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Bittersweet Changes

173 is a work in progress...of that, there is no doubt.  I like to think that these changes are for the our own best interest, in the interest of improving our neighborhood, and certainly in the best interest of the house itself.  Some changes are made because they have to be, like when we put new windows and floor in the basement.  As it turns out, good ol' 173 is as solid as a house gets, so the number of gotta-do changes have been limited mostly to general maintenance.  Most of the projects here have been wanna-do.  Updates, aesthetic changes, and just sheer matters of taste and preference.
I'm a bit sentimental (I know, you're wondering where this is am I, kinda).  I'm the kind of sentimentalist that, when my parents re-sided their house, mom called me to break the news.  Thaaat's right - break the news!  They were going to let me just arrive one day and see this huge change, but mom got to worrying that it might be a bit much for me because she knew that things like the color of the shingles on the house meant something to me.  Yeah, I'm kinda sentimental.
I'm also a bit of a philosopher, usually all over the map, but I have a tendency to think about a lot of esoterica.  One of those things is home ownership...but probably not in the way that you're probably thinking.  I know this thought isn't original to me, but it fits me to a tee...ready?  WE ARE ALL RENTING OUR HOMES.  Wait, wait, wait...hear me out!  173 was bought and paid for.  Twice.  The first time was by the grandparents of a dear friend.  From the moment we walked into this house, we knew that my friend's family had loved this old place for decades, from the day it was built in fact.  And now, these 86 years later, we are the proud "owners" of 173.  But one day, and I hope at least 80 years from now (slim chance of that being we are both nearing 50), one day 173 will pass on to another family.  So you see, we "own" the place, but only for awhile.
Why did I say all that? ...  ...  ...  ... Oh yeah!  I remember!  Because of my link to the only other "owners" of 173, and because of my sentimentality, and furthermore be cause of my sense that we all "rent" - changes to the old place can often be both bitter, and sweet.  Whenever we make "significant" changes to the house, I always consider my friend and her family.  In particular, I try to think if the change is congruent with the spirit that I feel the original owners had when it came to this old house.  If you look around the house, you'll see several items that were left in place or made a certain way as an homage to the past.  At the same time, 173 evolves with our tastes, the times, and of course necessity.
AAAALLLL that being said, we are in the midst of another change here, and in some ways it is both bitter and sweet, aka - bittersweet.  I know this is much ado about very little in the grand scheme of things, but like I said...I'm sentimental.
As best we can tell, and by reports from my friend and her family, aw hell, let's just call her Mary, 173 had always been white with green trim and the front porch shingles were also green.
Probably the 1970's.  Mary's dad and grandmother.
The above picture shows the green and white of the house when we first bought it.  However, by that time the shingles were getting a little rough.  Probably a year or two after buying the house, even though I love green and white together, we changed the focus on green to brown.  It seemed like a good color to cover the green, and there was already two green houses on our little block.  For probably the next ten years it looked pretty good, but in the last couple years the outside of the house has been beginning to look a little time and weather worn.
This summer has brought a bit of focus on the outside.  With the addition of black shutters a couple weeks ago, it became clear that we were taking 173 in a new direction color-wise.  And therein lies the bittersweet...
This is going to sound soooo trivial but this was hard:
I removed the shingles.  It was really one of those gotta-do issues.  There was just no way to rehab them.  Eighty years of weather and countless coats of paint sealed their doom.  I considered pulling them off gently, turning 'em over and re-applying.  When I was a kid my dad did that to the entire house, but alas, it just wasn't to be. I hated to do it, but there it is...the bitter.
Nope!  The sweet will have to wait!  Suffice to say, much thought and consideration has gone into the decision, and I think it will be in keeping with the history and life of  173!
Stay tuned!


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