Tag Archives: decorating “rules”

The Unhibernated Dining Table

The dining room table had been “hibernating,” or something. It had a length of fabric over it and the cherry coffee table, which currently has no home, upside down on top of it.

That means of course, we couldn’t eat at the table. During the winter, since this is the north side of the house, in a room that’s cool by nature, that wasn’t a problem.

But I bought new rugs yesterday for the dining room. In order to get them in the room and convert it to the two or three separate functional spaces it needs to be to USE those rugs? The table had to be cleared. It is.

Unfortunately, it had also developed a rather bad check (crack) while storing the coffee table! DH looked at it and said something like, “Hm. You really want a round table, right?” and indeed I do. One of the pieces of research I did on decorating talked extensively about the effect of square or rectangular tables in a room, that is that emotionally, it’s says, “Stop!”

I bought the table and chairs to decorate our Tampa house, in 1985 or so. It’s oak, modern, and rectangular, which fit the open-concept, new/modern house we had. It was our kitchen table. There was a tiger oak dining table, which I sold a few years back, an English antique, it was one of our first pieces of “real” furniture. A relative of DH’s contributed tiger oak chairs. We still have the chairs, they’re heirlooms.

So, DH may make me a new table top — we’ll see! But in the meantime, the dining table has emerged from where it was hibernating — progress!


Other things I bought yesterday were a desk organizer and a sign, also for the kitchen/dining area. While at the company’s website, I decided wtf, I’d take their decorating “quiz,” because it could hardly be worse than all the others I’d tried.

Much to my surprise, the description of what I like was pretty accurate:

“You love the fresh, stylish-yet-simple look found in today’s updated Farmhouse Décor! Your style is graceful and uncluttered but retains a welcoming and warmhearted feel. Clean, soothing whites, taupe and grey tones, mixed with weathered wood and the occasional splash of color create a simple backdrop that’s easy to live with and even easier to accessorize! If you love the look of painted bead-board, or ship lapped walls paired with wooden floors…you’re all in girlfriend!”

Well, okay. I like whites, (and matte black) but I hate most greys and taupes and “greige,” ug. Lots of splashes of color. Yes, I like painted bead-board. Shiplapped walls? Nope, but this is a log home, it looks like we shiplapped the entire building! Wooden floors? Well, I like my wooden floor, I just wish it had been finished before we moved in!

“Farmhouse style reflects a way of life that is intimately connected to the land. It represents a lifestyle where necessity and a do-it-yourself attitude demand that items be repurposed and reused – often by generations of farm families. You love this style because it hearkens back to the simpler days of yesteryear and satisfies your longing for good-old-fashioned hard work, practicality, and close family ties.”

I don’t know if any of this is true or not. Certainly we do a lot of DIY and I like reused items quite a lot. But I said years ago that I liked “shabby” not because I loved chippy paint, but because I liked the fact that you didn’t have to fuss to maintain the surface. My observation about modern decorating is that it’s all about surfaces: clean, shiny surfaces — and they demand extensive caretaking. I do NOT want that. I want a place I can put my feet on the table or couch without stressing about it. The Tampa house was beautiful, but it had a great room with a white floor and the other floors were all med. grey carpets. Took a lot of maintenance to keep up the huge horizontal surfaces (which I didn’t do well).

“A Farmhouse style home is unpretentious, but definitely stylish, with an emphasis on useful yet aesthetically pleasing items. Flea market finds and DIY masterpieces are combined with new items and reproductions – it’s all part of the charm. A neutral color palette sets the stage, followed by weathered or painted furniture, apron front sinks, open shelves, and farmhouse tables. Complete the look with grain sack, linen, or ticking stripe fabrics, farm and industrial accents, galvanized tin items, vintage signs, chalk paint, white ironstone, and mason jars.”

I agree with all of this, up to the apron front sinks. I’m not fond of most of the rest of it: grain sack linens, ticking, farm/industrial accents, galvanized tin items, vintage signs, chalk paint, ironstone, and mason jars. I like all of that in moderation and HATE most of what I see. I call it “cheap Chinese crap.” I’m not fond of cutesy. I don’t want this place to look like the Sears catalog or any other. 

This was weird, because I hadn’t found anyone who seemed to have any idea that I might like a huge old industrial pressure cooker (we use it to hold fat wood) as well as the LCD op art looking thing on my bedroom wall (it’s a thermometer). If you read this blog at all, you know that I’ve written several posts about trying to find a description of my preferred “style.” And, although I will likely never put up a sign about farm girls, farmsteads, or country, or sweet tea or… this is pretty darn close!

