I just returned from a much needed 10-day vacation visiting friends and family. Over that time, I had a lot of time to slow things down and do some long overdue reading and reflecting.
It wasn’t long before I knew exactly what I wanted my first post of the year to be. There was one question that kept coming to my mind and to be truthful I didn’t have a good answer.
Why Do We Restore?
I’m sure the answer is different for all of us, but I suspect we’re not that far off from each other. What is it that we are really doing when we choose to restore instead of replace? Why do we do it?
Why are we the crazy ones who want to restore these crumbling old buildings, yet the people who want to tear them down are considered the “normal” folks? I want to know your thoughts.
This isn’t a post to just read and and learn a handy new skill. If we’re serious about saving our historic buildings (starting with your own house) we need to know why we’re doing it. Swinging a hammer just because you can isn’t enough.
What Are We Selling?
One of the books I was reading was about business and it posed the question “What are you really selling?”
Easy enough I thought, “I sell preservation and restoration.”
Then, like all good books do, it made me look at things a different way. The author spoke about how the CEO of Revlon makeup had been interviewed and he answered the same question but much better than I did. “Yes, we sell makeup, but what we are really selling is hope.”
Brilliant! Revlon sells hope for their customer. Hope that they will look more beautiful, hope that they will be happier, hope for more success, hope they will fall in love. Who doesn’t want to buy hope?
So when it comes to preservation, what are we selling? (this one is especially for any of you preservation professionals!) If we don’t know what we are selling, how are we supposed to sell it? And why would anyone want to buy?
How I wish I had an answer for you. I’m still reeling from this discovery myself and I was hoping to crowdsource the solution with my awesome readers like you.
So, I’ll get the ball rolling…
On this blog, I’m selling hope too. Hope that it can be saved. Hope it’s not too far gone. Hope that you CAN do it yourself. Hope that you can learn to do it yourself.
But that’s only one side of the story.
What am I selling for the clients who work with my restoration company? Is it beauty? Craftsmanship? Trust? Yes to all of them, but that doesn’t answer the “why” behind it all.
- Why do people want their windows restored?
- Why do people want to save their old plaster?
- Why do people restore their old hardwood floors?
Yes, it’s the rich character, the beauty of the wood, the harkening to another time, the history that surrounds them, but what else?
If you had to boil it down to one sentence, what would it be?
I’m putting together an exciting project this year and I need your help.
Answer this question:
I restore because ___________.
I’ll be collecting everyone’s responses and putting together something very cool over the next couple months.
Thanks for being a part of it all and for helping to save our history!
Founder & Senior Editor
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.