Time for a reset & second chances

So, after reading all of the opinions I solicited about my family room, I wrote a post about my thoughts and plans.  The post turned into a rather disjointed mess-of-a-conversation with myself about the room and the direction I’m heading.  I went to sleep thinking about rugs and fabrics and paint colors and furniture arrangements.  I woke up this morning and started rolling up rugs and stared at the room with my head cocked slightly at an angle, thumb on my chin, pointer finger resting on my nose, tapping occasionally as I lulled around the space.  I then realized a couple of things…

First of all, I need to just step away from the room for a few days, which I am fortunately doing.  My husband and I are taking a mini-vacation to Charlottesville, VA for some hiking, good food and to tour Monticello and walk around the beautiful UVA campus.  (My Opa was a graduate of UVA.)

Next, I realized I need to do a “room reset” as I call it.  (I talk about it in my book.)  That means, I remove all of the rugs, accessories, stuff on the walls and small pieces of furniture.  The only things left are the large pieces of furniture.  From that point, I fill the holes in the wall, touch up the paint and try to look at the room with new eyes.  I do this every once in a while with spaces, especially if they are giving me a tough time.  Sometimes you just need a clean slate to figure out what you want to do.  This family room has always been a challenge for me because of the long, skinny shape and the location of the doors, walkways and windows. I’m sort of looking forward to moving around the furniture and putting a cohesive plan of action together to get the look I really want.

Thanks to all who shared their opinions.  It was very helpful!

MMS_DividerA couple of weeks ago, I had some new portraits taken as well as some pictures of me with the products in my milk paint line for the website, an upcoming lookbook, etc.  Well Eddie, the photographer, had her camera stolen along with the camera card containing the pictures from that shoot!  So, that’s a huge bummer…more about the camera than the pictures.  We scheduled a second shoot for today.  As I was preparing for it, I realized that this was a second chance.  I learned a lot from our first shoot together like I should file my fingernails and make sure everything that’s in the room and visible through the doorways is fit to be a backdrop for a photo.  Eddie learned a lot, too, about the lighting in my house and which angles were flattering for me.

The last time we took pictures of me painting the dining chairs.  Now that those are done, I had to pick something else to paint.  Hm…my piano stool has been hanging out unpainted for a few years!  Let’s use that!  We also had my new/old dining table and my newly painted and slipcovered chairs in the dining room and I think I’ll be happier having those in the pictures.  So, I set everything up for the shoot…

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Once we were done shooting in my house, we went to local barn on the Gettysburg battlefield.

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It is the perfect barn for photo shoots, because it has red siding, stone walls and large white doors, so we have a variety of backdrops.  We also took some shots in the neighboring field.  Eddie and I were laughing a bit at ourselves.  Yep, here I am painting my furniture in front of a historic barn on a national battlefield.  Doesn’t everyone do that?!  Well, it makes for a better backdrop than my workshop, that’s for sure!  I hope to have some pictures to share soon.

See you tomorrow for FFF!

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  1. Jennifer says:

    Nothing to say…I just wanted to be the first! :o) Thanks for the suggestion @ dresser legs. I already ordered one!

  2. Shelly says:

    Hi Marian,

    I have that exact same piano/organ stool! I can not wait to see what you do with it.

    Time away to clear your head always helps. Have a good time. One of our favorite vacations was to VA and Monticello. Beautiful and historic. Hope to go again! To get there we have to drive into that under water tunnel, which for me was a heart skipping event!!! I swore I would never do again! Next time I am not going to be the one driving if I make it back that way again , driving from Indiana! :)


  3. Sharon in Chicago says:

    Marian — so glad you thought to do a reset. I think you were trying so hard to match what was already there that you couldn’t make a decision. Have a wonderful few days away and come back refreshed.

  4. I wondered what the neighbors were thinking of me, photographing slips in my front yard today. Then someone I knew drove by!

    But driving to a location to photograph things—that’s even better!

  5. Teresa says:

    Have a great trip to Charlottesville and enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you have never been to Monticello you are in for a real treat. Jefferson was such a visionary. When you get back you will be refreshed and ready to tackle the family room!

