Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Old Things New Again

Quick.  Read the sub-heading on this blog.  Eclectic.

I break the blogging "rules" by my lack of focus on a few, related subjects.  Honestly, though, I am not writing a blog in order to become a super-blogger who dazzles the world with her rapier wit and stunning photography.  This blog is the cyber extension of me, discussing the things I discuss with family and friends.

Now that the apology is over, I branch out into a new territory.  Home decor.  I will be the first to admit that I am not an artist, but I appreciate artistry and beauty.  I don't create art, but I do admire it.

In the home, I am drawn to real materials: wood, not plastic; cottons, linens, and wools, not synthetic fibers; houseplants, vases with flowers, and even produce set out on a lovely plate.

I am drawn, as well, to household items with a story. Even for items that are not museum-quality, it is a delight to learn that a friend's bookcase belonged to her grandmother, or that someone's child is sleeping in her father's boyhood bed.

I dislike snobbery in home decor.  I don't like designers who are anti-child in their approach to decorating.  Much more preferable are homes designed to be lived in, whether than means antiques that are actually used by the family, or child-proofed homes that are still pretty. 

And snobbery goes both ways.  I know that some people get defensive about the topic, if they imagine an insult because their homes are not magazine-ready.  "Oh, how Martha Stewart," I've heard expressed in sarcastic tones, if someone else should go to the effort to make something pretty.  However, there is more to beauty than money splashed out on a material goods.  I've felt uncomfortable in homes where there was money spent on fussy items; I've felt at home in welcoming places where the well-used sofa might have been older than I was.  I know an artist could put into words what I am trying to describe.  See above: I am not an artist, so I cannot put my finger on the difference.  It's instinctive, more than anything else.

There are a handful of blogs that I visit on a regular basis.  Design Mom is beautiful and even the high-end homes she shares are meant to be for families.  Small Things, In the Heart of My Home, and House Art Journal give photographic glimpses into beautiful surroundings, with children.  An inspiring blog, but an idea I don't think I could sell my family on, is Assortment Blog, the journal of a wife and mother with three children who live in under 700 square feet.

Very recently, I discovered Moore for Less, a blog that shares thrifty ways to create a beautiful home.  The discovery of this blog is what inspired this post. It's my cousin's blog!  I live too far from Laura to see her lovely house, but I am thrilled to be able to get a glimpse of it online.

In this post, Laura shares how her children are using desks that hold sentimental value for her.  I've got one of those same desks!  The desks came from an aunt of ours, a teacher whose school was getting new desks, and we inherited the old ones.  Knowing how much better things were made once upon a time, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that these older desks are holding up better than whatever replaced them.  My sisters and I used this desk when we were kids; my older children used them, as well.  When the younger kids started using tables for writing and art, instead of the desks, I re-purposed this desk as a nightstand for my son.  This is how Laura is using her desk.  This is how I am using mine:

Pardon the clutter of an almost-teenaged boy.


Old things new again. 

It's likely that the only value the desk holds is sentimental.  Now, I feel an added dimension of sentimentality, knowing that my cousin is incorporating her desks into her own home, too.

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