preservation and letting go: home = memories, memories = home

A couple of weeks ago my parents randomly sent me an email titled "heritage stairs finally history". Anyone not in our family would have no idea what that meant, but I did the second I saw it.

When my parents bought our family home more than 35 years ago, they were young and on a budget, and it was a duplex in a not-so-hot neighbourhood. Since then, my dad has pretty much rebuilt the entire thing - from top to bottom - with some serious help along the way from my mama. Professional plumbers have asked him who did his plumbing (he did), and there are pictures of my fierce ma putting up drywall while nine months pregnant. I swear, I will never be as cool as them.

{my talented little sis Nikki took these gorgeous pics}

Anyway, juggling that large a renovation and four babies in four years (yup, you read that right, the last two were twins), meant that some of the projects got put off. Or half done and then put off. And some of them . . . well . . . it took a bit before they got picked back up again.

One of those projects was our stairs. I don't know the whole story, but when we were babes my dad put in a "temporary" landing at the bottom of our staircase, made out of plywood. It's been there my whole life. From the time I was little, I can remember rocking back and forth on it when it was loose, pretending it was a surfboard, or trying to block our cats from using its open sides to escape us when they saw their carriers and knew it was vet time.

Somewhere along the line, after decades of nagging and teasing, my dad starting saying he just couldn't fix the stairs because they were "heritage". And I think, to a certain extent, it literally did get left because we had all grown attached to it. Any time it would get brought up it would turn into an awesome joke and jibe fest that only we really got, and my heart would swell. Because my family, my childhood, my memories...they're in every last inch of that place. I can't help but love it all.

My parents are now retired, and that email they sent was full of pictures of my amazing father finally tearing apart our entryway and ripping up the stairs. He is, without a doubt, who I got my endless need for a project to tackle from, and now that he has more time, the world better look out. One of the pics showed what the underside of that stair looked like when they ripped the top off - a hilarious treasure trove of all the goodies our kitties had hidden in there over the years:

Over the next little bit I'm going to be helping my parents figure out the best reconfiguration of the space, and pick out new finishes, like tile and stain. I love this stuff no matter what, but it's amazing how much more important this project is to me. How much I care about them getting exactly what they need out of it. It's been so many years in the making, sure, but more importantly this is our home - the one they worked so hard to build for us. That old landing may not have been much to look at, but it meant something all the same. What replaces it needs to mean just as much.

Anyone who says that this business of homes is frivolous just doesn't get it. It's where love lives. It's everything.

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  1. Lovely post, I totally get where you are coming from! When we moved 12000 km across the sea, my one daughter wanted me to keep a large broken wooden sculpture because it reminded her of home, I kept putting it out to throw away, but she kept bringing it back in. It stayed until she was ready to let it go. Memories are everything. Have a lovely week Sharon

  2. This is such a sweet post! I can't wait to see what you come up with for them.

  3. I love this post. I just posted today on stuff I am doing for my best friend. Interior Design in itself (as a job) can be so frustrating, but when you get to help your family or friends and you have this kind of attachment built up to things, it is so meaningful. You can see how much houses are tied to our lives!
    xoxo -e(modern24seven)

  4. This was so lovely to read. I can just see you as a little kid playing on that loose step. And that picture of all the things your cats hid over the years - so funny! What a great memory of your house and your family.
    Isn’t That Charming.

  5. Thanks all, your comments on this one mean even more to me than they normally do... xoxoxoxo


Your comments make me borderline giddy! Thanks so much for taking the time!