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!