Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just a few thoughts

Quite a while back, I was reading a bungalow forum in which someone was asking for advice on painting her trim. She said it's all dark, and she planned to just refinish it, and had never even thought about painting it, even though she prefers white trim. Everyone jumped down her throat like she was about to do something terrible. Even though, assuming the wood was already finished, painting over it wouldn't ruin the wood for future owners.

I read another thread on the same forum in which everyone bitched about the way people just throw a faux mica shade on any old damn lamp and call it "mission." Apparently, according to the commenters, this is deplorable and disgusting.

This is why I want to smack myself when I have any thought resembling the following: "Is this lamp/table/knob/pull/rug too 'craftsman'-y?" I've had this very thought-- only briefly!-- with the following 2 items:

The first is our dining room chandelier. I love it and loved since the moment I saw it, but it did occur to me that it might be too much. And on a side note, the glass isn't as green as it appears, and yes, I did consider photoshopping the not yet touched up paint behind this lamp, but decided that this would be dishonest.

And the second is not yet in our possession, but I like it. We need a new porch light, and this one is el cheapo. But I looked at it for a long time, and wondered, "But is it too **eyeroll** stereotypical 'mission' style?"

And that's when I decided, "Fuck it."

My mom was always of the school that if it matches your sofa, it ain't art. And I feel that way about most things decorative. It doesn't really matter what it's called, or whether it's 100% appropriate to the house, if you really, really like it.

NOW! This doesn't mean I want to fill up my 1920s bungalow with a shit ton of Eames chairs just cause I like them. I do like them. But they aren't appropriate to what I want in this house. And it doesn't mean I don't wish that the POs hadn't painted all the trim. But really? I'm not entirely sure that it wasn't painted in the first place, and I like white trim. It has its own place. And I'm not ripping out my 1952 bathroom because it doesn't "go." I like it.

I really, really admire people who want to restore these homes, and we do consider whether something was original to the house before we change it (taking down the chair rail, for example). I just like to think that we recognize that our house has lived a long life without us and we love it for what it's become. Lots of things have changed in it and some of those things are part of its charm.

Fuax tile backsplashes, vertical striped wallpaper, berber carpet and linoleum were NOT part of its charm. They had to go.

I just have to remind myself that the decision is ultimately a balance of respect for the integrity of the house and doing what will please us to live in.

So there. And, moving along to a not so philosophical note, the compost is coming along pretty well; still needs more green stuff, but it doesn't stink yet, which is always a good sign!

And that's a rose growing up in the back!

So you know, Bed Bath and Beyond are in crazy sale mode. I was in there to pick up my shower curtain rings, and ended up with a tissue box cover for $3. I looked for sheets, but none in our size. :-(

And we have our first strawberry!

I don't know if the birds will wait for the kiddo to get home to eat it!


Joe said...

I'm with you on the white trim. I think it looks good. I was actually relieved when we found our house because the trim was already all white, which allows me to blame it on someone else. ;-)

What really gets me is when people talk in absolutes when discussing style. I was reading a bungalow book a few weeks back that kept complaining about homeowners who paint their exterior trim white. "White should never be used on the outside of a house." Whaaaaat?? Since when did rules of style become so concrete?

Someone else posted on my blog something to the effect of "never paint your trim white". Guess what. I'm painting it white and I LIKE IT! ;-)

Amalie said...

I just refreshed my memory, Joe, of your trim-- it's beautiful!

I just don't get the style police attitude. There may have been...ok, there was a time when I cursed the POs and my mother and my friend's mother for painting their dark stained trim white, back when I had hoped we could strip ours and found that we couldn't. Jealousy.

But they told me they didn't like it. And I can't argue with that! No one should live in a space they're not comfy in. Period.

Jennifer said...

Good post... I totally agree. When I started I was very freaked out about "style" and "era" and such... I've had to be much more relaxed about our house... since all original inside trim is gone and all outside work is hidden or gone, we have no idea what style to go with our house!

We're just picking things that complement each other, and that are nice... and are either FROM around 1910 or ~GASP~ evoke that time. Or... are just cool.

Our trim will be white, too... but mostly because we need to put in ALL NEW TRIM (and rip out the 70's 1.5 inch particle board trim). It will be so much cheaper to use pine or ~GASP~ mdf and just paint it white.

I personally love unpainted trim... but whatever!


I've been loving our compost pile this spring... hopefully our garden will love it as much! Did you put anything on the back sides to protect the fence wood from rot?

Amalie said...

We started the compost about 2 weeks the meantime, I've been brainstorming that very thing and meaning to research how this might affect treated lumber.

Perhaps we'll slide some flashing down the back...

Jenni said...

I have been torn about our trim. It is painted and looks like it alway has been painted. Since it has so many coats of paint it will have to be striped before painting again. The PO's painted over all sorts of mess.

I am going to paint it again. It is not in good enough shape to even try to totally re-finish. I just don't think our house was ever extreme craftsman in style on the inside. Just some sorta hybrid.

jef said...

Great post. Most importantly: where did you get the hanging light? Ebay find or Rejuvenation-bank-drain? jef

Amalie said...

Oh, I have to limit my time at the Rejuvenation website.

We got that online from some, I think, on clearance. It's a Kichler light that we saw elsewhere. We eventually found it at a fairly reasonable price with free shipping. At least, reasonable when compared to the $250 chandelier we liked at Home Depot. As in, around half the cost. I was happy.

Sandy said...

I really like that porch light!