charity: Yes, Hello. Thank you for having me here.
Tiffany: Yes. You know, I have to admit, I have seen a bit of the inside of your mansion. It is beyond gorgeous! Did you have some say in the design?
Charity: Oh, yes. Thank you. You are too kind. Yes I did very much have a majority of the opinion in the design. It was an arduous process to say the least, but so rewarding and we are so pleased with the outcome.
Tiffany: Mphm. Wow. That is what I was hoping to ask you today, about a bit of the building and design process. How did you know where you wanted to place all your rooms and layout of the parlor and stairs?
Charity: Well, I did have an architect aid me in that endeavor greatly. I was able to tell her my needs, how we move and live in our home, and she was able to provide me plans I could approve. For example, P.T. loves to host investors and socialites, so our architect ensured we had a very large Receiving Hall, Parlor, and Dining Hall. For the kitchen, we ensured it was placed near the back pathway for ease of bringing groceries in, and the Dining Hall in the middle of Entry and Kitchen so the walk was not so far to bring trays in to the Dining Hall.
Tiffany: Ah. Smart. So considering how the spaces are used and function is a major consideration in the design. I do like how the design has considered all who move and operate in the spaces. Your entry hall is so grand! I just love the design of the marble and iron staircase. Tell me a bit about that design process.
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Charity: Oh, well. That was an endeavor. The marble was quarried in Italy, shipped on a boat that took 4 months, and then I proceeded to browse through it all to pick each and every slab for the Entry Hall floors and steps, and detail on the stairs. We picked the beautiful Carrara Marble for the main floor material; it’s a light beige color. And then I personally chose the golden dark beige marble, for the small square details that lay out among large Carrara squares in a checkers pattern. For the iron stair case railing, I was inspired by the garden at the home I grew up in, and all the scrolling leaves and vines in iron were hand forged and carved. It’s my favorite part of the house, and the most exquisite.
Tiffany: Yes, truly it is a work of masterpiece. It brings such elegance and awe into the visitor who enters your Entry Hall. May I ask how do you keep the home so impeccable and clean?
Charity: Oh, to be honest, I do have help. But the biggest advantage was designing into the home secret closets, storage, built in cabinets, and crevices to hide all the normal items of life. For instance, in the Entry Hall, there is a hidden coat closet behind the wood and wallpaper paneling. The door looks as if it is just part of the wall. It makes the space magical and there is no reminder of the cumbersome coats.
Tiffany: Yes, I love that. Storage is an incredible advantage and opportunity when building your own home from the ground up, or being able to remodel a home also. That is one of the common mistakes that one can avoid is, NOT neglecting to create enough storage space. It is a tedious process to inventory all of one’s items and imagine how to store it and how much square footage needed, but in the end it’s extremely rewarding to have everything tucked away in their own “home.”
Charity: Yes, haha. I agree.
Tiffany: I have to ask you, how did you find your furniture and know where it would go?
Charity: Again, ha. I hired an Interior Designer. As a matter of fact, my designer and architect worked together and we had the furniture selected and placed in the floor plan before the walls were built. This was helpful for a couple reasons. One, it takes a couple months for the custom furniture to be made. And second, considering the furniture with the walls and layout of the architecture removed the headache of a sofa or settee or bed I wished to have didn’t fit. I also am a huge fan of the ocean, and the sun rising and setting, and I wished for my furniture to be positioned so I could have a view of that whenever I sat. So knowing where the furniture faced, allowed for the knowledge of where the windows and inner walls should be placed.
Tiffany: Ah, yes. Clever. You are a smart woman to hire all experts and team them up. I see the astute purpose for planning everything harmoniously up front before the ground is even broken. Getting your builder in before you’ve selected it all can be a disaster. However I’m sure what you thought of before the builder came up with practical reasons why a certain material you selected will not install properly. Then what do you do when that material or item you had your heart set on doesn’t work?
Charity: Yes. Well there is that. However, I found that being open to the re-selection as an opportunity for a better option, increased the quality of the design, and always worked out better than was chosen in the first place. The important part was I had something planned before so all the other pieces of the puzzle still fit, even with the new material I had to re think.
Tiffany: I agree. That is a common theme I experience. When you do not stress about the inability to use what you envisioned in your mind, and allow for something to substitute it, you are pleasantly surprised that the item you find to substitute is actually far superior to the first selection you made. Time and again I have experienced that. You are so wise, and beautiful. Your home is beautiful and appears as an extension of yourself. Thank you for your time today and sharing with us how to avoid mistakes while building your own mansion from the ground up.
Charity: It was my absolute pleasure. Thank you for those compliments. You are so kind.
This concludes the fictional interview sharing how to build your own mansion. Even if you do not have a ground up project, as a professional, I recommend taking in the this advice into any project.
- Prepare and plan everything first.
- Hire professionals and get them on the same page.
- Be flexible for change.
- Be persistent and don’t lose perseverance in your building or remodel project.
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That concludes our how to build your own mansion interview of a fictional character blog during #bloganuary … I hope you enjoyed it.
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Tiffany Nguyen is a mom of two, business partner with her husband, and Interior Designer at OC Sanctuary Interior Design & Bath. As a homeowner she understands the importance of keeping your investment in good condition. She loves Coastal Farmhouse Chic style, writing about home renovation and interior design, and living a family oriented, healthy, and grateful life.
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