An Ode to Brown Furniture?

Is brown furniture out? I first learned of this about two years ago during a tour of homes with a friend. It was casually mentioned in a whisper. It came up again last night when I was reading blog posts over at the potted boxwood.

As an aside – I just found this blog and LOVE it. She also has YouTube and Instagram accounts.

When this was first mentioned in a whispered voice I was stunned. As a native of NC who grew up near High Point, the furniture capital, this was a stunning statement. As I look around my home and think about my parents house, I think of brown furniture. Growing up there was a plethora of family pieces. When my Mom and Dad furnished their first home, my grandfather took my Mother up to the hayloft of the family barn and asked her what pieces she wanted. The loveseat and a pair of chairs she selected grace my home today. I think of it as furniture sustainability. Furniture was handed down and cherished.

The furniture of yesterday was a work of art. It was made to last and has. My style is somewhat eclectic. I love pairing a Saarinen table with my grandmother’s china cabinet and a beautiful chandelier or an acrylic table with a camelback formal sofa. It adds interest and surprise to a room.

Today it seems like furniture is considered a disposable good. This is the weekend I always go to New York to attend the Winter Antique show. That’s not happening this year because of COVID but I think of all the beautiful pieces of furniture I’ve seen and wonder what we are making today. I have wonderful memories of my first home. On Saturday mornings when I was doing the house, I’d pick up my Mom and we would scour North Carolina – Thomasville, Lexington, High Point – salvage stores for furniture, textile second outlets for fabric, antique stores for everything, not to mention my Mom’s storage unit for family pieces. It was fun and I still cherish the pieces I found. I also have all of those pieces but for one that didn’t make the last move.

In an era where we champion sustainability doesn’t it seem like “brown furniture” has a place?

The incredible light bulb

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I’m on a decorating kick.  Last year I purchased a well-preserved arts and crafts style home originally built in 1919.  The first floor is in wonderful condition but the second floor needs some TLC.  I’m slowly working on it one piece at a time.

My latest discovery is the crystal lightbulb.  I “borrowed” this idea from a dear friend.The bulbs look like cut crystal.  They are slightly more expensive than your regular bulb but if you are looking for an inexpensive way to “kick it up a notch”, this is it. The bulbs are available on Amazon and Lowe’s.

I love them in my bathroom fixture.  The shine through the glass shades highlighting the cut “crystal”.  They also look beautiful when you look up at the light.  Instead of viewing a naked bulb you see this beautiful “crystal”.  Something so simple as this small detail and it makes such a difference.

 

Project Bedroom

 

 

7C1C0672-2BAA-4D9C-91DC-64CC5CCA67A9I’m in the process of decorating a bedroom.  As the only girl for multiple generations, I am fortunate to possess a number of family pieces.  Also, growing up in the piedmont of North Carolina, or furniture country, there was access to wonderful pieces and a great selection of furniture.  This time, however, I decided to start with an empty room and see where it leads me.

Thus far I painted the room in my favorite color, pointing, by Farrow and Ball.  I’ve used this color previously and love it.  There is something I love about Farrow and Ball paint and this color is the perfect “white”.  It is more of a cream than a dead white.  It has just enough color to have “body”.  Cameron at Palette in Charlottesville, is amazingly helpful with the paint.  With her help I selected the finish and the color.

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My inspiration piece is a blanket I found during a recent trip to Scotland.  It is this beautiful white, black and pink Scottish plaid.  Even better, it will pick up on the black I painted the sunroom/office walls.

I discovered this beautiful black floral fabric at The Second Yard.  With their help, I’ve designed an upholstered headboard.  It is perfect with the blanket.

I love repurposing what I have.  It is my version of shopping my closet.  By chance I discovered that the lamps in my sunroom are perfect with the headboard fabric  I swapped out the shades from white drum to black oval.  I wanted a slightly smaller shade/ footprint for the lamp in this room.

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I’m also focusing on small details to pull the room together and update it.  For under five dollars, I replaced the pulls on the radiator cover.  Now they look “today” and will fit with the overall look I want for the room.  They also pick up the metal in the fun new fire screen I purchased.

 

I love a living plant in a room.  I tend to have a black thumb.  My Dad used to say a funeral prayer everytime my Mom or I purchased a plant.  I seem to be able to keep orchids alive so I opt for orchids.  Ivy Nursery is wonderful and a great collaborator.

I’m currently debating furniture.  I have one chair and a desk in there now.  I’m debating both.  Stay tuned, this is the fun part.

 

 

The Christmas Tree

My tree is a book of memories.  The ornaments are from multiple generations.  I’ve purchased some, some my mother made or bought, some are from my grandparents and a few from the great grands.  Each Christmas as I open the boxes of carefully packed ornaments I am reminded of the many Christmases past, those special family moments, trips I’ve taken, special friends, and anticipation of what this Christmas will bring.

 

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Acquiring the tree is the first step.  My family always has a live tree and acquiring the tree was always an adventure.  One of the first Christmas trees I remember involved a trip to the family farm to cut our own tree.  The following year the farm was gone so we were off to the tree lot.  Drama ensued when Snowball, my puppy, escaped from the station wagon only to be found curled up by the heater in the cashier’s hut after much drama and tears.  That year was somewhat cursed.  My Dad cut off too many branches from the bottom of the tree as he put the tree in the stand and had to wire them back on to please my Mother.  Once the tree was set up, lights added and fully decorated, my Dad climbed the ladder to carefully place the china angle on the top of the tree.  This angel was cherished and beautiful and a wedding gift.  Yes, you can guess, disaster ensued as the ladder collapsed resulting in Dad on the floor, tree on top of him, and broken glass ornaments scattered across the living room floor.  I still recall my Mother’s cries of my angel, my angle as my father was trapped on the floor under the tree.   Dad was rescued, the tree put back up, new ornaments purchased, and a new tree topper located.

 

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The one thing I never got was why my Mother refused tinsel on the tree.  Her Mother’s tree was a work of art with icicle tinsel perfectly draped.  Her trees were the most gorgeous one’s I’ve ever seen.  She would begin the weekend after Thanksgivingworking diligently up to Christmas Eve on her tree and emptying cases of icicles in the process.   My Mother hated icicles and they were banned from our house.  Then again she decorated three live trees., a small formal one for the living room, the large one in the family room and a white flocked tree in the foyer

I decorate a large tree for the living room and a small tree for the TV room.  They make my Christmas special.

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