What Lies Beneath

Nicola clandonNicola here. The sort of stately home visits I tend to make usually involve a gorgeously-furnished and decorated historic house, beautiful gardens, a gift shop and afternoon tea (or morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea to be more specific.) Those are usually the National Trust places or the Historic House Association. Alternatively I might go to a ruined castle or a site in the care of English Heritage and it’s always amazing and I learn a lot about the place and the people who lived there.

I’ve never “done” a stately home visit like the one I went on last week at Clandon Park in Surrey. Marble hall Originally built, or re-built in the early 18th century, Clandon is a Palladian-style mansion built for Thomas, 2nd Baron Onslow. The interior of the house was completed in the 1740s and it was glorious, with a two storey, forty foot Marble Hall and stunning plasterwork ceilings. Described by the National Trust as “a gleaming white forty foot cube”, the hall must truly have been a jaw-dropping space and hugely impressive. It was the centrepiece of entertainment at the house, surrounded by other grand rooms and with two huge staircases and was designed to emphasise the status of the Onslow family.

 Other rooms, including the State Bedroom, were equally grand. The state bed was made in about 1710, with exquisite silk embroidered hangings, a reminder of the visits of King George I and George II. Although the bed was already 50 years old in 1778 it was described as “a noble and costly bedstead with hangings beautifully worked in a great variety of colours lined with sattin and superbly finished.” The bed was not used frequently; the last person to stay in it was the Princesse de Lamballe, a friend of Queen Marie-Antoinette, who was a guest in 1791 and was subsequently guillotined in the French revolution.

Clandon exteriorOn April 29th 2015 everything changed at Clandon Park when fire gutted the entire mansion. Everyone was evacuated safely but the house was left a shell. A complex salvage operation followed and plans have been made to rebuild Clandon in a way that pays tribute to its history but also creates different opportunities for the future. In the meantime, it’s possible to enter the house via a walkway to see both what has been lost and what survives. I found this a very poignant and moving experience. It’s so seldom one gets to see what lies beneath a grand house – I’ve only had the experience once before when we were undertaking conservation work at Ashdown House – and in the case of Clandon, of course, the reason for the opportunity a tragic one. And yet it’s also a way to see and learn new things – about how the house was built and decorated, about what is usually hidden underneath all that gorgeous decoration.

Standing in the Saloon the first thing that struck me was the noise. The house is completely covered to protect it from the weather Clandon 2
and the false roof and the scaffolding vibrate in the wind like an instrument. It adds a rather eerie quality to what is already a strange experience. This room has had many different roles in the history of the house. It has variously been used for dining, as a parlour, and as a billiards room. An inventory from 1778 noted that it was painted dark green and hung with oil paintings; it was used as an entrance from the gardens and as an extension to the Marble Hall. After the fire the room was full of debris from the floors above which collapsed into it and a huge amount of salvage work has been done here. One of the fine fireplaces survives which gives a flavour of the intricate decoration that was once in the room.

The Marble Hall still retains its floor, which is damaged and covered over, and if you take the walkway to the left you can see down into the basement of the building and up to the sky. All the beams and flooring have gone but the fireplaces and some of the statues remain. It was an extraordinary feeling to stand in that space, feel the emptiness and try to imagine the original grandeur.

State bedIn the state bedroom some of the wallpaper, panelling and even the plasterwork was saved so the traces of what was here before can still be seen. Our guide told us that the bed hangings had been saved because by a miracle they had been taken down for renovation and were still parcelled up when the fire started. Even more miraculously, the dining room next door, known as the Speaker’s Parlour, remained largely unscathed. It is hoped that this will be open to view again soon. Little by little the house comes back to life.

