Home & Garden: Pride in Craftsmanship
“Nobody has time to do it right, but everybody has time to do it over” – J.B. O’Rouke
This quote, oft-repeated around our household, drives the way we approach our craft. While each member of our family has pursued a very different type career, we all do our best to remember this quote when it comes to our work. The craftsmen of a hundred years ago used to live their lives like this, and our society has unfortunately placed too much emphasis on cheap and fast over quality and craftsmanship.
This hammer was given to our father some 40 years ago when he was in the process of starting his first business. Covered in glue and worn from years of hard work, it was given to him by our Papa, J.B. O'Rouke, who was the owner of a car garage in downtown Buford, GA. Though the hammer exchanged hands unceremoniously with a simple "Here, you might need this hammer" it has since become a symbol in our family. It represents the importance of hard work and building something the right way. It's just a simple, sturdy hammer; but it is well-built and we've used it for 3 generations of craftsmanship.
Whether it is developing a new BBQ sauce recipe, repairing a used car, or tying our own flies for trout fishing, we always strive to make sure to take the time to get things done the right way, even if it costs a little more and takes a little longer. Cutting corners might save a little time and money on the front end, but quality always suffers on the finished product.
This line of thinking has recently become even more evident in one of our newest family projects, restoring a 1920s craftsman bungalow in Atlanta. This house is a remarkable structure that provides a perfect example of what happens when a craftsman takes pride in his work. Despite being almost 100 years old, this house is in remarkable shape and has many original features. Our veteran home inspector even mentioned in the report, “the beams in the attic are still at perfect 45 degree angles like the day the nails were driven.”
After we ripped up multiple layers of carpet, we found these magnificent hardwoods sitting underneath.
Judging by the color and condition of the bottom layer of carpet (a color Betty Draper would have been proud to have in her home), we’re guessing that these hardwoods haven’t seen sunlight in at least 40 or 50 years. You could almost see the knots in the wood squinting when we rolled back the carpet and opened the drapes to let the natural light shine.
Aside from a few areas where moisture soaked through (which we’ll be restoring), these hardwoods look like they could have just been loaded off the truck from an old-growth Appalachian forest. You literally can’t buy this kind of new wood anymore because these kinds of trees don’t exist nowadays.
As we work through this new project, we’re going to highlight the many ways in which old-school craftsmanship is making a comeback. We’ll show how our family saying applies to both the original features, as well as the renovations we’ll be carrying out, to make sure this house is still going strong a hundred years from now.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, we already have plans to throw a party featuring lots of BBQ when it’s finished.