Friday, May 14, 2010

houses have feelings too or how about some taste, people?

EDITED to add a few pictures....

thank you shannon for the little camera keychain!!
lego "zapper" by sabin - she made it one day when she couldn't find the t.v. remote
my monthly art journal calendars on the left (with april woefully not completed)
and that naff bumpy wallpaper that's on the wall behind has got to go.
dear previous owners of this house (all of them),

i've spent some time organizing around the house. things are started to be settled in and it begins to feel more like our house. we haven't painted or put up new wallpaper or anything like that since it will all be torn apart again in a few months anyway, but i was feeling a strong need for it to feel more like our  home.

but as i'm working around the house, i am consistently amazed at the choices you made...everything from mis-matched ceilings (no less than 7 different ceiling materials) to rope used as a "finish" between wall and ceiling to naff bumpy wallpaper. while i can understand that sometimes money is tight, these choices are not only cheap, but just tasteless and even more than that, careless. had you really never visited anyone who had a proper house and taken note of how doorframes and ceilings are constructed? and did you really have to use that crappy rope in the "old living room?" who told you that looked good?

so many things wrong with this that i don't even know where to begin
there was even woodchip wallpaper on that BEAM at one point for the love of odin!
what surprises me is that there are times when i find that the conversation i'm having in my head about it all is really quite angry about the whole thing. i'll admit i'm missing my beautiful oak floors and red smeg refrigerator (much to my dismay it's normal to sell the appliances with the house here, not take them with you and believe you me, the subject has been extensively cried about discussed in this household), but to be honest, it's not just that. the anger is coming from elsewhere and at the risk of sounding like i've gone stark raving mad,  i think that elsewhere is the house itself. i think the house feels you neglected and mistreated it all these years. that you totally didn't see and utilize its potential.

this ceiling is made of up rough wood that you'd normally build a fence with - not for ceiling use, people!
and look at how they joined the two lists at top? even i know you should cut it at an angle!
but it's also possible that i've reached a point in both my old age and my aesthetic sense where i have a distinct lack of patience for people who lack a sense of quality and doing things properly. i just don't understand why you wouldn't put in a proper ceiling and pay attention to which way you lay the boards in comparison to the hallway just outside the door. i don't get why you wouldn't just buy enough tiles to finish the job or at least find a less obvious solution than using whatever you could scrounge out of a skip at the dump to finish the job. and i really don't just blame a lack of money, it's also a lack of pride in a way. why would you want to live this way? and especially in this extremely design-conscious country, how on earth did you ever have anyone over to dinner?

and it has me thinking about what a home's more than just a building, it's a refuge, a safe place, the place where you can really be yourself and express yourself. it's an expression of who you are and what i'm getting at doesn't really have to do with how much money you have, it's more to do with the amount of care you exercise in making it yours.  i am looking forward to all of the changes we're going to be making here (and the house tells me it is too). in the meantime, it does help a little bit to get out the sewing machine and jazz up the curtains a little bit (even just making them all the right length helps), spread out our rugs and baskets of stones and hang some art on the walls. it makes both the house and me much happier. but seriously, you people really did a number on this place...

/julie and the house that's not a windmill


beth said...

i think what gets left behind.....especially the bad and the so that we can really make it that much more our own.

we have moved so many time and this house that we are in now needed nothing done to it and it has never really felt like "mine" because no sweat or tears went into it....

i know you will make your home absolutely amazing and i can't wait to see the transformation.

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Oh gah, how I related to your lack of patience for people who "lack a sense of quality and doing things properly." I'm fighting this fight in my own home right now. I try to make the walls interesting enough that people don't look down and see what (someone who I won't name) has done to the tile floor. Sloppy, haphazard work drives me completely mad.

Keep looking forward to those changes. Can't wait to see the transformation.

Miss Footloose said...

I really understand where you come from, and still . . . I have lived in many rental places all around the world, with hideous furniture not my own and all manner of design atrocities.

Somehow, some way, you learn to not see it, or at least to not let it bother you. It is incredible what the mind can do! Just as well or I might have not stayed sane in some of these places. I would always -- of course -- have some things in there that were our own, and find some way to make it feel home.

Still, when I see a beautifully designed house with a unique or artistic interior, I melt all over. I so would love to live in it and make it my home.