 In addition, other parts of the house have been revealing secrets that would otherwise not have been known. Down in the basement is a room that in the Victorian period was called “The Butler’s Room.” Once the fire debris had been cleared it became apparent that the floor there was different from the rest of the house and that it contained brick and tile. Drains have been found that date prior to the time the house was built and are the remains of a previous house on the site, a Jacobean mansion whose footprint lay hidden beneath and would never have been found but for the fire. Whilst in no way underplaying the devastating effects of the fire, our guide emphasised the positive opportunities they now have at Clandon to learn about its history and construction and to make exciting progress going forward into the future.

After the emotion of touring the house we went out into the gardens, a beautiful landscape created by Capability Brown which Clandon Dutch garden subsequent owners and generations added to with a parterre, grotto and Dutch garden. The Dutch garden is gorgeous and felt exactly the right place to sit and think about all we had seen at Clandon, both the terrible destruction but also the secrets revealed and the hope for the future.

You can find out more about Clandon Park and the restoration project here.

When we restored Ashdown House we found lots of hidden things, from old newspapers to a secret passageway beneath the building. Have you ever seen "behind the scenes" at a place that usually looks quite different, and did you find anything that would normally be hidden? Do you think it's important to restore old houses or other properties that have been damaged by natural disasters or should we move on and put the money to other uses?

60 thoughts on “What Lies Beneath”

  1. Thanks for a fascinating piece, Nicola.
    “Do you think it’s important to restore old houses or other properties that have been damaged by natural disasters or should we move on and put the money to other uses?” What a thought provoking question; I wish I had a good answer.
    How fascinating though to find those hidden things. While growing up always on the move, I fantasized about living in an old house that had treasures to discover in an attic.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for a fascinating piece, Nicola.
    “Do you think it’s important to restore old houses or other properties that have been damaged by natural disasters or should we move on and put the money to other uses?” What a thought provoking question; I wish I had a good answer.
    How fascinating though to find those hidden things. While growing up always on the move, I fantasized about living in an old house that had treasures to discover in an attic.

    Reply
  3. Thanks for a fascinating piece, Nicola.
    “Do you think it’s important to restore old houses or other properties that have been damaged by natural disasters or should we move on and put the money to other uses?” What a thought provoking question; I wish I had a good answer.
    How fascinating though to find those hidden things. While growing up always on the move, I fantasized about living in an old house that had treasures to discover in an attic.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for a fascinating piece, Nicola.
    “Do you think it’s important to restore old houses or other properties that have been damaged by natural disasters or should we move on and put the money to other uses?” What a thought provoking question; I wish I had a good answer.
    How fascinating though to find those hidden things. While growing up always on the move, I fantasized about living in an old house that had treasures to discover in an attic.

    Reply
  5. Thanks for a fascinating piece, Nicola.
    “Do you think it’s important to restore old houses or other properties that have been damaged by natural disasters or should we move on and put the money to other uses?” What a thought provoking question; I wish I had a good answer.
    How fascinating though to find those hidden things. While growing up always on the move, I fantasized about living in an old house that had treasures to discover in an attic.

    Reply
  6. I’m all in favour of “keeping” the past, if that’s the correct terminology to use. I love history, so if restoring a building keeps alive a piece of history that otherwise might be forgotten, then I vote yea for restoration. Yet, at the same time, I realise that $ is needed for such costly renovations, so pros & cons must be weighted. And if taxpayer $ is used vs, private donations. So, I’m on the fence on this issue, I’m sorry to say….while wishing people with cash to spare felt the same way as I.

    Reply
  7. I’m all in favour of “keeping” the past, if that’s the correct terminology to use. I love history, so if restoring a building keeps alive a piece of history that otherwise might be forgotten, then I vote yea for restoration. Yet, at the same time, I realise that $ is needed for such costly renovations, so pros & cons must be weighted. And if taxpayer $ is used vs, private donations. So, I’m on the fence on this issue, I’m sorry to say….while wishing people with cash to spare felt the same way as I.

