Taking In the Old Family Antique

Family heirlooms can be a big obstacle in our path towards downsizing and decluttering. I recently experienced this when my mother in law moved into an independent living facility. She had to part with a number of things including a Victorian slant front desk that had been in her family for a generation. No other family members wanted it. Nor did I. But I wasn’t ready to let it go either. It had history, belonging to a great aunt who operated a TB sanitarium in upstate New York in the early 20th century.

As I was thinking about this dilemna while getting ready for bed one evening, the solution was staring right at me. This desk that I am using as a bedside table had no special significance and I had been thinking about replacing it. The space was just right for the antique desk. I don’t know why I didn’t see it sooner.

Had I seen this in a store would I have been attracted to it? No, not at all. It’s too ornate, too fussy. And that green felt! Even if clean it’s so old and dreary.

That being said, I kind of like it. The shelf portion of the desk gives the room some coziness somehow. It gives me a feeling of enclosure to have this solid surface by my pillow.

It’s kind of interesting that I like the one that I never would have chosen better than the one I did choose.

I did change the felt and I think it updated the piece a little bit.

You know how one thing leads to another when you start working in a space? The ceiling light fixture was a “boob” light (which I never took a picture of). I knew there had to be an easy, inexpensive way to update it.

And there was.

A Google search led me to this tutorial from Young House Love. My previous fixture was very similar to theirs. Mine also has a rod coming down from the mounting plate. However, the finial would not screw very far up the rod which left the drum shade hanging too low. You could see the plate with the light bulbs above it. A trip to the hardware store yielded a hex nut for lamps. That’s important. Regular hex nuts will not work. Finally, I was able to push the shade up so that the mounting plate doesn’t show.

There are quite a few storage possibilities in that little desk. But I’m determined not to fill it up. I am decluttering.

To read about my remedy for the unsightly view from this room, click here.

To see our update on our master bathroom, click here.

2 thoughts on “Taking In the Old Family Antique

    1. The desk is a pretty burled walnut. But if it comes to painting it or getting rid of it, I would paint it. Mulling that one over.


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