i never questioned why our bedroom hallway was L-shaped or why a wood rail allowed you to perch three-feet above the living room floor, but it was most certainly unlike any other concrete box, to this day.
a custom-stained front door forced you to walk over the flesh-colored, marbled, vinyl flooring. beyond that, the glossy white laminate millwork and crackled mirror shelving separated the open kitchen from the living room with a pass-through opening. custom wood furniture, chocolate and tomato-red corduroy couches splattered with orange, and polished chrome tables with beveled glass tabletops completed the groovy scene and it remained that way until the early 90's when my parents finally gave up their starter home to move outside of the northern "countryside" of yigo to the more centrally-located outskirts of machanao, dededo.
by no means was our idyllic family compounds gilded with luxury nor was I raised in an architectural gem. the fruits of my parents' labor indeed gifted me with a sense of space decades before understanding its implications on my architecture aspirations. far from a privileged nor a struggling upbringing, our family of three girls thrived on the standard luxuries. each of my parents worked more than one job and made several attempts at entrepreneurialship to which we not only witnessed but participated in: balloons, jewelry, taxes, and magazine deliveries.
another uncanny influence in our upbringing was that we rarely went out to eat in restaurants. our meals were often home-cooked yet memorable. our house had an outdoor "dirty kitchen": an attached wooden shack built of plywood and corrugated tin.
definitely off the beaten path, the partially and poorly-paved gravel driveway added to the mystique of our house. the yard was not neatly manicured but overgrown with fruit trees while barely able to grow a patch of healthy grass. soaring and leaning coconut trees were in place of a built fence and for many years, ours was the only concrete structure within the small cluster of homes that terminates the cul de sac at 115 salas court in the heart of yigo.