Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Having My Own Things About Me

I have a tendency to hold on to well-loved things forever and ever.

We've had the same living room couch and loveseat set for 24 years, for instance.  I know their pink and green floral pattern dates these pieces; but even though they were bought at Costco for a bargain basement price, they are a good make (I think?)--Bassett--and they have held up beautifully, so I can't see the justification for replacing them.  Besides, when I see them looking right at home in our new house in VA, their steadfastness and familiarity--and all the memories they evoke, of Rosaries prayed together while sitting on them in our old living room when our boys were growing up--give me a great sense of peace and happiness.

Can furniture make you happy?  Should it?  I don't know, but it does.  And actually, the older and more well-used, the better.  I can totally relate to Mary Kate Danaher, the feisty heroine in The Quiet Man (hands down one of the greatest movies of all time), when she says: "Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having my own things about me.  My spinet over there, and a table here, and my own chairs to rest upon.  And a dresser over there in that corner, and my own china and pewter shinin' about me."
I get you, Mary Kate, I really do.  Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of only two things: getting married and being a mom; and having a home to take care of.  Call me old-fashioned.  (Really, you can call me that.  I'm totally okay with it.)

When we moved in March of 2017 from our home in NH, where we'd lived for 26 years and raised our boys, the transition was a bit emotional. Of course, we were moving closer to the people we loved, so we knew we would be happy here.  But I have to admit that I wondered if the much-different house we were moving to could really ever feel like home to me.  Well, after more than a year as a Virginian, I am pleased to report that it does; and one of the reasons for this is that I have my own things about me.  Even shinier, newer furnishings could never make me as happy as these familiar friends.

Once such piece of furniture is a pine night stand that my husband made way back in December of 1991, for our two oldest sons' bedroom.  (I know this is when he made it because I actually dated it, in pen, on the back.)  Once upon a time, the room it lived in looked like this.
[Sniff]   Where do the years go?  It seems like yesterday that our five boys were all still sleeping under our roof, tucked in beds covered in Notre Dame puffs...

Sorry about that.  Back to the night stand.  This solidly-built little piece was a total original, made without plans, and my husband even let me help him with some of the design elements.

This is how this beloved friend looked when we found it a new home in our VA house, between the twin beds that are sometimes occupied by our twin granddaughters when they come for sleepovers.

So here's the BEFORE.
For years now, I've thought it would be a good idea to add another shelf to this piece, so that it could be used as a more traditional bookshelf.  But there always seemed to be more important projects for my husband to tackle, so I didn't push it.

BUT--we had to leave behind our built-in bookcases when we made the big move, and I've spent the past year trying to figure out how to incorporate book storage wherever possible; so I recently decided that now would be a good time to finally add that shelf, and this project shot to the top of the honey-do list.

And my honey did.  So here's what it looks like now.
And here's the AFTER.
I thought it might be hard to match the stain perfectly, so I decided to try my hand at using chalk paint, after hearing so many good things about it.  (The fact that it can be applied over stain without sanding first was a big selling point with me.)  I wasn't sure what color to paint it, but I always seem to be drawn to shades of green.  I think Mary Kate Dannaher would approve of this very Irish color I settled upon.  Aye, I think she would!

This charming little bedroom pleases me so.  It looks like it belongs in a B&B, always ready to welcome stayover guests.  That's one thing that does change when you no longer have a passel of messy boys living at home: everything stays so neat and clean!

Unlike Mary Kate Danaher, I can definitely live without a spinet (I have no musical talent whatsoever) or shinin' pewter; but I need to have my books about me!  So in a future post, I'll show you how I turned each of our bedrooms in the new house into mini-libraries, since there really weren't good places anywhere else in the house to add bookshelves.  I'm sure you'll be waiting with baited breath for that post!


  1. Really nice. Good job! It looks very fresh.

    1. Thanks! I think it got a nice little facelift. It feels like a whole new piece of furniture to me. (And yet, still familiar.)

  2. Love the bed and breakfast feel of your "guest room"!