I'm looking forward to your photos!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are crazy at all. I've always identified strongly with various cultures that hold the belief that all things have a soul or a spirit. Why wouldn't this apply to a man-made thing as well? Especially if it is built of natural materials, or has been around a long time. It's been there to absorb all the energy around it, good and bad. I am sure that in time, it will absorb your energy and the feeling will change from anger to peace.

A new red Smeg will probably help. And if you want to ship me one too, I won't say no!

Deb said...

Oh woman after my own heart, I so hear and understand you. Couldn't help but think of Denise Linn's Sacred Space when I read your post this morning. "You are not separate from the home you live in any more than from the air you breathe. Your home is not just an extension of your thoughts and feelings but in a larger sense your home is you. you are no less your home than you are your body. Both are outer manifestations of your outer energy fields."

Miss Footloose said...

Deb, your Sacred Space quote is lovely, and I agree with it and feel it.

But I wonder if it is not -- for many -- a luxury to be able to apply this wisdom and use it.

Having lived in Third World countries, I've known people living in shacks and all they have time to worry about is their next meal or the school fees for their kids, and so on.

What does their home say about their thoughts and feelings?

It is truly a luxury to be able to afford time and energy (not to speak of artistic talent and money) to create our home environment.

That said, I think many of us in the western developed world could do better at paying attention to, improving and appreciating the value of our living spaces.

And now, will some creative person please help me out with my generic, practical, unimaginative new little house in the woods in West Virginia, USA?

will said...

Sadly, good taste and good design are generally not taught and so most people make it up as they go along. Architecture, furniture design, materials and such are definitely not part of school curriculums (and they are not discussed topics in most families). Then, factor in cheapness and bad quality do-it-yourself and the results are what you are seeing.

paris parfait said...

Proof that not everyone has your good taste and aesthestic sense! It will be fun making the house - as it should be - a home, with your own attention to detail and beauty. And you had to sell the appliances with the house? That is weird; in France, nothing whatsoever is left behind. Surely you're getting a new Smeg? I remember you once said you'd drag it out of the house in a fire, along w/ your camera and laptop.

mrs mediocrity said...

I get you, I truly think houses do have feelings. And my house, built in the 40s, I have spent so much time fixing "improvements" that were so not improvements but rather botched and really bad ideas. My whole house was moved from two roads over, before I bought it, but I'm pretty sure she likes her new spot, less traffic here. Plus, there's a garden to look at. We've been through a lot together this house and I. She is my friend, and I, hers.
I'm sure that soon, yours will be friends with you as well. How could it not?

Char said...

*passes tissue*

oh yes, that would make me cry too but, breathe deep and know that you will heal the boo-boos and make it a better place. then think what pride you can have in the beauty that it will be.

Marilynne said...

Our house had a parquet floor in the great room - part of the great room, that is. You could see how they had cut off the framing for other rooms to make the big room. The framing had been cut off level with the parquet. Then there was plaster fill, and seven layers of flooring, each showing itself as you walked toward the wall. The last flooring I could see was a dull pink linoleum with spots on it. This was all covered with a dirty pinky-beige rug when we bought it. But what I saw was the potential to fix this interesting house, to make it better, and to make it my own.

You are just overwhelmed with the amount of work there is to do. Your house will be spectacular when you're finished and have all your own touches in it.


Magpie said...

I'm probably going to be banned, but I sort of like that textured wallpaper...

But I know what you mean. There are weird things in my house too, where I wonder about the choice that someone made.

SH -ic said...

I just had a look into yours and what did I see.. similar lamp as I have ..its my new one I bought today --I love the cloth of it .. hope you dont mind that I ve done this but it fit into the subject reflection ..
all best to you .. did you made your housewarming party ..

SH -ic said...
here we are

*jean* said...

oh man, that is bad...the rope...fugly

Delena said...

This house is very lucky to have you and your family move in. I can only imagine how beautiful it will become and all the love that will make it not a house but a home!

Joanna Jenkins said...

I love to find the bones of the house-- peeling away the layers paint and wallpaper. I always save a few chips and samples to remind me of all the work I've done... and to laugh my ass off at the really bad tastes ;-)

jj said...

This reminds me so much of all the fun things we found in our house when we bought it 25 years ago. The handymen just weren't that handy!