Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Darkroom Mystery

Admitting to my readers that there are parts of my house I'm not that familiar with makes it sound like I own a large creepy old mansion and that I keep finding undiscovered wings, like in some badly written gothic novel.

Trust me, my house isn't that big. And the only mad relative shut up behind these walls is, well, me. (Insert maniacal laughter from another room here.)

But it's true. Did I mention I have a darkroom? I do.

Or at least, one of the previous owners did. It's in the basement, an area of the house I haven't shown off to blog readers yet. "Shown off" might be the wrong term, since it's kind of basic down there, and that's being charitable.

The darkroom looks like this, in a corner of the basement under the kitchen:

In the corner opposite the sink is this old dilapidated cabinet, with drawers designed to hold film, negatives, and supplies:

The top right drawer held a mirror, a sample size of Aqua Velva, and a cheap 80's era point-and-shoot.

I am half in love with this drainboard sink:

It's been totally trashed by the amount of stop bath and fixer that's been thrown down it. Wouldn't it be grand re-enameled in some snazzy color? Red? or maybe Yellow?

I am also crushing on the faucet:

It's these vintage fixtures that have given me the (extremely long range) idea of creating a 3/4 bath down in this room, using them restored to their glory.

At this point I probably have about $7.52 saved toward that goal, which is why I say "extremely long range."

While my sister was visiting a few weeks ago, I was showing her the space and we were very surprised to find two photographs had been left on the drying racks (shown on the wall right of center in the first photo). I had assumed the racks were empty; I never bothered to look.

They are both wedding photos, but of two different weddings. The first is under-exposed, so much so that it's very difficult to see the face of the groom at all, and moisture has damaged the paper.

But I love some of the details-- The ruffle-front on the groom's tuxedo shirt, the lace details on the bride's dress. And since the wedding trend today is to outdo all previous ceremonies on weird/large/exotic floral arrangements, when was the last time you saw daisies in a bride's bouquet? It looks so sweetly simple.

The second couple's photo is in much better condition:

Here I love the beautiful neckline on the bride's gown and her traditional veil. The groom is rockin' a handsome beard. I even think I have an idea in which local church this photo was taken.

Who are they? Are they relatives of people who lived in this house? Are they wedding photos shot by a hobbyist who lived here? How long have those photos laid waiting to be found? Based on the hair and clothing, I'm guessing they were taken anywhere from mid-to-late 1970s, possibly early 1980s.

I am not, all gothic novel-like, discovering family curses and ancient manuscripts in this house. It would need to be built in 1539 rather than 1939 for that sort of thing to unfold. But the place is yielding, here and there, some mild and sweet mysteries, a few hints of its past. It keeps telling me its stories as we get to know each other better, like people who are going to be old friends in a matter of time.


  1. That drainboard sink is GREAT! Yes, you could totally make that area a 3/4 bath--I too have long-range projects with $7.52 saved up towards them!

  2. Oh my god, that is seriously SO cool that you have a darkroom in your basement....heck that you have a basement is awesome enough....but wow a darkroom...neat-o! And how cool that you found 2 images that were left's so fun to find these little morsels from the past.