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other recent LOUNGE articles:
o Texture Wall Art
Essentially Essential
Cleaning Essentials
Make a Pillow Sham
Bathe in Beauty
Decorating Scents
Plumb Trouble
Home Alone
Office Space: Color Shemes
o Open House: Sydney Sanctuary
o Burn Baby Burn
Green Scene: Indoor Herb Gardening
Album-cover CD Box
A Room of My Own

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home freebies the odd things we inherit -- for better or for worse -- when we move into a new home
by Katy Balcer
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continued from page 1

My friends had similar stories. Laughing sadly, they described long, ugly screws drilled through window panes and frames for ‘security,’ and a light bulb base permanently melded into an overhead fixture’s socket (the destroyed bulb’s wattage was twice what was needed, and it basically fried the setup).

Of course, everyone buying a house is bound to find a couple of aspects less than ideal, if for no other reason than the previous owners were not you. "I’ll fix that later," you may tell yourself during the walk-through, wincing at the bunny-print wallpaper and border in the second bedroom, or first noticing the grassless path along the fenceline where a greyhound paced daily. But that’s the give and take. An avocado-green tiled bathroom? Hey, be thankful you have original tile. Loud, late-partying neighbors? Well, maybe the local police force is responsive and effective. You buy a house, you roll the dice.

Besides, the gamble is part of the fun: you never know what sort of great bonus stuff you’ll uncover when you move into your new home. Upon finding a yellowed "Rules for Bumper Pool" document stapled to a back wall of my basement (no, no pool table came along with it, bumper or otherwise), I realized something. Or at the very least, I theorized: every home’s got to have some odd ‘features,’ perhaps proportional to the number of people who’ve been residents. Just like people, dwellings develop quirks and idiosyncrasies. This started me wondering further: does everyone find this kind of stuff in new homes?

The answer? Goodness, yes.

A coworker of mine found a photograph of a woman, circa 1930s, inside a bathroom wall when partially tearing into it to install a new medicine cabinet. How did it get in the wall? Unclear. The apartment was a converted flat in a 1918 house, so perhaps the portrait was tucked away by whoever had done the conversion. This particular flat also came with all its windows hidden behind four unique layers of shades and drapes. Window hardware better-suited for a picture window graced each one (all less than two feet wide). This house’s quirks hinted at its history -- how it had evolved over the many years, and housed different owners with different tastes during its past.

Sometimes, the treasures one uncovers upon moving in actually provide a lesson in cultural history. My aunt remembers finding old, old manuals to Autumn Gold appliances, their covers featuring smiling women holding pot roasts. (These, though not useful, were still better than the toxic chemicals she found in her garage!)

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