Saturday, January 28, 2012

In Living Color

My living room is aptly named: I do A LOT of living in this room.  I don’t have a family room or den, and am not one to spend time holed up in my bedroom.  In the living room, I sprawl on the sofa to read or to watch an old movie (or to even nap on occasion), I write blog posts at the desk, do crafting, entertain guests, job hunt online, even eat dinner.  So, I needed the room to serve a variety of functions.

I wanted the room to be beautiful, but functional, formal enough to welcome newcomers to my home, but comfortable enough that guests would feel at home.  It needed comfortable seating, space for collectibles and objects that hold sentimental value to me, storage for books, music and old movies, and, most importantly, it needed COLOR.

Although I love seeing beautiful homes with the all-white, Jeanne D’Arc look that is so popular, that just isn’t me. I. MUST. HAVE. COLOR.  I spent the majority of the past 25 years living in apartments with Navajo White walls.  I call it Apartment White. I hate that color. My walls always looked dirty to me (well, okay, the last few years at the last apartment, they probably WERE dirty). But anyway, I vowed when I moved here that I would paint every wall a deliciously beautiful color. 

So much for that vow. The walls haven’t seen a drop of paint.  Maybe in the spring when it’s warm enough to throw open a few windows to air out the room, I'll take paint roller in hand and get some color on these walls.  Right now, I’m living with tan walls.  At least they aren’t  Navajo White.

I’m not sure what my style could be called, assuming that anything in my home even has style.  Most of what I own is secondhand, purchased from thrift stores, antique stores, garage sales, friends.  I think my sofa is the only piece of furniture that I bought new.  (If I’d been able to find a vintage sofa in good condition at a great price, I would have purchased that secondhand, as well.)  I pretty much buy what I like and can afford, add as many sentimental family pieces as I can, throw it all together, rearrange it a couple dozen times, and hope for the best. It's not perfect, certainly not chic or sophisticated, and I'm not sure that it could be called beautiful, but it's starting to feel like home.

My living room is definitely a work-in-progress, but for now, here it is:  (Please excuse the dust on some of the furniture in the pictures.  Apparently, my maid, who, coincidentally, looks and sounds an awful like me, is a terrible housekeeper and needs to be fired immediately!)

The view from my desk behind the sofa. As you can see, I’m still working on the desk rehab. It will get a coat of paint soon.  It’s also painfully obvious that those windows need some sort of valance or drape.  I’m not crazy about the vertical blinds, but they do provide privacy.

Yeah, I know, the lamp is very gaudy, but I couldn’t resist it.  In fact, I love what I call “courtship figures”, and, as you can see from the next couple of pictures, I have several plates and 1950’s airbrush pictures depicting these scenes.

Behind the desk is a china cabinet filled with books. I even put paperbacks in the drawers. I would love to have bookshelves built, but can’t afford it right now, and since I got rather tired of having to dig through 35 boxes of books in the garage, I moved some of my favorites to the cabinet.   
In the cabinet:
Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, according to Madame Alexander, that is.  To this day, I still love reading Little Women.

This little girl reminds me of myself in second grade.  I went to 12 years of Catholic schools, so I wore a uniform jumper quite similar to this.  I even wore my hair styled this way.

I even have a picture in the cabinet of one of my heroes and a favorite author, Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have read all of her children's books several times over, and have even read the writings she did for Missouri farm journals and national magazines.  About four years ago, on a trip to Missouri, I was able to visit Rocky Ridge farm, which is the home she and Almanzo shared until their deaths.  Geek that I am, this was the highlight of my trip! 

I love old books!

I was so glad to find a house with a used brick fireplace.  You've seen this china before, so you're probably sick of it, but I never get tired of looking at it.

I love the old barkcloth.  This is actually a small drapery panel that I threw on the chair, then left it there as I kind of liked the look.  The endtable was $20 at a thrift store.  The chair was an antique store find that I put on layaway. 

A great place from which to watch a movie.

These old suitcases hold craft supplies.

This old bench was $20 at Salvation Army.  The finish isn’t in great shape, but I love the needlepoint seat. 

This lamp and plate were both thrifted from my favorite Salvation Army store.

Dad, circa 1942.

Dad made these bookends when he was in high school, sometime around 1936.  I don’t have a lot of stuff from my dad, so I treasure these.  They hold old mystery novels from the 1930's and 40's.

I love this 30’s art deco waterfall chest.  It holds craft and sewing supplies.  I used birthday money to purchase this two years ago.

Mom, high school graduation, 1949.

One of Mom’s high school yearbooks. On top is a ceramic hand that belonged to my grandmother. The lavender smells so wonderful!

Mom bought this radio in the 50’s.  When I was a very little girl, before my younger brother was born, I was home alone with Mom while my older brother and sister were in school.  Mom listened to an LA radio station that played music from the 1940’s and 50’s, and the radio was on ALL morning.  To this day, it’s my favorite kind of music, as I'm always reminded of those times when I had Mom all to myself!  By the way, the radio still works!

I hope you've enjoyed the little mini tour of my living room. 


  1. I love the set up for your desk.You are not stuck in a room somewhere.And I personally never get tired of looking at photos of vintage dishes.I love that old radio.I have a fake version of an older radio.I can't remember who made them.But I think it was in the 80s.It works and looks vintage.I am not crazy about all white either.Don't get me wrong I really love that look.Just not for my house.I am going to incorporate more of it in my home.But I still need color too.I always surround myself with the things I love.No matter what the trend is.Right now those starburst mirrors are coming back.I was never a fan and I won't have one in my home.

  2. Those are cool bookends your Dad made. What material are the made out of?

    1. I'm not sure and I don't remember Dad ever saying. They're very heavy and have that bronzy color everywhere. I don't think they're painted.


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