The Weston A. Price Way

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thrifty Decorating...Just the Living Room...

At last I was able to snap a few shots of the living room. Mind you, as everything in my life, this is an ongoing project. Today's view may well not be tomorrow's. We may edit the space by deciding a piece works better in another room. Or perhaps we'll just find a piece we like better than another, have no room for 'the other', and out it goes. In our neighborhood as in many, if the item is placed at the curbside, it is gone within a day. If not, off to Goodwill or DAV, or some other wonderful place like that. It's the greatest way to be a little green, recycle and reuse-keeping the piles at the dump just that much lower. Like pennies in a jar, it does add up.

I hope today's reading inspires you to go out and discover either what you can find or what you can give.

Remember: "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

Here's to both giving and recieving abundant blessings!

Many Happy Contemplations,

This is the china cupboard I spoke of in my last blog. It cost us $45.00 at the DAV thrift store a little over a year ago. There were two areas where the wood was damaged. Jim stained the areas with a matching color and...well, see if you can find them?
I have to say, for this item, which I found last week on eBay for $970.00 (that includes cost to ship), we got a super-fantastic deal. We haven't seen a comparable deal at either thrift stores or yard sales since.
An interesting note: Nearly everything inside the cabinet was a thrifty buy or a gift. The only real exceptions are a few antique pieces I bought from a friend who owns an online antique and shabby chic store. But even then, I try to shop her discount page. She moved recently and her site's temporarily down. When I know she's back in full swing, I'll add her site to my links...It's worth a look-see!

Here, you see our sofa. It's not for everyone. One of our daughters used a term similar to 'gruesome' to describe her feelings about it. (But, it's not her living room, is it?) This velvet parlor sofa is super soft, longer than the average sofa, sturdily made and came with two coordinating, velvet chairs. It works well with our 1930's home - which we have strongly resisited from trying to give the look of a 2000's home. The tapestry pillows go well and were purchased from various thrift stores for under $5.00 each. (At another time, I will discuss the methods of cleaning required of thrift stores and what I do for cleaning as well.)
I wish I could remember how much we paid for the sofa and two matching chairs at DAV, but the total was under $200.00. The color is a golden-green.
We have four grandchildren and this is their main area of play in the house. One took a magic marker to the top. Fortunately, I discovered it almost as soon as it had been done, and was able to wash- yes, wash! -it off. One of the greatest things about this kind of 'consumering' is, if it's ruined by 'innocent' little hands, I might be out a sofa, but I'm not out a few thousand bucks! And I don't blow a gasket aimed at little hearts.
Velvet parlor sofas on eBay run from hundreds to thousands...depending on condition. Then you have to add for shipping. (You'd pay nearly what we paid for the set just for the shipping!) Ebay lists 3 piece sets such as ours from $500.00 for the sofa alone to $7,500.00 for all three pieces. No, that is not a typo.
Did we go out seeking a parlor sofa? We did not. We were in the right place at the right time and made a decision that this would work for us. It doesn't have to work that way, but a lot of times, it does.

Into names? This fully functional drop-leaf coffee table is by Ethan Allen-under $50.00, but on eBay you'll pay from $200.00-$300.00 + nearly $100.00 to ship!
I use an 'old faithful' friend, Old English, for every scratched piece as soon as it gets in the door. It's a wonder-worker that's available in clear or tinted tones for darker woods. Be sure to dry the surface well after application. It leaves a satiny sheened, protective coat and there's no need to apply often...I use once a month to once every three months, depending on the piece, (and if we're having special company!) I can't take the credit for knowing about this...It's solid hand-me-down wisdom obtained via my mother-in-law.
The grandchildren use this table for reading, drawing and playing everyday...and I don't worry over it much at all.

Again...not for everybody...but it lends itself so well to our Shabby Chic style that it was an instant hit with me and a nearly instant hit with Jim...(I admit, the fact that its sister was included in the package along with the sofa helped him along.)
It's a soft yet sturdy piece, like the sofa, and so far, no kid damage. And I promise, I do not monitor the children every second.
I use the other one as 'my chair' and if I'm not working from the deck or bedroom, I am working from this chair's right now.
Remember, if you don't like the covering but you do like the shape or style of a chair, it's worth it to have it covered. My sister-in-law took a class on the how-to's and I later saw some of her work...fantastic!
Being creative...and everyone has creativity somewhere fun and sooo resourceful.
The closest chair to this on eBay was listed at $245.00 + freight. And remember, this came with a sister and the sofa!

This Duncan Phyfe mahogany drop-leaf table has three pedestals. The leaves may be lifted to afford extra dining space in cases of dining room 'overflow'. (The dining room is to the left of the window.)
The table was purchased at an estate sale just down the street from us. It was part of the beginning of our passion for treasure hunting. If you are patient and convince yourself that you can do without an item, you can get the best buys at the END of an estate sale. That's what we did and we were able to purchase the table, a twelve piece set of Noritake 'Somerset' China + serving pieces, and a set of ruby-flashed King's Crown Thumbprint goblets. If I remember correctly, we came home with the entire lot, plus chairs that went with the table, for around $150.00. The chairs were too fragile for our crew and we eventually let them go. On eBay, the Ducan Phyfe that was closest in appearance to ours listed at $1,095.00.
The thrift store baskets, under $3.00, serve to recieve mail, the lamp and back music box were gifts, and the front thrift store music box, under $5.00, has a Hummel-type child on the top and wooden interior. (Jim is an expert at getting over-wound music boxes to work!) To the left of the table, there is a wooden cradle- estimated '50's era that I just found a few weeks ago for under $10.00, and a rocking chair painted by Jim's father for our eldest daughter when she was a year old. The carpet you see partially beneath the table? Thick and lush, with perfect colors for our living room. And yes, another thrift store find...about $10.00.

