Posted on by Erin | Earnest Home

this old house copy

For a long time, I’ve meant to write this post.  Life kind of took off and I stashed it to the back of the pile thinking it was past the point of resurrection.  When I redesigned this blog in January, I gave it the tagline, “The New Traditional”.  I had meant to clarify the choice, but kind of figured that people understood what it meant and I moved on.  Then within the last few weeks, the reasons for not only the tagline, but the reasons why I write the blog as a whole came back around and hit at full force. 

When I started this blog, I had recently been married and moved into my husband’s family’s 19th century farmhouse. It was a home that had been built by his great grandfather (as with a few other homes on the plot), but throughout the years had been lived in and abused by renters, random family members, and wildlife.

As we started to fix it up, family members who had previously called this place home would chime in on what they did while they were there, and what I might want to do as well.  Matt’s grandmother (who lives next door) had lived there in the early years of her marriage too and favored the Victorian look.  Victorian porcelain, linens, and trinkets would end up as my Christmas gifts as she gently made suggestions for our renovations. Matt’s Dad, Aunt, Cousin, and Mother had all spent a stint of time living there and all had there own recollections of the decor and opinions on what would be the best. Tearing up layers of carpet was tearing up the work of a parent. Changing the color on a wall was changing the choice of a grandparent. I remember how I never felt like the space was mine.  I never felt like I could make a decision without ten people weighing in.

As the years have gone by, however, life and lots of those family members have moved on.  Matt’s father died shortly after our wedding, his aunt (who lived next door with his grandmother) just a year later. As we sit here today, we’re dealing with the aging of is grandmother (whose house we bought a few years ago) and finally had to move her out of the home next door, where she could conveniently keep tabs on the happenings here at the farmhouse – from the watering level of my plants to the color of the porch.  As the years go on, the opinions of others have slowly faded away and Matt and I have found ourselves as the one’s left standing.  For so long we were three generations back from having an impact, and now, we not only hold the keys to his family’s history, but to our future as well.

Today we sit here with a piece of land (two connecting pieces of land, actually), two old houses, and a ton of work.  The work doesn’t scare me, however.  What scares me and keeps me humble is the knowledge of the generations who have come before us, the blood, sweat, and tears they’ve invested in this property, and the understanding that it’s up to us to keep that going.  Instead of looking at this as ours, I’ve begun to just look at it as our turn. It’s our turn to put our own spin on this piece of his family’s history.  You guys know that I have a lot of ideas and dreams for these spaces, and now you know what drives me and influences me as I made decisions.  It’s not just about keeping up with tradition, it’s also about making our own tradition.

I just hope that as we do our part to this house and this land, we do it with family in mind, both past and future.  We are the new generation to pull our weight and to make our mark.  We are the new traditional.