Rachel is home from school for the holidays. And obviously, the first item on the agenda of our interior building design student is…building model houses. Like she doesn’t get enough of this at school, but whatever.
Of course, it helps that this is a gingerbread house, a seasonal tradition around here—I’ve been making them each year since Rachel was a baby, but these days I leave the building to the experts.
Now, most gingerbread houses are pretty traditional. They might look like this:
Gingerbread house with path. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gingerbread house by Andrew Kelsall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Or even this:
In front of a gingerbread house. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But not if you live in our house. Round these parts, gingerbread houses are masterpieces of post-modern deconstruction. And it’s a delicate process, as you’ll see.
First, she sketches out the bones…
Materials and site are important considerations for any properly built gingerbread house. And what could be more delicate than dozens of wafer biscuits, held in place with royal icing, toothpicks, and a prayer?
In a multi-level house like this, it’s a trick to keep the walls standing straight.
Delicate as they are, these are still load-bearing walls. They must be balanced carefully so that the slab roof pieces don’t collapse or slide off. A single misstep could be catastrophic. Also, it’s important not to eat your construction materials.
It’s all falling into place now…
Once the bones are in place, the next step is to install the rooftop solar panel array.
And of course, you need wiring to run the electrical current from the rooftop panels into the batteries that hook up to the house’s electrical system…
Electrical system is state of the art. Toothpicks may have been involved here.
Ack! A wall is starting to lean! I told you this was a delicate process…
Balance is restored. Time to start the landscaping. Well, xeriscaping, actually.
Speaking of delicate, did you know that balancing almonds on their ends is quite a delicate process? Works best if you cut the tips off one end, we found. Yes, I started getting involved at this point. I was paid for my labour in leftover licorice cigars. I plan to launch a union grievance.
Also, licorice cigars don’t like being glued together and left to fend for themselves. More toothpick interventions were needed.
The xeriscaping is really starting to take shape now. Beware the tall cacti. They burn if eaten. Not that you’d eat a cactus, but still.
I like the delicate scalloping effect along the edges of the paving stones. This shows real attention to detail. And granola pebbles? Totally brilliant.
It’s entirely possible that the real delicate thing here is our family’s grip on reality…but I prefer to think of this as a unique expression of individuality. Yeah, that’s the ticket. It’s unique. Like us.
Nicely done, Rachel!
Lots of love,