  6. I also have that same piano stool! However, the top was stripped out and you couldn’t sit on it. I just removed the metal piece that held and spun the seat. I had my husband screw the wood top on the base, now I have a great little table/plant stand. I’m just going to refinish mine:)

  7. Vanessa says:

    Welcome to Charlottesville, Marian. I figured there was a Wahoo in your family after I spotted the V and crossed swords in your photos of your basement, You guys are coming to the right place for a get away. Let me know if you need some recommendations for restaurants or shopping, we are so blessed with wonderful food here. There is a sweet shop right off our downtown mall that I think you would love, it is called Roxie Daisy. Tell the gals that the crazy french bed lady sent you! If you have the chance you should also check out Pippin Hill Winery, about a 20 minute drive out of town, amazing views, wonderful foods to snack on and good wines. If there is not a wedding going on ask if you can take a look at the bridal suite, I think you’ll appreciate it’s design. My precious girl was the first bride there 2 1/2 years ago.

    Wishing you and your sweetie a restful, restorative time in our little city..

    • Thanks for your recommendation about Roxie Daisy. Looks interesting. Our daughter went to her friend’s wedding at Pippen Hill Farm a few weeks ago and from the pictures it looked beautiful! Our daughter got married at Veritas 2 1/2 years ago. :)

  8. Hilary says:

    I was catching up on your last few posts and I like to go in order so I read your sofa curtains question post first, read all 151 comments and felt totally overwhelmed by all of the suggestions/comments and its not even my house! You are so brave to open up your home for strangers to give their opinions and critiques. I couldn’t handle that. My home is my safe place in the world and having people tell me my curtains are high waters would hurt my feelings even it it were true! Even if it was sandwiched in between 2000 positive comments. EVEN if I asked! Your home is stunning and I can not wait to see what you come up with. I wouldn’t mind it all going back in exactly how it was with a picture of you with your feet up saying “I decided it was perfect all along!” lol Good luck and have a great vacay.

  9. I know exactly what you mean about planning your room, I am planning my office but posted today how I was sitting among boxes, books and a myriad of other clutter and it is hard for me to visualise the room. I have to have a yard sale to get rid of all the excess before I can strip it bare and take a fresh look.

    Can’t wait to see the photos, how terrible the photographer had her camera stolen, that’s awful.

    Lee :)

  10. Second chances are the best! Enjoy your visit to beautiful Virginia! I love Charlottesville and you got some good suggestions from that previous commenter! Enjoy and rest!

  11. Talitha says:

    Good idea! My family just returned to Europe after a visit, the house is a mess and I don’t know where to start. A reset is the perfect idea to lift my spirits and get me going! Looking forward to see the results in both our houses :-)

  12. Angela says:

    Check out Mitchie’s Tavern for the best fried chicken ever! We always used to stop there on our trips back and forth to VT.

  13. Jacquelineh says:

    i live in Ch’ville also, and second the Michie Tavern recommendation. Also try Bodo’s for bagels and Patina Antiques for shopping (two locations). There is a great hiking trail up to Monticello that is gorgeous in the fall. Let me know if you are in need of any other ideas!

    • Thanks for recommending Patina Antiques!!

      • Jacqueline says:

        two stores filled with such lovely things – I live in Ivy, so may be neighbors with your daughter once she moves!

        • How cool! They bought property on Dick Woods Road at Ragged Mountain Farm. :) Hopefully I can visit Patina Antiques when we come up for a basketball game this winter. :)

  14. MARY EGUIA says:

    Dear Lord,are those GLASS wheels on the stool? love

  15. maggie says:

    Have a fun time on your getaway! How about in place of a couple of Furniture Fridays you have us take pics of our rooms and you can make comments? That would be a hoot!

  16. Jeanine C says:

    I especially laughed when you said your head was “cocked slightly at an angle.” When creating and decorating, my husband always asks me how many “head tilts” did I do. :)

    It’s how we designers do it :)

    Have a blessed getaway!

