This is the room upstairs at the front of the house above the front parlor. The stained glass window in the bay faces west, there is a south-facing window, a southwest facing window a northwest facing window and a door on the north side that goes out to a balcony. The fireplace is angled in northeast corner of the room to the left of the door to the hall. The corner opposite on the right has a rectangular cedar-lined closet with a built-in cedar storage chest that was added by the last guy. It's a useful space, but frankly, the craftsmanship is hideous and I hate the thing.
There's storage above the closet that has a louvered door-Hey! Wait. just. one. minute! Is that one of the missing interior shutters I've been looking all over for????? Well, yeah. I found all three missing shutters forced into service as doors to the overhead storage in this room and in the master bath. This is the kind of stuff that makes me crazy about the last guy's "renovation". I mean, really. How much could an actual door for the things cost? At least I know where the shutters went and they've all been accounted for.
Upon investigation of said overhead space, we discovered that there was once a built-in corner unit that mirrored the angle of the fireplace on the other side of the wall. Nice. Guess what will be coming out and what we'll be putting back in when we get to this room?
We've been told that this room was originally the family library. If so, I suspect the corner built-in was once a nice bookcase for those treasured books. Having a private library and owning books was a big deal and reflected a family's social status during the Victorian era. Not only did it mean that you could afford books, but also that you could read-not something everyone could do back then. So, there was a library here somewhere and we're lucky enough to have some of the actual books and a letter from Harry (Henry) when he was at university at Vanderbilt to his sister that he had acquired a new volume for their library. If this room was indeed the library, then it stands to reason that it's possible that it also had seating, right?
Prior to the previous owner purchasing the property, there was a huge estate sale and pieces of the family collections were spread far and wide-and from what I hear this place was packed with great stuff including plenty of Civil War treasures which are in huge demand around here. Everything went.
One day we were at an antique shop in Jackson and came across a settee and two chairs. The wood was dry but in great shape, they were sturdy, interesting, and reasonably priced probably because they looked like they had been in a store window for years and the upholstery was shot. Donnie mentioned that they were similar to the design on the mantle in "Tammy's Room." Perfect since that's where we were planning to put them anyway. So, we brought them home and put them in "Tammy's Room."
Once we had the set in the room and compared it to the mantle, questions began to arise. There are 11 trees across the back of the settee. Of the hundreds of settees and chairs we've looked at we'd not seen this design on anything before.
Now have a look at the mantle.
There are 11 little trees in the negative across the top of the mantle.
So, did this furniture and this mantle used to be in the same room together as the family library??? Or is this just a bizarre coincidence? And if not, is there significance to the number 11 or is that just how many little trees fit comfortably across each piece? I wonder if they're pecan trees since this is the part of the house that was built when the house was named. Maybe there were 11 pecan trees on the lot. I don't think they represent the children as I think there were only 5 that I've been able to discover that were living at the time.
I'm hoping someday we'll be able to find out-not only about the furniture and mantle, but also about the use of the room as there's a gorgeous mantle in the downstairs master bedroom which makes me wonder if the library was downstairs with the other formal rooms and was moved upstairs sometime later. I'd love to find the blueprints!
This room is way down the "to do" list but happens to be one of the few that I actually have a plan for. It seems like it should be pink, green, and cream. While I don't really care for whitish walls, they just seem to be right for this room and apparently, the last guy thought so too.
I've picked up a few things as I've run into them even though I wasn't actively looking for things. When the right thing comes along, you just get it whether you need it immediately or not. Having a goal, reasonable restraint, and being willing to wait for "the right thing" keeps all that potential over-shopping in check.
The first thing I picked up was this really cool crewelwork bedspread. It's not a hundred years old and not Victorian, but this isn't a museum so I don't think the furnishings and fluff need to be era-appropriate. I like that impression of the "passage of time" in my rooms.
You'll also notice that quite often I choose things that don't match-like say, this bedspread and the wallpaper that I'll show in a minute. The colors are wrong. In truth, there's a reason this doesn't bother me a bit.
A couple of houses ago, I was looking for some red velvet drapes to go in a new room I was working on. The walls were a reddish-maroon damask wallpaper. In the typical fashion, I brought home a pair of two possible best-matches. One set was a dead-ringer for a match. It was perfect. The other set was slightly "off" in color. They were hung on two windows where they could both be seen at the same time. As I stood there checking out the two different "looks" I was surprised to discover that the perfect match made the room so boring and the not so perfect match enhanced the other things around it and made the room more interesting. The "perfect match" went back to the store and that's where I got my "The perfect match is often the least interesting" theory although I suspect plenty of other people already know this.
So, on to the perfect fabric for the settee and chairs which I found accidentally while shopping for something else. Perfect for what I wanted without necessarily being a perfect match to anything else. Isn't it pretty?
Now for the one thing I'm still waiting for but at least I know where to get it when I'm ready unless House Vernacular decides this is no longer a historical paper.
Isn't that just fabulous??? Here's the thing. I just clicked my link to House Vernacular to see what the pattern name was called and here's the message on the page:
We regret to inform you that House Vernacular is no longer accepting orders. We thank our customers for their support and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Sincerely, The Staff at House Vernacular
You have GOT to be KIDDING! I'm hoping this isn't permanent, but I suspect they're out of the wallpaper business. I'll have to do some snooping around.
Well, here's the wallpaper I could have had if I had figured out what I needed and ordered it a year ago.
Wall & Frieze
Ok, I think I found a backdoor and was able to send them an email, so I'll wait to see what they have to say before panicking. If I didn't love this pattern so much, I'd just skip it as I think Bradbury may be more cost effective, but this is just beautiful and I want it for that room! I'm disgusted.
Meanwhile, here's the view of the Methodist Church from the front window of the room-obviously not taken today since church was canceled due to snow. Only in the south. :)