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When writer Peter Moore first told me about the barn in his Fort Collins backyard, he wrote, “This is not a Smithsonian/Martha Stewart eye-popper. Rather, [it’s] a surprise labor of wood-lust that swept over us once we realized what a gem we had on our hands when we bought our home.” Moore—who had moved to Fort Collins from Philadelphia with his wife, Claire—went on to explain how saving the dilapidated, century-old structure had somehow, almost magically, given them roots in a new city. By investing in an old barn and making it useful again, Peter and Claire tied themselves to the history and the future of their newly adopted hometown.
Peter’s essay has me thinking about all of the reasons we renovate and invest in our homes, and how multilayered those motivations are: We might overhaul a kitchen to boost its function—not just because we value utility, but also because we want more room for hosting friends for dinner. (If you’re thinking about a kitchen reno, check out our guide.) Or perhaps we could use more space, but instead of moving, we add square footage to an existing home because we can’t imagine leaving our beloved neighbors. Bottom line: So much of the work that goes into our homes isn’t motivated by practicality alone; it’s really about preserving and improving the places where we feel like we belong.
If you’re embarking on a project of any kind, my hope is that you get great ideas and inspiration from the stories here. But on a loftier note, may the work you undertake deepen your love for your home—and the life that happens in it.