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Home Tour :: Dining Room

Today we'll head into the dining room. It's hard to tell but there was actually wallpaper in here at the time this photo was taken, a white background with tiny country blue and reddish pink flowers. It felt like a patriotic garden of sorts. Other than that, and the infamous faux brass chandelier, the room was in tact.

The room just beyond this one was an addition in the 1930's, hence the exterior window in the dining room. You can see a peek at the wall to wall carpeting that was in the back room. It was a happy day when that was finally pulled up to reveal solid oak floors underneath.


dining 6

Oh those curtains...

dining 1

Here we are today. I had fallen in love with this color years ago when I saw it in Cottage Living magazine (remember that one?). It is Laura Ashley, Russet. Though I think I had it mixed using Benjamin Moore, I am a painters daughter after-all. ;) I don't love it. It's fine in person but my camera does not like to take pictures in here, it's very sensitive with all the red tones. And we have two huge maple trees just outside those windows so in the summer when the leaves are on the trees it can feel a little dark in here.

dining 2

My mom often reminds me of how fortunate I am to have rooms this size in a first home. I agree and have never taken it for-granted. Dining rooms are so often built too small, this one has always felt just right in size.

I have my desk in the corner. I love how centrally located it is, close to the kitchen and family action. My laptop is often open on this desk, a good spot for blogging, etsy shop keeping and emailing. It is also where I menu plan, appointment plan, list make, etc.

It's my busy mama/homemaker/creative lady zone.

 dining 4

Just to the left of my desk I keep many of my favorite cookbooks. Perfect for menu planning and cooking inspiration.

dining 5

On my last post, Caroline commented that she noticed we had painted our steam radiators and asked what we used. Thank you for noticing Caroline, we are rather proud of them! Each and every radiator in this house was disconnected and removed from the wall to be cleaned thoroughly and painted properly. In the living and dining room we used a bronze colored metallic paint and applied with a brush. Using a brush versus a spray (this applies to painting walls or exteriors too) is always a good idea because the brush strokes help the paint to settle in and adhere better. (If you spray the exterior of a house, as many people do, it is best to "back-brush" each area after painting with a brush... painters daughter I tell you.)

The metallic paint can be found at most good paint stores, just ask about it. It is usually sold in small quantities and is very thin and watery so it lasts and covers a lot of area.

You can see behind the plant we also painted the pipe that leads to the radiators upstairs. There were three pipes on the first floor, all painted. I love those little details.

dining 3

Some thoughts about choosing paint color when there is a lot of wood trim... Amy asked in the comments of the last post if I would share a little about this.

Our first floor has a lot of original woodwork left, thankfully. We would never paint it, however, it is a bit darker than I would choose. I guess when selecting a paint color, if you have darker woodwork, you have to decide how much contrast you want to have visually. Looking at the first two photos in this post you can see what I mean. Light walls with a lot of dark trim equals mucho contrast, more than I cared for. Darker, prominent colors complimented the woodwork and the whole space seems to flow more easily on the eye. Well, as easily as red can flow! That is what worked for my taste, of course if you prefer higher contrst in a room, than lighter colors would be the way to go.

I guess that about does it for the dining room, thank you for checking it out with me today! Next time... will I take you to the kitchen or the back room? This home tour just added an element of suspense!! Ooooh...

Home Tour :: Entry and Living Room

As we continue on inside for this home tour, I hope you don't mind a few handfuls of before shots along the way. I think it adds perspective and shows how it is important maintain your own vision when looking for or creating a new home. Sure, there was that one time I put an offer on a house because I really liked the owner's CD collection, the food in their pantry, and the single stalk of an early spring tree blossom in a clay vase on her toddler's bedside table... but for the most part, when looking at a home I try to just see the bones. Good bones are all you need to make a home lovely, the 80's curtains, wallpaper and wall to wall carpeting can be tossed. But underneath it all, what do you have to work with? This home had some of the most questionable decor, but the very best bones of any house we looked at. It was a such a good decision. Oh, that other house that we made an offer on? We wound up not getting that one, but our kindred paths do cross on a regular basis now with that family. There little toddler has grown-up quite a bit and is now in Emily's class.

Inside that lovely front door is quite a spacious entry. It even has a coat closet just to the right (outside the shot). Something that is not common in this Victorian filled neighborhood. I love the practicality of Craftsman architecture.


The former owner insisted she leave the curtains and all of the mini-blinds so we would not be without curtains during those early days. Um... the mauve drapes and the navy blue with mauve flowers came down on day one. As did about 40 mini-blinds. You can't tell from these photos, but these walls were covered with about 4 different shades and sheens of white, it was a common theme throughout the house.

Are you thinking I should have kept the navy blue and mauve floral balloon drapes? ;) If you look closely you can see a glimpse of the faux brass (plastic) chandelier hanging in the dining room.

In the far side of the room, evidence that the drapes were removed immediately. Can you tell I had personal issues with those drapes.  The front door is to the right of the drape pile, just to give you a sense of place. The stairway goes up and then bends to the left and heads to the second floor behind that wall (it also splits and goes into the kitchen on the other side). I always wanted to open up that wall and carry the banister up and around.

