This Old House

When I think of old houses or antiques, I’m reminded of the Japanese philosophy called wabi-sabi.  Loosely translated, it’s the art of finding beauty in imperfection, revering authenticity above all. It celebrates cracks and scratches and all other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. A good lesson in appreciating old houses, and…life in general. Some of the things that I love best about old houses are the creaky, uneven floors, the lack of right angles, wavy glass windows, hand-planed woodwork, and hints of the lives of those who lived there long ago.  It’s this character, charm, and history that attracted me to the idea of restoring a 200-hundred-year-old house that’s been in my family for over 100 years—my family’s ancestral home or homeplace.  I relish the sense of continuity; I literally follow in the footsteps of my ancestors as I walk through this house and around the farm. As one can imagine, caring for and maintaining this home is of the utmost importance to me.  So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the other thing I love as much as an old house is a well-appointed, everything in its place, clean house.  I know that it’s mainly because I’m wired this way.  However, the other view is that restoring my family’s homeplace was a significant effort and expense, and I value and want to take care of it.  So, messy, unclean rooms, scratches on the floors, and dings […]

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