Tuesday, August 10, 2010
When Home is... a Message from a Previous Owner
Last week, while rushing out the door to pick up kids’ from school Louis – in a way that only a two-year-old can – knocked a photo album out of the bookshelf. It was one I hadn’t looked at in years and it happened to fall open on a page of photos of us renovating our first flat. As I picked up the album I noticed a folded piece of paper shoved behind one of the pictures. ‘A letter for you’ it read on the front in childlike handwriting.
I’d forgotten all about this letter until now. We found it when pulling down a false ceiling in one of the two bedrooms. Our flat was built in the basement of a 1930s building, complete with high ceilings, archways and a lovely sandstone wall in the kitchen. But it had been renovated in the late 70s so down had gone slate floors in the hallway, bedroom and bathroom. And up had gone false pine ceilings in one of the bedrooms and kitchen.
A modern look of its time, I suppose, but we still found it hard to believe they covered up a plaster ceiling complete with a rose and cornices. Anyway, they did and thanks to the letter we also know they built the ceiling themselves, on Wednesday August 1st, 1979.
I don’t remember feeling bad about ripping down their handiwork. After all, it had lasted 20 years. I do remember feeling more connected to the home though. It was nice to think that a family had stood in this room, just as we were, working together to create a space they loved.