The thing about living in a small town really close to a little impoverished city (but also close to giant rich cities) is that our libraries suck. I’m originally from a midwestern state which had a very progressive library system and a whooping budget to support it. When I moved to my old city, it was full of incredibly beautiful library buildings, but so-so collections. Here? The buildings suck and the collections are downright pathetic. (Our town’s library is a nice little old space though). But that also means books aren’t thrown away or checked out often, so N was able to bring home a mother lode of decorating books from the late 1940s and early 1950s.
I dove in looking for period-appropriate color guidance and decorating ideas for our house of the era.
I’m all for creative re-use and never discarding something until it is truly and utterly useless.
I like old sh*t and prefer to own things that existed before me.
I don’t like fine antiques that need to be minded and not often used in my own living spaces, yet I know not everything belongs in a museum.
Good god, it makes me cringe.
Maybe I should put it into perspective – I’d gladly hack apart something from the 1980s because to me it isn’t old and there is still plenty of it around…. so that’s probably how someone felt about their 30-year-old furniture in the 1940s. However most of what we had 30 years ago is total sh*t and made from particle board and other unhackapartable things…
I should pause before I go into a very long-winded rant and sob story about a lovely old apartment I once inhabited with built-in cabinets, a lovely and still perfect deep cast-iron enameled bathtub, and solid and well-patinated hardwood floors only to have it entirely gutted by a new owner who wanted to make it “nice.” It wasn’t – she made it all beige and full of synthetics and she should have been thrown in some sort of prison for her destruction and wastefulness and lack of any amount of aesthetic sense.
Too many DIYers and paid “designers” are ruining the souls and characters of our old homes.
Our house isn’t that old, it’s from the 1950s, and a style I thought I’d never live in and don’t love, yet I’m keeping the good useful parts as they are, and I’m looking at ideas from the era to keep it from becoming too disjointed from its past (hence my dilemma over the knotty pine paneling) I feel that the original owner (yes even a phantasmic one) should walk into a home and see some familiar elements.
I found a few useful tips I could agree with though – I love a close lamp (and you certainly wouldn’t want to singe your yarn…)
2 responses to “Don’t try this at home…”
When the kids were little we cut the legs from a very old library table…about half way down.
That way the little ones could sit comfortably at the table or jump comfortably from the table top to the floor.
Luckily, we kept the parts of the legs that we cut.
Now, 35+ years later the library table sits 3,000 miles away in their shop with the cut legs screwed back in!
It looks great!
I remember that table, and it might be the reason I love library tables now…? We’ve got a big old oak beauty in storage still and I’m sad because it won’t fit in most of the rooms in the house, but it might work as a dining room table… or it will be stuck in the basement where I can use it to cut fabric and whatnot…