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Thursday, November 14, 2013

the new kid...



I've been remiss in not showing you the new table in the reading room that we found this summer!
 As with most things in the house, everything has a story and this is no exception.  

While I love a good skirted table, like the one that was previously in this spot here,  I had been looking for a replacement for a while.  A long while.  I wanted an antique table that fit the character of the room and held its own as a statement since it is the focal point of the room.  I looked, and looked... for several years.  I never found anything I liked better than the skirted table, so it stayed.
Then... one day this past summer Dan and I decided, late in the afternoon, that we should go to Concord, Massachusetts to antique.  It is a gorgeous New England town brimming with history (think: Revolutionary War/ Paul Revere/ Ralph Waldo Emerson/ Henry David Thoreau/Waldon Pond, just to name a tiny bit of its history) with beautiful antique homes and several good antique shops.  We usually drive a particular road that has amazing houses, but since we were running late, and barely making it to town before the shops closed,  we used the navigation system in the car and found a shorter route.  We initially passed the turn we were supposed to make for the shorter route and had to turn around, and thank goodness we did!
  It was beautiful winding, rolling road dotted with houses tucked into the trees.  We had not been on this road prior to this day and along our drive we crested a hill and as we drove by a house there was a man placing an antique table on the side of the road, with a sign.... "FREE"!  The man saw us craning our necks looking at the table and we could see him smiling at us. We drove a couple hundred feet more asking each other "Did that sign say free?" and, then turned the car around and went back to check out the table.  Turns out this man was an antiques dealer and this table had been in his garage for several years.  He and his wife purchased it at flea market in Brooklyn, and it was their kitchen table as their children grew up.  His wife had informed him that that day - 4 p.m. on a Sunday was the day she wanted it out of the garage! Knowing that the table had sentimental value I only wanted to take the table if I was sure it would work in the reading room.  I had measurements with me of the ideal table size to replace the skirted table, and though it was larger than what I had noted I thought it would still work.   I hemmed and hawed trying to decide if I wanted to take the free table until the man chuckled and said, "If it doesn't work for you, you could just put it out at your curb!"  I then realized his sentimental attachment to the table was over and decided to take it to try.  We were in my car (a small SUV) and we weren't sure it would fit.  But, the man told us that the top came off, so with some maneuvering and poor Ella stuck in her bed in a tight little space (trust me she's used to this;) the table was in the car!

I really had no preconceived idea of what I wanted the table to look like for this space.  I thought it would be easier if I was open and just let the table come to me.  But, and here's the funny part,  if I had seen this table for sale at an antiques shop I would have walked right by it.  Even if it had had a price tag of $50, I would have probably walked right by.   But, I liked the look and style of the table "in theory", and "free" was hard to beat, and I loved that it came with a good story!  I think in the end it was just supposed to be our table, because after getting it home and placing it in the room I fell for it!  The table, with its large scale (it's much larger than the skirted table that was previously in this spot) and those massive feet provide a "library feel" to the room; and I love having the larger diameter top so I can open books, or set a drink.
We never did make it to Concord that day!





When we got it home we walked it into the reading room and put it in the center of the room.  I told Dan that while I loved it, it was just a little bit too short and we might need to raise it on casters.  He then told me that when he carried the base into the room (which he did by himself) he heard some rattling in the base of the table.  Could it be???!  Could the original casters be in the hollow table base?  I ran to get a screw driver to take off a piece of wood that covered the top of the pedestal, and sure enough there they were in all their glory... the original casters that brought the table up to the perfect height!




The top has some major issues (chips, paints, etc.)  and I plan on painting the top ONLY a mat black, then simply waxing the base.   The top looks much better in this photo than it does in real life, but as yet the project hasn't' made it to the top of the "to do" list.  (For you eagle-eye readers who will wonder... the winnowing basket is now in the barn room on the worktable holding the liquor bottles!)




