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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Favorites -- It's All Relative!

It's nearly a week since I have posted, or even read another blog!
I am having Blogging withdrawal.

Thanksgiving is an intense holiday at That Old House, with a cast of thousands, and no time for the computer.

But I can't resist jumping on the
Sunday Favorites wagon, so here goes -- a re-run from July 7, 2009.

Thanks, Chari, for hosting this on your Happy To Design blog!
Click to visit more!


I find more amazing furniture bargains on Craigslist and Ebay than I can ever find house-room for.
I should become a furniture pimp!

But today, I'm looking at furniture that I got second-hand, from my Grandmother.
It helps to choose your relatives wisely when you want neat old stuff!


We'll start in the study, where I've already shown you my less-than-ten-dollar solution to housing the equipment for our big TV. Right next to that TV is an old wicker arm chair:

This chair used to live in my Grandmother's bedroom, then my Mom's sewing room, then the beach house, where I claimed it when I was still a teenager, but didn't take it with me until last month. It will be moving upstairs soon to our master bedroom; I am unsure about recovering the cushions that my Mom did about 15 years ago.

On the other side of the television is this wicker table, covered in many coats of paint:

My grandparents probably did this last coat of brown, many years ago, as my Mom would never have chosen such a restrained color; she went for bright, did my Mom. I would like to re-paint this table, but I get sentimental about the darnedest things.

On the other hand, Grandma would scold me about the condition of the paint.
"It looks like dead people own it!" -- her favorite comment on the shabby and unkempt.

Also in the snuggery (I do like that word!) is my desk.

We are keeping it real, right? I did not de-clutter or de-dust.
It is a messy, messy alcove, sorry! Everything seems to find its way here.

It's like the elephant's graveyard.

The desk is really an Edwardian library table, with lovely big chunky legs.
The whole desk could use a trip to Elizabeth Arden, but I love it, homely and chipped as it is.

Grandma claimed it came from Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt's Long Island home, and since my grandmother could get anyone to give her anything ... I wouldn't be surprised if this was true.

This little magazine table, here at the end of one of the love seats in the conservatory,
also came from my Grandma's house.

In Grandma's living room, it sat next to a French Empire chair covered in blue striped silk, across from my grandfather's big Gustav Stickley rocker. Eclectic taste? Maybe, but more likely just what Grandma could talk people into giving to her for free.

Into the dining room, where the star of my Grandma's treasures stands -- her china closet.

I have been in love with this cabinet forever; I used to stand in front of it and gaze at the jumble of china and silver serving pieces, the little figurines, and the bird that caught toothpicks in his mouth if you tapped him on the head. . . . oh dear, even when I was in Kindergarten, I lusted after dishes!

I don't have any rhyme or reason to what I put in this cabinet -- if I like it, in it goes.
It's a jumble, just like Grandma's was.

I restored the old finish on this piece 30 years ago, when I first got it. I removed and polished the ormolu -- I am not sure if it is brass or bronze -- but since then I have let it fade and tarnish.

I lost the teensy tiny screws that held one of the pieces of ormolu on -- if anyone knows where I can find itty-bitty screws, let me know! This piece needs its twin:

The china closet has Empire lines and construction; it's quite old. Poor thing, Howard and I have moved it into seven homes -- broken the glass once, lost the key, knocked off the top of a column, used painter's tape to hold in new glass -- but it takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' -- and if you remember that, you are as old as I.

Now upstairs, where we venture into the Pink Bedroom, where Annie has been camping out while working on sorting through and decorating her own rooms across the hall.

You are not going to see much of this room -- it's a MAJOR work in
progress and full of Annie's overflow stuff -- but we do find here a little nursery rocker:

My grandmother rocked 7 babies in this little sweetie, and my mother rocked 4.

When my mother told my little sister that "Grandma rocked your Daddy
in this rocking chair, " my sister asked, "Didn't his feet drag on the floor?"

It is as sturdy as the day it was made. Amazing, when you think that it is more
than a century old, and has thousands of rocking miles on its odometer.

And -- except for a very old faux bamboo rocker that is in the attic awaiting repair,
I think that about does it for the furniture I got from Grandma's house.

No... wait. There is something else.
Before I leave the Pink Room -- see this white painted cabinet?

I almost forgot about it.

It started life as my Grandfather's Victrola cabinet. But my grandfather, never one to leave well enough alone, built drawers for it when Victrolas went the way of the Dodo Bird.

Then my own father, also never one to leave well enough alone, gave it a coat of white paint (now nicely chipped), built a 3-sided top for it, and gave it to us for a diaper changing table 24 years ago when we were expecting Alida. It worked wonderfully, and looked fabulous in the nursery. The diaper changing top is now in the attic, awaiting grandchildren!

