Friday, July 31, 2009

Heirloom Day

Marie at Emma Calls Me Mama is having an Heirloom Party today. Isn't that a great theme for a party? It's fun to see what's been passed down in families.

The heirloom I love best is in my dining room. Actually, my dining room is the heirloomiest (that's not a word, but you know what I mean) room in my house. My dining room furniture belonged to my mom, several pieces of my crystal were my mom's, etc. All in all, I don't have many heirlooms: my husband and I both come from families who never had much. But we have a few prized possessions, and to me the very best piece is this:




It's a deacon's bench from my grandmother's little church in Belle Plaine, Kansas. Belle Plaine is one of those wonderful little prairie towns. I have such fond memories of spending summers there when I was a child. Life in Belle Plaine was simple and fun, especially since my grandmother was one of nine siblings, all of whom lived close to her. Lots of cousins to play with.

(By the way, do you see a bit of beagle in this photo? My doggies love it under the dining room table. They must feel safe under there.)

Anyway, back to the bench. It's from the church of which my grandmother was a member for all her adult life--the church where my mother grew up, was baptized, got married. The old church building was torn down when I was a young woman, but a few pieces from the building were salvaged, including this deacon's bench, which became my grandmother's. My grandmother died in 1999, and this is one of the pieces my mother inherited. Then my mother died later that same year (that was not a good year, let me tell you), and somehow I was the lucky one who inherited the deacon's bench. I loovvveeee it.

Several years ago (and several houses ago), an interior designer friend of mine helped me with several rooms in my house. It was his idea to put the deacon's bench at the dining room table. I've moved several times since then, but I've continued to use the bench there in every house.



While we're in my dining room, I'll show you the rest of the room. You know, I love having a dining room. We don't use it as often as perhaps we should--but I'm grateful that we have one. I used to have a beautiful collection of candlesticks on the table, but I finally packed those away and now just have a plant on the table--simply so that the table can be cleared and ready to use at a moment's notice. I do love my table runner, which was a sewing project from years ago. Love that deep fringe (which is hot-glued on, by the way).




The walls are a brownish red above the chair rail. I've had some sort of red dining room for many years, with the shade of red changing from time to time. Red dining rooms are becoming passe' now, so I've gone a lot browner with the shade. . . but I still love a dining room with dark walls.

Dark walls look especially nice with lamplight and candlelight, I think. My china cabinet has interior lights, but I rarely turn those on except for parties. I added rope lighting to the top of the cabinet and put a floor lamp in the corner to have everyday light in that corner of the room.




The other end of the room has lots of light, thanks to the lighted built-in cabinets. I love these cabinets. They look so warm and cozy at night. I'd love your opinion here: should I paint the backs of the cabinets? The contents would show up much better against a color, I think. . . but what color would be good? The same color as the walls? A complementary color? Tell me what you think!



Thanks, Marie, for prompting us to take a walk down Memory Lane!

20 comments:

Mrs. P. said...

Richella...I LOVE the deacons bench! I am very drawn to pews when I see them in antique stores. Since my home is small, I've resisted thus far, lol. Thank you for sharing. Oh, and since we live in Nebraska, I'll have to look on the map to see just where Belle Plain, KS is.

Jessica Morris said...

I love the deacons bench too! Super cool story behind it!

Your dining room looks HUGE!! I love it! :) I like dark walls too - we have painted one wall black. It is the only wall with a chair rail, and it is only black above the chair rail. I like it :)

I would paint the back of your shelves. Not sure what color though. Not the wall color, but a complimentary one.

Darcy @ m3b said...

Your home is so beautiful. It looks peaceful and comfy and somewhere where I'd love to hang out. Your family is lucky to have you.

The pew is so charming. It looks great.

But really?! You're going to paint the back of the built-ins? It looks so nice. I know nothing about decorating though, so I shouldn't even offer an opinion. It looks so pristine and well-lit just as it is. I'm a cowardly decorator. I see you crafty girls and the after projects look great. I'm sure whatever you do it will be great. Afterall, it's just paint. ;)

Claudia said...

Your dining room is lovely! I love the Deacon's Bench - I've always wanted one. The fact that is from your Grandmother's church makes it so much more special. Lovely.

Rue said...

Hi Richella :)

Your dining room is gorgeous just the way it is and the Deacon's bench is perfect in there!! I absolutely love it :)

rue

Ashley @ AshleysBusy said...

Hi Richella, that church pew is awesome!!

randee said...

thanks for stopping by a 2nd time. yes, it was fun to win.

i love your deacons bench. i've always wanted one. my dining room is very deep red (it was when i bought the house). i wouldn't have chosen that color, but really love it now.

blessings -
randee

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Hi there! First of all I love that bench and the story behind it...priceless! LOve your room too. That color is just beautiful!
I read each and every comment always. They are very precious to me because it makes me feel special that you have taken your time to write me. Your time and sweetness matter...smiles~

Marina Capano said...

Richella, cute name!
just beautifull!Your home is so terrific!
Thank you for sharing

xoxo

Marie said...

Hello Richella - thank you for joining the party! Wow is all I can say about your beautiful treasures and your gorgeously decorated home. I love that church bench. I commented about the little church I grew up in and how I remember sitting on the benches that made a creaking sound when you sat down! I absolutely love the way you're using it as part of your dining set! What a fabulous idea. It has such special meaning! I really like your dining room wall color. And those built-ins are gorgeous. Maybe do a patterned paper on the back behind the shelves? I think a nice, soft pattern would enhance it. But to be honest, I love the shelving just like they are!

Blessings,
Marie
http://emmacallsmemama.com

HeathahLee said...

I HATE I was so busy I couldn't participate in this meme! I absolutely love things treasured from family, and your deacon's bench has such a great story to it. I really hate you had such a hard year ('99 was a hard year for me, too), but I know your Mom and Grandmother would be so proud to know you've taken great care of that bench.

As for your shelves, I can't offer any advice...I'm still coveting them! : )

jojo said...

Your dining room is fantastic and the Deacons bench such a lovely addition. I love the background story...I could picture the town your family lived in! As for the cabinets I say paint the backs using a lighter version of the wall color. Which I love by the way..it adds just the right amount of richness to have 'reds' in a room. Lovely indeed...

The Pleasures of Homemaking said...

I see your sweet puppy! Mine likes to squeeze his big ol self into cozy spots!

Your dining room is so pretty (and huge)! Love white with the red walls. Love the deacons bench!

I covered some cardboard with fabric and put that in the back of my china cabinet. You could actually do that with paint or paper that way you don't have to permanently alter anything. Just an idea!

Manuela

chicroses said...

What a beautiful dining room..and love the way youve made use of the deacons bench. Great it came out of the church that your grandmother attended. When I was a little girl my grandmother taught our sunday school class and we sat on little windser chairs..the methodist church was bought up and dismantled..I would love to have one of those little chairs..oh well..Sally

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

What a beautiful bench!! Such a special heirloom! It looks great in your dining room. And those built in shelves..oh, my! Love those too! :)
Blessings,
Stacey

Henry said...

Nice Blog!! We have a wide range of Dining Room Table Chairs which helps you to reset your dining room.

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Little Lovables said...

love the bench! I've always wanted one

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