 




The detailed banding on the table is unusual for a pedestal table, and is my favorite part. 




  The lion paw feet are massive and fit the room so well.  Months have gone by, guests have visited and we still haven't waxed the base... .




Another new find is the antique pencil drawing of the bust with the original gilt, ebony and horn picture frame.  I've always wanted a bust, but it doesn't really seem to fit my house, so I thought this would be a perfect substitute.




Thanks to Ronald, a reader from  Edinburgh, I now know that my drawing is one of Sir Walter Scott.
 Here



 A blog-friend, Betty in Washington, wrote me recently stating, "you have a direct line to unbelievable happenstance."
I truly get that it looks like we just happen upon things, hence the above post;)  and even my much older sister, Susan, and brother-in-law, Doug, have told me they call us the antique whisperers... ha!
But, while I realize we make it look easy, we do kiss a lot of toads and come home from antiquing trips without a single purchase.  That's okay too, it's just part of the game.  After years of antiquing, (remember we've been antiquing and honing our eye for 25 years together;)  I do think finding things you love has a lot to do with the power of the universe and putting your energy towards something and you then attract it.
For example:
  the kitchen dining chandelier,
  the finials on the barn room lamps,
the buffet base for the master bath vanity
the sink for the barn half bath
the barn room chandelier
the horns on the master bedroom mantel... etc.!

I think it's always good to remember when antiquing, and in life in general;), to be open to something you might not have expected to find, ya know- like a free antique table on the side of road!


p.s.  Betty, we are on the lookout for Peter's cane ;);)


68 comments:

  1. I love the detail of the banding and the base! What a beautiful find and it makes the room feel more like a library, which is a room I dream of having in my own home one day.

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  2. Our son lives in Lexington MA and yes, it is a beautiful area. We are 960 miles away and wish we could be there more often.

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  3. WHAT a lovely table! I personally wouldn't paint the top black. I think a lovely wooden table is best natural, warts and all.

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  4. Joan You have impeccable decorating sense...but I think this new table is so very perfect for your reading room. It looks like it was meant to be. I so want a round table in my library or ( book room as the grandchildren say). I used to have an old English scrub top kitchen table there..but my son asked a few times about needed just that size table for his place so....out it went. What luck you have and it was free...

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  5. You do not need to do a thing to that table!!!! It's perfect and I can't believe it was free!!!!!!!!!

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  6. Lovely table. What a fortuitous find.

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  7. What a great find!! It looks wonderful in your reading room and you sure can't beat the price!

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  8. Joan

    Loved the story of the table but they styling is beyond perfection. As I was reading this I was preparing a blog post on styling round tables. I am reposting this table...it is absolutely wonderful!!

    Love it!!

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  9. What a great story. My husband and I have also been antiquing together for 25 years now. We just recently went to look at an English pine hutch advertised on Craigslist, but after viewing it we realized it needed some major work so we declined. On the way home the seller called us and said we could have it for free if we wanted it. Turns out his Father gave it to him to sell but he never could get any offers. We also hemmed and hawed about turning around and driving back, but in the end decided to and we are so happy we did. It wasn't in as bad a shape as we originally thought and it is quite a beauty. We will be putting it in our master bath to use as a linen holder, etc in the new home we are building here on the Central Coast of California. Your home is absolutely beautiful and I know the New England area well and would love to live there but my other half needs the warmth, plus we're both Californians, but I can dream, can't I?

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  10. Love the story and love the table!

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  11. The table is perfect! I love the detail on the top and those FEET! I also really think the dings and scratches are part of the story, I would be tempted to leave it be. Now YOU will be part of this tables story, it goes on. Loved hearing all about this. XO, Pinky

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  12. The table is perfect for the room! Love it and its story.

