If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Den Before and After

The den has always been a sanctuary sort of place for me - in every home where I've ever lived.  It is a place to gather and relax.  It is a place for chilling out and regrouping and refueling.  It is a place for leisure and sharing.  It is a place to plop down and prop your feet up.

One of the good things about the den in this house is that it was pretty much a blank slate.  There was no furniture in here and it simply needed a fresh coat of paint.  The only thing that was somewhat permanent was the television connection which determined what wall was set aside for that.

 The corner cabinet in the right hand side of the shot below is the first piece of furniture Mike's mom bought after she married.  The china cabinet on the left belonged to some relative of his.  The piece that the television sits upon was a gift from my great aunt.  The beautiful cross-stitched piece above the television was a gift from my Mom at Christmas.  I had fallen in love with the merlot silk drapes and got them for my dining room in my former house at Rover.  They have such a rich sheen and are decorated with soutache braid which forms an all-over diamond pattern.  They are the dominant color in the room because all of the furniture is some shade of beige.  So, I have a couple of pillows the same color and a chenille throw picks up the wine color as well.  Of course, I have the blue and white transferware and blue and white painted pieces in there, too.  So, this room has the deep relaxing rich shades of color.
The two wingback chairs were rescued from the dumpster about ten years ago by my friend Phyllis.  She was sorry that she hadn't been just a few minutes earlier taking her trash away because she could have asked the fellow for the sofa that went with them as well.  I bought the fabric for a song and my mother had them reupholstered for me as my Christmas and birthday gifts when I moved into the house at Rover.  So, none of the furnishings in this room have been big investments and almost every bit of the accessories have also been gifts.  That is decorating on a budget!  I love it.

 Sometimes I fear that this room is too dark because of the dark drapes and the porch sheltering the light from the windows.  Since the house faces east, the porch and the drapes protect us from hot morning sun in the mornings and fading.  But, it does prevent the light airy feeling that the kitchen provides.  I guess the trade-off of the relaxing feeling is a good one, though.  The dog painting hanging over Mike's recliner was rescued from the trash years ago.  One of the students in a class I was assigned as shared-teacher into was going to throw it away because it was just painted on cardboard and "wasn't all that good."  I asked him if I could take it because it made me smile.  It still does!  I wound up getting a pre-made frame and paid dearly for the mat and glass to preserve the free/trashed painting. 
Some folks - including my dear husband have mentioned how big the sofa is.  Well, I agree that it is a big old thing.  However, I am a couch lounger.  I shopped and shopped just to find the right one.  I wanted it to be wide enough to flop on and watch television or read if I so desired.  I also wanted it to be long enough to stretch out and nap on if the need arises.  It is a big old barge but it is a neutral color and has a nice curved back and interesting legs.  It allows me to wallow around when I want and has cuddled lots of cozy naps, too.

I didn't take the next picture from the same angle as the above photo.  I'll have to go back and photograph at some point from the above angle so that I can show off the beautiful bureau that sits beside the hearth.  This room really is as big as these photos show.  It is quite full of furniture but doesn't seem in the least bit crowded.  When all four children, their families, and our parents joined us to celebrate Christmas this past winter, we had plenty of space. 
Photos of the children anchor the wall on the end of the room.  Yes, that is a tiger-striped ottoman there.  It is my unexpected element in the room.  I knew I wanted an ottoman as a coffee table when I moved into the house at Rover so that it could double as seating when I had a large group of people.  It has served me well here, too.  The granddaughters love to climb on it or play round it or stand upon it as a stage.  I guess I just had to let my wild side roar a little bit.  I hate that the beautiful crown molding doesn't show up as much as the wooden floors do in these shots.  They combine to really make the room seem special - formal enough to elevate the scrappiness of the hodge-podge meshing of furnishings which were combined to make our home.  

Almost every room is a delicious amalgamation of our two homes - things don't match but, amazingly, they do seem to belong together.  Maybe our furnishings and home are simply a reflection of the union of the two of us.