Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Underestimating The House

Until twentieth-century consumer culture took over, the domicile was a place of production. In the Sixties, I lived in a mid-nineteenth century ground floor apartment carved out of a small mansion. That place had a dedicated home office located just inside the main entry. Over the decades, I have come to realize that period furniture is actually a low-tech passive appliance that supports the private enterprises typical of vintage architecture. With two, and sometimes four, initiatives going on under this old roof, I challenge and pare inventory constantly.

The more I subtract furnishings that have no useful function, the more the fine spaces of this legacy architecture are free to fulfill their original design. Summer sun reveals volumes in rooms that had felt crowded even when the contents were spare. Interestingly, I am told the market for "brown furniture" no longer exists. That and minor thrift shop observation suggest that good deals on solid wood reproductions of classic antiques are just waiting to be snapped up. Israel Sack's book on American furniture will open your eyes to the value of this heritage  -30-

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