Your Home is Not a Museum: Be Creative with Heirlooms (Part One)

Of family, Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh has this to say, “If you deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You were the continuation of each of these people.”

Knowing where you come from is, of course, essential to your wellbeing. The family bond is one not easily broken. Although you may have fights with relatives and not speak to them in years, your blood is as their blood, your DNA is as their DNA. In this crazy unpredictable world, you can’t beat the genome’s dependability. This is what Hahn is referring to, when he comments on the palm of the hand. The palm of the hand is unaffected by even time itself. So, where does that leave us?

Well, it means that we should always incorporate our family tree into our lives, especially in our homes, in the way they look and feel. Considering we live in a culture that celebrates antiques and heirlooms (American Pickers, Pawn Stars), love of  family translates into a love of objects handed down from generation to generation. Chances are you have at last something that belonged to your parents or grandparents. What happens when you’re burdened with so much family stuff? You don’t want to keep them in storage. That can be perceived as disrespectful. You want them out, to show them off – in bedrooms, in the living room, dining room, kitchen etc. The problem with this, however, is that you run the risk of your home looking like a museum. In other words, your family heirlooms aren’t meshing well with your home aesthetic. What do you do then?

While it seems like a simple solution, you have to think of creative ways to display the items. Say, you have a collection of your grandpa’s bottle caps; perhaps you could place them in a giant bowl and use the bowl as the centerpiece of your kitchen or dining room table. Clearly, some heirlooms are easier to incorporate than others are. When it comes to larger pieces like furniture, you have to be really creative and this can be overwhelming, which is why the professionals at Henrietta Heisler Interiors Inc. are here to help. We pride ourselves on our ability to integrate family heirlooms into contemporary design. If you have family heirlooms and just can’t seem to make them mesh with your home design, give us a call. You can reach us at 717-295-0324. We work in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York and the surrounding area.