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Re: [xml-dev] Do you enjoy neighborhoods where every house looks the same?

When in the process of shopping for a new door I discovered it was cheaper 
to have one custom made than using a factory item.

This for pre-hung in frame, with both inside and outside moldings, 
double-pane glass, drilled for lock hardware and all mahogany construction. 
Made by a local lumber yard that has it's own door and trim shop.  Totally 
customized to match the curve of the porch roof above it.  For about a grand 

It did, however, take about a month to get it made.  But worth the wait, for 
both the look and the savings.

What does that say for standardization harming choice?  Nothing, but that 
was a bad analogy to start with.

-Bill Kearney

-----Original Message----- 
I recently installed a new front door in my house. When you buy a door,
there are a lot of choices to be made: what will it look like, how many
windows, what material, what size?  Some of these you have more or less
freedom to choose as you please (within aesthetic constraints that are
somewhat arbitrary): others, like size, you can vary if you choose, but
at a much greater cost (reframing the entire door, knocking down walls,

I chose to buy a pre-hung door from a factory that manufactures these. I
used a manufacturer that was suggested to me by a guy who helped me at
our local lumber yard. I realized from looking on the web that there are
many other manufacturers, but I eliminated all of them, and the wider
array of choices that they represented, at an early step in the process,
because I was desperate for help in understanding the bewildering
measuring required.  Choosing a pre-hung door (which comes with hinges
installed, a lightweight frame, knob holes pre-drilled, and a threshold
with weatherstripping already attached) also limited my freedom to be
creative considerably.  I probably couldn't use a random antique
doorknob since the hole wouldn't have been in the correct location.

Many "choices" regarding the appearance and design of the door, which,
given a non-industrialized society, I would have been forced to make
myself, were made for me, by virtue of standardization. Pre-hung
factory-made doors only come in certain sizes, for example.

Even with all this standardization to help me, it was barely possible
for me, a sometime amateur carpenter, to install the door and get it to
swing freely and close neatly, but I was able to do that.  As I say,
there were some compromises: I'm not totally thrilled with the
appearance of the aluminum threshold, and I think if I had taken more
care I might have been able to get a different one I would have liked

What can we conclude from this?  Standardization is neither good nor
bad: what it gives is the ability to achieve a passable result without
diving too deeply into details, but of course it takes away the ability,
or makes it less natural, to sweat those details when you want to.
Everyone has to choose for themselves (if they don't have the decision
thrust on them) which area of endeavor they will be an expert in, and
which they will leave to others.  Experts will never be content with
standardized solutions in their area of expertise -- often *they are the
ones defining the standards*.

But amateurs tend to appreciate standards that can enable their
participation, in an amateurish way, in fields of endeavor in which they
would otherwise be incompetent.  Is that bad?  I don't think so: I saved
some money, I have a feeling of great accomplishment, and *I have new
front door*.



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