Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring at Home 2014: New / Old

I'm well into my mission of purging things throughout the house - really a long overdue project, to be honest - but I'm also taking some time to freshen things up throughout the house for spring.  It leaves me feeling a bit like a yo-yo, but that's okay - it keeps me from getting frustrated or bored with one activity or another.

A few weeks ago, if you recall, sister M & I went to Ohio to shop antiques & vintage with sister J.  I came away with some things for the shop, but also with a few things for the house.  I'll show you those and few other new / old (vintage) things I've put into the mix throughout the house.

The most exciting item I picked up at Heart of Ohio Antique Center (Springfield, Ohio), after walking through the entire 116,000 square feet of mall (the website claims it's America's biggest antique mall), is this slender beauty of a trophy:
It really looks more like an art vase than a trophy, and that's because it's a Heintz Metal Art trophy. When I saw it on the high shelf in the booth space, I recognized that style immediately, reminding me of the "one the that got away" - a Heintz metal art vase that I lost at auction several years before. Otto Heintz was granted a patent for his classic, sterling silver on bronze method in August, 1912, of which this trophy is one example. Here's the other side of the trophy, with the award plaque:
The trophy has a nice application of the great seal of the state of Michigan (elk & moose, holding the state coat of arms), along with the applied lettering, "Michigan State Fair", and "1918", applied above and below an inscribable plaque shield.  The plaque is engraved with: HEREFORDS GRAND CHAMPION BULL, OWNED BY JAMES V. HILL, ROUNDHEAD OHIO
This Heintz vase/trophy is my new favorite find and home decor item, with pride of place over my [mostly] metals collection, in the dining room, currently holding a nice spray of cherry blossom branches.  Perfect for spring.
The opposite side of the dining room has a few changes incorporated for spring also, although I have yet to settle on the arrangement for the dining table itself.  Below are a few photos of the left side of the dining room.
The vintage bar cart, which sits in the corner, consists entirely of vintage items assembled over the years. Changes for spring include removing the antlers on the tureen underplate and replacing a couple pieces of brown transferware with the small bluebird print.
The cabinet in the center of that same wall is now holding a new / old polychrome bronze ("Harp Girl", A. Moreau, 1834-1917).  In the silver compote next to her is my collection of miniature library books. These are very tiny books, no larger than the size of a matchbox, all fabulous finds, though not easy to come by.
Just beyond the cabinet with the bronze statue is the leather chair, by the window.
The addition of the reading chair in the dining room gives the room more purpose than the infrequent, formal meal, and I like that. This chair sits on the eastern side of the house, where morning light comes in.  The room, overall, is extremely hard to photograph with the woods and rose-tinted paint color.  The chair's heavy, woolen throw has been replaced with a lacy shawl.  The "Three Graces" salt statue reappears on the side table, after being stowed away through winter.
In addition to the dining room, I also added a few cherry blossom branches in our living room, where there is a definite Asian-influenced vibe in the decor.  The cherry blossoms always remind me of Washington, DC's celebration of the 3,000 flowering trees, gifted to our nation's capital in 1912 by Tokyo's mayor.  Each year, the rite of spring is celebrated in a huge way in our nation's capital, focusing on the blooming of those trees.
LR decor: (L to R):   one wall decor, with credenza and mirror; detail of credenza and the beaded, scenic, vintage handbag in framed case next to lamp
I don't seek out Asian decor items for the living room but when I happen upon them in a better auction lot or estate sale, I've been known to purchase a few.  Here's a display of those items which I've collected, placed in a small curio beside the couch in the living room.
Curio shelves containing various Asian collectibles, including porcelain tea caddy, foo dog wax seals, Limoges, enameled and cloisonne trinkets, cinnabar snuffs and Occupied Japan cup & saucer.
In the sunroom, the natural light and overall warmth of spring are the most obvious changes, but I've also added some color in the form of flowers and textiles. Taking photos in the sunroom is tricky, as the south-facing room is flooded with light from windows above and on two sides.
The washstand (below) sits inside the sunroom's corner, between two sets of sliding doors off of the kitchen and breakfast area (it's positioned just to the left of the loveseat glider pictured above with the quilt). Below the stand's drawer is a wire basket (not pictured), where magazines and newspapers get tossed for recycling.
The hand-forged copper pitcher was found last year in a shop just an hour north of town, into which I placed some forsythia branches.  The unframed canvas oil was picked up at a huge estate liquidation I attended last summer.
The architectural piece on the brick wall was found at the Highlands Festival in Abingdon, VA several years ago.  The dealer noted it came from a building razed in France.  The putto looks like he's hanging on for dear life.
A few more dashes of color in the sunroom add subtle hints of spring:

After presenting my vintage and antique mesh and beaded purse collection to a local Antiques Club last Fall, I was given a certificate to a local gift shop as a token of thanks.  I've been wanting a West Virginia state-themed throw pillow for a long time, but never wanted to splurge for it.  With the gift certificate, I finally had the incentive to splurge for the pillow.  The bright colors of the pillow coordinate well with the flowers in the sunroom, as well as the quilts I have placed in this room. These pillows and other state-themed textiles are available for all the states from catstudio.
I have more throw pillows and/or covers in my house than I care to admit, but I will say they're more than just something I enjoy looking at - they're functional in every seat I use, primarily as full back or lumbar support.  I also use certain ones as lap desks for reading.  Mr. P. finds throw pillows, along with most household decor, pretty much useless, I'm sorry to say.
With just the few changes I've made to the few rooms in the house so far, I've come to agree with the editor's comments in the April issue of HGTV magazine.  Sara Peterson (HGTV magazine editor) states there's a need for a props closet in the home, just like they have and use for magazine photo shoots. Right now, my entire basement is fair game as a props closet, as my 'stuff' for the antique mall tends to bleed into home decor, depending on my urge or ideas.  The only problem is my 'stuff' is in containers and boxes and, even though I actually have a system for storing and locating those items, I'd much rather have it on uniform shelving, with zippered dust covers.

That visual of a props closet, my friends, is all the motivation I need to continue going through the purge cycle of my home (in case you missed it, it's my 40 bags in 40 days challenge I've committed to). Creative visualization of a props closet - it's working for me.  How about you - do you have a props closet of sorts, and are you purging unused and unwanted 'stuff' this Spring?  I'd love to hear how you store things - anything  from out of season clothing to seasonal decor - and what your methods are for purging unused, unwanted 'stuff'.  I admit it, it can be a struggle for me.

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