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manifesto

I believe that the current interest in and trend toward “good” or “slow” food, and the back-to-the-land movement that necessarily lies at its core, is related to a larger desire to define or reclaim life as a whole. The food movement and its sister do-it-yourself ethos are reactions to modern society’s pre-packaged, service oriented landscape of highly specialized and lowly skilled population. We have lost the ability to feed ourselves (relying on microwave dinners and individually wrapped slices of “cheese”) and the ability to fix it or make it ourselves (necessitating expensive yet minor car repairs, or the buying ofanything from new electronics to pairs of shoes when the old one conks out or develops a hole). This lack of general and basic “life-knowledge” wears on our wallets and our survival skills, certainly, but also on our understanding of ourselves as individual, self-sufficient living organisms, capable of creating all that we need for our own happiness and survival.

This new attitude toward survival and convenience as something to be bought and used, not made and nurtured, has directly affected our concepts of food and lifestyle, which in turn have affected our homes—by which I mean not only our physical places of habitation, but also the lifestyles, events,activities, and philosophies that enliven them—which have become ready-made, prefabricated to fit a certain theme or motif, or altogether neglected.

Very often, for the younger generation, apartments serve only as liminal places for sleeping, bathing, and grabbing a quick bite before running off againto another class, work, meeting of friends, “going out.” More and more, our lives are becoming less stable, and we move from apartment to apartment as we move from school to career, profession to profession. For the more established among us, the goal is to fill our houses with the convenient andacceptably stylish furniture that we think is expected of us—enough couches, the usual appliances, some entertainment unites, a cushy bed.

For those who are willing, able, and inclined to pay attention to personalizing their house’s aesthetics, there are many national magazines dedicated to decorating and hosting. These magazines, while useful in their ways, address only the visual aesthetic and superficial side of the home, and remain unable totouch the intrinsic and inherently personal nature and philosophy of the individual home. Each home, whether a temporary apartment or a permanent house, has its personality, governed and curated by its history and inhabitants. Each home has its numen—its spirit of place; its guiding principle.
It is this individuality for which we advocate and hope to encourage.

We are missing a sense of place, a purpose and drive within our own non-professional lives. Our homes as houses for our bodies are metaphors for our bodies as houses for our spirits. By tending to one, we tend to another. And by caring for beautiful, happy homes, we come to care about our neighborhoods, interacting locally with friends, keeping streets clean, inviting unfamiliar neighbors to become intimate friends—cultivating community by cultivating our homes.

This blog chronicles our attempts to address both the home-made aesthetic and the side of home (physical structure, mode of living) that cannot be seen, but only cultivated and curated; that feeling of the home and the search for a well-crafted life full of meaningful labor. An idea of home not only as a sleepingand eating place, a place to be visually perfected and envied, but as an extension of ourselves and a comfortable asylum that remains human-sized and manageable. This is a blog about the process, not only about the well-coiffed results. In these pages, we address everything from comfortable furniture, collected trinkets, philosophies and memoirs, non-human lifeforms and other family members, all in a variety of formats and points-of-view meant to inform, inspire, and satisfy. With the hope of building a better life through a better home—-

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