You can lift up the original hinged top of this piece and see the old finish, with the RCA Victor dog decal; very neat! I'm not risking moving that big lamp to show you right now -- that lamp came from Howard's Mom and if it breaks, I don't want to be the one holding the shards.

But look on the side of the cabinet:

There's the hole for the Victrola crank!


I hope all my USA blogger friends and their families had wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations. Ours was great fun, and lots of work but that is part of the fun. It's still going on, as Howard's parents are visiting from Florida until Tuesday.

My new stovetop and sink and faucet and countertops worked fabulously! The soapstone was a big hit, and I loved being able to cook with gas once again.

And best news . . . I didn't poison a single guest! -- Cass


  1. Your grandma's "star" china cabinet is my favorite with your chunky, clunky, elephant graveyard, er I mean desk, coming in a close second!

  2. Good taste runs in the family! Glad you had a great and "safe" holiday :) I love the soapstone and I vote for Hershey bars for the backsplash--vertical for a novel approach :) Missed you and hope you'll be back for Deck the Halls on Tuesday at my place!

  3. Hi Cass

    I am glad you reposted this because I have never seen it! I adore all the beautiful keepsake treasures you from your grandma!

  4. Have missed your posts - glad to see you back. You have so many great pieces of furniture and with nice history behind them. So much is just partical board and knockdown these days. Enjoy your company.

  5. I really enjoyed your re-run today, missed it the first time around.
    I love the saying "it looks like dead people own it", priceless.
    Have a great week

  6. Poison your guests? No way - I'm sure it was a treat from start to finish.
    There's little in this house that came down through the family - the Great Dane came with only what would fit into a suitcase, and on my side my parents came from BIG families, so there was prior claim on anything interesting. I have portraits and prayerbooks, though, the sorts of things no one else wanted and that I now treasure.

  7. I always love looking at your wonderful old,antique,and hand me downs. They are so wonderful! Cass you think your in withdrawals! My family does not understand. lol just watching TV until I am better.

  8. I am old enough to get the Timex reference. Sigh.
    I love having guests over. Sounds like you do too.
    Grandma sure had some nice stuff. I guess genetically you are really out of luck and can't do anything about it. You couldn't stop if you tried. Double sigh.

  9. I just love all the different pieces you have...great to move around and mix and match as you get new ideas! I love moving things around and using them in different ways. I love your china hutch with your collection of dishes! Your kitchen is just looking awesome, I love the soapstone counter tops! I like beadboard for a backsplash, gives a traditional look, but tile is fantastic too. I am partial to the tumbled marble old world style..just because it goes with anything! Thanks for visiting me..hope you are having a great Sunday. Miss Bloomers/Sonia

  10. rerun, bah, humbug! oh, wrong holiday, lol!

  11. WOW! I'll take your hand me downs any day! Gorgeous treasures! And is that a Delft pitcher in that cabinet? NICE!

  12. I enjoyed looking around and really like the china cabinet. You have a beautiful home.

  13. loved looking at your inherited pieces! They're the best..with all those great and sometimes not so great memories! Thanks for coming by! I know how you feel about the blogging. I went thru that the last couple of months! I just didn't have anything to really share or the time to spend on my computer! Can't wait to see your "old house" at Christmas! Can I ask you a question? Chari's out of town and this is the first time I've done a Sunday favorite so I just edited an old post but it still brought up all the old comments! Got any advice on how to do this? God Bless! Lauralu :)

  14. This is one of my favorite posts of yours.

    We just returned from two weeks of cruising and I'm catching up (love your countertops -- love your countertops!)

    I didn't want to pay the $$$$ for shipboard internet so I may be up until the wee hours of the morning catching up (and alas, no room service!)

  15. Sounds like you had and continue to have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Happy Monday!


  16. Hi Cass...

    Ohhh do sound busy, my friend! I'm so happy that you joined us for Sunday Favorites this week and what a great post to share!!! I remember this post very well...I just adore all of your fabulous furniture at That Old House!!! You have some treasured pieces from your sweet!!! And...they are all so beautiful!!! I know that I've remarked about your fabulous desk before but must say a little something again...that piece is fabulous!!! Ohhh...and to think that President Roosevelt once used this so awesome!!! I love the pretty wicker chair and table too!!! So many sweet memories you have to accompany these lovely pieces!!! Thank you so much for sharing them with us for Sunday's such a treat!!!

    So happy to hear that your Thanksgiving was a hit!!! Ohhh...I bet you thoroughly enjoyed your new kitchen...I'm so happy for you, Darlin'!!! Can't wait to see it all!!!

    Well, my friend...thank you again for participating in Sunday Favorites! I'm so sorry that I'm so late in getting by...we had to go out of town yesterday and I didn't get home till very late!

    Have a wonderful you're going to be busy cleaning up all the "aftermath" of Thanksgiving! Don't work to hard!!!

    Warmest wishes,


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