    Reply
  8. I’m all in favour of “keeping” the past, if that’s the correct terminology to use. I love history, so if restoring a building keeps alive a piece of history that otherwise might be forgotten, then I vote yea for restoration. Yet, at the same time, I realise that $ is needed for such costly renovations, so pros & cons must be weighted. And if taxpayer $ is used vs, private donations. So, I’m on the fence on this issue, I’m sorry to say….while wishing people with cash to spare felt the same way as I.

    Reply
  9. I’m all in favour of “keeping” the past, if that’s the correct terminology to use. I love history, so if restoring a building keeps alive a piece of history that otherwise might be forgotten, then I vote yea for restoration. Yet, at the same time, I realise that $ is needed for such costly renovations, so pros & cons must be weighted. And if taxpayer $ is used vs, private donations. So, I’m on the fence on this issue, I’m sorry to say….while wishing people with cash to spare felt the same way as I.

    Reply
  10. I’m all in favour of “keeping” the past, if that’s the correct terminology to use. I love history, so if restoring a building keeps alive a piece of history that otherwise might be forgotten, then I vote yea for restoration. Yet, at the same time, I realise that $ is needed for such costly renovations, so pros & cons must be weighted. And if taxpayer $ is used vs, private donations. So, I’m on the fence on this issue, I’m sorry to say….while wishing people with cash to spare felt the same way as I.

    Reply
  11. Hi Kareni and thank you for your thoughts. It is a difficult question isn’t it. On the one hand I hate the thought of losing a part of heritage whilst on the other I think so many houses and other sites have been lost anyway. I like the idea of preserving a place but perhaps giving it a different interpretation, which is what is happening at Clandon.
    Isn’t it wonderfully imaginative to think of finding hidden treasure in an old house? It’s something that I love to speculate about!

    Reply
  12. Hi Kareni and thank you for your thoughts. It is a difficult question isn’t it. On the one hand I hate the thought of losing a part of heritage whilst on the other I think so many houses and other sites have been lost anyway. I like the idea of preserving a place but perhaps giving it a different interpretation, which is what is happening at Clandon.
    Isn’t it wonderfully imaginative to think of finding hidden treasure in an old house? It’s something that I love to speculate about!

    Reply
  13. Hi Kareni and thank you for your thoughts. It is a difficult question isn’t it. On the one hand I hate the thought of losing a part of heritage whilst on the other I think so many houses and other sites have been lost anyway. I like the idea of preserving a place but perhaps giving it a different interpretation, which is what is happening at Clandon.
    Isn’t it wonderfully imaginative to think of finding hidden treasure in an old house? It’s something that I love to speculate about!

    Reply
  14. Hi Kareni and thank you for your thoughts. It is a difficult question isn’t it. On the one hand I hate the thought of losing a part of heritage whilst on the other I think so many houses and other sites have been lost anyway. I like the idea of preserving a place but perhaps giving it a different interpretation, which is what is happening at Clandon.
    Isn’t it wonderfully imaginative to think of finding hidden treasure in an old house? It’s something that I love to speculate about!

    Reply
  15. Hi Kareni and thank you for your thoughts. It is a difficult question isn’t it. On the one hand I hate the thought of losing a part of heritage whilst on the other I think so many houses and other sites have been lost anyway. I like the idea of preserving a place but perhaps giving it a different interpretation, which is what is happening at Clandon.
    Isn’t it wonderfully imaginative to think of finding hidden treasure in an old house? It’s something that I love to speculate about!

    Reply
  16. What a terrific post, Nicole. Very thought-provoking. My preference would be to restore, but to photo-document all of the “before”: the original, the desolation, and the restoration process. Preferably with private funds, maybe combined with some public support.
    You’re right, it is a wonderful opportunity, English architecture in a nutshell. My favorite is the preservation of those beautiful bed hangings, what a treasure!