The company has NOT asked me for this review, and I’m not getting anything for it, but the company is this one.

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Decorating: Looking for Versatile, Cheap, Minimalist, and Easy to Clean

Don’t want much, do I?

I’m looking for things I can change that aren’t too fussy,  I can get cheaply (or already have), and are fairly easy to clean. In the past I acquired boxes of decorative stuff. To be fair, some of it was store decoration, but honestly, some of it wasn’t. So I have too much and I’m trying to be sane about culling things.

(Along this line, I removed the unsold Christmas items from the booth. Some of it was donated last week. I have a small bag to try to wholesale. If that works, great. If not, those pieces get donated.)

My “rules” so far:

  • Pottery: crackle glazes don’t look dirty as fast as clear glazes. For that matter, mottled, mixed colors don’t show up dirt/grime as quickly as solids or geometrics. (But personally, I prefer solid colors to most pottery patterns.) Also, “muddy” colors show dust and dirt less than “clear” ones (jade rather than forest green, for example).
  • Clear glass isn’t popular, so it’s easy to find nice pieces, really cheap. You can find interestingly shaped vases, bowls, etc. at thrift shops etc. Buy plain, bigger pieces for their shape.
  • Metalware: Silverplate platters with minimal detailing also look great and can be found cheaply. (I have 2. I think I paid $3 for one, the other was $1.50 because no one had polished it in Gawd knows how long!)
  • Don’t buy ephemeral decorations: fresh flowers, live wreaths, etc. Use silk, dried, metal or whatever otherwise, buy it once and use it continually. Less cost, less storage, less to remember, less waste. If it’s got to be “real,” use citrus, pomegranates or winter squashes which can be eaten when you’re through or as required.
  • Limit decorative space. Right now, I have 3 and the door: the middle of the dining room table, the hall console, the strap table, and the front door. (My goal is to have 3 and that’s it.)

Fairly plain containers of clear glass, china or silverplate can be instantly decorated with nearly anything colorful and look fresh. Add a ribbon or two, beads, or tissue, or fabric or . . . and you can make an attractive, nearly unlimited display, year round.

I have smaller pieces I love which are swapped in and out. If I decorated for each holiday, I’d have iridescent beads as filler in one or more vase right now. I don’t decorate that way; I decorate seasonally.  The only holiday I decorate for is Christmas.

My winter decorating needs to be bright, cheery and colorful. It’s a deliberate contrast to the gloom, bare trees, snow and slush outside.

My plan today is to redo my decorating, so I don’t have to do it again, until March or so. If I get “cabin fever” and just need a change or something green, well, I’ll do something else.

Here are the pieces:

  • wide clear bowl, type flowers are floated in
  • 2 round silverplate platters
  • various vases, bowls, and plates, mostly either crackle glazed or with a “muddy” glaze.
  • large clear glass vases
  • clear bonbon dish
  • candlesticks: clear glass, and otherwise

I have beads, fabric, paper, candles and other stuff. Not sure what I’ll use yet, where.

I pulled glassware and pottery from the display atop the kitchen cabinets. Some of it instantly became merchandise — it’s going away. A vase was put in the living room. Other pieces are part of the list above. I need to get the rest of that display down. If the “stuff” up there gets forgotten, I probably don’t need it and should get rid of it

We’ll see!


The idea is: fewer areas to decorate (4 now, goal is 3. There are 3 now, 4/2017), fewer decorations or decorative stuff stored (in process), fewer changes of the decorations (seasonally & Christmas = 5 turns a year).

General Purging: I’ve lotted one lot of yarn, another of my sea glass “filler” and marbles for the antique store. <-Last of this sold 4/2017. (I kept a sandwich bag of marbles, that’s it, the rest  are going!) I pulled 2 yellow pitchers from the top of the kitchen cabinets, they’re going too. Sold 4/2017.

The idea is that I need to empty/remove the stacked crates on the kitchen counter. There’s not much decorative stuff up there any more (it was entirely that at one point) but it’s where my mixing bowls, etc. are stored. Working on paring down the kitchen tools and china and so that I can make the space I have work.

More to change: the herb rack will come down. The grid wall needs to be replaced by the other ladder. I may combine the herb rack and new ladder, as the ladder is short. That detail hasn’t been determined, yet.


Marked thru changes in the last 2 paragraphs were made in Jan, 2017. Other marked out changes were made in 4/2017.