Excerpt from American Homes

Ryan Ridge



American Homes is a book of ideas.



Gandhi’s Idea

“What do I think of American Homes? I think it would be a very good idea.”



Idea for Garage

I think a great garage would be one where you could start your car in it and your car would turn into a successful band.



Idea for Hallway

I think an ideal hallway would be one that, rather than connecting two rooms, it connected you to important people in the White House.



Idea for Closet

A really dreamy closet would be a place where, instead of storing your clothes and shoes, you could store your dreams—an archive of the unconscious mind. Last night I dreamed I turned my closet into a natural history museum and people came from all around to gaze at the bones.



Idea for Foyer

I have no idea of what to do with or in a foyer. Make it less awkward somehow? I don’t know.



Idea for Skylight

Install Tungsten lights in your skylight and then every night is American Night.



Idea for Nursery

Turn your nursery into a “nursery” with a hydroponic system.



Idea for Outdoor Office Chair

Porch Swing.



Idea for Porch Swing Party

Put a couple swingers on a Porch Swing and it becomes a Porch Swinger.



Idea for Kitchen Sink

Instead of throwing everything in but the kitchen sink, I suggest building a kitchen sink large enough to throw everything in it.



Idea for Dining Room

I’d like to turn my dining room into a waffle house: everything, even the furniture, would be made of waffles. Then, once I’ve finished construction on my dining room, I’d invite a bunch of drunks over for breakfast for dinner.



Idea for Home Antenna*

Build an antenna with a signal strong enough to pick up local singles without leaving your American Home.


*NOTE: This idea later became known as the internet.



Idea for Balcony

If you’d like a notable balcony then have someone notable stand on your balcony.



Idea for White House

If we painted the White House pink and made it a bit smaller, America would be exactly like living in a John Cougar Mellencamp song.



Idea for American Dream House

One in which you wake up happy. Every day you wake up happy. You wake up and you’re happy every day.



Idea for Neighbors

No neighbors. No fences. Just meadows, endless meadows, meadowing endlessly.



Idea for Stairs

Stairs that keep going up, up, up, up past the summit of the home, into the sky, into the space beyond sky, beyond space, into light, beyond light, into forever and then back down the stairs, all the way back, back to the land of American Homes, back to the source, back to the home. Welcome home.





Per aspera ad astra.



American Homes is now available from University of Michigan Press.