    Reply
  17. What a terrific post, Nicole. Very thought-provoking. My preference would be to restore, but to photo-document all of the “before”: the original, the desolation, and the restoration process. Preferably with private funds, maybe combined with some public support.
    You’re right, it is a wonderful opportunity, English architecture in a nutshell. My favorite is the preservation of those beautiful bed hangings, what a treasure!

    Reply
  18. What a terrific post, Nicole. Very thought-provoking. My preference would be to restore, but to photo-document all of the “before”: the original, the desolation, and the restoration process. Preferably with private funds, maybe combined with some public support.
    You’re right, it is a wonderful opportunity, English architecture in a nutshell. My favorite is the preservation of those beautiful bed hangings, what a treasure!

    Reply
  19. What a terrific post, Nicole. Very thought-provoking. My preference would be to restore, but to photo-document all of the “before”: the original, the desolation, and the restoration process. Preferably with private funds, maybe combined with some public support.
    You’re right, it is a wonderful opportunity, English architecture in a nutshell. My favorite is the preservation of those beautiful bed hangings, what a treasure!

    Reply
  20. What a terrific post, Nicole. Very thought-provoking. My preference would be to restore, but to photo-document all of the “before”: the original, the desolation, and the restoration process. Preferably with private funds, maybe combined with some public support.
    You’re right, it is a wonderful opportunity, English architecture in a nutshell. My favorite is the preservation of those beautiful bed hangings, what a treasure!

    Reply
  21. In general, I am in favor of preserving the past where possible. But also, in preserving or restoring, as opposed to “freezing.”
    The Missouri Botanical Gardens come to mind. One of Henry Shaw’s green houses has been preserved and is still in use. His country home is a museum (or was the last time I was there). His Town House was moved (or replicated) years ago, but serves as offices.
    This 19th century merchant’s country estate also contains a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. The botanical contents of that dome have drastically changed since the children and I visited in the 1960s. (I liked the old look better, but the new use has more educational value.)
    There is a cermonial Japanese tea garden, created in the 1960s or 1970s, where once the public didn’t venture.
    Preserving the past, preserving Shaw’s vision but moving into the future.
    By the way: one of my first posts here was about “Shaw’s Garden”. You had posted about an orangery and the picture reminded me of that 19th century greenhouse. I mentioned the resemblance; you replied “I looked it up” and I fell in love with this blog!

    Reply
  22. In general, I am in favor of preserving the past where possible. But also, in preserving or restoring, as opposed to “freezing.”
    The Missouri Botanical Gardens come to mind. One of Henry Shaw’s green houses has been preserved and is still in use. His country home is a museum (or was the last time I was there). His Town House was moved (or replicated) years ago, but serves as offices.
    This 19th century merchant’s country estate also contains a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. The botanical contents of that dome have drastically changed since the children and I visited in the 1960s. (I liked the old look better, but the new use has more educational value.)
    There is a cermonial Japanese tea garden, created in the 1960s or 1970s, where once the public didn’t venture.
    Preserving the past, preserving Shaw’s vision but moving into the future.
    By the way: one of my first posts here was about “Shaw’s Garden”. You had posted about an orangery and the picture reminded me of that 19th century greenhouse. I mentioned the resemblance; you replied “I looked it up” and I fell in love with this blog!

    Reply
  23. In general, I am in favor of preserving the past where possible. But also, in preserving or restoring, as opposed to “freezing.”
    The Missouri Botanical Gardens come to mind. One of Henry Shaw’s green houses has been preserved and is still in use. His country home is a museum (or was the last time I was there). His Town House was moved (or replicated) years ago, but serves as offices.
    This 19th century merchant’s country estate also contains a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. The botanical contents of that dome have drastically changed since the children and I visited in the 1960s. (I liked the old look better, but the new use has more educational value.)
    There is a cermonial Japanese tea garden, created in the 1960s or 1970s, where once the public didn’t venture.
    Preserving the past, preserving Shaw’s vision but moving into the future.
    By the way: one of my first posts here was about “Shaw’s Garden”. You had posted about an orangery and the picture reminded me of that 19th century greenhouse. I mentioned the resemblance; you replied “I looked it up” and I fell in love with this blog!

