I've been sort of bewildered by how difficult it's been to persuade contractors that we really do want our things to weather, to patinate. Just tung oil on the wood floors, please -- no sealers. Yes, we're really planning on zinc counters, and we understand that spots will show; we're looking forward to it, in fact. Natural slate for our mudroom floor, that will chip and flake over time. All of those will just get more beautiful with every passing day.
I guess what surprises me about their resistance is that surely, they've encountered this before? This isn't a new idea. The beauty of antiques, the reason people buy pre-scraped floors for twice the cost (not me, since it feels a bit like cheating), the city lofts with their exposed brick walls. If you buy a copper weathervane, you can get it pre-patinated. So if this aesthetic is so obviously prevalent, why do the contractors spend so much energy fighting me on this?
All I can think is that it's more of a high-end or specialty preference in America? Maybe most people want their things to look new, for as long as possible. I thought it was really interesting, in the article, where they contrasted the modern aesthetic with the wabi-sabi one:
Modernism: public; logical, rational; absolute; prototypical; modular; progressive; control of nature; technology; adaptation to machines; symmetrical; rectangular; man-made; slick, polished, smooth; maintenance; reduction/subjugation of the senses; clarity; functionality, utility; materiality; all-weather; light, bright; coolI do like light, but even there, I have a certain fondness for dark and dim. My contractors keep telling me I don't have enough light in various rooms, and I keep telling that that old Victorians were supposed to be a bit dim. Let it be light-filled in the day time, when the sun is pouring in -- I'll take my big windows then. But in the evenings, let me curl up in a cozy nook by the fire and read my book by the light of a table lamp. I don't need the house a-blazing after the sun goes down. It's probably even healthier for me to let my body rest and relax with the dimming of the light.
Wabi-sabi: private; intuitive; relative; idiosyncratic; variable; cyclical; harmony with nature; nature; adaptation to nature; organic; curved; natural; crude, rough, tactile; degradability; expansion of senses; ambiguity; naturalness; non-materiality; seasonal; dark, dim; warm
And for the rest of the list, I'm happy to mix in a bit of mechanical, smooth, and polished, but I'd prefer if the natural and tactile prevailed. I can appreciate the clean prettiness of a modern home, but I wouldn't want to live in one. Where would I put down my mug of tea? (I don't even like coasters -- I prefer a table that can handle a little condensation.)
What do you prefer? Modern? Wabi-sabi? Something else?