When you work with old houses, you get used to the idea of finding beauty that can easily be overlooked. The key is to appreciate the one-of-kindness of things, which sometimes means loving flaws. The Japanese word kintsugi originally referred to the art of fixing pottery, usually with a fine metal such as gold, silver or platinum. In fact, kintsugi loosely translates as “to patch with gold.” The idea was to incorporate the cracks into the pottery’s aesthetics rather than hiding them—in essence, the cracks and repair become an integral part of the piece’s history.
The meaning of kintsugi has since broadened beyond pottery. Now it means finding the beauty in the unique, the flawed and the broken. Instead of throwing something out, the crack or dent or flaw or whatever is highlighted and becomes celebrated. Not only does this keep items out of the landfill, but it also becomes a unique and often special element for a home.
Kintsugi can apply not only to plates and pottery, but to built-ins, floors, walls—you name it—and creates a dialog between the past and present. Rather than tearing something out or repairing it so that flaws no longer show, the spirit of kintsugi may be a fun option when restoring your own home. It might even be better than new!