We weren’t always into modern design and this post proves that anyone can change styles and get the home they want.
I’ve been promising this post for a while but sitting down to put it together was quite a task, I have to say. Most of the pictures I had were not digital so I apologize for their quality. Scanning doesn’t always get great results. I had no idea where to start or how to share this without it turning into a never ending post that causes your scroll bar to stop functioning. I decided to go room by room, so here goes nothing….
Our first house was a really big deal. We’d been married only 4 1/2 years and had NO money at all. I mean you know ….. saving our quarters so we could do the laundry at the end of the week and “can I spend $5.00 on lunch today”. NO MONEY! We wanted out of our tiny apartment and into a house of our very own. We knew we had to find something in the neighborhood we desired but it would have to be a REAL fixer-upper. Our budget was tight. And this little house had such potential! We bought it for $52,000. WE WERE SO PROUD!
The backyard was HUGE and we also owned the lot next door so it had a basketball court on one side of the house. Richie loved this. Of course over time this much land was a lot to keep up with. But hey, we were young, it was all good. The house would change gradually over the years and eventually so would we. In more ways than one.
I can’t say that I really knew anything about design or had any style whatsoever. I was influenced by what I saw everyday. Most houses I had been in or around were very “Southern Living”, if you will. I mean we are in Texas and I guess dried flowers and copper pots are a given. (and it was 1992) The weird thing is I never really questioned this. I saw it. It was pretty. It was what every adult house I had been in had. And it was all I really knew. (very sheltered woman, here) So I went with it.
Here’s what the living room looked like a few weeks after we moved in. Yep, DON’T LAUGH! There’s actually an Ikea chair(s) in this room and I’m wondering who will find them. So okay, I know, this is hurting my eyes too. Lots of dried flowers, brass, golden wood furniture and the fabrics, although Waverly and hot at the time, look like a mortuary waiting room. Love those lace curtains, too! It was home, though. Life was good …. and GREEN AND BURGUNDY!
The sofa you see in these picture (the flowery one) I can honestly say was my pride and joy. I suppose that sofa was the beginning of everything. It was the project that made me realize I had the ability to do just about anything I set my mind to. It’s why I had no fear when it came to buying our current home.
That Waverly pattern was purchased by the yard at a local fabric store with money I had saved from Christmas one year. We were living in a small apartment at the time so I had NO ROOM to do what I was about to do. Richie’s aunt had an old hideous gold and green velour sofa in her garage and gave it to us for $20. I had NEVER done anything like it before but I was determined to have a nice sofa for our house. I began carefully removing the old fabric saving each piece to reuse it as a pattern. I totally reupholstered that sucker and it took me about 2 weeks total. 6 new zippered cushions, all new lining, a tailored skirt, piping and wrapped arms.
It was a feat! I’ve never been more proud of anything! So she’s kind of ugly, but she was EVERYTHING back then.
Okay, at this point I could continue on and show you the rest of the house… but it might be more fun to jump back and forth in time (like a real artsy movie). So fast forward 3-4 years and Richie and I realize we are really starting to change and grow as people. We have our own home now, we’re making a little more money, we’re exposing ourselves to a world outside the one we’ve known and it turns out there’s a lot of cool shit out there. Our current lifestyle is no longer a fit for us. It’s time for a drastic change.
Richie shows up with a few magazines that he borrowed from a friend and we begin combing through them. Remember “Met Home”? Yep, that magazine started it all. It was an ah-ha moment and IT WAS ON! We began a schooling of sorts, educating ourselves on styles, designers, history. It was thrilling. The possibilities were fueling our desires. But wait… this cool shit is EXPENSIVE! How the hell were we going to do this. Then I just looked at that old couch and said “We can do anything”. Two weeks later we had a massive garage sale over two days and cleared out almost our entire house. YES, we sold it ALL! We had a bed and that’s about it. The hunt was on and Richie was relentless. Every weekend at 5:00 a.m. he scoured the city and all surrounding cities for the things we wanted. AND HE WAS SUCCESSFUL beyond our expectations.
The first thing we got was our Knoll sofa, and then came the George Nelson bench you see in front of it, then a new dining table, and art from auctions, and before we knew it our home was changing right before our eyes. Of course each piece has a long fun story behind it but the happy ending is, WE DID IT! While he looked for furniture I got busy painting, tiling, and working on sheetrock. So what did the living room look after? Take a look.
You won’t find a single piece of furniture from the old us. EVERYTHING CHANGED! It was almost like someone else moved into this house.
Bye bye burgundy and brass. This is who we really are.
I really love this old house. Although it was built in 1924 it always felt very open and modern to me. I suppose that very much contributed to the success we had with it. It was almost like the house itself was ready for a change and it wasn’t happy either. It all just clicked. When I look at these pictures I get very teary-eyed, as we worked so hard. Still are, I guess.
Richie refinished those beautiful floors all by himself. You can see how dark they were in the first few pictures. We were fearless!
The dining room is right off the living area so we’ll jump back in time and see the change. A little round country table and metal bakers rack. The oriental rug I guess wasn’t so “country” but anyhoo….
We sold the table and found this beautiful Heywood Wakefield set in someone’s storage unit. It had been damaged from water but we brought it back to life with a total refinishing of the wood and I reupholstered the chairs. The backs of those chairs were so beautiful I could hardly breathe.
The table came with two leaves and 6 chairs. We ended up selling it to a dealer in Dallas who drove down to get it after we moved into our current house. Which in turn allowed us to finally purchase the current Poul Kjærholm we have today.
The next George Nelson bench entered our lives with such sweet surprise. It was just GIVEN to us by one of my friends who “knew we liked this kind of stuff”. Why yes, we sure do. Thank you very much. Ha! Things just starting showing up at our doorstep. We were living right!
I can’t lie. I miss all that thick white trim and wood floors. Old houses are the BEST!
Up next… the kitchen and it’s major transformation. I see you copper pots!
But you’ll have to wait for Part II. Besides, your scroll bar needs a rest.
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