Modern changes in houses should fit people, not times

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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“It is really dark in this hall,” I told the guy who was fixing my AC/heating unit. “When we built this house in about 1973, everyone was putting up dark wood paneling. It makes the hallway really dark.”
“Nobody puts dark wood paneling in houses anymore,” he replied, adding many households paint the paneling to make it lighter inside and more modern.
I responded, mine would stay the same no matter how dark, as I had gotten past the time I wanted everything changed. I am definitely past the age of painting paneling, even if I wanted. It has been home to me for so long.
My house is definitely styled 1970’s and I like it that way. Replacing everything and going modern is not my style.
Watching television shows about the modernization of homes shows it is a big business and is responsible for much of the change in styles in housing today. Just about the time everybody gets modern white cabinets in the kitchen, they start using darker colors like blues and green for cabinets. I cannot imagine a white kitchen and keeping it clean.
I wrote some stories in the past about people making changes in their home and I remember one couple who loved their wood kitchen cabinets and refused to take them out after they shopped stores for new ones.
“The new ones were stylish, but they were not made of wood. Ours were much stronger cabinets, so we just picked a pretty color and painted them,” they said.
On TV, the designers making a fresh look to a house, will bring their team in the house to begin wrecking what is there to replace with all new stuff.
It kills me to watch them going into a beautiful kitchen with great wood cabinets which are very well kept. They start wrecking them with sledge hammers and tossing the remains in a trash bin. Something lovely exchanged for something modern. Just tossed away. Some house owners would have been proud to add them to their kitchen.
I will admit, I throw very little away. Perhaps it is my upbringing to always find a use for something rather than tossing it away. I am not a hoarder, but I can find uses for just about everything.
Then there are those designers who go into a very old home and complain because so much of the original woodwork and fittings in the house have been taken away and discarded. Then they have to plan on turning the house back into what it had once been designed to be. So why change a house?
At some time, my house will likely belong to somebody else and they can change what they choose. Now, when I look around, I see the stained wood cabinets my husband built with this own saw and hammer. They have wear and tear on them from so many years of cooking and cleaning, but they hold a long happy life of feeding the family.
All the work inside was done by him, and I still value it and the memories. Textured ceilings are still white and bright, as they were when new. Wrecking crews are scraping ceiling texture in houses to make them modern. You might think my house needs a re-do, and many others will think the same, but is home. Designers can stay away.
I remember my grandmother’s house. It was so special. Now and in years to come, my grandchildren will hopefully remember this house and all the times we were together for Christmas and other times. They will remember the love we shared.
Mine is a grandmother’s house. It looks just like it should.

Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at