    Ann in SF

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  13. The table is beautiful and it looks so at home in your library. May I be so bold as to suggest NOT doing anything to it, it is beautiful as it is, and you won't worry if you knock it, or someone puts a drink down without a coaster if it is not perfect, and you and the table will be more relaxed. Just a suggestion, hope you don't think me to bold! xx

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  14. Love the table and especially the price!! :)

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  15. WOW!!! That table is beautiful and perfect for your room!!! Aren't you glad that you missed your turn? Have you ever used Restor-A-Finish? It is amazing what it does for old wood . . . it is a favorite of mine. Louise

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  16. Joan,
    That table looks great in what, for me, is my second favorite room in your house...your kitchen is my favorite! How great to have found the original casters and I love what you've placed on the table, including your 25 year old English ivy topiary (right?). What a fun story on happenstance.
    xo,
    Karen

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    1. Good eye Karen! Yes, it is the 25 year old topiary- I recently added some thick moss I found on one of our walks!

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  17. bigmarthdise@gmail.comNovember 14, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    The wonderful 'old stuff' has character and the patina of age and looks so rich. It is so much fun to 'play house'. You have 'The Knack"! Tell us about that pair of green parrots.

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    1. They are a pair of 19th century Chinese export green-glazed earthenware parrots. The pair is unusually large- at 13-1/2" tall.. Most of the parrots you see like these measure approximately 8-9" ht. They are but two of a larger collection;) I also have two that are unusually small- measuring only 5-1/2".

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  18. Okay Joan so I have to say I believe I have that too. I will find things and then put them in my home and everyone says, wow that looked like it was meant to be there. I love that feeling. There are so many things in my house that I happend to come across and fell in love with or waited to get it and then I couldn't stop thinking about it and went back the next day and sure enough it came home with me. Your library table is lovely.
    May it bring you much reading enjoyment.
    Lisa
    Leeshideaway.blogspot.com

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  19. What a great find! I love your gorgeous "new" antique!

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  20. Only in New England would you find something as great as that table. It was ment to be and probably will turn out to be a favorite.
    Greetings from Arizona
    Agneta

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  21. Just gorgeous Joan....love everything about the table right down to its "feet"! The whole room is just stunning, love the richly layered look....cozy elegance!

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  22. I cannot believe someone would discard a table like this ..... the craftsmanship is incredible. I think that these beauties have a way of finding you, rather than you finding them. Somehow the Angels know that you will restore and love all these treasures, and they find a way to your hands and heart.
    Enjoy!

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  23. What a fun post, Joan! Love the character of your "new" table... wish some of your mojo would rub off on me!
    xo Heidi

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  24. I'm sure in 25 years of antiquing you probably do have some...shall we say...not so positive stories to tell. But...when you score...you really score! Love the table...seems to fit right in! I think you are right about the universe thing...great food for thought! ;)

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  25. I love it! You are very lucky. I need to start spending more time in antique stores and yard sales and craft fairs and the like. And to think, Concord is only 30 minutes away from me!

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  26. If I had read this story in a book, I would have found it too far fetched! The table looks incredible in the room. I hope you told the gentleman about your blog so he and his wife can see the loving home that it landed in!

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  27. I maybe the only one that agrees with you painting the top. And just waxing the bottom. Its true that after many decades of antiquing, finds pop up everywhere. It's a trained eye! And a little luck helps also. :) Donna

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  28. Hello, I am sure your drawing is of Sir Walter Scott . I live in Edinburgh and we are surrounded by this writers image . Beautiful home !

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    1. Ronald, Thank you so much for letting me know. You are absolutely right... I googled images of busts of SWS and found one that looked almost identical. I'm happy to know about it.

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  29. I love it! And really, I like the scale in the room when I saw the skirted table in the sidebar. It has such great presence. The sides are so beautiful with all that detail. What a score!

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  30. You've got that Law of Attraction thing working! Hooray! What a great story, what a great table, and what a great price. You must have covered up the major flaws, for I love the table top - the grain is striking. With your styling, you needn't worry about the chips, paint, scratches, etc. I'd say wax it and be done with it.

