Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow

Flower

Mourning bygone built-ins

From the fun and frivolity of shower curtains and wallpaper sheep I must change the topic to long lost built-in cabinets that have disappeared.

Excuse me while I vent for a moment: MY HOUSE USED TO HAVE BUILT-IN CABINETS AND A BUFFET AND WHY DID SOMEBODY TEAR THEM OUT? WHY? WHY?!!!

My grandmother spent all last week scraping wallpaper in the living room and dining room and she uncovered evidence of what I long suspected must have been there: a built-in buffet in the dining room and a wooden frame on the doorway between the living room and dining room. Here are the pictures of what she uncovered:

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Now I’m going to ask you to use your imagination for a moment. Imagine that this picture doesn’t have all my random stuff cluttering up. Imagine that the woodwork is a beautiful rich dark walnut or cherry. And now imagine that there’s a lovely gorgeous buffet graciously spread out below the window, with a wall sconce on either side of the window, and leaded glass on the front doors! Can you see it? I can, and it breaks my heart.

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Did it bring a tear to your eye and a lump to your throat? It did mine. *sniff* Somebody hold me.

Now on to the tragedy that was once a warm, natural transition between rooms and is now just… a hole. Look closely at the edges of the wall separating the living room from the dining room and you’ll see the faint outline of what used to be woodwork, ripped savagely apart for the sake of… well I don’t know what.

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What the heck is wrong with people? I mean seriously. Why take down perfectly good woodwork? What’s the point? I have resorted to inventing a crazy story to make myself give these people the benefit of the doubt, telling myself that based on the layers of wallpaper and when they date from that the built in buffet had been gone a very long time; perhaps someone sold them to feed their family during the Depression. I don’t know. When I can figure out who the people were who owned the house before Mrs. Riley, I may find more answers. But for now, I’m stuck staring at the walls that bear the ghosts of cabinets past.

Less drama in my next post, I promise!

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3 Responses to “Mourning bygone built-ins”

  1. September 25th, 2007 at 5:55 am

    Nate says:

    I don’t even know what to say. That’s outrageous! I’d be so upset. I’m angry for you! At least you still have the ones by the fireplace. Could be worse I guess!

  2. October 1st, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    mborman says:

    I know how you feel. Someone had ripped colonnades out between out dining and living room and we salvaged some out of an old apartment building and put them back.

  3. October 4th, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Nathan says:

    Good sleuth work.

    Sometimes these old pieces made of edge-joined sticks of solid wood can get pretty gnarly with the passage of the seasons (moisture fluctuations). Lots of warps and splits, etc.

    It makes you appreciate cabinet-grade plywood.

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