House blogs

Here’s a fun website. HouseBlogs is a “community-powered home improvement publication” that contains posts from people who are undertaking projects on their houses or apartments and links to blogs that other DIYers have put up. The posts track the bloggers’ experiences and the lessons they’ve learned. The stories read like a soap opera – they really pull you in – and are full of pictures, how-to information, and product resources.

I’m a huge do-it-yourselfer. When we built the addition to our house 25 years ago, it would have been fun to post our progress and to see how other people solved some of the problems that we ran into. This is what’s so great about the internet – if you can just locate it, you can learn about anything you want and find other people who are interested in it too.

But the site made me think in bigger terms as well. Last year my architectural history professor assigned a paper that detailed ad nauseum the contents of 150-year-old probate records in a certain county in the South. The paper was somewhat dull to read, but it was actually quite interesting how the probate records really allowed a look into the way the people of that time lived – the furniture they used, the kinds of rooms they had, how much things cost, and what was important to them in their daily lives at home. Think how pleased an architectural historian 150 years from now might be to find these house blogs! These blogs are recording tomorrow’s history. In the scheme of life, the details of these house projects are of small matter, yet they’re so wonderfully important when they’re happening and they show so much about our culture. Looking at this site blips me into the past and then out to the future and makes me appreciate the exquisite present-ness of our lives.

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