Taking In the Old Family Antique

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.

Conquering the not-great View

Conquering the not-great View

I have had a disappointing view from one of the master bedroom windows for, well, as long as we have owned the house, twenty years. My answer has been to keep the curtains closed on that side of the room. We have another window which lets in a fair amount of light. I was not in the bedroom much except to sleep so that was an acceptable solution then.

View of neighbor’s backyard from my master bedroom window

Now that I work from home, I am in and out of my bedroom much more often during the day and this dark corner started to bother and annoy me.

And then I realized I had a ready made solution right in the house.

I made this fake stained glass window years ago. I bought an old window from a friend thinking I would do a different craft involving sea glass pebbles. Anyway, in the craft section of Walmart I found the supplies for making fake stained glass. You can also find the materials at Michael’s.

It has been 15 years since I made this window. However I remember that it was quite easy and an almost zen-like experience. The “leaded” shapes are pre-made. The squares and diamonds, those fleur-de-lis pieces, all of those come pre-formed. I took the time to plan my layout and measure. Planning is so important on any project, right?

I realize the window might look better if I hung it so that it is centered in the window frame. However, we just got new windows for the house and I can not make a hole in the perfect sash I now have.

This bedroom is getting a refresh but it is an extremely slow process. You can see the corner of a bench on some of the pictures here. I am not keeping that. What to keep and what to get rid of are decisions yet to be made. Balancing simplicity and starkness can be a struggle at times. Ha!

I found a few tutorials online that may help you get started: here, and here.

What solutions have you found to hide unsightly views or add privacy without sacrificing sunlight?