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Showing posts with label reading room. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading room. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

the reading room today



You might recall that the last time I showed you the reading room we had just found a free antique pedestal table on the side of the road!  HERE.  As much as I loved that table- especially for its story;) I knew it was always a "filler" until the perfect table came along.  
It finally did!
I found this antique, circa mid 1800's, iron table with black marble top in Vermont.  
I adore the table and love that it is around the same circa as the house.  The room is small, so it makes the space seem much more open.




I left the iron base in its current state which is an off-white painted finish with iron rust coming through the paint in the form of spots/speckles.  I'm guessing it spent years in an old barn/shed being semi-exposed to elements.  




I'm going through a "keep it clean" look at present (the kitchen island has absolutely nothing on it, which is unusual for me;) so the table is topped with two antique green glazed Chinese parrots (they are unusually tall and only part of our collection), a piece of white coral, and a demi-john bottle with a hydrangea branch from the garden.




Walls are painted Ashwood OC-47 by Benjamin Moore. Trim is White Dove by Benjamin Moore.  (All my paint and stain colors can be found on my sidebar for future reference.)
Antique brass chandelier purchased 23 years ago in Houston for our first house in Eastmoreland in Portland, Oregon, it was also used for a while in our home in Dallas.
I recently changed out the regular bent-tip frosted light bulbs for these silicone-tipped bulbs HERE from Lumiere Candles.  These have a regular/standard-size base (as opposed to a chandelier-size base) and are 15 watts each.  I just love their bulbish/squatty shape!  They look perfect in the antique brass chandelier. 
Don't  forget that Lumiere Candles offers a 10% discount coupon code for my readers HERE. I love their: real wax sleeves, large diameter solid candle covers (which are so difficult to find),   their silicone-dipped bulbs, and their large translucent candle covers (which are impossible to find ;)  They also have resin candle sleeves and covers when for the times when you need a higher wattage bulb than what is allowable for the real wax sleeves.
(No, I am not being paid to endorse this company!  I simply love their beautiful products and the owners are super nice and they have wonderful customer service.)




I've removed some things from the top of the antique Italian case piece and illuminated the antique oil painting.
The simple French fauteuil chair was found in Marseille, France.  I had it covered in natural linen with a vintage alligator back.  A better photo of the back  HERE.




I moved several of the antique mirrors from a guest bedroom HERE to the reading room.  I love a good stack of antique mirrors!  The antique large gilded mirror in the back is French as is the Louis Philippe mirror in the center.  The small iron cushion mirror in front was found in France. Antique Chinese blue and white temple jar made into lamp and large aged brass ball sits on antique English chest.  Vintage mink muff turned pillow sits on a vintage Louis XV fauteuil (one of a pair.) 




"Mavis" is donning a vintage leopard collar around her waist for the cold winter months:)  You can read a story about her HERE.




On top of the stack of books sitting next to the Martha Washington chair is a book (National Gallery of Art, Washington) that we received as a wedding present 27 years ago from a friend (thank you Sue!)   I have always adored the painting on the cover.  




I like how in this photo you can see what the lamp shade looks like with the light on (front) and the pattern on the shade (in the back)  The story of the bookcase door HERE.  The bookcase is filled with antique books/reference books, small paintings, coral, antique iron urn, part of our collection of antique tortiseshell boxes and more of our collection of antique Chinese glazed terracotta green birds.




The south wall.




We found this antique oil painting in Marseille, France.  We named her Aunt Minerva.  She resonates with me. I love that she is reading a book in the reading room :)




An antique country English Chippendale chair with 18th antique vellum books and a bronze mold of a "nude."








The vintage painting on the east wall by artist Jerry Wilkerson.




Antique English oil painting entitled "Cottage in Devonshire" by listed artist James Poole in original frame. Circa 1850.


To see the reading room over the years and to read more about items in the room...
Note:  photographs taken for this post where taken in the early evening with lamps and lights on which casts a different light over the space than the daytime lighting in previous posts.



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 ;);)


Monday, April 30, 2012

a new finial



While antiquing at the seacoast we found this small piece of white coral for $1!  I knew it would make a great finial, but didn't have a specific lamp in mind. 
Lamp finials are like cherries on top of the proverbial cake... the final, finishing detail!  A lamp isn't complete without them, and they can make or break a beautiful lamp.  Scale, proportion, and composition are all elements to be considered.





When we arrived home I walked the small piece of coral around the house to see if it would work on any of our lamps, or if it was to go into the "one day" collection for future lamp finials!   When I walked into the reading room and saw this antique Chinese blue and white double happiness ginger jar that we made into a lamp years ago, I knew it had found its home!


 
The shape of the coral mimics the background in the ginger jar, something I had never noticed before!  I have used a lot of white coral in this room, so using the coral finial seemed like a good match.