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  31. It was just all meant to be, and it looks great in your room. I've been looking and looking for a pedestal dining table, but there is always something that holds me back when I find one. I could never pass up free either though.

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  32. What a lovely table. Funny how you hesitated even though it was free. I do feel that things happen to people whom open themselves up to it. My husband was lucky enough to happen upon a large oak table being set out to the road, free also. He called me to see if I wanted it, yes, then he came and picked me up because it was only minutes from our home. While we were loading the table into our truck, the owner of the table came out and said they had the leaves in the garage. Three large leaves, they make the table huge. We use this table for everything, crafts, breakfast, homework and when there is a large party we open it up all the way.

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  33. Perfect! is all I can say! Thank you for sharing

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  34. When I finished reading the beginning of this story and got to where I actually saw the table, I was astounded. It looks absolutely fantastic in that room. And not too big at all. In fact, after seeing it, the skirted table looks a little small for the space. So yes, this table was meant to be in your house. Gotta love back roads.

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  35. That is an absolutely remarkable story!! What a find....a treasure, no less! It's a beautiful table, and to find such a lovely home to reside in is pure kismet!!

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  36. Great story and it's perfect for your reading room! I loved living in New England and finding antique shops on any old road.

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  37. I always look forward to your posts! You have such impeccable taste. The table, the styling, the room, all of it is gorgeous and one of a kind. Thank you for sharing your talents and finds with us!

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  38. I am dying!!! That table is PERFECT for the room. I don't know why you hesitated even for a minute. The size, the banding, the base, the history and then finding the casters...Kismet.
    XO, Victoria

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  39. Great find- definitely meant to be. I wonder if a marble top would look good on it.

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  40. You know that your library is one of my favorite spots in the blogosphere. The table is awesome, and your styling is spot on. You have a great classic style. What luck!!!!

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  41. Can people have decorating dopplegangers? If so, you are mine! Your house, taste, decorating style are so in line with mine it’s just not even funny. I could walk into your home and live and not change a thing, honestly. Please adopt me : ). LOVE the table. I wouldn’t paint the top! The condition it’s in is part of it’s history! : )

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  42. "Antique Whisperers", I think that to be a perfect description. LOVE the table and for FREE, WOW, that's amazing. I must tell you, I read your TJ's post and we have a new TJ's here in our area. I went in once and was overwhelmed, realized immediately that I needed to do a little research to get some rec's of things to try. Then lo and behold I saw your post. My next visit to TJ's was with a list and I got most of the things you had recommended. We may pull out the Chicken Pot Stickers this evening. That post was very helpful.

    Enjoy your new "find", it's beautiful.

    Carolyn

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  43. You have some awesome luck for sure! I love when that happens! I had a similar experience with a table but it was $5, I love your price tag even more:)

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  44. This table that you got for free is perfect for the space. I actually compared it to a photo of the table that you had there previously and there's no comparison. What a find and I actually love the antique beat up look to it. Live with it for a little before you do anything to it

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  45. love that table joan but really love the going with the universe advice. just learning that and it really does work. :)

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  46. i love that the casters were inside! those green parrots are great...where we live we have flocks of them and you always know because they are so noisy but their colors are glorious. suzi

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  47. I hopefully thought that your title reflected Ella with a new "brother or sister". But that table....she IS a beaut.

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  48. Not sure who was craziest ... the dealer's wife who insisted upon tossing the table, or you, for hesitating one nanosecond about grabbing it & running! Gorgeous table & wonderful addition to your room! Barbara

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  49. What kismet -- just proves that it was Fate that the table and you were meant to be! It's beautiful and is the perfect anchor for the room; love it!

    Maggy

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  50. I second Restore-a-Finish and not painting. I have an estate sale table in the kitchen with the burned in imprint of a pair of scissors (left in the sun we think). The original white casters were coated with dirt before I cleaned them. Two leaves, one cracked and one glued. All that is part of the table's charm.

