I live in an older home. A ninety four year old home to be exact.
My last post was a link up to Transforming the Home. At first glance it seems a bit shameless to do a post on my own house but I think it could be interesting to share with other old home lovers the ups and downs of living and updating these old money pits. You either love them or are grateful you don't have one. They are a constant work in progress but for the last couple of years I have been happily focused on other things in my life and this has taken a back seat. Things here are quickly beginning to look neglected though and I am realizing that It is time to redirect some of my efforts back into this old rambler that we call home.
Let me begin at the beginning.
This photo is of Ellen and her brother. Their father built this house in 1915-1916 and Ellen was born here. The picture was taken when she was about three She figures that this was not long after the end of World War I and that explains the patriotic attire. She laughingly commented that her brother looks like the kind of boy you would like to bully.
I talked with Ellen in 2003 when she was 88 years old. She was delightful. I want to grow up to be a cool 88 like her. She was twelve when her family left here and moved to California. She hadn't seen the house since she was quite young and she was thrilled to see the pictures I sent her of the house today and of our family. She told me she so enjoyed her trip back in time. She shared her memories of her life here and of servants ... hmmmmm wonder what happened to them? There certainly weren't any of those here when we moved in. Ellen shared with me her memories of pony rides out back and of huge flower gardens, of breakfasts of bread dipped in milk and sugar with her nanny in the kitchen and of parties her parents would throw on the sunporch. She remembers one in particular where they roasted an entire pig and served it with the apple in its mouth. She said her life while she lived here was good and she thought we were carrying on that tradition. I'd like to think so even if it is more about egg beaters and salads in a bag, cigars and martinis around the firepit and movies in and eating out.
I thought it might be fun to share with you in a series of posts, the lives of some of the various people who have lived here and the different decorating styles and changes that this old house has experienced over the years and where I hope to take it next. So here goes nothing.... In this post I will feature the living room. Do you think they called it that back in 1916?
In 1928 there was actually a wake in this room for the lady of the house, a young mom that had died in child birth. From here there was a procession down to the church. It all seems weird now but I guess it was common back then.
The earliest picture I have of this room is from the late 1950's.
Those stockings are so retro cool. The whole thing kind of looks like something out of A Christmas Story. It's only missing one of these babies.
By the 1960's the bricks in the fireplace had a coat of white paint and a new fire screen.
This is how the mantel was decorated for the holidays in the sixties. Lots of brass going on here. As for the lady of the house, isn't she pretty? I actually knew her before we even bought the house but it wasn't until after we had moved in that I realized that at one time she called this place home too. Small world.
I love that dress and all of that hair. Gorgeous. Wouldn't it be fun to dress up like that? Seriously, I was born too late.
Oh Lu you distract me. By the 1970's the fireplace was no longer white. In a practice that was common during this era, it looks like it was "antiqued" a technique of paint and stain. Check out those mirrored tiles. Yikes.
I think that this must have been the decade of mirrored surfaces and lots of plants.
Here is a look at the other end of the living room. Definitely an asian thing going on here at that time.
During the eighties the house changed hands yet again. This family had their work cut out for them. For starters there was a lot of termite damage under the front porch that had encroached into the front of the house. A huge support beam had to be installed that meant pulling up some of the living room floor. Thank Heavens for Orkin and our lifetime warranty that I renew every year. This had to be an expensive fix. The good thing is after they refinished the floors you can't tell that there was ever a problem.
In the 80's the fireplace got another facelift. The stain went much darker and the mirrors were replaced with marble. Apparently there was some plumbing work done too. Trust me, there is definitely not a toilet in this room. :0
and in 1997
Here is how it looked the day we moved in.
The first thing we did was lose the blue draperies since I had done the whole country blue thing a few years earlier and I was sooooooooooo over it.
I wanted to bring happy colors into the house so we went with yellow. This picture makes it look REALLY yellow. In reality it isn't quite this vivid. We had a party here before we even moved in and I had wallpaper books and paint sample options sitting around for our guests to vote on. We didn't have any furniture here yet so we just borrowed some lawn furniture (Thank you McGurk's) and scattered it around. It was a totally fun night.
When we first moved in I needed to buy rugs to cover all of these wood floors and I filled the corners with dining chairs since I only had the small love seat and one wing chair. About a year in it looked more like this. The wing chairs came from the Salvation Army and I had them recovered it the red damask which I still love but I'm just ready for a change so these are the chairs that I want to add off- white slipcovers to. Notice I still didn't have any window treatments. Does this bare look bother you?
Shortly after that picture was taken I did add the draperies and I loved them for about five years. Now, not so much. Everything is so formal. Really? who was I trying to impress???
This is how it looks today. I guess I could say it is complete but I am definitely ready for a change. I'd like something more inviting, more casual, more me.
The clock is an attempt to bring a little whimsey and lighten the mood up in here. That plus the fact that it didn't sell at my Traveling Door Show. Sigh. Oh well, now I kind of like it here.
Yes, this room is crying out for help. This old house doesn't want to look like an old lady. No 2000 late look for her. No not at all she is ready for something fresh. A bit of a lift and a tuck. She is a party house and she is ready to get her freak on and fly her party flair. All suggestions welcome.
I am linking today with Blue Cricket Design and Remodelaholic two new to me fun and inspirational sites where I go to be inspired.