“Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week.” – Joseph Addison

© Mary Garner-Mitchell. “Objets de Barn Art” found mostly on site at Stagfield, c. 1781, Ashland, Virginia.

Relatively speaking, I suppose.

While Friday’s storms had us somewhat consumed with cleanup (we were luckier than many), a pool and a shared bottle of Prosecco underscored a couple of delightful days that I want etched my memory as they otherwise held so few demands, despite downed limbs and buckets of sweat.  Late yesterday afternoon, my friend Nancy Hugo windowsillarranging.blogspot.com/  invited us for a swim and happy Happy Hour that was the exclamation point ending to a weekend punctuated by what to me is “Summertime” – golf,  gardening, grilled suppers, oppressive heat, wind-whipping thunderstorms, good friends,  a good book, a good nap – and with Nancy and John, always good conversation. Which brings me to our discussion of “brown” and an ongoing thread that has  woven itself through my ponderings these last few days, weeks, perhaps most of my collecting life!

According to Nancy’s sources (her children and their peers), the generation just starting housekeeping eschews brown furniture – meaning the pieces handed down through at least the last three or more generations. They don’t want it and the antique and consignment shops are testament to this sad trend. It’s a real shame, for just as our parents and many in my demographic of Boomers are downsizing, this glut of apparently unappreciated, quality “brown furniture” has depressed prices to alarming levels. I have a house full of it!  I’ve noticed even the preponderance of Pottery Barn is moving over for Mod, and while I appreciate aspects of most styles and love a mix, it pains me to see what I fear might be a lack of regard for the real patina of rich walnuts, mahogany, heart pine — in other words, BROWN!

Which brings me in a round-about way to why I like rust.

How ironic that marketing guru, Seth Godin, in his blogpost today http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ notes “Shine is fresh and new and it sparkles. Shiny catches the eye and it appeals to the neophiliac, to the person in search of polish. Patina, on the other hand, can only be earned. Patina communicates trust (because the untrusted don’t last long enough to earn a patina) … “
I believe such is true of lots of things, not only in business and brands but furniture, too. Wrinkles come to mind as well! (sigh…)

So, ANYWAY, today’s photo  seems an appropriate way to illustrate my musings above and my love affair with all things old, rusty, worn, well-used, and well, brown!  “Objets”  I believe worthy of exhibit if only as “barn art” discovered  in the dirt here at Stagfield.  Why? Because they earned it.

2 thoughts on ““Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week.” – Joseph Addison

  1. What I love about “the browns” is that they have stories. If not your own or that of your family’s then of someone else’s. And, you can even just imagine what it might have been. It also denotes a sense of permanency instead of immediate satisfaction or “throw away” mentality. I truly love mid-century modern, as an art style. LIke art deco. However, it gives me no sense of the comfort of “nesting”; of a place to return to, kick off the shoes and curl up with a book, magazine, movie or real conversation instead of a text message. I had a dear friend that was in to the modern furnishings of our generation when she first married with metal framed pieces, glass tops or velveteen fabric. However, once there were chldren on the scene, things changed. Maybe today’s lucite makes this look safer for the little ones and scotchguard protects from juice spills. So be it. Find your style and enjoy it. But, down the road, I just feel like “the browns” usually find their way back home!

  2. Time to make out like a bandit then. I heard a story a few weeks ago from a young couple who were thrilled to find an old oak night table….and they spray painted it yellow. OUCH. The coats of paint I’ve stripped off of oak, walnut and cherry are legion. I think there’s a lot of Brown Furniture out there at the flea markets and estate sales in serious need of saving. Give me a patina heavy “brown” finished any day.

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