I have brought up the house issue a few times. The house ‘issue’ being my love of houses with character, and the discontent I live with in our present west coast contemporary home (it is all size and little character). Well my trip to the east coast, this past summer, did little to hinder my house ‘wanderlust’ (House Wanderlust). I felt as though I was in architectural heaven! Character abounds on the east coast, which for more years has been more widely settled , than the west coast.
While I was there, I am sure the incidence of road rage increased, as I was constantly making last minute stops at the side of a road to take a picture of a house, a church, a barn, or of landscape.
It never ceases to amaze me of how the sights of these character (or, as hubby would say, “old”) buildings makes my heart flip flop. But, when you live in a place (as I do) where buildings over fifty years old are torn down to make room for ‘modern’ architecture (modern architecture, to me is an oxymoron), you can see where my longing comes from.
On the east coast, an older home is one which is over seventy years old. And it is not a rarity for these homes to be inhabited (case in point is hubby’s parent’s home, built over one hundred years ago). Many are homes that were built for, and once inhabited by, sailors and sea captains in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s, when shipbuilding along the Bay of Fundy was a major industry. The end of that industry resulted in the gradual demise of many communities beautifully situated along the Bay, and it is reflected in the low cost of character-rich estate homes in those communities (low cost, as in w a y less than $200,000).
I even love the dilapidated ones. The ones that (like the picture to the left) are empty of inhabitants (other than the rodent and insect variety), with a broken window or two, with faded exteriors. Often though, their strong and well built frames are standing straight and tall for all who pass by to see that they may no longer be lived in, but the beauty that was built into them stands tall for all to see and admire (or, in the words of hubby’s dad, “look at that straight roof line).
The people who built those homes probably sacrificed greatly to build and maintain those beautiful abodes, whose walls must be full (of not just newspaper for insulation) of memories. Memories of people who worked hard to build and maintain those homes. Memories of lives lived in wealth, and lives lived in desperation. Lives filled with love, and lives lived with sorrow. It is, I think, that which draws me most to older, character homes. I look at an old home and I wonder about it’s history, I wonder about the stories that it could tell, if it could talk.
But, a house is, if nothing else, just a temporary home. A place to lay your head, and live your life. As I look around our current temporary home I am reminded that what makes it appealing at all is who lives under it’s roof. It is not the craftsmanship, or character that was built into it, but the characters and the craftsmanship of their (our) Creator that makes it the place I most love to be.
And, for that reason, I love my ugly west coast contemporary … temporary home … but mostly I just love the characters who share it with me.