We moved into an old house this month. Built over 80 years ago, you can sense the builder’s personality in the place. Mr. B… a bridge builder with hidden desires of becoming an architect. It shows. The beams are magnificent. Our structures, spectacular. And yet, the design seems amalgam.
There’s a uniqueness to the place I can only attempt to describe. At each angle, you can see tradeoffs between precision and flexibility. Between intent and opportunity. Our former bridge builder specified certain materials– luscious redwood for the ceilings, concrete slab for the foundation (fairly new in those days). But he used extras for the rest. Extra tiles from a nearby quarry. Extra bricks to craft the staircase. What results is an assembly; an assembly of parts, of time, of interest. But it was his assembly.
Layers of care (or lack thereof) are visible throughout the ages.
In contrast to the tender care of the original builder (who was also owner occupier), the most recent owners housed a school. It was a place for many, moving in moving out– all participating but few cherishing. The owners did not occupy, and you can feel it. Gashes in the walls. Hinges, uncared for. Unexpected items strewn about, with no story to dream of [*].
Layers of care: Original on the left, more Recent on the right
Maintenance is palpable.
[*] Others disagree with me: “What do you mean? I’m constantly asking What’s this weird thing doing here? There are SO many possible stories!”
Notes on my daily writing practice
More time to process today. But, I am writing this close to midnight…
Total time: 50 minutes