I recently ran the numbers on the house construction and miraculously we came in right on budget. Technically we are a few grand over, but the total includes the cost of the solar hot water heating system, which I had been keeping mentally separate from the house–in part because we will get significant tax rebates on it. Ditto with the solar panels we hope to install in the next year or so. We do have a few things to complete and, if we hire contractors, that will mean a little more money. But, for all intents and purposes (and particularly if you subtract the solar hot water heating system), we came in on budget or within 1-2%, which is a Minor Miracle in the house construction world.
One of the ways we stayed on track throughout the process–although we never actually had a detailed budget with precise line item limits–was to make some compromises along the way.
We found some beautiful reclaimed oak flooring that we would have loved to have throughout the main and second floors, but it was more than twice the price of new oak flooring. So, new oak flooring it was. We were able to get 5-inch boards though, which are more typical for older houses and farmhouses. Thus, even the new flooring was in the style of old.
We don’t like new interior doors that are made out of thin particle board and I don’t know what else. To me they feel and look like large cereal boxes with a handle. We wanted all wood doors. But oak doors (in part, to match the oak flooring) were something like twice the price of pine doors. So, pine doors it was. However, the pine doors actually match the pine frames of the super fancy, high insulation windows we got throughout the house so it didn’t really feel like a compromise to opt for the pine doors. It was another good trade-off.
One of the places I did splurge was on interior door knobs. I love old door knobs, especially the ones with crystal handles. Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to retrofit new doors for old, genuine door knobs. Fortunately, in the age of the internet, it’s pretty easy to find reproductions of old-fashioned door knobs. They looked beautiful and the reviews of the manufacturer and product were great so I ordered them even though they were about twice the price of boring interior door knobs at a big box store.
Which leads me to the subject line of today’s post: “nostalgic warehouse.”
Yes, the manufacturer of said door knobs is “Nostalgic Warehouse”–well, technically, it’s “Nostalgic Warehouse, Incorporated.”
Perhaps not as funny as the chicken nugget stove (which we love, by the way), but nostalgic warehouse.
It seems like such a paradox. How can nostalgia be produced or manufactured in a warehouse? I suppose it can. Americans are mobile, families are far-flung, old things often get tossed, donated, or razed for so-called development. So we produce old-looking objects that remind us of the past–or remind us of stories of the past or fanciful imaginings of the past–in order to counter mobility, long hours, and a disposable, consumer oriented society? Capitalism at its very best (or worst). A great example of this search for the authentic past is Williams-Sonoma’s much maligned “Agrarian” series, which includes a chicken coop that goes for $1,499.95–and is probably larger than some New York City apartments.
At any rate, I bought (the nostalgic line)–literally. Granted, I didn’t know the name of the manufacturer before ordering the door knobs. But we have some little boxes scattered around the house, waiting for Ron to finish door knob installation, with “nostalgia warehouse” proudly stamped on the sides.