  17. The room looks just gorgeous for a photo shoot. The light looks pretty too, or is that just your good camera work? It’ll be fun to see the photos ya’ll come up with. I really like the photo of you on your sidebar now. It’s perfect! You so look approachable, and really pretty.


  18. You are funny!! Sounds like you all had a good time in front of that barn, and I’ d say that is normal;) Sorry to hear about her camera, but good way go look at the opportunity of improvement.

  19. Good idea about the room. You will come back so inspired after visiting C’ville!! It is one of my favorite places. Our niece lived there 12 years during college/med school/residency and our daughter also went to UVA so we have spent a great deal of time there. Lucky for us our daughter and son-in-law just bought a piece of property close to Ivy and plan to build and move there from NoVa in a few years. :) I’m looking forward to hearing about your trip and if you found any great shops. We plan to go up to a basketball game so maybe I can shop!! :)

  20. Barbara says:

    Marian – love how your house keeps evolving. I think its time to look for a new rug inthe dining room, its the one thing I don’t care for. You are an inspiration to keep fine tuning my house. Always a long list of to do projects!

  21. Marian,
    Here are a few places you might like in

    #1 Curious Orange- This guy paints furniture and has a really
    cool shop on the way to Ivy. He is on Facebook and I think has
    a website.

    #2. The restaurants in Belmont, Mas, Taviola and The Local

    And if you can, come see my shop in downtown Staunton!

    • Seleen says:

      Staunton is lovely! My 4 sisters and I met there for our annual weekend adventure in June. Lots of fun shops and restaurants!

  22. Jennifer says:

    I am excited to see what you do! I too have a long skinny family room and it is a BEAST to decorate. My biggest problem is the location of the doors and windows which are unchangeable so I have to work WITH them.. SO frustrating!

    I’m trying to find a place for a hutch I just refinished now and whew! Makes my brain hurt. Maybe I need to follow your example and take a break from it. I just need it out of my way!

    Happy mini-vacation!

  23. Yep I had to do the same thing when I was changing our bedroom.I did not like the changes I made.I walked away thought about it and was inspired with fresh ideas.And always remember, do what you love and what is in your heart.It does not matter what others think this is your home,and your style :-)

  24. JaneEllen says:

    We had one of those exact piano stools in Cleveland when I was a kid. They are one in a million, just a certain look to them, love ‘em. Haven’t seen one like it since we left Cleveland. Must be only people in midwest/east coast that kept them around. Looking forward to seeing what you do with yours. I love those old ball feet.
    Clearing a room is what I’ve done also since I was young wife/mother. I can’t seem to see things clearly until I do, have to get the clutter out of my mind before I can do anything different. Good that you realized that, it’s a very big help. Problem is, where do you put all the “stuff” til you get back to it? Leaving it alone for couple days or so is also helpful. I love to move furniture around, gives room a fresh look, move accessories around, art, etc, whatever it takes to get the idea you have in mind or be able to get an idea. I can be watching tv i.e. and get up all of a sudden to move something or get something from another room. Sometimes I’ll go out to shed to get something after it’s been in my mind stewing from what I saw on a blog. I sure hope I can stop doing that when I’m really old so I can rest more, lol. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. By the way, love your new photo, you look so much younger in this one. Sorry about the photos lost and especially Eddie’s camera.

  25. Mary McRuer says:

    Do you have any history of the piano stool. . . .like when or where it was made.

    I just took one exactly like it home with me on a plane. . . .from Michigan to California!

    It was originally from my Grandmother’s farm in Alberta, Canada. My mom practiced her piano sitting on it growing up and she is 84. . . . so I am thinking it was “the thing” that came with pianos in the early 1900′s. . . .before the piano bench was popular.

    The only markings on it are little “B”s on the back of the metal bird feet :-)

  26. I had to grin when reading your post about resetting your room – my living room is in shambles as I type because I’m doing the exact same thing! Something about prepping for the holidays….

    Can not wait to see what you decide to do with the spaces, your designs are always inspiring.