    Reply
  24. In general, I am in favor of preserving the past where possible. But also, in preserving or restoring, as opposed to “freezing.”
    The Missouri Botanical Gardens come to mind. One of Henry Shaw’s green houses has been preserved and is still in use. His country home is a museum (or was the last time I was there). His Town House was moved (or replicated) years ago, but serves as offices.
    This 19th century merchant’s country estate also contains a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. The botanical contents of that dome have drastically changed since the children and I visited in the 1960s. (I liked the old look better, but the new use has more educational value.)
    There is a cermonial Japanese tea garden, created in the 1960s or 1970s, where once the public didn’t venture.
    Preserving the past, preserving Shaw’s vision but moving into the future.
    By the way: one of my first posts here was about “Shaw’s Garden”. You had posted about an orangery and the picture reminded me of that 19th century greenhouse. I mentioned the resemblance; you replied “I looked it up” and I fell in love with this blog!

    Reply
  25. In general, I am in favor of preserving the past where possible. But also, in preserving or restoring, as opposed to “freezing.”
    The Missouri Botanical Gardens come to mind. One of Henry Shaw’s green houses has been preserved and is still in use. His country home is a museum (or was the last time I was there). His Town House was moved (or replicated) years ago, but serves as offices.
    This 19th century merchant’s country estate also contains a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. The botanical contents of that dome have drastically changed since the children and I visited in the 1960s. (I liked the old look better, but the new use has more educational value.)
    There is a cermonial Japanese tea garden, created in the 1960s or 1970s, where once the public didn’t venture.
    Preserving the past, preserving Shaw’s vision but moving into the future.
    By the way: one of my first posts here was about “Shaw’s Garden”. You had posted about an orangery and the picture reminded me of that 19th century greenhouse. I mentioned the resemblance; you replied “I looked it up” and I fell in love with this blog!

    Reply
  26. Fascinating article, Nicola; how very poignant and emotional your tour must have been. I favor restoration, and making such a restoration accessible to a broader range of interests than just those who are history buffs. There are a couple of projects that come to mind:
    Bramall Hall, just south of Manchester, has done that in a beautiful way, bringing life to its rooms and insights to the lives of its owners. And at Lydiard Park, access to enjoy the park and all the activities that go along with it enhances the house experience.
    I think especially with these smaller historic homes, restoration that encourages broad community access is the best opportunity for survival – we saw that recently firsthand with the community effort to save Lydiard. Sustaining long term support and funding is critical, and by listening to what the broader community finds valuable, I believe we can strike a great balance between history and progress.
    I hope you keep us posted on Clandon.

    Reply
  27. Fascinating article, Nicola; how very poignant and emotional your tour must have been. I favor restoration, and making such a restoration accessible to a broader range of interests than just those who are history buffs. There are a couple of projects that come to mind:
    Bramall Hall, just south of Manchester, has done that in a beautiful way, bringing life to its rooms and insights to the lives of its owners. And at Lydiard Park, access to enjoy the park and all the activities that go along with it enhances the house experience.
    I think especially with these smaller historic homes, restoration that encourages broad community access is the best opportunity for survival – we saw that recently firsthand with the community effort to save Lydiard. Sustaining long term support and funding is critical, and by listening to what the broader community finds valuable, I believe we can strike a great balance between history and progress.
    I hope you keep us posted on Clandon.

