“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris.
Oh, this little house – it has a way of educating and refining us. Not that we’ll end up all upper-crust and sophisticated, thank goodness, but instead, we’ll end up more true. True to who we really are. Our tastes, our vision, our definition of what has worth and what doesn’t – all these things are being marched through the fire as we live in this small space. What remains, then, is only what’s authentic and real, because there isn’t room for what’s not.
So we hold each thing up and look at it closely, as if through a lens: Is it useful? Is it beautiful? Is it redundant? Is it necessary? We’re becoming careful and very selective about what crosses the threshold these days – even down to the broom and dustpan (after the ones I have completely bite the dust).
Even down to the bird book:
I saw it first on Etsy, a vintage copy of the amazing The Birds of North America by Jacob H. Studer, illustrated by Theodore Jasper. I knew as soon as I saw it – this one hit all the notes: Art, education, history. It was useful and beautiful and so well filled a place in our carefully curated home education library.
Late 1800’s originals are selling for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Vintage copies, like this one from the 1970’s, are selling for over a hundred. A sweet seller on Ebay sold this one to me for twenty-five!
It sits open on our great room shelf. Every week or so, we turn it to a different page. New image, new art, new bird to read about.
This one made the cut.