Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wooden homes

Can you believe we've been living here for 3 years, come next March? How quickly time goes when you're having fun. But in all seriousness, our brand new house would have to be the most neglected. We've stashed things here and there, used our open plan for storing junk and basically, well, we haven't made a home.

I realised this recently, when we finally rolled up our sleeves and did some serious organising. This is what we came up with...

Can you believe we had all that wooden furniture in our house, and hid it under accumulated newspapers, toys and recyclables? At one stage we had a huge aquarium against that wall, believing a big room needed a big focal point. How wrong we were. A home needs care and attention to the little things that matter in life.

A lot of the wooden furniture was stuff my mum got from second hand shops. She often stripped back years of garish paint to reveal old wood. I'm so proud she went to so much effort and passed them on to our family. She even made us the lamp from things she had collected.

You may already be familiar with this collection from an earlier post. I have added a few extra things to the shelf the horse shoes our daughter found on a walk at her Nan's property (bottom shelf) and the dried marigolds I hung from the top shelf last summer. Funny that such a small shelf can hold so many memories.

And that's the paradox - why are we so attracted to big things which stand out in life, when it's the little (insignificant) things which stay with us the longest?

So it's a tad ironic that our house built of fibre cement sheeting, almost three years ago, could feel so wooden for so long on the inside. All it needed was some real wood to make it feel like a home again.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact I grew up in a lot of old Queenslander's (a colonial period home) and my mum was always fixing old wooden furniture, but there's something special about having wood built into the home. Fibre cement sheeting, as economical and convenient to work with as it is, just doesn't strike me as "warm" or "welcoming" when it comes to cladding all your interior walls with it.

Do you have any particular finishes that warm your heart within the home?


  1. Not sure if this would count as a 'finish' Chris, but I love our timber coffee table and dining table the more they age. Like you said, they kind of hold memories and tell stories.
    Our dining table is a one-off hand made by a carpenter from recycled floorboards, chunky and beautiful with character. It was once our 'showpiece', but since having kids it now has lots of fork holes and various weird marks at 2 settings, and I love it all the more!

  2. I have wood everywhere in our little 50's brick bungalow. Our floors are timber and so are our kitchen benches. It makes everything seem so much warmer than either stainless steel or granite that most people have in the suburbs.
    BTW I am very superstitious and I noticed that your horseshoes are openside down. There is a superstition that says your luck will run out of them unless you have them the other way round. I quite understand if you don't care, just thought I would mention it in case.

  3. I love wooden furniture too Mountainwildlife, especially with a story behind it. Your coffee and dinning tables sound really authentic, and used as they should be - by an authentic family! :)

    Greenfumb, our last rental was an old bungalow, and it had gorgeous walnut stained walls with a photo board wrapped around the main living rooms. So I can just imagine all the wood adorning yours.

    I'm not superstitious, but thanks for telling me about the horseshoes all the same. I knew there was a special way to hang them, I just couldn't remember which.

    Anyway, sorry for not replying sooner but see recent post for why.

  4. We have an old fibro and weatherboard house where rooms have been added on over the years so that some of what used to be outside, is now inside. My favourite bit of the house is the back entrance where you can see all the weatherboards - I love it. One day we're hoping to make this little area into a combined laundry and bathroom but I'll definitely keep the cladding inside! I love old wooden furniture too and have all sorts of things we've collected or been given. I love their stories - very homey. PS I think it takes at least three years before you start to settle into a place.

  5. Oh yes, I know about the inside (once outside) cladding - and if they're only clad on one side, you may also be lucky to use the house-frame as shelving.

    I used to think it took 2 years to settle into a new home, but I agree with you now, that it's probably more like 3 years! ;)


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