May 20, 2018:


Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Console Table Design Inspirations

Hola!  Since buying my sister Yvonne's lovely Queen Anne style console table (an unexpected and not planned-for acquisition) and it being delivered last weekend, I've been busy redoing the gallery wall where the table is now situated.  Before, there was no table on that wall and I had no plans to add one, so the framed photographs were marching their way down the wall toward the floor.  I had my magic 30 squares/senet game all laid out, with a 31st square for "X" marks the final resting place (the pyramids at Giza).  After table, I had to rethink things.

Nope, no photographs of the final configuration of my photographic senet board; I had it totally off the wall and torn apart on the family room floor before I ever thought to take a photograph, duh. 

Gallery wall redo has been picked at every night after work for the past week plus last weekend, and I have made definite progress.  Still a way to go, but I hope to finish it up today.  What was on the lower two-thirds of the wall has been substantially modified and I tinkered around with the layout of the top rows, too.

I started hunting around before last weekend for inspiration how to decorate the console table once I have the background finished.

The table is not large, which is good because my dinette's square footage is small: 10 feet 10-1/2 inches from wall to patio door, and 9 feet wide (from island to beginning of family room carpeting).  The console table's lack of height, however, is presenting me with some issues regarding its proportion relartive to the size of my dining table.  The console table is a smidgeon over 27" tall, while my 56" diameter dining table, on a massive pedestal, is about 32" tall, and my roomy chairs are a whopping 42" tall!  Here are a few photos to give you an idea of what I'm dealing with.  Please forgive the mess, I was not expecting to take photographs today but you know, that's how it goes sometimes:

Oy!  Rooms in progress, what a mess! It's still winter here and I've got the winter shawl on the dining table, along with piles of paperwork (tax returns and never-ending medical and other bills waiting patient to be processed) and photo frames and photos!  Also, I need to note to myself that one should never take a photograph of a fridge with junk on its side, LOL!  Not to mention the yellow plastic cup I use to scoop out nuts for my "pet" squirrels, sitting on the countertop... 

The second photo gives you an idea of what I'm trying to do on the gallery wall.  Will it stay the same?  I don't know!  It still has a way to go, and it's like pulling my own teeth putting up each photograph, such a struggle trying to get an arrangement that I see as balanced and attractive.  I cannot tell you how many nail holes I've already filled in.  If that wall was my lawn, it would be aerated for the next five years.  I've tried the laying-out-on-the-floor-and-make-a-nice-arrangement-before-you-put-a-nail-in-the-wall approach, bwwwhhhaaaahhhhaaaaa.  Didn't work, I changed things around as I was putting the photos up on the wall despite liking what I had laid out on the floor. I think I have caught the I must do better disease.  Oh Crud!

Anyway, there is another row of photographs to go up, and perhaps even a row underneath that, bringing it very close to tabletop surface.  And I may even continue photographs down either side of the table, just because...

The second dinette photo, taken from the family room looking toward the kitchen, I think gives you the best perspective on those proportion issues I'm dealing with. Am I crazy?  Should I just not put the Queen Anne console table there, move it elsewhere?  And yet... somehow, crazy as it sounds, I find the juxtoposition of the disparate styles and scale of the furnishings appeals to me.  But perhaps it's a challenge not worth taking on...

Ahem.  I am somewhat confident that, with the right mix of accessories to add the appearance of height to the table top but hopefully make it relatively crash proof (more on this in a subsequent post), I can make my Davidesque table live in a permanent state of truce with my Goliath-like table and chairs.

Inspiration abounds on the internet, if one looks in the right places.  I briefly visited Houzz, but everything I saw there was far too grand and extragavant for my modest maison, not to mention modest (nonexistent) budget.  I'm not a member of Houzz, so it is sometimes difficult to get to where one wants to go there, let alone copy a photograph, even though I always faithfully provide a link back and citation to the source.  I am also not a member of Pinterest.  Same issues there.  I seem to have this thing against joining up at uber-popular sites, it just rubs against my grain.  Well to put it frankly, most of the stuff posted at those sites is far too grandios for what I've got going on here at Maison Newton AND my budget!  So, I zeroed in on many of the blogs I regularly visit, to see what I could see:

I couldn't help but visit my friend Debbie's Debbie-Dabble blog.  We have very different decorating styles but Debbie is a master of working with layering effects and making her spaces look larger than I suspect they are, she is fabulous with adding lots of finishing and special details that it takes the eye time to take in and discover, and her decorating exudes a comfortable/comforting feeling that never fails to soothe me and bring a smile to my face.  Debbie really has a special touch in creating a certain atmosphere within her home.   Here is a photograph from Debbie's blog, from her March 18, 2013 blog post on her Easter Dining Room:

Yes, I confess, I copied Debbie's header photograph, of her mantle! While not a table top, the lessons it teaches me are the same that can be applied to any flat surface.  (1) Use of different heights in objects to add variety and fill in those "negative spaces" that Christine Fife often writes about at her blog.  (2) Use of pictures and decorating objects on the wall in the background to continue the layering effect and add depth and richness. (3) Use of semi-symmetry. (4) Use of textiles to add interest and additional layering.  (5) Use of lighting, which adds a particularly spectacular cozy effect at night. 

