A few weeks ago, I shared this video by True Value on my Facebook and Twitter. I don’t know if any of you watched it, but it is a really beautiful clip about preserving a family heirloom. It gave me tingles and made me misty, because I’m really into that sort of thing. I love pieces with a story and soul. Pieces that have been patched, repaired, refinished, moved across the country and handed down through generations – all signs of a quality piece that’s been well loved.
With the constant parade of furniture that goes through my house, there aren’t many pieces that have remained over the years. One piece that I’ve never even considered selling is the buffet in my dining room.
First of all, it’s just my style. More importantly, it’s a piece that was given to me by my parents. They bought it from an antique shop when they were just newlyweds. Through all of our moves (my dad was in the Army), I remember this piece of furniture always finding a home. I remember my mom pulling her silver and placemats out of it for special occasion dinners. I remember a German shepherd we dog-sat taking shelter under the buffet, hiding from our territorial (and very teeny-tiny) Siamese cats. The smell of the velvet-lined drawers always reminds me of “home.” I remember being giddy with excitement when my mom said she was giving it to me. I only wish I knew the history of the piece before it came into our family about 40 years ago.
This is what it looked like when I received it…
For a long time, I felt like I had to leave it as is. It was scratched and gouged, but I felt like painting or refinishing it would somehow take away from the history of the piece. I also thought my mom might kill me.
One day, I was talking about the buffet and my mom offered, “That’s your piece of furniture now, Marian. You can do whatever you want with it.” I think I waited about 34 minutes before the paint was going on. In addition to painting it, I refinished the heavily scratched top.
(It’s gained a few new scratches since I refinished it, but that’s okay.)
Painting it took this family heirloom and made it mine. I didn’t take away from the history of the piece. I added to it. Another piece of the story about how great-grandma Marian’s furniture was painted in soft blues and whites with wood tops and we’re so glad we have one of her signature pieces. Maybe whoever ends up with it will repaint it or strip it back to the bare wood. That would just be another layer of history.
Do you have a heirloom piece like that? I’d love to hear about some of your favorite family heirlooms and how you’ve added to their history.
If you haven’t watched the video, yet, you can check it out HERE.
I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.