I’m blown away by Mike Doyle’s Lego renditions of abandoned old houses.
He built the one above, Three-Story Victorian with Tree, out of about 60,000 Lego pieces, putting in 450 hours of work.
What attracted me to these at first is obvious: ooooooooh, lovely old house. But then the fascination starts to switch back and forth with that bittersweet tang of realization. It’s the feeling I get when, hiking through the forest preserves, I come out of a thicket into a slight clearing and notice daffodils in orderly clumps, then rain-rounded curbs of—oh—a foundation; look, it’s steps going down to the cellar … this used to be a house. Then I’m stoked to prowl every edge of the prior property, searching for signs of a domesticated identity. I cherish the woods at the same time as I honor a homestead.
But there’s something else about his fashioning these evocative structures out of thousands of plastic blocks that seems simply perfect. It’s that the investment of time and precision seems to mirror the spirit of the renovation community. I don’t know how many hours I put into one bathroom or the other, the front porch, the window trim, the living room that I should perhaps be working on now instead of clattering out this procrastination. It’s been hundreds of hours, hundreds upon hundreds upon who knows. And while part of restoring an old house is learning to reward yourself for small progress, allow yourself to take a break, and wait for the time and inspiration to pop up and push you back into it, the larger part is the fascination with bringing the project forward, with helping the house become solid and stunning. I don’t know Doyle. Yet I think we’ve got something in common there. And I thank him for how his projects inspire me to keep going on mine.