Friday, June 3, 2011

Use your house as a time capsule

I grew up in a very old home. It was a "unique fixer-upper opportunity" per my parents real estate agent. It was really 17 years of breathing asbestos, years not being able to use a whole floor, and ultimately, a really interesting experience. Clearly, this childhood shaped my opinion of houses, because I bought an old house, and proceeded to start home improvements.

While my house wasn't the train wreck my parents bough years and years ago, it's still been an interesting ride. My single family home may have been a duplex. I took out a solid wall that had a door under all the plaster. There are window sills that don't sit straight. Sadly, that is the neatest thing I've found so far.

But the house I grew up in was a treasure trove of history! We found hand-blown glass bottles from a brewery that had closed in the 20s, an essay from a student in the 50s, a few squirrel skulls (eew!), and the prize: a 2 carat sapphire ring embedded in the plaster behind a medicine cabinet. Which was really interesting, because at the time the house was built, women would not have been doing construction.

So why not leave a little piece of your history for your next homeowner? All the little bits we found in my old house were accidental, but you can leave a piece of yourself on purpose. I'm not talking about burying a capsule in the yard (because no one wants to dig up their yard just to learn about your boring ass), but leave a little snippet of your life somewhere it will be a surprise: in the light switches!

One of the first things I hated and wanted to replace in my house were the switch plates. Bury your deepest, darkest secrets behind something absurdly personal to a homeowner.

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