My own home embodies none of these styles. A modest farmhouse, it is a mishmash of styles and eras that spans the 100 plus years of its existence. The décor is as varied as the home itself. A contemporary couch is paired with 1940s mahogany tables. A collection of antique carnival and opalescent glass pieces are tucked away in a modern curio cabinet. A set of 1950s dishes fill a dark walnut stained 1920s china cabinet. Oil paintings popular in the 1970s are paired with pastels from the early 1900s on the walls.
At best, I can call my style Eclectic: at least it would be if it were created by intention. In reality, the décor of my home came together more by chance than choice. While it is common practice to choose items to fit the style of your home, I’ve had to make the house work for the items I’ve collected within it.
It started when I first moved out of my parent’s home. As with many young people moving into their first place, I needed furniture and house wares and lacked the funds to buy everything new. As luck would have it, my move corresponded with a downsizing of my great-grandmother’s home as she moved into a care facility. In this manner I acquired assorted dishware, utensils and linens. Furniture was also passed on to me, including one of my favorite pieces, my kitchen table.
My great-grandparents had purchased the table in 1937 with 35 dollars of their wedding money from Richardson Brothers of Sheboygan Falls, WI. The oak table and four matching chairs had sat in the same place in their kitchen for over 60 years. In that time, the finish had aged to a warm golden color, but the painted details in the corners of the table top were still intact. The story it told belied its simple, functional design.
Countless meals had been eaten at that table by four generations of my family. So many thoughts had been shared, emotions had been expressed and conversations had taken place while seated there. It was the centerpiece of the kitchen, the heart of the home, and imprinted on my memory as a representation of time spent with people I loved who also loved me. When my great-grandfather had passed away, it was one of the last things he had touched. I only have to look at it now and I can be taken back to a time when he and my great-grandmother were still alive and well and sharing their time with me.
In the years since, many family items have come into my possession. Each one has found a place of honor in my home. From my grandmother’s rocking chair in the guest room to a dresser handed down from my grandfather, my home is filled less by the items in it and more by the memories and energy they carry with them.
When I began purchasing my own items, it was the used and vintage that I was most drawn to. Random items from thrift shops, antique stores and auctions found their way into my home. The more I could determine of their history, the better. Knowing when something was made, which company created it, who owned it and how it came to be in their possession; these are the things that fascinate and bind me to an item.
By intention or chance; I love the eclectic style of my home. Each day I wake up surrounded by the history of my family in physical form. Each night I go to sleep comforted by the energy of items that have been well-loved. If given the chance, I would continue to expand this into a house twice its size.
Space limitations allow me to channel my passion for all things old into a new direction, though. In the footsteps of my great-grandmother Corona I follow, as I re-introduce her business, Two in the Attic, to the world. In doing so, I share not only her legacy, but create my own as I pass on once-loved things to the families that will love them once again.