I read an article the other day in a newspaper publication titled, "Historic treasures preserved by prosperous people." It talked about several business tycoons who shared a passion for preservation and how they invested their fortunes by developing places that people can visit to learn about history. The article went on to name such places as: The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan; Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia (we've vacationed here. Great place to visit!); Winterthur Garden, Library, and Museum in Wilmington, Delaware; and The Getty in Los Angeles and Malibu, California.
My husband and I are history buffs, loving anything historical. We love antiques, have a collection of old books (I read our copy of Little Women over the holidays that was published in 1911!), I enjoy reading books set in historical time periods, our house is decorated with primitive items (originals, not remakes), etc. After reading that article the other day, I realized that preserving history isn't just for the wealthy. People do it everyday. We've been doing it for years.
My project this spring, aside from my manuscripts, is a kitchen makeover. It's a small room, and I simply couldn't take the dark colors any longer. After days of priming everything in the entire kitchen, I took a trip to Menards, picked out paint, and got started last week. I was going for a bright, airy feel since I spend so much time in the kitchen, unable to keep any of my guys full (not for more than a couple of hours anyway). I chose "Island Waters" for the color on the walls which isn't a lot of space at all--just wanted to give the room a little color. When the paint dried, it turned out be the teal-ish color of an old classic car. Always talking about doing a retro themed kitchen, now is our chance.
We had the best time last Friday, going through local antique shops in search of real retro lighting, cabinet hardware, etc. (We figured if we were going to do it we should be authentic. Antiquing is something we've always enjoyed doing together, even the kids, and even participate on vacation if a place catches our eye.) Though we didn't have any luck finding what we were looking for, we did stumble across a great place we didn't know existed--Habitat for Humanity Restore. The best way to describe it is a Goodwill for housewares. They sell new and gently used home improvement goods, furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price. All proceeds go to local Habitat for Humanity affiliates to help build and renovate more homes and communities. You can even donate unwanted items!
We found some great stuff in there: counter tops, cabinets, tile flooring, lighting, hinges, etc. This will be one of the first places we look from now on when starting a home improvement project, and the first place we go when we need to donate housewares.
Turns out, we had the exact lighting we were looking for in our basement already. My husband had bought retro industrial shop lights at an auction years ago for $3, and with a good cleaning and a coat of paint, it looks great!
My kitchen is far from being done as I'm working on it amongst three-thousand other things, but I will post pictures once the project is complete. But all of this rambling was to show that preserving history isn't just for the wealthy (if it was, we wouldn't be candidates). We can all have a part in it--on item at a time.
See, www.habitat.org/restores for more information on the organization.