Every House Needs a Log

The other day, Zoom wrote about how she had invented a number of things – most during her childhood, and many of the things had already been invented, even though she didn’t know it at the time. You can read her post here. I think it’s adorable that she invented the snorkel.
At the end of her post she asked what other people had invented. I have an invention that I really believe in, but it is completely unmarketable so I am willing to share it here. I think it would be impossible to make money from this idea, because it would be a bit like inventing an address book or a notebook. If you can think of a way to make money off of this idea, well more power to you, and I hope you will at least remember me one day.

My idea is called The House Log. Or something more catchy. I was trying to think of a way to combine “The House Log” with the term “Log House“, but nothing was working, and then Tony, while editing this post for me, had no idea what I was trying to say, and then I got kind of mad and so that is why I’m not in marketing.

Anyway, The House Log is a very simple idea, but here it is: every house should have a Log Book that stays with that house. The house owners would record what went on in that house during the time that they lived there. Births, weddings, deaths, and possibly major news events that took place. Wouldn’t you love to know this type of history of your home?

My own house was built in approximately 1939 by David Younghusband, a prominent Ottawa builder at the time. I know the history of my house going back about twenty-five years because I am lucky that my next-door neighbour has lived here that long. But I would just love to know who originally owned this house, and then who else lived here over the years. I try to picture a house full of kids in this tiny home with no closet space. I like to imagine it full of laughter. I wonder if adventurous boys jumped down from the second floor over the much too short wall to the stairs and ground floor below. I would like to see pictures of what the original kitchen looked like. Considering my house was built right at the start of World War II, did a young husband or son go off to war? Whatever happened to all of the folks who lived here? The walls can’t talk, and that is why we need a House log.

When we did some major renovations on our house a few years ago, we took down the lath and plaster walls on the ground floor, and within those walls we found some nudie pictures from magazines of the day, which were very tame by today’s standards. Whenever we formally put together our house log, those pictures will need to be a part of it. We will also include the before and after pictures from our renovation, and maybe some pictures of us, both before and after the kids arrived.

When it comes to the house I grew up in, my parents were the original owners of that house, which they bought in the late 1960s. My Mom still lives there (Hi Mom!) and I would love to put together a book about that house. That house means more to me than I could ever coherently express here; it will always be my home, and I cannot imagine anyone else living there. But one day they will, and I would like them to know who we were, even if just a little bit.

So what do you think? If we can spread this idea through word of mouth, then every house could have a log.

About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
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9 Responses to Every House Needs a Log

  1. Some might not want a log to go with the house as it may make it harder to sell. You know murder or haunting of the house after someone's death,etc 🙂

  2. zoom says:

    I think that's a BRILLIANT idea. I remember a few years ago – just after I bought my house – the little house across the street was being demolished to make room for a townhouse. I had the same thoughts as I watched it being clawed to pieces: what is that house's history? Who lived there over the years? Happy families gathered at the dining room table, playing board games? Abusive families?

    Anyway. Yes! I love it. I'm going to create a house log for my house.

  3. Kelley Brandt says:

    I think it's a lovely idea too, but could you bear to leave it behind if you were to move? I don't know if I could. I would have to make two. Lol!

  4. Beautiful idea – though I get challenges2010's point about 'bad' stuff….still I have often wondered about the previous inhabitants of my 1837 farmhouse, once a stagecoach inn, and thought “if only the walls could talk”. Or, if only a house log had been kept!

  5. JoeGirl says:

    Fabulous idea, Fin. And yes, it IS marketable!!! Reminded me instantly of a website one of my design colleagues has designed and marketed: http://www.historyofhomes.net/

    A lovely site, with such lovely intentions. Go for it!

    Beautiful post, as always ❤

  6. For me, it a a great idea but only in theory … because I would be driven insane trying to live up (or down, even) to the previous owners. “OOOOOOO! **They lived here with 7 kids and no closets, so why can't I find room for all my shoes!?” “But **he** got away with it for 17 years, so why do I have to mow my lawn now!?” I know it. I can feel it in my bones.

    That being said, I **do** like finding stuff plastered up in the walls ….

  7. Fantastic idea! I love it. Our family cottage was old and came with old maps of the lake, families that lived there and cedar siding and trees carved with names, events and dates. We added ours over the years. I often wonder if the next generation of families will do the same. You should totally market those (on recycled, vegetable print paper!) I would buy them. Every home should have a House Log.

  8. XUP says:

    It's more like the Black Box except for houses. I think it could be marketed to insurance companies so whenever a disaster befalls a house they open the Black Box and try to trace the problem. Say, there's a fire… well they find out that the wiring hasn't been upgraded since it was installed in 1920 but all sorts of new appliances have been installed…and so forth. I'd hang on to this idea if I were you!! Insurance companies are always looking for ways to get out of paying.

  9. Finola says:

    Challenges, that is an interesting point that I hadn't thought of, and I do know a story about a house like that. I guess not every house needs a log after all. Maybe a clean slate is better sometimes.

    Zoom, I'm glad you like the idea and thanks for the inspiration 🙂 Recently a lot of houses are being torn down around us and their history will be lost forever.

    Kelley, I did think of that, and I would leave the originals of the drawings that were in the walls because I think they belong with the house, but I would make copies to take with me too. Same thing for photos.

    Denise, Wow, I'll bet your home has a fascinating history. At least you know some of it to pass on to the next owners!

    Joe, I just don't think I'm entrepreneurial, so you go for it if you want 🙂

    Frugal Princess, Just think though, families in those days just didn't have as much stuff as we do, even if we try not to. It just arrives anyway. And I love your new blog…I tried to comment the other day but something must have gone wrong.

    MM, That's so great that your cottage already has the history. And you and Joe should get together to market this idea then. I am too lazy I'm afraid 🙂

    Xup, That's a good point, but wouldn't the insurance companies come look anyway and realize that there were no stainless steel fridges with icemakers in the 1930s? I take your point about insurance companies being very nasty, but I think they would find out that kind of information anyway. Though definitely something to consider.

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