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  51. My new magazine for December 2013 of 'Elle Decor' arrived in the mail today, and VOILA! There on page 84 under 'design solutions' was an antique table from Gerald Bland that is almost a line-for-line table like your table! Look and See!

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  52. I must admit that whenever I pop in to see what is happening in your house, I am never disappointed. I do want to paint this room.....all decked out for the holidays. I can see it being set up as the bar or the sweets table. Love it. Enjoy it for years to come. The caster story is just too much. The Free part is ridiculous.
    pve

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  53. Hello Joan, Everything about that room is comfortable, inviting and interesting. I love antiques with stories, and have commandeered a few curbside finds myself. Incidentally, I have a pair of those parrots, but yours are larger and more finely sculpted.
    --Jim

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  54. I love the new look, and think that the table would look lovely painted or left alone. What is the diameter of the table? I have been thinking of a similar pedestal table for the "library" in my house, and I am trying to get a sense of the scale of your new beauty!

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    1. Thank you! The one I am considering is 48", so similar. I was afraid it was too big, but the difference in area between the two tables is about 12", so they are not too far apart. My room is about 12' x 12' - my impression of your reading room is that it is not significantly larger. I really do love that room! Thanks again for posting the dimensions :)

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  55. Hi Joan :)
    I just discovered your blog and I love it! Your room looks gorgeous, very interesting and easy to live in with character.
    http://balearaitzart.blogspot.com.au/

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  56. Have you tried tung or hemp oil on the table? They really do work wonders to bring old wood back to life. Good luck with it and congrats on your find!

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  57. I love a good story of a wonderful find. That table is perfect! I love the wood grain details in the top. I would stain it black but allow the detail to still show thru.

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  58. great find!!
    I too, believe that I fall into a lot of vintage goodies I need to finish/continue a collection or and item I've been looking for for awhile. But you're right, it does take a lot of looking to really find the gems!

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  59. Joan, you certainly have some good luck! Your table is wonderful. I love the story behind it, and I think the size/scale look perfect in that room. The detail below the top is fantastic. I wonder, can you have the top sanded and refinished? The wood is so pretty and it seems a shame to paint it. Plus, the way you have it styled (which is wonderful) hides the flaws.

    You said you don't think a bust suits your home ... but I seem to recall a bust somewhere in your house. What am I thinking of? Something with beads or a cross hanging around it.
    Claudia

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  60. Please don't paint that tabletop, Joan! The character of that wood grain is incredible! I purchased a similar table this past spring, with lions claw feet. It has the most gorgeous, warm shade of wood but the previous owner painted the top white and gave it a shabby wax and sanding. I purchased it with full intentions of refinishing just the top but still haven't done it yet. It's on my (Hubby's) to do list :) I'm sure the black paint will look better than my white, but I love the wavy look of the natural wood. You could always get Dan to work his magic on the piece ;) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  61. It is a beautiful table in a new home where it will be cherished. While driving to my favorite Portland park up a windy road, a small drop leaf table was at the curb and, like yours, for free. It is now cherished as well.

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  62. I hope you believe the old saying that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, because I have copied you one more time! My old farmhouse has a Reading Room also. It is the oddest room, with built in bookcases that take up one wall and and more doors and less wall space than you have ever seen in one small room. I have been at a loss for what to do with it for 13 years, because it is much too big to leave empty, and way too small to fill with a real seating group, especially since it is kind of a walk-through room to other rooms in the house. As soon as I saw this post, I knew my dilemma was at an end. My "new" (circa 1900) tiger oak pedestal table has arrived, and it is PERFECT. It anchors the room, adds a ton of visual interest, and leaves plenty of room for an armchair and a few lamps. Thank you, as always, for sharing!! If you were to visit my home, you would see many scenes that look familiar :) Pam from Maryland

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