The solid wood antique bookshelf on the right was discovered by Jim. It is either mahogany or cherry...not sure which. It is our most recent furniture purchase and was found hiding at a thrift store. This was difficult to research via eBay. The prices for anything vaguely similar ran from $125.00 + shipping to over $500.00 + shipping (add about $100.00)...and that's not in the antique category. When I looked in antiques, I couldn't find a similar item under a thousand, and I just felt I was seeing two extremes.

We have a large family and need a lot of seating. Though happy with our finds, we knew we needed more and so, when we stumbled across this winged velvet arm chair on the left, we decided to bite. The green is brighter than our sofa, but with the beige throw, it's toned down enough to blend. We are happy and the chair was about $15.00. EBay has a similar one in rose listed at $356.00. Another seller has two dark green ones listed at $795.00 for both.

The wardrobe on the right is a lovely antique...Arts and Crafts Period or perhaps Art Deco. It has inlaid portions and some really nice braiding along the bottom, beneath the drawers and closet door. It has served us well as a place for kids games and crafts, extra clothes for grandchildren, and because our home is 'closet poor', it also serves for some winter coat storage. We bought it for our grandson's room, but in his new home there is neither room nor need, so here it stays-for now at least. We found it in a dreary warehouse antique (and junk) store, among hundreds of pieces of furniture. We paid $60.00. Today, I found listings at eBay for as little as $300.00 to thousands.

The drop-leaf coffee table on the left was a family piece, so this of course, was free. My father gave it to us when we were engaged and still not even sure where we were going to live. But Jim took it to the shop at his boat station and on his off-time, we would work on it. I helped strip it of its worn finish and he restained and varnished it. He worked conscientiously and meticulously. Thirty years later, we have never had to refinish it and it has been used as everything from toaster and coffee pot caddy to breakfast table, to actual tea cart. Wherever we have lived, and whatever stage of life we've found ourselves, it has functioned well. Now it serves as both end table and small work station for me and my laptop.

This next piece is a total creation of Jim's. When we lived on Chincotegue Island we had a small, square kitchen, plenty of space for pots and pans, but nowhere for dry and canned goods. Fortuntately, the house came with a large garage. Jim was able to build this free-standing pantry and it did a dandy job of not only taking care of those items, but mops and brooms, etc, in the right-hand cubby.
When we moved to our present home, we repainted the cupboard to match our dining room, and I stenciled the side to match the stenciling I had painted on the wall. We've undergone extensive changes in our home and the room needed since living here, so this piece and the china cabinet both remain in the living room, which for a season, was the dining room. We like them where they are though, and now the cupboard, while still holding seasonal and special pieces behind the doors, also holds books and toys in the lower portion. The side part now holds table extensions and stuffed can see a couple of them peeking out in the picture to the left. The cost? Materials only.

This is one side of the cabinet which shows the stenciling, but more importantly, a special little thrift store find...This is a music box that is activated by pulling a brass hoop attached to a string at the bottom. It plays 'Edelweiss'. The grandchildren love it nearly as much as I do. I think we found this sweetie for about $4.98. On eBay, they usually sell for $10.00 to $12.00 including shipping. We have a couple - not for value, but for love.

The vintage hurricane lamps are Jim's passion...he's actually given several away. But they are as diverse as man's creativity allows. Thrift stores, again, allow the indulgence...and we'll never be without light during an electrical outage! He rarely pays more than $5.00 for one, and even this landlubber chic has grown to appreciate them.

The Autumn vignette at the left is brought to us courtesty of thrift stores, sales, and gifts. Every piece except the corn candle holder and background vase came from thrift stores. Different ones at different times. The glass pieces are Depression Era to Eames...the beaded frame is just plain pretty and fallish. The only piece costing more than $3.00, (and some were less), is the vase. The one and only reason it cost more-because it landed in an antique store. The cute little handled pumpkin in the front is a carnival glass open sugar bowl from the Depression Era.

The small lamp has a twin. It's another nice vintage find with a hobnail pattern on milk glass. The small box beside may or may not be vintage, but is filled with coasters. Pink roses on a white melamine surface. Virtually indestructable at the hands of a hammerless child. The lamps were $4.98 and the coasters, about $2.98.

As I come to a conclusion on our living room tour, I can't forget this great find...the plate racks were found for $3.98 each. Yep, thrift store. We bought three to place over the doors frames in the living room...when it was the dining room. Like the cabinets, we like them where they are, so there, they'll stay. The wrought iron racks sold at the Williamsburg Pottery, (a discount shopper's amusement park that is waning with time), for $15.00 each. I have seen them elsewhere for much, much more.

And so, our tour comes to an end. I hope you have been inspired to see what you can find yourself. Believe me, deals abound!  Remember, alternative shopping such as this can you save on things you need, develop your God-given creativity, and help keep things out of the dumps a bit longer. And it is FUN.

Most stores open between nine and ten a.m...See ya!


p.s....This blog was intense...You may not see another for several days!

No comments:

Post a Comment