Getting the Best from the Past

Nostalgia. What is Nostalgia? A longing, a desire for what was, or the best of what we remember. Nostalgia is the reason we listen to music we grew up on; it is the reason we keep old photos, and it is part of the reason we love certain places and some houses.

This pictures comes from the inside cover of an 1920’s molding and millwork catalog. It is a charming scene, a scene that encourages and reminds us of simpler times. At lunch the other day, my daughter asked me if I could go back to any period of time in the last 100 years, what period would I go to?

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I didn’t tell her 1920, or 1950, because comfort wise, I’m pretty convinced that we have more comforts and luxuries today than any society at any time in history. Technology has spoiled us, we like our A/C and high-speed internet. In truth, there are things that I would like from different periods, but what would be ideal is to take the best of the last 100 years and make it work today.

For example, it is clear from this picture that 100 years ago, they believed that our homes shape our character. It starts, “Home reflects character. More it moulds character.” What did these writers believe or mean by that statement? I argue in the book, that our homes reflect our beliefs and our values. What we build tells others about what we cherish.

100 years ago, we built houses with more care and thought than we build with today. Our nostalgic feelings towards old houses and historic neighborhoods needs more attention because these homes communicate values we inherently long for like honesty, strength and harmony.

By contrast I think McMansions tell a false story about what we value.

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What do McMansions say about our character? Why do we build the houses we build? Too often decisions are made based on a cost rather than what is truly beautiful. This naturally leads to the question; do we value money more than beauty?

The opportunity for us today, is to take the best of the past and apply it to our homes today. Aim to build a home that “moulds our character” for the better. Lets make it clear when we build, what we believe and what we value the most; beauty more than money.

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