Before electricity, housekeepers would bring kerosene lamps and candles into the pantry at the end of the day so they could wash and trim them in the morning. It's a gratifying ritual to perform in a cabin that's off the grid or a turn of the twentieth century house. My sense is that the facility finds it fulfilling.
I store candlesticks, solar task lights, and spare electric lamps in the pantry. Seattle's summer days are so long that we rarely need artificial lighting between May and October. During the dark months (all Seattle months are cool), I set out lighting as needed.
Storing reserve lighting in a traditional area leaves rooms easy to clean and allows a smaller inventory to suffice.
Recent changes in the neighborhood necessitated a radical revision of window coverings. After several years of fumbling with options, I settled on what are called shoji blinds,that look like mulberry paper and are reinforced with splits of bamboo. The paper gathers and distributes daylight into a room like nothing I have experienced before. The blinds are simple to trim to size, can be hemmed with hot glue, and the sample I washed came through unscathed. I layer them under the previous blackout roller shades and split bamboo blinds.
Lunch bags make viable free-standing waste containers.
The Great Big Northern European Home Furnishings Chain has the best value candles and tea lights.
Warm white LED Christmas lights make good task lighting over a drawing board.
Floor paint serves an old house well.
Checked upholstery yardage makes a good table cloth. Just pre-shrink, cut to size, and pull a fringe.
The State of Maine outdoor clothing outfit offers the best value rain coat with integral hood.
Discussing party plans with a foodie who has professional training, I learned that "a large open bowl of liquid" is no longer approved, "particularly when there are children [and groomsmen] around". I promptly and accidentally broke the Victorian washstand pitcher I had been using for festive occasions. Do not wash a vessel while mulling about the advisability of putting it out for guests.
Surfing alternatives, I learned to hunt for "beverage dispenser". I also learned that most of what was available was at best cheap and ugly. A day's noodling around the net with half-formed ideas left me considering hacking box wine on the one hand and a small reproduction export ware vessel on the other. No contest.
In the process, I happened to mention to the in-house immigrant that many of Seattle's Fifties buffets were furnished with what were called bomber noses, Boeing surplus plexiglass hemispheres from B-29s. On a morning walk just minutes later, we passed a house with the very thing holding algae and vestiges of last summer's geraniums. I learned that it was the blister used to shoot navigation readings. A nose might have a larger diameter.
Five generations' keeping house in Western Washington know how to get the job done. Deft Home is the fruit of thirty years’ independent research with casual scholarship, deep-time experience, and no ties to commerce.
Deft home is about doing things the easy way, doing things you won’t get tired of, doing things in little specks of time, and doing things effectively so you won’t have to do them again. It’s also about working with things you already have or have scrounged, about respecting tradition and family legacies, and about making time to enjoy your living quarters. It’s about dignity, self-reliance, and innovation. Especially, Deft Home is about respecting the basics and the labor it takes to keep them right. Hope you enjoy the site as much as I enjoy developing the material.