Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Favorite Spaces

I think everyone should have a few favorite spaces in their home. Even if the house is a disastrous mess, even if you don't have fancy furniture and artwork and accessories, there should be a few little corners of rooms where you can move the mess out of the way and take a photograph that looks like it came out of a design magazine. When I do the dusting and vacuuming I really appreciate these spaces in my house. You probably have spaces like this in yours. Take pictures of them. They'll make you love your home.

I bought this little stool at our community garage sale a few weeks ago. It was a wreck when I brought it home. The seat was covered with a ratty old moth eaten needlepoint tapestry. I restuffed it with polyfill and reupholstered it with the fabric leftover from the curtains I made a few years ago for the dining room. If you've never reupholstered furniture, it's easy to do and a great way to change the look of a room without spending a lot of money.

I love this spot in my living/dining room. We found this old university desk chair for fifty dollars at an antique shop in the Poconos. It's a nice place to sit in the sun and read a magazine. Sometimes it's a time-out chair for the kids, too. I made the curtains when we first moved in with fabric purchased at It's the same fabric I used for the stool above. The telescope was a Christmas present for the kids, who love to look at the moon.

This is probably my favorite spot in the whole house, the eat-in-kitchen. You may recognize the wall from the masthead of this blog. A friend recently commented that my red wall with gold frames looks like the foyer from The Royal Tenenbaums. While that is one of my favorite movies, it was not a conscious choice to emulate that scene. Maybe it was subconscious. The art hanging here are pieces that I've been collecting. Some are art prints by artists I've discovered on Etsy. Some are Chinese silk paintings given to me by my mother-in-law. There are a few of original watercolors, one painted by my great-grandfather, one by Tom's distant cousin in Hungary, and one by me. I found all of the gold frames at garage sales. The only thing I dislike about this space is the ridiculous light fixture. I hate it so much I've pretty much stopped cleaning it so it's extra nasty. I've thought about spray painting it black to make it less ugly but I don't think it'd really help much. When we're able to get something new, I'd like to have a fixture that's chunky and funky with gold accents. The kind of thing that makes you groan, "Oh, that reminds me of my grandmother." I like this picture a lot because I can see two of my favorite spaces in one shot.

This is another favorite place. If I'd backed up a bit more you'd see my little stool to the right of the piano. I played piano for seven years as a kid but this isn't my childhood instrument. I gave my  piano away years ago to a coworker when my parents moved houses and couldn't take it with them. We got this piano from a family in the neighborhood who was selling their home and couldn't take it with them. Good karma. The photos of the kids were taken by yours truly and the pear painting upper left was a kindergarten artwork by our son Robert. Since this piano has been in our home I've relearned to read music and I'm slowly getting back into playing. The songbook on the ledge there is Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head. It's one of my favorite albums and many of the songs are well suited for piano.

This plate was given to me by my mom. I thought it was sort of kitchy and cute and for a while it was hanging around the kitchen trying to find a permanent home. Last year the plate that normally hung in this spot fell off the wall and broke, so I popped this mother hen in its place. It's slightly out of place in the family room because on every other wall is Tom's sports memorabilia stuff. I think this plate is a nice reminder for everyone that it's really me who rules the roost. (Just kidding, darling husband.) Best part about this plate is that it's plastic!

This plant stand was given to me by my wonderful mother-in-law. It came from the Astoria, Queens home of my wonderful late grandmother-in-law. Before the home was sold about seven years ago, I spent a lot of time there with Tom's mom and grandma to get it ready for sale and rehome a lot of the furnishings. On my last day in the house before it was sold, we were about to walk out the front door for the last time and I noticed this plant stand hiding in the corner of a downstairs room. As soon as I saw it I felt like I'd discovered something very special. It has a marble top and the metal is covered with a pale green patina. The plant grew from a cutting of a jade plant that was given to me by my friend Liz. The original plant was near death because I'd sort of been neglecting it. I cut a piece and stuck it in this pot and it grew like crazy. I love the way it sort of cascades over the sides of the pot.

What are your favorite spaces in your home? Tell me about them in the comments!

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