The vignette above is also from Debbie's website.  You can see how beautiful it looks when lit at night, and what an atmophere it creates in the room.  What I also noted was Debbie's use of a "stepped-up" table top to link the table top area to the area on the wall above the wallpaper border, as well as her use of small shelves and decorative objects on the wall to link the table top to the wall above and its decor.  Again, she shows a masterful use of layering and adding three-dimensional depth to her vignette. 

I don't know how I missed this March 7, 2013 blog post by Wendy at The Shabby Nest, but I did!  She is redoing her entry hall area and, lo and behold, I expect it will have a console table in it.  The photographs she put up in her post Entry Way Inspiration are like - to die for spaces!  I was particularly drawn to these two designs.  I'm sure you can see the similarities in them:

Source: via Wendy on Pinterest

Source: via Wendy on Pinterest
What I liked about these Wendy selections is the arrangement of art around/above the tables, as well as the use of mirrors.  I don't have a chandelier to dangle in front of my console table, my not too big or glamourous chandy is hanging above the dinette table, moved from my first home in 1989 and installed into this home when I had it built in 1990.  It's 1930's Art Deco and it reminds me of that first home, that I loved very much!  Anyway, it does not play a role in the presentation of the console table and wall on which it is on, except to shed incidental light when on. 

I noted the use of mirrors in both of these vignettes, as well as the storage stools underneath the table in the second photograph. I saw this idea in other photographs, too, although they were not always storage stools or cassocks.  I think that is a great idea.  Not only would such storage add much needed "bulk" (substance) underneath my delicate console table, storage stools or cassocks can always be used for emergency seating in the family room or for footstools, or side tables to hold drinks and serving bowls with a tray on top.  And, of course, there is the added bonus of extra storage, of which one can never have enough!

The displays on the walls above the two console tables (above two photos) are beautiful, and designed for their respective wall areas.  But, I have to face facts, I'm cramming my wall space full because I don't have just a few photos I wish to display, I have several lifetimes of family that I wish to highlight as well as photographs of Mr. Don, may he rest in peace, and my Goddesschess buddies from over the years, on our various travels here and there.  Trying to balance all of that out is, frankly, nearly impossible, but I've got my selections made nonetheless and I'm trying to fit them all on to that one wall.

Well, I could go bonkers and put walls of photographs up everywhere, LOL!  And maybe that's the solution...

Anyway, take a look at the sideboard design by Melissa at Daisy Mae Bells's dining room:

Once again, the repeating theme: mirror, stacked prints, layered table-top objects filling in the negative space between table and wall.  But I'm not limiting myself to six or nine or twelve or sixteen or twenty framed prints or photographs...

I like Melissa's use of a gathered skirt to fillout the table and give it substance against the substantial/chunkier designed dining table and benches.  And I want one of those bird cages...  The table looks narrow, even narrower than mine, and yet she has a lot of objects on it.  although I'm sure they'd mostly be cleared if she wants to use it as a sideboard during a party or large family meal.  And - wonder what's tucked underneath that table skirt!!!

And, finally, from the March 11, 2013 blog at CreateInspire:

This is wrote past Monday when I first came across this sideboard redo:  Love the buffet but it was actually the decorated result that caught my attention:   Simple, elegant, not too gradiose, not too minimalist. When I saw the decor, I said to myself "Self, you can surely do something like that!"

But - wonder what such a design would look like with photographs hanging on the wall behind it?  Ach!  I don't know, I don't know.  I'm just plowing ahead anyway.  I've got laundry to do and more pictures to hang, and right now we've got a full-blown nor'easter going outside.  Wet, heavy big flakes.  OH NOOOOO....

Right now I've got to get a load of laundry going, do something for supper, and dig out some long-buried small wall shelves, to see if I can do some "Debbie Dabble" magic on that dinette gallery wall.  For the time being, no lamp or lamps.  Hmmm, just occurred to me, how the hell does Debbie get all of those lights lighted up. Surely she doesn't have an available outlet every few feet!  Extension cords?  How to hid them with my leggy beauty of a table, with only one outlet on that wall to boot?

Oh, my head is starting to hurt...


  1. Jan,
    I am so flattered that you mentioned Debbie-Dabble!! Thanks so much! I gave you a shout out in my latest post!

    To hide the cord, you can always decorate underneath the table too!!


  2. Easter Blessings to you and yours, Deb! You are such an inspiration, particularly this year, when I'm dealing with my own trials and tribulations and you are dealing with yours. May we both plow through them together and come out the better and the wiser for it.

    Smooches and hugs!