Last Sunday, we went to our local Artifacts Bank to poke around. I've never been there, and it was lousy with magnificent old stuff! It was like walking around a life-size Lego store - you could build a house just by picking up the various pieces and putting them together. We are in the midst of a kitchen renovation, and we were hoping to find some particular items. We struck out on that, but we left very inspired nonetheless!!
Although our kitchen needed to be updated the day we moved into this house 10 years ago, I'm glad-with-a-capital-G that we waited until now! We lived with the garishness, learned our 'flow' in the house and grew-up quite a bit. We're not the same people we were 10 years ago, and I don't think I'd be happy today with what the Us From Back Then would have done with the kitchen. I think we would have ended-up with a modern, standard kitchen from a catalog where you pick out your finishes and knobs and whatnot, and it ends up looking like it's from a model home. And there's not a darn thing wrong with that, except that's not who we are. We weren't even those people back then, which is why we live a house that's 100 years old, but we were much more willing to settle and compromise our values in our 30s. Not so much in our 40s. Some days, all we have to share with the world are our values and passions..... gotta stick to 'em when you can!
The Us From Now likes to shop at antique stores and repurpose old stuff. It's not always possible, but we try. Here's a tip: Get to know the antique shops within a 20-mile radius from your house. When you need something specific, you'll know exactly which shop is most likely to have a few options! For ex, we needed a TV stand last winter; we went right to the one antique shop most likely to have a cabinet in the size we needed. We found 3! You have to think outside the box in terms of form & function, but that's part of the fun.
For our kitchen reno, we're applying this same philosophy and attempting to minimize the number of new things we buy. Here's a start to some of our ideas:
Cabinets: We're keeping the cabinets and simply reconfiguring the layout. They're solid wood inside & out and were custom-made to fit some unique spaces where standard cabinets wouldn't work. We will paint them & find some old knobs to swap out.
Flooring: I've been scouring craigslist for old barn flooring - we're going for a scraped, chinked-up look. Nothing pristine. I found a seller who has salvaged flooring from an old whiskey distillery - will be following up.
Sink: Hawking craigslist and Philadelphia Restore for this, too! A porcelain farm sink with a drain board would be ideal. Hard to find, but the quest goes on!
Lighting: There are 2 spots where pendant lighting will be needed. I would love to make something from old kitchen utensils, baskets or mason jars. Not sure yet...
Shelving: I had a massive root (from a felled cherry tree in our backyard) cut into slices. We're thinking of using these for some open shelving along one wall.
I will certainly share before & after pics when we get a little further along. We've unearthed some interesting flooring and wallpapers during the demolition! I love thinking about the families who lived here before us and made memories surrounded by a completely different aesthetic.
Have you used old stuff in remodeling a space in your home? How did it work out? Where did you find it?