When we began this blog, we were embarking on a huge adventure and challenge:  Creating a new home for ourselves and our children.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Family portrait

It was for both of us a second chance to do home well, and we set out to create a the kind of blog we wanted to read–one that would help us figure out how to make the best of the opportunity we’ve been so grateful to have.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Original header

Our original header. Feeling little affinity with either Baby Boomers or Gen-Xers, we devised our own generational moniker: Mid-Century Moderns. It didn’t catch on like we fantasized it would. :-)

As you can see, we started out thinking that we’d write about all kinds of topics connected to home and family, but in the past six months or so we’ve found ourselves focusing in on our house. Part of that is due to limited resources; we just don’t have time to write about all the things we’d like to.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Apple pie apples

We take shots for food posts we’d like to write, but they never get written.

A bigger reason, though, is that we’ve become intensely interested in questions about how to create and manage the physical structures in which we live. More and more, we think that all aspects of home life are profoundly influenced by how we care for our shelter. More and more, we think that how we do home affects not only ourselves and our families, but our communities as well.

This (sorta) Old Life: Rebuilding Center sign

The ReBuilding Center, Portland

In short, how we do home matters. It really does.

We’ve been feeling the need to look at our blog and our intentions for some time. That feeling reached a peak over the holidays, when the blogosphere’s frenzy of holiday decor, crafts, and gift posts felt like way too much of the wrong thing. In a post that called for a home blogging revolution, we wrote these words:

What if we stated outright that we are not about decorating our mantels or creating cheap designer knock-offs or following trends or filling empty space with stuff just because we’re uncomfortable with empty space? What if we struck the word “vignette” from our collective vocabularies and eschewed projects that are done for entertainment purposes only?

We don’t think we got it quite right there, but we haven’t been sure of how to make it right.

In the weeks since, we’ve done much talking and thinking and reading, trying to figure out just what it is that we want to say and do as home bloggers. We’re ready to take another try at saying it.

We’ve come to realize that our discontent is not about the What of creating homes. It’s not about whether we paint wood or leave it in its natural state. It’s not about what we adorn our walls with or how much time we spend on Pinterest.

It’s about the Why:

  • Why are we painting wood or leaving it alone?
  • Why did we make that work of art or bring it into our home?
  • Why are we pinning the things we’re pinning on Pinterest?
This (sorta) Old Life:  Stripped mantel

We stripped our painted mantel last year because we’re trying to bring some of the 70s aesthetic back into our built in 1978 split-entry home.

And it’s about the How:

  • How are the things we bring into our homes made?
  • How are we making decisions about how to change our homes?
  • How is our time on Pinterest affecting our home?
THis (sorta) Old Life: Coffee shop meetings

Many of our home design decisions are made in coffee shops.

We spent some time looking for a word or phrase or philosophy or movement that would capture our ideas about home. We considered many, none of which quite did it. And then we stumbled upon the idea of undesign.

It felt like coming home.

This (sorta) Old Life: Daisy on Christmas

Like home, undesign felt comfortable and familiar. It wasn’t so much that we found some new thing we’ve been seeking as it was that we found something that better organizes ideas we’ve had all along. It’s a little bit like figuring out just the right way to put things away in your pantry, one that helps you easily see and find everything you need.

You’ll find our ideas about UnDesign here, or by clicking on the menu bar tab at the top of the page.

As we so often do in creating our home, we’ve tweaked and repurposed the ideas of undesign a bit before incorporating it into this blog. That’s why we’ll be writing it as UnDesign here on the blog. We’ve got plans to explore what undesign means in the ways we’ve always explored ideas, in the context of projects and stories.

As we’re cleaning up and tidying up our thinking and our purposes for writing here, we thought it was time to think about renovating our blog design a bit, too. We wanted something cleaner, simpler, and easier to navigate. We hope you’ll find it to be all those things. Some things might be a little bit funky until we get everything worked out–but our online home is a lot like our IRL home, so that’s just par for the course.

This (sorta) Old Life: Messy family room

Would like to tell you we’ve made a bunch of progress since originally sharing this photo back in September, but…we haven’t. Boxes and stray tables have been put away, but that’s about it.

Please let us know if anything’s really wonky or really interferes with your reading experience. Comments should still be working!