Well, the last couple of days have been rather synchronicitous (hmmm, wonder if that's actually a word...) As you may know, I've been in the process of redoing my family room for about a year now, and I haven't made much progress. My problem is that, on a really really miniscule budget, my eyes are bigger than my wallet.
Oh, I've got the paint, I've got the fake wood (yes, I bought fake wood) chair-rail and blocks (inner and outer corners and joiners for in-between to span a long run of wall) that I will be able to install myself (I hope) with glue and NO NAILS! I've got the textured and patterned wallpaper for the lower part of the walls, I've got my celadon horsey that I found at TJ Maxx more than a year ago that was the inspiration for the whole adventure! I also have what I think is an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous area rug I bought at Overstock.com that will anchor the seating area, and to-die-for "seaside blue" curtains that I picked up at J.C. Penney's -- actually went to the mall and shopped there in person because I wanted to see the colors with my own eyes.
Well, it has seemed for the past 13 plus years (ever since I and others started up Goddesschess) that I no sooner form a thought than all of a sudden I'm bombarded with images, conversations, newspaper and magazine articles, or -- well, for instance, when I was cleaning last weekend, I came across an old Traditional Home magazine, from October, 2009, that somehow I'd not read yet! So on Monday I took it along for my bus ride to the office, and - me bad - dog-earred several pages. Perfectly innocent, right? Here are scans of two of those pages:
Oops! A crooked scan, geez. But I'm not doing it over, please try to ignore the, er, crookedness. Anyway, the cover of the magazine (top scan) features four wing chairs around what I call a "library" table (also may be called a "hall" table). It's probably as tall as a tea table and, as far as I know, always round. I am guessing that the diameter of the table isn't more than 36" -- so the chairs are pulled in close, and what a great way to promote conversation or play a game of chess, or 500 rummy. I love the design of that space.
The second picture - it just took my breath away. While I'm not crazy about the use of those stools -- how uncomfortable those would be when you're trying to sit at that scrumptious table reading a book or chatting with some friends over tea or coffee or cocktails -- the overall design just wowed me! Mentally I substituted appropriately scaled upholstered side chairs in place of those stools. The table in Pic 2 is quite a bit larger than the table in the first picture, and is loaded with books, a topiary, and that exquisite Tang Dynasty style horse. Oh my! The entire setting just draws me in and I want to sit for hours exploring those books -- wonder what they are...
Above is my own modestly priced but all wood version of a Tang Dynasty horse purchased some years ago from the Museum Store in the mall downtown. She is very well done, with good coloration and fine proportions. And my Xena, Warrior Princess, aaaaayyyyeeeeeiioooooooaaaahhhhh, giving a Xena shout-out, rides forth to some new adventure, as she waves to her buddy hanging around above...
I found the prints (above) online -- they feature Tang Dynasty horses, the black one is being ridden by a trainer. Ah yes, you can see my lovely (not) wallpaper with some parts already torn off, sans border that used to top it, that was installed far higher than any wallpaper border meant to substitute for a chair rail had a right to be! Well, I took 32 inches (average height for chair rail from the floor) and stretched it to 42 inches. LOL! The frames in the pic are positively ANCIENT, darlings. Plastic - black shiny plastic. And fake gold trim - it's like thick gold-toned foil glued around the black plastic. LOL! I adore them, of course. Two hundred years from now I'll be able to pass them off as genuine bakelite, and who will know... Now the table - and that far too tall for today lamp (one of a pair) -- what on earth am I going to do with those? They are still in perfect condition. Table purchased in 1986, lamps purchased in perhaps 1995.
Perhaps now you see why I particularly fell in love with photograph #2 from the October 2009 Traditional Home magazine. I don't have a statuesque and stately urn, nor a live topiary, nor a small crystal sphere, and the only magnifying glass I own is in my Walgreens readers, but books I have - multitudes of books, in all shapes, sizes and colors, in all subjects. I am a book lover's haven of books! I want to show off some of my books in a delightful "library" vignette featuring an exquisite round table with perfectly-proportioned Queen Anne chairs against a sophisticated taupe and creamy white background (don't forget the chair rail that I will miraculously install perfectly level and plumb), with either Xena's black Tang Dynasty horse or my TJMaxx find, the celadon-colored pottery Tang Dynasty horse not done very well (her propotions make her look like the Incredible Hulk of faux Tang Dynasty horses) but I love her anyway. In the background, through my exquisitely draped and ornamented window, you will just be able to make out my lush backyard gardens in the summertime, and if you listen carefully you may even here a cardinal's song...or a Milwaukee Brewers game on the radio. And see me with holely socks stretched out on the too large sleeper sofa that I really don't want to get rid of. Ahhhhhh....
