Monday, February 18, 2008

The Bones of a Home


There seems to be a sense of home when you see a neighborhood with good bones. By bones I mean apparent history or the look of permanence. There is a big difference between having wooden planter boxes and having mortared brick planting boxes. There is a difference in having established trees in you landscape and having tree that were planted within the last 20 years.

There is a difference between tract houses in Warrenton and the homes that have been standing for years in Oysterville.

I find it interesting how people can turn just about any structure into a home. I’m probably fussier than others and I’ve always valued certain things in homes I’ve lived in. They have all been old and all have had two stories. My present house was built on the ground in 1925. Talk about bones; every time I open a wall or a ceiling I find hints of what the builder was thinking at the time. I can picture the house as it was originally constructed. You never get the sense of bones with a house that was hauled in and set down on a slab.

I’ve mentioned that I always hide something in every wall before I cover it up. In this house I have hid news papers, coins, written notes and a set of plans for the additions I’ve built.

A few years ago I was re-roofing the oldest section of the house. I removed one course of comp and two courses of cedar shakes. Stuck to the bottom of the oldest roof was a bundle tag which showed that the shingles were made at the Arch Cape Shingle Mill.

My home will one day belong to someone else, and hopefully they will one day find what I have left them. I hope they ponder what I had in mind as I’ve pondered what the builders before me had in mind.

7 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

When you love your home (good bones and bad) it's one of the greatest comforts in life.
Mine was built in the '40s - was delighted to find old newspapers during a reno. And my kids left their mark while that reno was being done for future families to discover.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Uncle Walt said...

Ever since I took my living room drywall off and put up insulation, I've toyed with the idea of writing notes on the insulation backing before I replace the drywall.

Or placing "banned" books (1984, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, Atlas Shrugged, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, etc) in the walls before they're completely sealed. Wrapping the books in plastic or something to preserve them, of course.

Given the way our country is going, though ... perhaps a copy of the Constitution and some weaponry? lol

12:30 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

We do the same thing. As you know, when we did the upstairs room, we found all that wonderful stuff. With the exception of the honey pail, the rest will stay with the house, including the very 80s pictures of a New Year's Party that fell out of the insulation. I feel they belong with the place. We are also leaving our own clues. When we closed off a tiny jog in a wall, we wrote a message in Sharpie on the wall beneath. We also have raw floors right now with holes in them and have been dropping Polly Pocket Shoes, dated receipts, etc. down them.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

We do the same thing. This place was built in 1906 and we're always finding stuff and leaving it, plus more from ourselves:)

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I bought a house near Bond Street, my friend Kevin lived there. He found a little trap door between the floors of that house and stashed away there were lots of old pictures from the early part of the last century. They showed groups of Finns, some in a style of uniform in a meeting hall in Union town. All seemingly well to do. Other pictures were more casual family gatherings. Still other pictures showed of a trip by ship to a rather desolate tundra like local. There were small log cabins arranged in a little village by a river and other photos portrayed the men constructing wooden barrels or casks. Kevin had someone translate inscriptions from the backs of the photos. Apparently a group of Finnish Americans went to Karelia to join the Russian Revolution and set up a utpoian society. Needless to say things did not go well for those brave folks.
A pretty good find , but Kevin has had poor luck garnering any interest in his treasure trove from local historians.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Bayou said...

Growing up in the south, I lived in many ancient homes. One of which, after over 100 years had to be torn down. I was amazed at the newspapers, toys and artifacts that we found in the walls. When my mother and I built our house, we wrote quotes in permanent ink under each and every hand stained board. We like to think that the house was literally built on words and wisdom.

4:46 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

It seems we all have it bad. Cool stories, eh?

Hey Bayoy, I never did get any emails from you or Lach. One of you two commented on the blog a while back that emails to me were undeliverable.

5:37 AM  

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