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Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Little Journey Around a Room of My Own

Come into my new study.  When Virginia Woolf said a woman needs "a room of own's own," I took her literary -- well, not at the time -- she wrote about it around 1928. Within my little room are many of my cherished items . . . and . . . I didn't have to compromise with my dear husband in its decoration. Jay commented, "You've stuffed as much as you can in here."  Yes, I have.

My friend Jen said in her blog that a  little black vase  makes flowers look their best, and illustrated it with lovely examples.  So, I found a black vase at a charity shop for $1.00 (I love charity shops).  And Jen is so right.  Then I thought, "What if I put more of my black items in the same area?"

The curio shelf in the middle was crafted by my grandfather in the 1950s after he retired from the Northern Pacific Railroad. Mom had painted it pale blue.  I spray painted it black lacquer. To the right is my son Donovan's first grade Christmas gift to me. 

And to the left is a set of silhouettes from a damaged old children's book I salvaged, matted and framed.  They never found a place in our last house, but I like them here. 

When I was eighteen, I toured Europe with a group of students, sponsored by People to People.  I bought this Russian lacquer box in Budapest.  Most of the boxes were of fairy tales and troikas, but this had the theme, as I interpreted it, of "progress through communism.:  There's the hammer and sickle, the red star, and a rocket going into space.  Intriguing, yes?

This room isn't finished yet.  I have to decide on a fireplace surround and shelving to the right.  We had to have the room expanded so it would accommodate our Sabsevar Persian rug. 

The art over the fireplace is a pencil study by the American artist, Lilian Westcott Hale. It's difficult to photograph (reflection) and I've had to darken it so you can see it.  When Jay first drew my attention to it at an auction in Washington, D.C., I looked up and saw only a framed blank. A trick of the eye and brain. Gradually, the image formed. I've loved it ever since.

This is my classical corner with hand-painted 18th and early 19th century botanicals and an antique mahogany game table. I have a friend, Cheryl, a Scrabble whiz. We plan on playing Scrabble here while the men watch football in the family room.

I told the cats that they can come into my study only if they refrain from clawing the rug and furniture.  This wingback had to be recovered.  Geordie has been good so far.

 Within this circa 1830 mahogany armoire, made in Perth, Scotland (there's an old label on the back), I keep my CDs and components. Jay has hidden the speakers up behind the crown.

Another Christmas gift from my son, Donovan, when he was small.

We found this little antique footstool in Yorkshire. The British call inlaid wood items treen.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens designed the memorial Grief (1891) for Clover Adams, wife of Henry Adams.  She committed suicide by drinking developing fluid. It sits in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. I had to wait a long time for the light to be right.  Nothing better than having your own study for your own photos.

This carnival glass vase was made in Fredonia, Kansas, circa 1906-10.  My great-grandmother boarded men who worked in the glass factory and one gave her this vase he made. Probably his foreman rejected it, but the family has always cherished it, and when sunlight hits it . . . just lovely.

Ah, well, I don't want to bore you with more of my "treasures."  As we leave, though, I will point out this paper fan that was handed out at Oberlin College's graduation (I bet it was held outside), circa 1900 - 1910, that I found in an antiques mall years ago. Very Art Nouveau.


  1. I really enjoyed this tour. First of all, the French doors are beautiful. I love the way used black--so clever to use the silhouettes from a book to go with the one from your son. The room is a beautiful marriage of personal and classic items. The rug is stunning and the fireplace, oh the fireplace!!! You are going to be so happy and productive there.

  2. Forgot to mention that I love the art and antiques you've collected--especially those botanicals.