  27. Your blog about sewing and your workhorse of a machine
    has left me impatient and so anxious for you to reveal the brand name
    so I may consider it while researching machines to do it all as my
    40 year old Bernina did faithfully
    It was a true beast but went on recently

  28. MaryS says:

    Can’t believe you are THAT close to a Historic Battlefield like Gettysburg!! What a privilege to be able to go there at will. And then, there’s that FABOULOUS chair! I need to be psychoanalyzed about me and chairs! :) Luckily, I know I’m not the only one.

    Yep… Get away! Then it will all fall into place for you.

    Have a safe trip.

  29. Katie says:

    Oh my goodness is that the channel-back chair in the dining room? It looks amazing! Will it stay there? Will you find a matching/complementary chair for the other end of the table? I’m definitely going to stay tuned to find out ;)

  30. Wendy Y says:

    Glad you’re getting some time to run away with your hubby. Soooo important! Howard Hendricks, a teacher for many years at Dallas Theological Seminary, but also a very down to earth man, one said something that has stuck with my husband and I over the 39 years we’ve been happily married. He said, “The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother.” (I think it goes the other way too: The best thing a woman can do for her children is to love their father.) Enjoy your date! Blessings :) Wendy Y.

  31. Wait until you see Jeffersons dining room. You are going to love It.

  32. OK, so battlefield and all 150 years ago they were all using milk paint. I think it is wonderful that the new fun go to product can harken back to our history. Nice job.

  33. Nancy says:

    First, let me say I love your ideas and talents. Now, I hesitate to even say this, but using an old historic barn on a battlefield where so many men lost their lives leaves me a bit unsettled. I just feel that battlefields carry their own karma and should be respected . I believe Lincoln said it best,” consecrated gound. ” I hope you know I do not mean this in a hurtful way.

  34. I’m kind of excited to see how your den turns out. Love the idea of a reset! Your piano stool is gorgeous; those glass balls on the feet are so unique and interesting!

  35. Also, I just visited Monticello and Poplar Forest (Jefferson’s retreat home) last month with my parents, children, sister, and niece last month. Our ages ranged from 76 to 5 years old and we all enjoyed it immensely. Seeing the construction of the homes amazed us. Poplar Forest more than Monticello in some ways because more of the construction was visible. I hope you enjoy your visit as much as we did, can’t wait to see some of your pictures!

  36. Marian,
    I know you’re heading to C’ville for the weekend, but there is a little furniture store in Harrisonburg (about 45 minutes away, right off of I-81) that you will absolutely LOVE. It’s a local family-owned shop called Hess Furniture and it’s absolutely full to the brim with all types of furniture…so full that you can barely walk around! All different styles, shapes, and conditions (all used furniture, NOT new). It’s a great place to just wander around and find treasures – I’ve found so many great pieces there through the years! The prices are great (and negotiable) and you never know what you will find. Mr. Hess buys furniture from all over and somehow manages to squeeze the new items into the store. There’s even an upstairs level that I lovingly call a chair graveyard. Every type of chair imaginable is there – probably more than 500 chairs – pairs, sets, single chairs, you name it its there. They’re even hanging from the ceiling :-) It’s my favorite place to furniture shop in Harrisonburg and since you’ll be so close I wanted to let you know. I think they’re open until 5pm during the week and until 3 or 3:30pm on Saturdays, no Sunday hours. I hope you have a wonderful time in VA!

  37. This is the place…believe me, you’ll love it!

  38. Siouxzie Q says:

    I think your place is pretty perfect, but I understand the need for change…and having curtains (or furniture or wall color or paintings,etc.) be the last thing you think about at night and the first you think about when the alarm clock goes off. I’m sure whatever you come up with will be inspired. Pick what you love, and it will translate into another gorgeous room. You have earned a well-deserved break, so enjoy time with your husband while “resetting.”

  39. I just LOVE the drapes! What a beautiful fabric. Love the whole thing. :)

  40. Jacquie says:

    I love, love, love that piano stool! How lucky you are to have such a neat – useful & whimsical piece of furniture… (me sigh).

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