April 11, 2007

Decorate and Separate

Every piece of furniture I own was purchased at a garage or estate sale, much of it by my cool mom, who has a great eye for the mid century pieces I love. She's out at the sales regularly, and often calls to tell me she's found something she knows I'll like. Although our decorating styles are a little different, much of my talent for pulling a room together was learned by watching the way she combined garage sale finds and thrift store bargains to make a room feel really special. From her I learned that it doesn't take big bucks to have a beautiful home, in fact, those older pieces, picked up cheaply, almost always have more character, and are more well-made than anything being manufactured today. At her knee, I learned the joy of a day spent bargain hunting at garage sales, and the thrill of finding just the right piece for just a few dollars.
Two books that I draw a lot of my decorating inspiration from are Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Ideas, copyright 1960, and the 1956 edition of The Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book, both, incidentally, given to me by my mom. What can I say, she really knows my taste! Here are some ideas from those books for separating larger, multi-purpose rooms using various room dividers.
"Create a hallway and announce your color theme, too, with a handsome homemade divider. This one is made of pre-coated Venetian blind slats interwoven between plastic clothesline, anchored top and bottom. Choose your own materials, include all the colors in your scheme." Everything old is new again. This looks very fresh, don't you think?

Here are two ideas using Danish Modern wooden shelving units.

I used to have a beautiful piece, similar to the one above, that I was very attached to, since it was the one piece of furniture that my mom had saved from when I was a child. It had been purchased at our favorite thrift store, way out in the country, called,....wait for it...The Country Thrift Store. We were on a first name basis with the older couple who owned it, and many, many things in our home had come from there. In 1986 we lost almost everything in a terrible flood, so we have no heirloom furniture pieces. This piece, purchased shortly after the flood, was the closest thing, for me. When my mom and step dad downsized a few years ago, I couldn't bear to part with it, and so it came to live with Mr. Sweetheart and I in our three bedroom rental house. It was such a beautifully crafted, classic piece of furniture, so wrapped up with memories, that I imagined passing it down to my future children, who would cherish it as much as I had. Then we had to move to our current second floor apartment, and after several back-breaking attempts by Mr. Sweetheart and a friend of ours, the massive thing just wouldn't budge. It was too big to fit up the stairs, and it was gouged, scraped and ruined by the attempt. I put on a brave face for the friends who were so graciously helping us move, but I cried the whole hour it took to drive it to my mom's to be put in a sale. It seems silly, I know, but it was so much more than furniture to me. Its pull out desk had held important papers and the stacks of bills we could not pay. The doors below were where we kept those first few cds we owned when they still came in tall, flat cardboard boxes. It stood next to the phone on the wall where I got my first call from a boy. Later, in a new house, it held my mom's colored glass collection, which I remember staring at after I heard the news a childhood friend's heart had stopped at the tender age of seventeen. So many memories, so much life happening while it solidly stood by. Things are just things, though, and they can be replaced. Family and friends are the things we should cherish most.

Speaking of friends and decorating, I got my first gift from a blog friend a few days ago! After my comment on this post over at Tikiranch, the kind proprietor sent me several different sizes of a print he made for me of the Lady of Flame. Does it get any more thoughtful? Go check out his fun blog. He always has such great vintage advertising items to share, and he made two awesome robots that you've just gotta see.

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