 

A simple brass ball finial was being used prior to the coral find.  The right size and height brass ball finial can sometimes be the perfect solution, but some lamps can hold their own with a more ornate finial!  Since the lamp sits on a chest of drawers the brass finial was attached using an extender to raise the finial just enough to be seen from standing level.   


 
Dan used a table grinder to reshape the coral to fit inside the finial base.



I expected to use some glue, but it was such a snug fit none was needed.



 
When we make lamps we like to use as many old/antique elements as possible.  This ginger jar had a rather large opening at the top, so an antique brass ceiling medallion was used as the cap for the lamp- the swirl designs in the cap mimics the background design on the ginger jar.



With a project like this we always err on the conservative side, as you can always continue to take more off, but you can't add it back on!  The first several attempts at height were too tall.  I lived with this height for several days before realizing that every time I walked by and saw it it reminded me of a feather sticking out of a Derby hat!  Three more grindings, and....



we finally arrived at this-  the perfect height!


So, do all your lamps have the perfect finial?!!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

the reading room: details



The reading room sits directly behind the living room.  It is the smallest room in the house, smaller even than our master closet!  When we first found the farmhouse I could envision the room empty except for a baby grand piano, as the location of the room would fill the whole house with music.  But, sadly - I do not play the piano!  I didn't need another sitting room- our small living room serves that purpose, or a study with a desk, so a reading room seemed like a perfect use of the space. 
In writing this post I realized that the only things I have most recently purchased (within the past two years) for this room are:  the floor lamp, the floor lamp shade, the rug, the basket for books and magazines on the floor next to the chair, and the pillow.  That's it. Everything else I have had for 8 to 10 plus years.  Moral:  invest in only things you absolutely love, and you will love them forever!
In our Dallas house these objects/furniture were all in different rooms; here they came together in different groupings, but all work together.
The wall color is Benjamin Moore Ashwood OC-47 in eggshell, with Benjamin Moore White Dove trim.






This is Mavis, and this is her story!





Antique french chair was found in Marseilles, France and is now covered in a natural linen with an alligator back.  The antique case piece is Italian.  I love how there is glass on the sides instead of being solid.  It took Dan two weeks to restore the wood, removing multiple layers of alligatored varnish, and me two full days to scrape and clean the antique glass.  It was a labor of love and is one of my  (aren't they all?!)  favorite furniture pieces.  This was the piece I worried about the most in making our move from Texas- the antique glass is paper thin.  Thankfully, in the three moves (from Texas via two rental houses while renovating) it took to move into the farmhouse it survived!
Antique painting entitled "Cottage in Devonshire" in its original frame, circa 1850 by J. Poole shares the top of the case piece with a large demi-lune bottle and a piece of coral.
The rug is antique.  I was having an "I don't want to spend any money" moment the day we found this rug.  Luckily Dan made me buy it.... even though at the time I wasn't sure where it would go.  It was $110 after the 10% discount for cash!  A ridiculous price for an antique rug this size and in this condition. 
The antique brass chandelier was purchased 19 years ago.  It hung in our Dallas house for several years, and then was banished to a closet when I went through my "I hate brass" phase.   Even though I was responding to all the b.a.d. bright and shiny (and lacquered) builder brass on the market at the time, my antique brass took the fall too!  Thankfully, I never sold it.  I have several brass pieces that I somehow just knew to keep and they have now found places here at the farmhouse, which called for the warm, aged patina of old brass!





The antique Italian case piece is filled with antique books, Chinese blue and white ginger jars, antique herbariums,  a watercolor, small antique mirrors, real shells and coral, a hand-carved wood shell, vellum books, and bits and pieces from nature:  a small bird nest and wasp nest found on the property, a piece of river wood from Idaho, and a piece of tree fungus, of course!
On the top shelf is a pair of antique French girandoles. When we found the bronze and crystal lights at Interiors Market in Jackson, Mississippi (a wonderful shop if you are in the area or passing through)   they were missing several of the clear and amethyst drop crystals that hang from their arms.  On our next trip to France we took the crystals missing their pair, found the "crystal man" at the Paris Flea Market, and found "similar" antique crystals for replacement.  Though a photo wouldn't do it justice, they are really beautiful lit inside of the piece  (I use 7 watt bulbs on a hi/low dimmer that I dim to 3.5 watts each!)





