Category Archives: Thrifted

Here at Home: Our Living / Everything Room

I can remember walking into our house for the first time. I fell in love with this room immediately. It was early February, five and a half years ago. No leaves were on the five pecan trees that wrap around our corner lot, so this room was flooded with pale-lemonade winter sunlight.

With a family room for television and computer, and a breakfast area for lunches and snacks, I imagined this as a place for reading and family dinner. I found a long basket at Goodwill and filled it with our library books and a china hutch at Salvation Army for the china my mother in law shared with me. The room had no central light, and I don’t care for the harshness of overhead lighting anyway, so we bought a candle chandelier at IKEA and John installed hooks in two different places in the ceiling to accommodate my seasonal flare-ups of furniture-moving. A dresser from John’s grandmother serves as our buffet, with a little hardware updating. Our art is homemade or thrifted.  (I took these pictures when we we getting ready for company. Stop by on a random Tuesday and your mileage may vary in terms of tidiness. We LIVE here. 🙂

When our third bedroom, which had housed my craft supplies, was needed for guest and drum space, I pared down and switched around so this room could serve for creative space as well. My Project Life and cardmaking supplies are here, as well as the miscellany often needed for school projects. That is the corner for the whimsical, like Joshua’s soda can flowers made in the Triune Art Room, and the antique, like John’s grandmother’s desk.  I made the book page wreath over a year ago per Living with Lindsay’s instructions. The window is one of the original ones from our house, which we replaced soon after moving in. I kept a few of them.

To begin with, we had a second hand sofa in here, slipcovered in cream. It looked good, but it was huge and not very comfortable. One day we were talking about the house and John pointed out that three people almost never sit on a sofa, lined up like they’re waiting for a bus, and he suggested that a couple of great reading chairs would give us more flexibility and comfort for how we really use the room. It took a couple of months, but we found two wing chairs second hand and ordered ready-made stretchy slipcovers for them. They’ve become two of the most coveted seats in the house.

This room is a prime example of what we’ve always done, from our very first tiny apartment. Old and hand me down has to learn to harmonize with new, useful, and handmade. And a look is only as good as it is durable, able to stand up to the day in day out business of family life. Quiet reading and writing gives way to end of school day reconnecting and homework. Drawing and cutting are cleared for dinner dishes, which might be cleared to make space for chess or Yahtzee. And nothing could ever be more beautiful than the faces around the table.


If you have any specific questions about anything you see in these house pictures, I’ll do my best to answer them. The pictures are large and the posts seem long to me, so I want to avoid going into a tiresome amount of detail.  MK


What I Bring to the Table

It was on the bottom shelf, under a layer of grunge and some chipped Santa Claus plates. I brought it out into the light and scratched gently at the dirt with a fingernail. For the price of a few quarters it was mine.

I brought it home, nested it gently in a sink of hot soapy water, washed my hands, put the dough to rise. Under my dishcloth the shine of its glaze emerged. Dried it rested on my counter simply belonging there.

Hours later that house that was so quiet for the sifting and the measuring,the treasure washing and the dough rising, and heat and fragrance of baking has filled with the tumble and laughter of Friday afternoon glee. Backpacks with their school books and yawning emptied lunchboxes have been banished to the mudroom. The sauce is simmering on the stove, short work is made of chores, and outside leaves rain down, bed made for a first frost over the weekend.

I’m piling the honey wheat rolls on the new to me platter, carrying them in when I realize. On the best days, this is what I do. I take in my hands the raw materials and coax them into nourishment and fullness and comfort. I shape them between my palms and place them into the heat and draw them back again at the right time. I unearth beauty and usefulness from what has been discarded: rescue and wash, soak and polish, find a place and fill.

And then to these souls, given to my care, I bring what I have made. To these bright faces around the table, come home with their stories I am carrying what was done and made in the quiet morning house. And much of it will disappear as we chatter and share, roses and thorns, passing the plates.

But it is enough, the crumbs left on the platter, the napkins sauce-smeared, the candle wicks snuffed. This is what the last portion of a good day looks like.