Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Better Dressed Nest

On Monday, my parents pulled up in front of my house in their SUV pulling a U-Haul trailer. No they aren't moving in. They brought me a piece of furniture.

A very special piece of furniture.

When my grandmother passed away last month, we had to go through all the papers, photos, and furniture in her home. Relatives were given the opportunity to request things they would like to have. There were two things that I wanted. Of all the furniture and knickknacks that had found a place in my memories of my grandmother, two pieces stood out. One was a small telephone bench. It has a seat and a small table where one could sit and talk on the phone. You know back when phones were plugged in the wall, handsets were attached with a short cord, and you turned a wheel to dial a number. The other piece I loved is an old buffet that has always stood in her dining room. It was covered with desserts at family holiday dinners. We rummaged through its drawers for tape and paper. It was the signature piece that everyone loved. I'd mentioned a few times that I'd love to have it, but everyone else said the same thing. In the days after my grandmother's death, my cousins and siblings and I talked about that buffet and how it was the one piece that WAS Grandmother's house.

When my aunt approached me and said they wanted me to have it, I was floored. Really? Me? It was like achieving Most Favored Nation status. I'm not the oldest, the only, the prettiest, the most, the favorite, or anything like that. I have a way with words and was honored to be asked to write my grandmother's obituary, but to be offered the buffet was HUGE.

I hemmed and hawed and lamented that I just didn't have anywhere to put it and it would be difficult to get it back to NC, blah blah blah. Then I smacked myself upside the head, came to my senses, and declared that I would sell every other piece of furniture in my living room to make room for that buffet. Thankfully, I have wonderful parents who offered to load it into a U-Haul trailer and bring it halfway across the country for me.

Have I mentioned how awesome my parents are? Because they are.

On Monday, my parents and the buffet arrived and we brought it in during a lull in the rain. We placed it against the stairwell wall in my living room and it looks like it was made for that spot. The space between the stair molding and the chair rail molding in the attached dining room is exactly the length of the buffet. The clearance between the front of the buffet and the half-wall separating the living and dining rooms is exactly perfect. The mahogany finish of the buffet exactly matches the finish of my living room tables. It is *exactly* the piece that completes my living room furniture and layout.

The first thing I did was get out the scratch cover furniture polish and go over the whole thing inside and out. The old, dry wood now shines. It needs a few more deep conditioning treatments, but it's looking much better. We then spent the next few days considering what to do with it. Thankfully, The Nester has been running 31 Days to a Better Dressed Nest and she has been addressing exactly the things I needed. Like having a focal point and creating a tablescape and adding seating and using lamps - all things that I've used incorporating my grandmother's buffet into my living room.

I "shopped" my house gathering things I already had that I thought would look nice on the buffet, like the old books, the pumpkins, the iron cage, and the large painting I hung above it. I tweaked the layout, we've all stood back and made suggestions. I picked up a lamp for cheap at Wal-Mart, indian corn from the grocery store, and a glass vase and a frame (on deep, dark clearance!)from Michaels. I added a tiny antique framed picture that I brought back from my grandmother's house. My mother bought me a glass gourd and a candlestick today and they were exactly what the buffet needed. I then liberated a chair from the corner of my dining room and borrowed a pillow for it from the couch and set it in the corner created by the buffet and the stairs. There's never been enough seating in the living room and this worked beautifully.

I love love love the buffet as it sits in my living room. I love admiring the wood and the structure. I love all the beautiful pieces that are displayed on top. I love thinking about what treasures I can store inside. But most of all, I love the memories of my grandmother and the wonderful times I've spent at her house that come to mind when I see her buffet in my living room.

It's my past blending into my future.


Heather said...

Just beautiful--both the "Better Dressed Nest", and the writing.

Pam said...