Nightmare on Elm St.

The journey of turning the nightmare we bought on Elm St. into our dream home...

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Friday, June 30, 2006

"Blog It to Me... "? Oh, I'll blog it to you!

Fellow houseblog brethren, I ask you to please explain to me the point of the editor's page article in the July/August 2006 edition of Old House Journal, authored by Gordon H. Bock. This article, ostensibly OHJ's nod toward those of us toiling on our money pits and blogging about it feels a little mixed in tone. For those of you who haven't read it, it may be available on their website, but I haven't checked.

Mr. Bock starts the article off by discussing 2006 as the year of the blog, and transitioned into mentioning the NY Times and Washington Post articles. He asks why people who are "bitten by the old house blog... ...feel compelled to not only keep a running journal of their construction exploits, but also to post it for all the world to read? Is it some sort of catharsis, where sharing the tedium of stripping paint helps purge the memory? Or is it the ego boost of having your own show where an audience of thousands follows your project in installments as if it were on TV?"

Let's discuss this paragraph before we move on. How is my little blog all that much different than the articles in OHJ's magazine? Basically, we cover the same topics- a few how-to tips, a discussion of renovation and transformation of a space, and analysis of available materials and a discussion of their pros and cons. Maybe blogging is cathartic... maybe there are times that I'm frustrated and I need to write about it. But maybe working on your house isn't all about the end result, the beautiful before and after photos with the smiling couple and the bowl of fruit on the counter. It's about being dirty, exhausted, and frustrated that you've worked a solid 12 hours and you don't have a damn thing to show for it. Maybe that's what I'm trying to capture. I don't feel like it's an ego boost to have people read about it. This is a way of telling a story, regarless of how many people listen. Maybe Mr. Bock doesn't like to talk about this dark side of house restoration. Most of the homes that OHJ feature in their stories have teams of architects, contractors, designers, etc. I know many of the kitchens featured cost more than my house! Not everyone can afford that kind of work, and I feel that maybe people read houseblogs to learn about the "real story" of home restoration, and maybe get some practical lessons on how to tackle problems for themselves. Basically, I started this thing because 1. I wanted to keep my friends and family apprised of what we've got going on (and why we never call you back) and 2. I wanted to contribute, in my own way, to something from which I have learned so much, not only how to do something, but a newfound respect for my home and the others in my neighborhood.

Mr. Bock goes on in the next few paragraphs to discuss the prevalence of photographs on blogs, allowing housebloggers to display even the smallest details of their restorations. He wraps up with a discussion of trends within houseblogging, and poses some question as to whether houseblogs will stand the test of time as well as the houses they are about. It is difficult to understand Mr. Bock's overall opinion on houseblogs. Maybe it is as mixed as his article leads me to believe. At any rate, I'd like to hear your thoughts about it. I love reading about what each and every one of you are doing, and I certainly hope this article doesn't discourage would be bloggers from diving in and tackling the challenge of documenting their restorations.