Thursday, April 16, 2009

Turn of the 20th Century Interiors

That people could come into the world in a place they could not at first even name and had never known before; and that out of a nameless and unknown place they could grow and move around in it until its name they knew and called with love, and call it HOME, and put roots there and love others there; so that whenever they left this place they would sing homesick songs about it and write poems of yearning for it, like a lover...
William Goyen House of Breath

A house is such a strong symbol. Refuge and edifice, it expresses who we are and sometimes who we'd like to be. It is a witness to so many important events and silently echos other more everyday acts. Last week you saw the Maison Prisonnière, a villa that is uninhabited, locked up, but that will surely one day break free of its chains. Any house represents many possibilities and also contains many memories. That particular house strikes the imagination because it seems lonely under its cloak of vines in the midst of an otherwise well-kept neighborhood. The shutters are left to swing on their hinges and creak in the wind. A broken window pane lets the wind howl through and may provide the only breath of fresh air that gets inside. But this was a family house and maybe even a proud dream house once. These turn-of-the-century paintings by Félix Vallotton help to imagine what the inside might easily have been.


  1. Interesting article, particularly in these times of financial chaos. Here in the UK we were told not to look for a home but to look for a 'property with financial potential' which is a cold and ruthless way to approach buying a home.

    Of course, now we are being told that due to the financial problems 'why not look at your ex-financial potential, as a home.'

    How sad.

  2. That is depressing and we all end up being influenced at least a bit by that way of thinking. Thankfully, wherever we are can express at least some of our dreams. I've seen wonderful little rented garret rooms in my student days and visited amazing Paris apartments that faced "puits de lumière" (windows so close to other walls that they are known as "light wells" and not as views). With a will to do so, we can always carve out our personal space.

  3. this is just the most beautiful post- one I bookmarked and have returned to several times. la

  4. I also plan to return to thought provoking! What is a Home...
    Beautiful reminder of what it should be!

  5. I was searching for information about turn of the century interiors, and found this lovely posting. Thank you for sharing! I'm looking forward to exploring your site.

  6. Rubylee 1776: It is always nice when someone leaves a comment on an older post. Thank you!