Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Den is CLEAN!

My party is over! The Vincentennial was a resounding success, the details of which I'll have to lay on you at a later date. I am a weary, bleary mess of a gal this morning, but I think it was worth it!

Yesterday, in the midst of shelling twenty-four eggs for devilled eggs, pinning bacon to water chesnuts (which I later forgot to put out, meaning mock rumaki for breakfast!), and mixing concentrates into a fine gloop of what was eventually party punch, I did manage to do a little housework, and thought I would show off my favorite room in my house.

Behold! The clean den! As opposed to the den littered with Goodwill finds and clothes and magazines! Neat as a pin. The couch is my favorite piece of furniture in the whole house-- it, the lamps, the side tables, the coffee table, and the yellow chair you see below all came from the same estate sale...for $90. STEAL. OF. THE. MID. CENTURY.

The panelled room in my house was originally a garage, but some time in the seventies the first owners closed in area to make a finished den. I was going to paint the faux woodgrain when I moved in, but the finish was so scarred by the earlier renters (Lord grant me the strength not to launch into a full blown harangue about the people who lived in my house just before me), I decided this was the perfect room to practice my "too much is not enough" design aesthetic. I always liked the idea of having a gallery like those Regency mansions you'll see, I guess documentaries about Regency mansions... with great, ornate paintings hung from ceiling to floor, very close together. I went with that and just hung every thrift store wall hanging I actually owned at the time in this one room.

The tv is an UNBELIEVABLY HEAVY 1960 RCA color television, which took my dad and a fireman that was attending the sale a LOT of gruntwork to get down a narrow flight and a half of stairs in a 1920's house in West Meade. The owners of the house had six boys, so I guess they had built in helpers when they first put the tv in the upstairs room. This is the Cadillac of early 60's tv's. I saw it online in an ad for an estate sale that started on a Friday and actually took a day off work to be there when they opened so that I could buy it. I didn't know how many vintage tv's I would eventually see at estate sales at the time or I might not have been so nuts about getting to this one, but I'm still glad I did. It came with the original sales slip and the booklet on how to use your new, color tv. ABC and CBS weren't even in color in 1960! You could only watch NBC in color! It's hard for me to wrap my head around that concept.

The mannequin was my grandmother's, and is wearing an impossibly small hipped, but unbelievably Mad Men esque ensemble of belted dress and matching scarf. The console record player sadly does not work, but wow what a beaut! It's an early sixties Telefunken from Germany, with extra tubes and all intact! I tried in vain to find a schematic for it online, but honestly it more than does its job in the looks department.

The hand stitched poodle runner was in one of the drawers from a bedroom suite I bought at the same estate sale as the living room suite came from. I bought two roomsful of furniture at the same place, and gosh wasn't everything there a) so stylish and b) so inexpensive. The people running the sale were the children of a couple who had been neighbors to the woman whose house it was-- she had passed away and left them the estate, and they were trying to clear the house on the last day of a not very successful sale (I guess they were just waiting for me to come and literally take two truckfulls of stuff). The magazines are from 1962, just some decorating/housewife-ish books I picked up at Great Escape when they'd just opened their Charlotte location for I think fifty cents.

Bob Hope statuette from my grandmother, race car drapes from Goodwill, a sheet where a door to the laundry room will hopefully one day be.

Here's a piano our friend Louis gave us! I'm not sure of its provenance (other than "from Louis"), but it sure does add a touch of "class" to the whole set up. It's an electric keyboard mounted in a baby grand body for that sophisticated look (ah ha ha ha). Babu's a professional musician, so I sometimes press him into service to learn some of the thirties sheet music so I can sing along. It's totally fun. The oil painting is of Bab's grandparents on his dad's side. His grandfather (who passed away about a year before we started dating, and who I really wish I could have met) was an extremely well-liked and gregarious senator from Missouri in the 60's and 70's, and his grandmother, who still lives in St. Louis, is possibly one of the nicest people on this green earth (we were on a trip to see her when that tornado tried to blow me to Kingdom Come). Visitors have expressed surprise that at least ONE portrait in my house is actually of someone I know (terrible vintage photo addiciton).

The lamp is one of those great 50's whipstitched edge, fiberglass shaded numbers... the beige piece at the bottom is a little faux marbled Bakelite insert that's part of this neat "night light"feature where a separate switch turns on a little light at the foot of the lamp. The guy at the yard sale I bought it at said his grandparents had bought it "when they set up house-keeping in 50's". Fifteen bucks. I kid you not.

And that's my den! And gee is it clean! That's the twenty-five cent tour. I sure am proud of it now that it's all put together like I want it to be. The only downside to this is the limiting factor of not having any more rooms to left empty to decorate, buuuuuut so it goes.


  1. I love it. I absolutely love your den. It is too much fun!

    AND I need to hear about your Vincentennial. Ours was pretty low-key.

  2. Gorgeous, you've done a fabulous job!

  3. Awesome! It's very similar to mine (will have to post on that). My parents had those same side lamps with the amber glass back in the 70s!

  4. What a marvel of decor. Congratulations!

  5. Ah-mazing! I love your style. And your wall art. And well, everything. The painting of the grandparents is especially nice too. I wish I'd known - up until last weekend, I had two green cat pillows that match your red one. I would have given them to you!

  6. @ Everyone: Thanks for the kind comments! You all know how it is being a collector and how being able to show off your "good stuff" is just such a thrill.

    @Eartha: re: pillows: No way! My timing is never good. But that's nice of you! My cat pillow used to have a bow and a bell around his neck but it's somewhere in the great void. I love his outsider-art-y little face.

  7. I have only one thing to say: Telefunken OOOOhhh yeah! That is the grooviest record player name I have ever heard!

  8. @Amber: Every time I say it I have to pinch myself. And it's apparently a very popular brand in I think microphones or amplifiers to this day... I've mentioned it to a musician or two who've been like "No way! Telefunken!" (which is somehow twice as funny when it's repeated to you).

  9. Oh my! I just wanna sit on that sofa and marvel at all the goodies! In fact, I set the picture as my computer desk top so I can make myself right at home! LOVE IT!!!!

  10. Love love love your den! It's absolutely lovely!!
    I wish I could find good stuff on my end of Tennessee. Around here all you find are auctions with nothing but good old boy farm tools sold by good old boy auctioneers who know nothing of mid century or clothing. In fact, they usually tell the families to take all that sort of thing to charity shops before the sale because they 'don't sell that junk'.

  11. @Zootsuitmama: How cool! I am so honored! Thanks!

    @Dolly: Thanks for the kind words! And about the auction sitch: poor gal! You gotta road-trip it to Middle Tennessee, I'm telling ya. I don't always make out so well as the sale with all the furniture but 80% of the time I find something. I like to daydream sometimes about what it would be like to operate (ie go to thrift stores and estate sales in all available free time) in a bigger city-- think of how wide a net you could cast!

  12. Is the picture of the Pitcher/Decanter with glasses painted on fabric. My mother use to do this when I was young. Everything she created is gone and i have been trying to find out what was used and do this myself now.

    Would you happen to have any idea what the tubes of were? I'm figuring they were pre-printed pictures on the fabric.

    1. The one I think you're talking about (in the third picture down, right above the Telefunken console?) is actually just a print on cardboard-ish material... however, I've seen some of what you're talking about painted on fabric before. You might have some luck finding the exact technique by looking in 60's/70's "crafts for the home" book. I've had a lot of luck just browsing the "make it yourself" arts section of my public library--for some reason they never get rid of those things. Sorry I couldn't be of more help!



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