U N D E R T H E W E A T H E R
While I at first had fantasies of building my own cob house (using natural materials! rounded edges! no
mortgage!), I live in a brick house—not one of the post‐war brick bungalows that seem to make up a
majority of the housing stock in my neighborhood, but a 1928 colonial (and the first house on my street). I am drawn to older homes—the solid construction, built in cabinets, hardwood floors, nooks and crannies, crown molding, plaster walls—and my house has all of that. Of course it has small closets, only one bathroom and a kitchen barely big enough for two. But after all it was built to be lived in, not to collect stuff. It was built at a time when people had less stuff, period.
What can we learn from the memories of buildings, by “listening” to our buildings? All the stories my house would tell, seeing the end of Prohibition, going through the Great Depression, World War II, seeing neighbors come and go and technology advance. Natural builder Ianto Evans suggests that the tangible history of older buildings is essential to the new uses we give them. For example, “history can speak from a stone threshold hallowed by centuries of treading feet or in the heights of growing children scored and dated on an ancient doorpost.”
My House Texture