Emily and her best friend (they still are!) re-painting drawers to one of the built-ins. I think for the upstairs bath. I see a roll of carpet in the back, the pulling up of a lot of wall to wall and wood floor refinishing was taking place in those early days. We still didn't live here, I think it was 6-8 weeks after purchase until we finally moved in.

And now. I'm standing by the front door. Not a great shot of the space (it really is a big entry), but I wanted to show you the stairs from this angle so you could see a peek at the kitchen on the other side. We do not have an eat-in kitchen, but those few steps spilling down on the kitchen side are the spot for my family to hang out and chat with me while I'm cooking.

I would say the living room feels like it begins where the fireplace is. The reddish oriental rug in the upper right corner is our rug by the front door and it is 5x7 feet. I'm a fan of the biggest possible rug size in entry-ways. Plenty of transitional space for changing out of wet boots, snow clothes, etc.

In the very left hand side you can see a glimpse of the coat closet. The front door is to the left of that.

Just for fun... that little desk in the foreground was mine as a girl... the coffee table is an old trunk that was Adam's toy box when he was young... the mission chair was a father's day gift to Adam several years ago, found at the flea market and the cushion is the chair-futon cover from LL.Bean... the dresser in the far corner is from my midwife... and that sweet little rocker was picked up over the summer at the flea market.

Turning just a little to the right. I hope you are getting a sense of the flow.


I could never tire of this mantle. Perhaps I could reproduce it someday...?

One of this home's loveliest features (to me) is the triple opening from dining room to living room. Each room feels like their own defined space (which I like), but the openness makes entertaining, especially large sit down dinners (with the table expanded) very easy on the hostess.


Here's a little peek into the dining room... we'll head in there next time.

I hope my family enjoys looking back on this home tour over the years. I think perhaps a little Blurb book might be in order once all is said and done.

Home Tour :: The Outside

I hope you'll induldge me in taking you on a little home tour over the next week or so. I know many of you are like me and love to peek around old houses. I think I'll take it room by room, starting with the outside today. Once we get inside there should be plenty of before and after shots (there was a lot of good old fashioned DIY that took place in those early days).

After writing and intentionally deleting the no less than eight paragraphs that originally accompanied these photos, I realized that I have some bittersweet feelings around leaving this home, this town. And I might have been carrying on just a little too much. Our plan is the perfect plan for us, no doubt about that, it's just that our first purchased home is... well... our first purchased home. It's a pretty special part of our family history. Transitions and change deserve their own recognition, I think it is good to allow for all of the subtle feelings, thoughts and emotions that come up during these times. It also makes me think keeping my words simple and sparse through this "House Tour" is a fine idea.

All of today's shots (and many others you will see in the days to come) were shot with film. The photos in this post were all taken the very day we bought this house, or within those first few days and film was the only way we did it back them.

I loved the cedar shakes, the wide trim, the windows in the breezeway.

People are always surprised by the actual size of our house, From the road it looks like a tiny bungalow, but it is a very deep house. This back addition was added on in the 1930's, so it still maintains the quality workmanship of the earlier building periods.

This is the opposite (south) side of the house. The first door goes to the garage, the second, which is hard to see goes to the basement. It's such a smart design to have the roof covering in this area. You can go from garage to basement easily without worry of the elements. Plus, it makes this very utilitarian side of the house feel like a quaint little nook. To me anyway. ;)

I think it is written somewhere that if you buy a house in New England in October, the moment after you scribble your name on a few important papers at the attorney's office you must dash out the door with your new house keys and head straight to the garden center. Here you will need to purchase pumpkins and mums. Flowers on day one of home ownership are a must. I have no idea about the girl's silly expression... but look at how little she is!

The threshold carry... sweetness.

Next time we'll go inside. You all know I decided to buy the house once I saw the pantry, but it was seeing this front door that made me pick up the phone to call and schedule an appointment to see inside.

Thank you for joining me!

You Know it's True Love...

... when your guy disappears for about 30 minutes at some point during the first half of the superbowl... unsure of his whereabouts you get up from your in and out of sleep state and mosey into the kitchen following the incredible smell of fresh garlic and the sound of chopping vegetables... only to discover him busy stirring, seasoning, and adding to a pot of vegetable soup... for you... because you are fighting a nasty cold... again... he is a saint, not even minding that you headed up to bed before tasting one single bite of it.

There was no need to taste it, the healing love was felt regardless.

Still fighting this cold today. Two of the other teachers are battling as well. One year ago this month I started my job in the school. I have been sick more in the last twelve months than I have in the last twenty years combined. Seriously. I suppose that is why it was a school teacher who developed Airborne.

Today I am fortifying. I just finished packing my lunch (and need to head out in two minutes!). Checking in with my body, asking myself what I needed to eat today, I found myself reaching for a head of baby bok choy, a few gigantic handfuls of kale and baby spinach, a clove of garlic minced and all was quickly sauteed with a bit of olive oil, toasted sesame oil, and tamari. I threw the jar of gomasio into my lunch bag to sprinkle on top when I sit down to eat. I also chopped up two oranges and put those in a separate container. Finally, a thermos of hot herbal tea. These things should get me through the day just fine. I am fighting this! I'm also getting LOTS of rest at night... 9-10 hours a night has been lovely.

That photo is just a shot of the other side of our pantry. You know how hard it is to post without a photo and I did not take one of my lunch. So pantry it is.