A HISTORIC PRESERVATION ADVOCATE IS BORN
My name is Suzanne & I was pre-destined for a life of historic preservation advocacy. I came into the world loving old stuff. To compound this natural affinity, my mother, born in 1919, shared with me the rich culture of her day & entertained me with tales of her family, back several generations. Here she is at age 3, posing with her brothers & her elegant mother, fashionable in silk cut velvet, coifed in a Marcelle wave, the style of the day. At 4, I sang Italian opera, danced the Charleston & could deliver the phrase, “I vant to be alone,” with all the elegant melancholy of Garbo. If you want to know what I look like, combine my mother as the child, & my grandmother as the young mother you see here, & there I am, complete with their bad knees & a love of grammer.
During my teen years, my boyfriend & I ditched school regularly to haunt thrift shops, looking for vintage clothing & antiques. Boyfriend grew up to run a trading post, dealing in Native American antiquities. I never actually grew up, but in the 80’s, owned a vintage clothing store for many years & was in love with every piece.
The first house in which my husband & I lived over 50 years ago, was a tiny Folk Victorian in downtown Phoenix. From there we went on to a 30’s apartment, several bungalows, a 3 story Mid-Century hillside house & restored 5 old houses in varying states of decay.
BECOMING ACTIVE IN HISTORIC PRESERVATION
After years of despairing over the destruction of historic properties & materials, I decided that I needed to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! & became a loud old house advocate & educator. I began by helping to produce historic home tours in my bungalow neighborhood in Los Angeles, seminars featuring nationally know preservation speakers & fought the good fight to preserve a historic building at the corners of our Main & Main. I produced a documentary film about my new bungalow neighborhood in Tampa, SEMINOLE HEIGHTS: An Intimate Look at the Early Years. Premiered at a 20’s extravaganza theatre, filled to a roaring capacity, it is my crowning achievement.
When I turned 70, I felt that we needed to downsize. Living in Florida, & having experienced 8 too many hurricanes, I decided that I wanted to live in a block house that was less likely to be blown down by the huffing & puffing of a bad storm. I now live in a block Mid-Century Modest & I have to admit the culture of that period, in which I grew up, owns part of my heart.
ADVOCATING FOR THE PRESERVATION OF OUR HISTORIC BUILDINGS
But bungalows changed my life & though my knees are too creaky for soapbox standing, I still have something to say about them & the importance of their preservation. The purpose of my current platform, this blog, is to inspire others to cherish & care for our old houses. There are many DIY sites online, & they will be referenced here, but this blog is about the houses & the history. This blog is not about how to choose a color to paint your kitchen, it’s about why you would pick that color, based on the best preservation practices & universal design theory. It’s about knowing the basics of how your old house came to be- the technology & culture of the time that inspired it.
It’s about how to hire the best tradespeople & how to oversee them- knowing enough about how your house works to get the highest quality work. My blog features articles by professional guests renowned for their preservation knowledge & experience. My social media links will take you to videos by pro’s & scholars that will educate & entertain you.
My heart’s purposes are to help you restore & preserve your bungalow so that it can be enjoyed, delight & teach for the next 100+ years & to inspire you to seek your own soapbox from which you can speak old house. Every day the wrecking ball performs its dirty deed.
You can be an historic preservation advocate & a hero for our built cultural heritage. Visit this page to find a group that you join & help.
PLEASE send me information on the activities in which you are active. I would love to post an article about your group & its successes.