    Reply
  28. Fascinating article, Nicola; how very poignant and emotional your tour must have been. I favor restoration, and making such a restoration accessible to a broader range of interests than just those who are history buffs. There are a couple of projects that come to mind:
    Bramall Hall, just south of Manchester, has done that in a beautiful way, bringing life to its rooms and insights to the lives of its owners. And at Lydiard Park, access to enjoy the park and all the activities that go along with it enhances the house experience.
    I think especially with these smaller historic homes, restoration that encourages broad community access is the best opportunity for survival – we saw that recently firsthand with the community effort to save Lydiard. Sustaining long term support and funding is critical, and by listening to what the broader community finds valuable, I believe we can strike a great balance between history and progress.
    I hope you keep us posted on Clandon.

    Reply
  29. Fascinating article, Nicola; how very poignant and emotional your tour must have been. I favor restoration, and making such a restoration accessible to a broader range of interests than just those who are history buffs. There are a couple of projects that come to mind:
    Bramall Hall, just south of Manchester, has done that in a beautiful way, bringing life to its rooms and insights to the lives of its owners. And at Lydiard Park, access to enjoy the park and all the activities that go along with it enhances the house experience.
    I think especially with these smaller historic homes, restoration that encourages broad community access is the best opportunity for survival – we saw that recently firsthand with the community effort to save Lydiard. Sustaining long term support and funding is critical, and by listening to what the broader community finds valuable, I believe we can strike a great balance between history and progress.
    I hope you keep us posted on Clandon.

    Reply
  30. Fascinating article, Nicola; how very poignant and emotional your tour must have been. I favor restoration, and making such a restoration accessible to a broader range of interests than just those who are history buffs. There are a couple of projects that come to mind:
    Bramall Hall, just south of Manchester, has done that in a beautiful way, bringing life to its rooms and insights to the lives of its owners. And at Lydiard Park, access to enjoy the park and all the activities that go along with it enhances the house experience.
    I think especially with these smaller historic homes, restoration that encourages broad community access is the best opportunity for survival – we saw that recently firsthand with the community effort to save Lydiard. Sustaining long term support and funding is critical, and by listening to what the broader community finds valuable, I believe we can strike a great balance between history and progress.
    I hope you keep us posted on Clandon.

    Reply
  31. Hi Mary, and thank you! yes, I think it’s essential to keep a full record. There’s so much to learn. It was extraordinary to hear about the bed curtains – what a lucky escape!

    Reply
  32. Hi Mary, and thank you! yes, I think it’s essential to keep a full record. There’s so much to learn. It was extraordinary to hear about the bed curtains – what a lucky escape!

    Reply
  33. Hi Mary, and thank you! yes, I think it’s essential to keep a full record. There’s so much to learn. It was extraordinary to hear about the bed curtains – what a lucky escape!

    Reply
  34. Hi Mary, and thank you! yes, I think it’s essential to keep a full record. There’s so much to learn. It was extraordinary to hear about the bed curtains – what a lucky escape!

    Reply
  35. Hi Mary, and thank you! yes, I think it’s essential to keep a full record. There’s so much to learn. It was extraordinary to hear about the bed curtains – what a lucky escape!

    Reply
  36. Hi Sue! One thing I do love about this blog is how much we all share and learn. I loved finding out about the Missouri Botanical Gardens and I’ve just gone back to the site and read all about the Georgian era colouring book they found a few months ago! Yes, preserving the past but in a way that doesn’t leave it frozen is a very positive approach IMO.

    Reply
  37. Hi Sue! One thing I do love about this blog is how much we all share and learn. I loved finding out about the Missouri Botanical Gardens and I’ve just gone back to the site and read all about the Georgian era colouring book they found a few months ago! Yes, preserving the past but in a way that doesn’t leave it frozen is a very positive approach IMO.

    Reply
  38. Hi Sue! One thing I do love about this blog is how much we all share and learn. I loved finding out about the Missouri Botanical Gardens and I’ve just gone back to the site and read all about the Georgian era colouring book they found a few months ago! Yes, preserving the past but in a way that doesn’t leave it frozen is a very positive approach IMO.

