Thursday, 25 August 2011

Making Our House Our Home: Part III

After Easter, some friends and I met at a local coffee shop to celebrate a birthday.   It was hilarious to watch as we each sat and tried to remember our ages.   I guess we just started to block it out after a certain age?   Anyway, I made the comment that it was probably surprising that I wasn't the oldest.   I then told them not to feel bad if they thought that because I had always been viewed as older than my age throughout my life.   I can remember being mistaken for a substitute as an eighth grader when I took a message to a high school classroom.   I'm also pretty old-fashioned.  

I give that as background for my dining room.   If a stranger looked at our dining room, they'd probably miss my age by several decades.   I love that.   I also love that I get lots of comments that include "deep south," "southern," and "mint juleps" when people see my dining room.   That's exactly how I wanted the room to feel.   This room is my Mama Room.   Of course, most of the things in our home belonged to my mother, as shown in many posts on this blog, but almost this entire room belonged to Mama.   The only things we bought were the chairs, our china, and the two Magnolia paintings in the corner of the room.   There are a few pieces of crystal or glass that were gifts from friends.   She would have loved this room.
Dining room before.   I couldn't wait to see the picture of the Doberman come down.   This room always looked to me as if it were decorated by Carmella Soprano.

 Paint truly is the cheapest way to change a room.   I searched for the exact shade of red I wanted.   I didn't want a wine-color or a bright red; I wanted an "English red," something like you'd see in an old cozy English house, usually in wallpaper, not paint.   I still love the color and I can't believe I chose the right one.   We painted the wainscoting solid white for a more traditional look.  

Night view

I really like the light fixture.   I like all the fixtures in the house.   I probably would not have chosen this one, but I'm very glad it's there.   It reminds me of old gas fixtures.    The table is the centerpiece of the room.   It's so special to me and I've already told its story here and here.

The chairs were another great deal.   They look exactly like the chairs that would have originally been with this table.   Mama's chairs were fragile when she had them and they started to fall apart even more.   She always wanted to change them.   For the past five years, we only had two chairs without fallen-in seats, so guests always had to have them.   We looked for years to find chairs at a price we could afford and finally we found these.   They were delivered already assembled and two of them had slight damage.   I was excited.   Only I would be excited about nicked chairs.    That made them look older and more authentic!   So, I called and gave me a generous discount!  

This china cabinet was one of Mama's garage sale finds.   It holds her serving pieces and our formal china.   We didn't register for china when we married.   Instead, we registered for FiestaWare and then we purchased china place settings as a gift for each other on our wedding anniversaries.

Some of Mama's vintage plates on display:

Not a standard piece for a dining room, but it's so pretty and fits the space so well.   This is a late 1800s commode chest.   Yes, commode chest.   The chamber pot would go inside the little door to the right and your wash basin and pitcher would sit on the top.   But, it's so pretty!   Mama found it at a garage sale.   It had six coats of paint on it; even the original brass hardware had been painted.   Mama stripped it all down and refinished it, so that makes it even more special.

This magnolia picture always hung in Mama's dining room.   Now, it hangs in ours.   I am almost certain there is one just like it in  Meg Ryan's apartment in Sleepless in Seattle.  

Mama stained this stand and the are some of her hammered aluminum baskets.   Nice, unbreakable baskets at a low level!

This is Mama's corner curio cabinet.   It's filled with some of her glassware, crystal, and ruby glass.   A few of the pieces are ones I received for our wedding.

This sampler was a great find at our local St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop.

One of my favorite things in the corner cabinet is this little Made in Occupied Japan tea set.   Mama kept it in her kitchen and I was allowed to play with it while she cooked supper.

Cake plate given to me by Regina on C's baptism.  What a nice keepsake!

Window before.   I was able to re-use the panels at our old house for staging.   I also re-used the curtain rod in the girls' bedroom.  

Window after: The gold panels are solar-lined panels from Lowe's.   I also used white sheers to cover the blinds and add privacy.

My magnolia prints and some of Mama's Blue Ridge & McCoy pottery she collected from garage sales.

First event in our dining room: Celebration with friends in honor of our Queen's birthday.   Chocolate fudge cake, coconut cream pie, and tea.

The Birthday Queen wearing two of her gifts: tiara and apron

Clare loves our dining room.   She gets so excited about our Sunday roast dinners.   "Are we eating in the dining room?!?!"   I think it's sad for family life that formal dining rooms have gone out of favor.   It's amazing to see the kids' manners when they eat in there.   It's such a cozy room.   Plus, it's right off the kitchen.  In our last house, we used the front room as a dining room and it was on the other side of the living room wall.   On the floor plan, it's listed as a sitting room and it would make a nice library or computer room, also.   If we didn't have Mama's kitchen and dining room furniture, it would probably be a cozy, book-lined library with the family computer until we could buy dining room furniture.   For our family, it's a little like the parlors of times past.   It is the most formal room in the house and it's usually:) clean and neat, no matter what a wreck is the rest of the house.    The kids have heard me tell the story of its furnishings and Mama so many times, they can now tell the stories.   They talk about her and her things as if they remember her.   And that's what I love most about this room.

I discovered a whole series of Isadora Duncan dance pictures on my card--taken by E.

My mama would have gotten such a kick out of these pictures!

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