The dawn of a new year inevitably makes you reflect on what you’ve done with your most recent trip around the sun. It’s the most perfect measure of time, a true beginning and end. I try not to give much weight to resolutions and promises and “best of” moments as we count down the clock, but wow, this one really was a doozy. It’s hard not to take a deep breath this time and think, “holy shit, we made it.”
At the start of this year I was motivated, hopeful, working a lot, planning a lot, optimistic we would have a house that could be lived in by August. Haha, oh my god. Well, these past twelve months have given me an extreme dose of patience testing, learning to say no, learning to say, “it’s ok,” learning to yell. I haven’t been very good at these things before.
“…I am out with lanterns, looking for myself,” wrote Emily Dickinson in a letter. I saw this quote over the summer and it felt like a warm hug, a confirmation that it’s ok. For the past several years — in life, in job interviews, in general — if someone has asked me where I see myself in the next five years, or what my next steps are, I’d cry.
I’ve been in arts nonprofit administration since graduating from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2009, and realized in late 2014 just how miserable I was. So, I’ve been taking a really windy path since then — switching jobs, then quitting, going back to an old job part time, picking up other part time jobs and either leaving them or failing at them. It’s been exhausting. My only beacon has been Brooklin Heirloom.
Where do we start? There were so many things to make this project feel really overwhelming to me.
1. It’s a mess. Due to several generations of hoarding tendencies, the house was chock full of stuff — furniture, clothing, photos, books, even 50 year old jars of pickles.
2. It’s feels like it’s falling apart a bit. Because no one lived there for so long, the temperature was unregulated and there was a moisture problem. The plaster in some ceilings and walls were in serious disrepair and seeing big holes in the ceilings of two rooms made me feel like the whole thing was going to cave in. Continue reading
Meet our little house — a modest cape sitting on a slight hill just up the road from the Benjamin River in the small coastal town of Brooklin, Maine. Built in 1860 by my great great great great grandfather, Moses Day, she has been home to generations of red heads and boat builders. My husband and I are lucky enough to be the seventh generation to inherit the house we now call our Brooklin Heirloom.
The house has been sitting lonely for the past 11 years after my Great Uncle June died in 2005. This past summer we have started the long task of getting her back in shape during weekends away from our city life in Boston, Massachusetts. Because my relatives were meticulous keepers of anything and everything, our little heirloom has so many stories to tell, so many old photos sleeping in boxes and albums, and so many new beautiful vignettes to show off, I’ve decided to chronicle all of that here.
I know the “blogosphere” is so saturated these days with carefully curated snippets of people’s lives. So what can you expect from this tiny sliver of the internet?
- Design inspiration and planning
- Musings on Maine
- Renovation plans and progress
- Updates on new vintage goods featured in my online shop (funds go towards our project).
My goal is so show the imperfect, authentic, emotional, exciting, and exhausting aspects of renovating not just a home, but a family heirloom. I hope you’ll follow along in our journey!