On my travels both in country and out, I always seem to come across places that are run down and sometimes completely in ruins. It’s those locations that always seem alluring and peaceful to me, though, because every structure has an energy to it. When you step into a church or a house that has become so outdated and structurally unsound that no one can safely occupy the location, I find that you are able to feel the history of previous occupants.

When I was in Ireland, I came across Dunbrody Abbey, which is now a roofless structure. I probably spent over 2 hours there, and many times in those hours my thoughts would drift to the structure. Knowing that CTA does great work renovating and preserving a building’s history, I couldn’t help but wonder what we would do to preserve the building and maybe even restore parts of the fallen-down walls.

Every time I visit West Virginia, I go to my family’s farm in Smoke Hole and visit the house my mother was born and raised in. The house has been standing for over 100 years, and you can tell no one has lived in it for over 30 years. Even though it is a wooden structure, my thoughts always drift to what we might be able to do to preserve the structure that still stands.

I know no one is able to preserve and restore every single building, whether it is made from stone or wood, but in my head I always think we can do it. I might not be an architect, but I do work with some pretty great ones.

Views of the Dunbrody Abbey in Ireland and a farm house in Smoke Hole, West Virginia brought to you by Bridget Handler.