    Reply
  39. Hi Sue! One thing I do love about this blog is how much we all share and learn. I loved finding out about the Missouri Botanical Gardens and I’ve just gone back to the site and read all about the Georgian era colouring book they found a few months ago! Yes, preserving the past but in a way that doesn’t leave it frozen is a very positive approach IMO.

    Reply
  40. Hi Sue! One thing I do love about this blog is how much we all share and learn. I loved finding out about the Missouri Botanical Gardens and I’ve just gone back to the site and read all about the Georgian era colouring book they found a few months ago! Yes, preserving the past but in a way that doesn’t leave it frozen is a very positive approach IMO.

    Reply
  41. Hi Elizabeth. Yes, it was an extraordinary experience to see the house like that and I think it is wonderful that the NT is showing everyone what work is being done and involving the community. As you say, access and involvement is so important. I’m a huge supporter of what is going on at Lydiard Park and I must visit Bramall – I haven’t been there since I was a child!

    Reply
  42. Hi Elizabeth. Yes, it was an extraordinary experience to see the house like that and I think it is wonderful that the NT is showing everyone what work is being done and involving the community. As you say, access and involvement is so important. I’m a huge supporter of what is going on at Lydiard Park and I must visit Bramall – I haven’t been there since I was a child!

    Reply
  43. Hi Elizabeth. Yes, it was an extraordinary experience to see the house like that and I think it is wonderful that the NT is showing everyone what work is being done and involving the community. As you say, access and involvement is so important. I’m a huge supporter of what is going on at Lydiard Park and I must visit Bramall – I haven’t been there since I was a child!

    Reply
  44. Hi Elizabeth. Yes, it was an extraordinary experience to see the house like that and I think it is wonderful that the NT is showing everyone what work is being done and involving the community. As you say, access and involvement is so important. I’m a huge supporter of what is going on at Lydiard Park and I must visit Bramall – I haven’t been there since I was a child!

    Reply
  45. Hi Elizabeth. Yes, it was an extraordinary experience to see the house like that and I think it is wonderful that the NT is showing everyone what work is being done and involving the community. As you say, access and involvement is so important. I’m a huge supporter of what is going on at Lydiard Park and I must visit Bramall – I haven’t been there since I was a child!

    Reply
  46. First, thanks for this thought provoking post.
    I am in favor of preserving the past if at all possible. I believe we learn about ourselves if we can look at what once was.
    In my other life, we bought a very old house. And we worked on preserving part of it and updating other parts. I was much younger and was able to climb into the attic and hold the hose that shot in all that lovely insulation. I learned that there was wood that was so tough it would not accept regular nails. That’s what drills are for.
    No, this was not an English manor house of grandeur. It was a house in Texas that had once belonged to the first livery stable owner in a very small town. He built it himself and none of the windows (and there were many) were the same distance from the ceiling or the floor. It was a quirky house and I loved it.
    I learned about the man who built the home. He made do with what was available. He wanted to create a home that would last. He wanted a home that was homey. He was successful.
    And there apparently was a spirit who enjoyed doing teeny things to get attention. Always made me smile.

    Reply
  47. First, thanks for this thought provoking post.
    I am in favor of preserving the past if at all possible. I believe we learn about ourselves if we can look at what once was.
    In my other life, we bought a very old house. And we worked on preserving part of it and updating other parts. I was much younger and was able to climb into the attic and hold the hose that shot in all that lovely insulation. I learned that there was wood that was so tough it would not accept regular nails. That’s what drills are for.
    No, this was not an English manor house of grandeur. It was a house in Texas that had once belonged to the first livery stable owner in a very small town. He built it himself and none of the windows (and there were many) were the same distance from the ceiling or the floor. It was a quirky house and I loved it.
    I learned about the man who built the home. He made do with what was available. He wanted to create a home that would last. He wanted a home that was homey. He was successful.
    And there apparently was a spirit who enjoyed doing teeny things to get attention. Always made me smile.

