Monday, October 22, 2012

What is "Modern"?

 Andrea initiated an interesting discussion by wondering what "modern" means as it relates to home renovation and decor.

To some, 'modern' means "cold", "bland", "sharp lines", "cheap-looking", "unartistic" etc, etc.  To others, it's "sleek", "open", "hip" etc, etc.

This first picture sums up what we are trying to do with our old lady house.  As computers get smaller and more people gravitate towards laptops, pads and mobile devices, the need for a very large desk is less and less.  Cloud computing even negates the need for printers and other hardware.  In Andrea's case, she is still very much attached to her small slips of paper she values to create personalized letters, art crafts and other small things.

As it turns out, the lovely 1920's era secretary hutch, Claire found for us for free, has suddenly become the perfect desk for Andrea to use.  Now everything fits in all her secret compartments and she can just close up the desk top so everything is hidden. It is now an essential piece of utilitarian furniture that also has obvious hand-crafted elements that make it feel warm and cozy in the spare room.

To me, these feels more modern this way then purchasing a "modern" desk because we are reusing an old antique that has become more suitable for our ever-shrinking technological gear. As we move through the house and make creative decisions on what we should do, we are looking at antiques in newer, more creative ways that help keep our costs down but also add flair and flavor to our living.

This doesn't mean we forgo modern conveniences. I love the fact that we can add paint to the walls that are multidimensional; offering extra protection as well as less toxicity.  Every window we add is energy efficient and we can add different types of insulation in a house that never had any until we moved in.  I suppose we are striving to "modernize" the house in hidden ways yet reuse decorative elements that showcase the value of craftsmanship that was indicative of a bygone era. Eventually, we will add solar power panels that will help generate our own power. We also are growing more of our own food.

A few more examples below as we did quite a bit during October including purchasing a new front window using Home Depot Services.  We are, so far, happy with how that all went and will most likely hire them again to do other services that are beyond my scope and manpower.  When we felt we needed new shutters for the lower half of the window, we found a nice wood vintage set of shutters at Urban Ore and they practically fit perfect.  I once again took the paint off the moulding and we plan on building a bench under the window soon.

Also at Urban Ore, Andrea was excited about these $30 pair of Cafe Doors.  They were in great shape and (once again) fit nearly perfectly in the space between the kitchen and the old part of the house.  When I walk through them, I always want to shout, "Whiskey, barkeep!". lol

Our sunflower "tree" has also grown freakishly large in the front yard!