Over the River and Through the Woods

This last weekend, my grandparent's old house was on the Renovator's Home Tour. This was the house that they owned from the time my mother was a teenager until I graduated from high school. I spent so much time there as I was growing up; I know every inch of that house. So it was with equal parts trepidation and curiosity that I wanted to see it.

The approach set the tone — very much the same, but very different. The style, and the shutters, the mailbox and the big hill were all the same, but much had changed — new stone steps, a brick walk, the big pine tree to the side gone and the white siding painted a soft gray. Inside had the same feeling — so much the same, but so different. The hall had the same light fixture and stairs, but the walls are now a deep, soft red (much like our new library, actually). The den had the same panelling and floors and cupboards I knew so well. The living room was closed off, but we peeked in — much the same. I tried to describe the layout and details to Patrick and Beatrix, but it was hard, because so many memories were washing over me. In some ways, I felt like I had never left the house.

The renovation that put it on the tour was the kitchen, and that was a complete remodel — they had redone it, and then converted the old back porch to a full room, with big windows and a gas fireplace. They had pictures up of the "before" and it was all still there, including the cabinets my grandmother had painstakingly rosemaled (I couldn't work up the courage to ask what had happened to them). The work that had been done was gorgeous, and I can't help but think my grandmother would have liked it, actually; it really fit into the style of the home, and made it very livable. My grandfather would have loved the bar sink area, and the hidden cabinet for storing the single-malt. The owners had some pieces of furniture and some framed samplers that I could have sworn were my grandparents' — did we leave some items behind?

Here is a pretty bad picture of it. It was much nicer in person.

I guess in the end I am pleased that the house is so much the same, and that it is being cared for by people who love the home as much as my family did. I've never really gone back to a place I've previously lived (unless dorm rooms count), and this was a good way to do so.


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