Antique French gilt mirror sits on an English chest of drawers (found ironically enough, at Interiors Market in Birmingham,  Alabama.)  Antique blue and white double happiness temple jar made into lamp using an ornate ceiling cap as the lamp cap.   18th century Italian gilt pricket.
I purchased this vintage chair (one of a pair) about 20 years ago.   At the time I hand-applied gold leaf (the real kind, not the paint)  and had this fabric upholstered on them using the reverse side of the shiny damask fabric that was so popular at the time.  This side looks like a patterned white linen.  It has proven to be a good decision as I have loved them for 20 years now!   About six years ago,  I applied a grey wash over the gilt chair frames, and tea stained the fabric (while on the chair;) to soften them a bit.  You'll see the mate in one of the guest rooms.





This Martha Washington chair was one of my first antique furniture pieces.  It has seen several different fabrics over the years!  The pillow is made from a vintage fur muff.   A large antique Chinese brass bowl with a horn letter-opener, found in Paris, sits on a stack of design books. 





Fabulous drum lampshade found several weeks ago at Home Goods.   The brass finial for the antique floor lamp was found in our "lamp parts department" in the basement.  It wasn't originally a lamp finial, but has been retrofitted to work.  I adore how the finial design mimics the design of the wood lamp base, and now the color and sheen in the lampshade.





As I've mentioned before, the small walls flanking the living room fireplace had been removed when we found the property, so the fireplace "floated" between the living room and this room.  We added the walls back, and in doing so were able to create this small bookcase in the reading room.  I wanted an old door for the bookcase, but feared it would be impossible to find since it was such a small opening.  We found this "perfect" (in size and layout) door at an antiques shop during renovation.  The bottom is solid, where we were planning to place our wi-fi and printer and didn't want them in view, and the top had antique glass where I wanted to see the books!  We hired a finish carpenter to build the bookcase and shelves to match the antique door.  The antique iron door pull was found at an antiques shop.... it fit within 1/16th of a inch on the frame of the door.... perfect!  I chose to leave the door with its original finish.










The vintage winnowing basket was found at the Scott Antiques Market in Atlanta about 6 years ago.  I immediately fell for it, but was going through one of my silly phases where I had to have a place for something before I could purchase it.  I went through my mental images of the rooms in my house back in Dallas and couldn't  think of a single spot to place it.  As we were getting in to the car to drive back to Dallas I remembered this linen-draped table that had always seemed in need of "a little something," so I kept its measurement in my purse.  I always carry various measurements of rooms, tables, paintings, etc. in my purse, and you can imagine my delight when this winnowing basket was the exact diameter of this table! 
On the table, linen covers a burlap-like fabric (not burlap, a true fabric that up-close looks just like burlap, but is soft to the touch and no burlap smell;) that I found at Calico Corners probably ten years ago.  Had I known the current burlap craze was going to hit, I would have purchased bolts of this!  This is the same skirt fabric used on the table in the living room.
The winnowing basket holds design books, a tortoiseshell and sterling page-turner and a large, perfectly split rock from the meadow in the Tetons where Dan and I spread my father's ashes.   When I walk by the table I often run my hand over the rocks which makes me feel connected to my father. 






Garden arrangement.






Painting by the late Jerry Wilkerson,  famed pointillism artist (though this is not painted in pointillism.)  The painting deserves an "everything has a story" post of its own.   






The 18th century English Country-Chippendale chair is too fragile for use.  An antique iron lantern now serves as a candle holder.  I found the antique French piece on ebay- it has a stunning iron arm that would attach to a wall, and "had" stained glass pieces lining the lantern, but when it arrived almost all of the glass had broken in shipping.  The shipping company reimbursed me and was supposed to pick up the damaged piece... they never came back to get it-  oh darn!!  






The antique French chair and oil painting were both purchased from the same shop in Marseilles, France.   In Dallas they resided in different rooms, but they have been reunited here at the farmhouse!  That the old woman in the oil painting has a book in her lap seems most appropriate for the reading room!
 






Close up of the beautiful details on Mavis.












Old Chinese ginger jar, antique leather-bound books, antique oil painting, and an antique Chinese green-glazed terracotta bird sits on top of the chest.  If you were to open a drawer you would find a collection of about 6 more birds;)    My largest pair (a size I have never seen anywhere else) reside in the bookcase.  






Vintage (circa 1922) Biltmore-Providence pierced Hotel dish holds an antique English sterling-and-horn magnifying glass, and vintage postcards & photographs of dogs. 
Included is a photograph of Dan's mother as a young child with her dog, my sister and brother-in-law's first dog, our first dog- Kelsey, and a photo of me (yes, I am classified as "vintage";) and my childhood dog- a miniature dachshund named Ginger, with my next door friend Becky  (this photo is peaking out on the right side!)  
I adore my small collection of dog postcards, as you know a person had to love and adore their dog to have spent the money on a photograph back then.  All the dogs in my collection have the most soulful faces, and look to be mutts...  my favorite "breed"!
 I like to look at, remember and love the beautiful dogs for their long-gone owners.







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