Thursday, November 8, 2012

Primary Colors, Vol. II

So there we were, the Great Remodel of 2004 finished. A new red leather Ethan Allen sofa, our one splurge, in the family room, the old white and red enamel table from the 1950s that we found in the smokehouse when we moved in now in the kitchen with new red and white diner chairs made to match at a wonderful company in New Hampshire called Vintage Vending. Colorful Fiesta dishes and red Pyrex. A retro 50s look, cheerful and one I thought we'd live with forever.

However, five years later a major shakeup happened. A new sofa came into our lives. Isn't it odd how one purchase can change everything and even mark the beginning of a flipflop of the style you've loved for ages? Has that ever happened to you? With us it all began when we wanted more than five people to be able to sit in our family room at one time. R.H. suggested a sectional sofa after we visited my family in Florida and spent time at one sister's house, the one who has been with a high end Scandinavian furniture company for decades and furnished her house in that beautiful style. All of a sudden we were loving it and even went to a similar furniture store at home and bought one of their "stressless" recliners, nothing like the recliners I'd always hated, like the one that looked as large as a white airplane in our family room years before. Remember that one Zack and Defee? The new recliner was Scandinavian blue and we'd just introduced another color into our already bright mix.

The red leather sofa got moved to the living room where it is a star, and we began our search for a sectional sofa for our oddly shaped family room. Thinking we'd start with Craig's List, we spotted a German sofa, brand new, went and fell in love with it, or maybe with the idea of adding a funky mod look to a 1920 farmhouse. We convinced ourselves that it was rust-red and home it came with us.

So why didn't the rust-red sofa work at all with the red and white retro kitchen? It took another sister coming to visit for me to admit that this sofa was not rust-red. The first thing Teresa said when she saw the sofa was, "I love the pink sofa!" No wonder our red colors didn't look good with it. Neither did all the retro 50s touches.

I sat on that sofa looking around me for months trying to figure it all out, getting up to remove one red item after another, rearranging furniture, trying to make the darn space look European Farmhouse.  We moved the pretty little red and white porcelain table into the small dining area and brought in the natural wood trestle dining table that had sat in an L-shaped end of the family room. I loved having the big table in the long kitchen but knew the kitchen still didn't go with the family room. Not much of anything in our house went with it and I just could not figure out how make it all work, without going to major expense.

Months later a chance turn of the television channel to the Nate Berkus show gave me a clue. Nate showed a picture of a living room that a viewer sent in asking for design help. I don't remember the exact solutions he gave her but I do remember that he first said, "The room is schizophrenic." And mine was too.

I realized that instead of trying to make my farmhouse fit my sofa, I needed to make my sofa fit my farmhouse. Only how to do that?

To be continued November 9, 2012

"You never really got to know people properly until you had seen them within the ambience of their own home. Seen their furniture and their books and the manner of their life-style."
                         Rosamunde Pilcher, Winter Solstice


  1. Good morning mom, I was thinking about how we have moved that couch around several times trying to get it just right. I remember as a kid you would have sis and I help you completely rearrange rooms full of furniture. He he, it was a good way to clean all the dust.

    1. Yes, your dad never knew where we'd have things when he came home. And it was a good excuse to clean. You and Christy always fell in with my projects, so here's a very late thank-you!! And you still never know what I have for you to do when you're here. Last project was pressure washing the house--next the roof, Gurn!

  2. I do remember that big white chair. What were we thinking? Ha ha. I also remember that old yellow upholstered chair. I do like the sectional. It really does allow for a crowd in that room.

    1. It was comfortable though, wasn't it. Ugly but comfy. Now that sectional was for you kids, when you all came home! And it finally found a place I think it's going to stay. Now you have to bring home my new granddaughter for me to see! Next year she'll be old enough to help make those cookies you like at Christmas.

  3. You had me at Tennessee, and farmhouse. I had to become a happy follower when I saw those two words in your description. So glad you came by my place so that I was able to find you.

  4. My feelings exactly after seeing yours! Isn't it wonderful how a chance encounter links you up with someone you just love meeting. Looking forward to getting to know you and your blog better.


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