    Reply
  48. First, thanks for this thought provoking post.
    I am in favor of preserving the past if at all possible. I believe we learn about ourselves if we can look at what once was.
    In my other life, we bought a very old house. And we worked on preserving part of it and updating other parts. I was much younger and was able to climb into the attic and hold the hose that shot in all that lovely insulation. I learned that there was wood that was so tough it would not accept regular nails. That’s what drills are for.
    No, this was not an English manor house of grandeur. It was a house in Texas that had once belonged to the first livery stable owner in a very small town. He built it himself and none of the windows (and there were many) were the same distance from the ceiling or the floor. It was a quirky house and I loved it.
    I learned about the man who built the home. He made do with what was available. He wanted to create a home that would last. He wanted a home that was homey. He was successful.
    And there apparently was a spirit who enjoyed doing teeny things to get attention. Always made me smile.

    Reply
  49. First, thanks for this thought provoking post.
    I am in favor of preserving the past if at all possible. I believe we learn about ourselves if we can look at what once was.
    In my other life, we bought a very old house. And we worked on preserving part of it and updating other parts. I was much younger and was able to climb into the attic and hold the hose that shot in all that lovely insulation. I learned that there was wood that was so tough it would not accept regular nails. That’s what drills are for.
    No, this was not an English manor house of grandeur. It was a house in Texas that had once belonged to the first livery stable owner in a very small town. He built it himself and none of the windows (and there were many) were the same distance from the ceiling or the floor. It was a quirky house and I loved it.
    I learned about the man who built the home. He made do with what was available. He wanted to create a home that would last. He wanted a home that was homey. He was successful.
    And there apparently was a spirit who enjoyed doing teeny things to get attention. Always made me smile.

    Reply
  50. First, thanks for this thought provoking post.
    I am in favor of preserving the past if at all possible. I believe we learn about ourselves if we can look at what once was.
    In my other life, we bought a very old house. And we worked on preserving part of it and updating other parts. I was much younger and was able to climb into the attic and hold the hose that shot in all that lovely insulation. I learned that there was wood that was so tough it would not accept regular nails. That’s what drills are for.
    No, this was not an English manor house of grandeur. It was a house in Texas that had once belonged to the first livery stable owner in a very small town. He built it himself and none of the windows (and there were many) were the same distance from the ceiling or the floor. It was a quirky house and I loved it.
    I learned about the man who built the home. He made do with what was available. He wanted to create a home that would last. He wanted a home that was homey. He was successful.
    And there apparently was a spirit who enjoyed doing teeny things to get attention. Always made me smile.

    Reply
  51. What a wonderful story about your house, Annette, (especially the windows!) Thank you for sharing! I love the way that we can learn about lots of different aspects of the past from old buildings and the stories they tell. It sounds as though you paid tribute to the history of the place at the same time as updating it for a new generation.

    Reply
  52. What a wonderful story about your house, Annette, (especially the windows!) Thank you for sharing! I love the way that we can learn about lots of different aspects of the past from old buildings and the stories they tell. It sounds as though you paid tribute to the history of the place at the same time as updating it for a new generation.

    Reply
  53. What a wonderful story about your house, Annette, (especially the windows!) Thank you for sharing! I love the way that we can learn about lots of different aspects of the past from old buildings and the stories they tell. It sounds as though you paid tribute to the history of the place at the same time as updating it for a new generation.

    Reply
  54. What a wonderful story about your house, Annette, (especially the windows!) Thank you for sharing! I love the way that we can learn about lots of different aspects of the past from old buildings and the stories they tell. It sounds as though you paid tribute to the history of the place at the same time as updating it for a new generation.

    Reply
  55. What a wonderful story about your house, Annette, (especially the windows!) Thank you for sharing! I love the way that we can learn about lots of different aspects of the past from old buildings and the stories they tell. It sounds as though you paid tribute to the history of the place at the same time as updating it for a new generation.

    Reply

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