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Something[s] old for something new

July 29, 2009

This old house that I love is fast becoming younger, and as excited as I am about having, say, a bedroom, I’m nervous about the newness. Like Mayberry Mom, who praised the oldies not too long ago, I am most attracted to the older home.

But alas: in order to live on our mountain, with room to breathe and grow, more than half of our eventual house is going to be never-used, just-out-of-the-box brand new. In order to marry that with the 1930s walls and floors that have stuck around, I want to populate it with pieces from the past — the pair of maple twin beds that my grandparents slept in, something from Uncle Herbert’s living room, the ladderback chairs my dad re-seated, flea market finds.

When the new kitchen is finished, we’ll be walking on wood from this nearby house,


whose heartwood pine boards are the same width as the ones original to ours. (The affordable path to reclaimed wood floors = one weekend of QT between D and the Sawzall + two weeks of us laying, sanding and applying finish to the boards.)

With one old porcelain tub and sink ready to move into the new downstairs bathroom, we recently went looking for a set to go upstairs. We salvaged the perfect pair – a 1911 Ahrens & Ott cast-iron enameled, lionpaw clawfoot tub and matching wall-hung sink – from The Campbell,


a 100-year-old hotel building in small town Oklahoma (thank you, Craigslist).


They’re sitting out in the yard now, looking very Arkansan. We lucked out because unlike most antique tubs that folks around here try to unload, this one has not been doubling as a planter for the past 40 years. We might have to sandblast the outside, but the porcelain is pristine – no rust marks, no pitting.


And the guys are all really looking forward to moving it into the upstairs bathroom.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Alleen permalink
    July 29, 2009 9:42 pm

    Your post makes my heart so very happy! I know we haven’t been in our house but a matter of days but already I’m learning new appreciation for all its original pieces and sadness for the ones that were replaced. I love the thought you are putting into every detail – I’m sure the history and stories each has will be sure to reward you!

    PS You showed great restraint in only taking the floors of that house. I’d have left with the doors and windows too!

  2. July 30, 2009 11:46 am

    Yay for y’all!!!

  3. July 30, 2009 7:00 pm

    We use to have a tub like that in the first house we lived in. I bet the guys are looking forward to carrying that thing (LOL)! I think it so cool that you are re-using old wood from another house. It a lot of work but so worth it in the end.

  4. August 1, 2009 2:29 am

    I can’t wait to see this — I think it’s going to be just beautiful and I love your recycling efforts!


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