Now, if all of that wasn't enough to put me over the edge (Monday night I'd already started window shopping online like a woman possessed to see if I could find a suitable table at a suitable price and I continued Tuesday night, frustrated but more determined than ever), Wednesday over lunch hour I was visiting Savvy Southern's Style Wow-Us Wednesdays and there I saw post #28, which led me to The French Hutch and Emily's March 4, 2013 post on some wonderfully gorgeous chairs in her household. AND -- this photograph. You'll have to visit to see it -- scroll down to photograph #19 of 34 and then click on it to enlarge, and you'll be taken to a slideshow that shows a larger photo. It shows two Chippendale style wing chairs opposite each other and in the middle rests a beautiful antique round table stacked with books and a floral arrangement of hydrangeas. It's in the study. The study. You should never ever see the room I call my study.
When I got home from the office Wednesday night, there was an email from my youngest sister. She and her hubby have sold their large house here in southeast Wisconsin and are moving to what we SE Wisconsinites call "up north," about 4 1/2 hour drive away. Yeah, pretty far up there. I'm losing my baby sister. She may as well be moving to the fricking moon.
They're downsizing and need to get rid of some furniture. She asked me if I was interested in buying anything. Well, it just so happens I've always admired her Queen Anne style console table that has excellent proportions and a mellow cherry finish -- and it has three (or is it two?) drawers. In the same room - a seldom-used living room - are two deep teal wing chairs in a silky-looking waffle-weave fabric in a modified Queen Anne style. So, I asked what she'd be willing to part with them for.
She replied, and truth be told, I wasn't very tactful when I told her she was nuts for the price she was asking. So, I said forget about the chairs, this is what I'll offer for the table (a ridiculously low price). She probably will never speak to me again...
Had those pieces on my brain ALL DAY LONG TODAY. Geez! The scale of my sister's wing chairs would fit much better into my 12 1/2 x 18 foot family room, but I just wasn't sure about the color. Deep teal, how would it look with my tending-toward-green celadon, taupe and white walls/trim? Could those colors possibly work together? Hmmm... Over the lunch hour I did some searches and the only way I might be able to make it work would be to start over with print curtains, that I would have to make, featuring the colors together with some taupe. I saw some intriguing combinations and patterns, but realistically, it's just not going to happen. I like my new as yet unused curtains far too much to junk them at this stage! They haven't even been hung up yet - they're virgins!
When I got home tonight I pulled the curtains and the rug out of the garage where I've been storing them and did a close examination. Ooohhhh, I did make the right decisions on the rug and the curtains. Then I tried my best to see what the curtains would look like against screen shots of medium to dark teal colors on the computer. I decided that my sister's teal wing chairs just will not go with my curtains or the rug. So, unless she makes me an offer I absolutely cannot refuse, no teal wing chairs will be joining Maison Newton. Maybe I could paint them... No Jan, NO!
But that Queen Anne style console table, that's a different matter. I made her a more serious offer tonight, I'll see what she says. She may try for a decent price -- it's pretty obvious that my sis hasn't checked prices on our local Craig's List, else she would realize she will only get a relative pittance for her beautiful table, either through Craig's List or a rummage sale.
So - yep, I want a round table for my family room. Never mind that I have a 56" round and rather imposing dining table right next store in the dinette, which can be seen in all of its glory, surrounded by four equally imposing chairs, from the large doorway between dinette and family room. Ah yes, the "open concept" design in its infancy. I think it would look rather silly to have two round tables of relatively close size so close to each other, don't you? And how could I coordinate the styles and/or finishes so they wouldn't jar against each other?
Oh, decisions, decisions.
None of which has stopped my online window shopping, LOL! I thought perhaps something around 36" diameter would work. More tomorow...
December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan