A little over a week ago, I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel to Connecticut with my parents and two of my sisters to visit my grandparents. Because we live so far apart, I don’t get to see them as often as I wish (every day would be about right), but they are two of the most amazing people you can imagine.
I dragged my DSLR along with me (you should have seen me babying that thing throughout hectic airport maneuvers) because I have been waiting for a long time for a chance to visit and record and share a few very special things.
For as long as I can remember, my grandpa has always been working on something – projects around the house, handcrafted furniture, building rock walls and incredible gardens with my grandma. They have both always been an example of seemingly-tireless DIY – it’s fascinating to trace my own creative tendencies back to them, through my dad who inherited their contagious “I can do that” spirit.
During our all-too-short visit, I snuck away for a little while to snap some photos of my grandpa’s workshop – his sanctuary, his creative laboratory… The studio of a man who can figure out how to make just about anything.
I can’t pretend to know the functions of each tool setup in each shot – this is black-belt-DIY compared to my few years of experience – but I am overwhelmed with appreciation for the planning and skill behind every aspect of this space!
Do you see that piece hanging from the ceiling with an extension cord looped up behind it?
That’s a mobile outlet, suspended on a wire track, so it can slide from one end of the workspace to the other.
Throughout the workshop are custom storage pieces – I can only assume that my love for banks of organizational drawers is completely hereditary.
Creative solutions abound. This storage tower completely disassembles into stackable pieces!
Everything has a place.
Do you want to see what comes out of a workshop like this?
My parents have a coffee table with this design in their living room that they found at Macy’s – it has four rolling stools with built-in storage that tuck under the table. My grandpa saw it on a visit and decided to create his own version, made out of beautiful solid oak, with a few extra surprises inside…
The padded top lifts off to reveal a tiled tray inside, so each stool becomes an instant side table.
Each tray lifts out to reveal storage inside, but on the other side of one of the trays is hiding…
Finally, each panel beneath the tabletop is actually a drawer, providing even more cleverly concealed storage!
Are you just a little blown away? I know I was!
In all honesty, my head has been out of the game ever since I got back home last Monday at midnight. It’s just been one of those weeks full of soul-searching, re-evaluation and rebuilding – concepts of home and family and legacy.
This visit was such a tangible lesson on home being built out of love and service, for love and service…
It shook me out of the complacency it’s so easy to fall into, the superficiality that can come from allowing one thing to consume my life. It seems as though I eat, breathe, sleep whatever new creative project I’m working on – it can so quickly become separated from a bigger context (love and service, are you sensing a theme here?), my focus can be so myopic.
While I love beautiful spaces and creating things for the joy of creating, I don’t want to get lost in that – I need to remember to use these passions to love and serve others, to enrich, to bless.
My grandparents are beautiful examples of that.
Their home is a headquarters for the entire family – a place with open couches, endless patio chairs, a dining set (made by my grandpa, of course) that unfolds and unfolds so the entire clan can pile in around it, and a freezer that has never yet failed a decades-spanning-tradition of popsicles… I find it so hard to put into words exactly what makes their home radiate love, but it’s there in every room.
So you see, this legacy has been weighing on me this week, as I’m wrestling through incorporating their example into my own life. It’s a good weight, and it has been catalyzing good things.
I’m so honored to have the chance to share a little of that with you today!