Living Room at The Glade

Because Cottage and Vine’s Room by Room Party theme this week is “The Family/Living Room” I decided to straighten ours up and give you a tour. I have ideas for changes and I’ll get to that in this post also.

The living room is on the ground floor of The Glade. There’s no entrance hall (which I would really love).  The floorplan is open so it just flows into the dining room.

The living room has 2 love seats from the 1980s and 2 French-inspired wing chairs from the 1950s.

 The room sports a working fireplace and lots of windows and doorways. We’re waiting for the new building and renovation next year before we paint this room which is currently a warm yellow/tan color that I still like even after 14 years.

The entire room including the fireplace is in dire need of painting.

 There’s not much room for furniture and art work unless it’s placed on a window-interrupted wall.

We're planning to remove the window on the left which will give us more wall space.

 Once the renovation is finished I’m considering moving the 2 love seats to the sun room and replacing them with either a conventional sofa or a sectional that will fit in that corner. Right now an antique oak chest of drawers is stuffed back there but that may be moved into the kitchen.

In the opposite corner is a secretary desk and Windsor chair.  I would love to paint this secretary. 

Secretary and Windsor chair inherited from my grandmother.

 Before I do however I want to see where in the house it will end up.  I can picture it white or grey or even deep blue. 

I love the finish on this Grange buffet.

 But I could also go wild and do something like this or the reverse of it.

Wouldn't this add a bold shot of color into a room!?!

 I have recently replaced my 1950s marble-topped coffee table with this one from Crate and Barrel. It really seems to open the room up because visually it’s much lighter than the other table which we still have, by the way.

Time to change up the tablescape here for something cozier.

 I’m ready for the living room to be more sparsely selectively furnished but some of the furniture in here will be needed in the new rooms we’re adding to The Glade. I’m prepared to be patient, not make any rash moves at this juncture (sound like a politician, huh?) and see what can be let go, what should be painted and what we’ll keep next year at this time.

Looking into the living room from the dining room.

  My quest in the next year is to find stylish but reasonably priced lamp shades.  As you can see I have beaucoup de lamps which all have Mandarin hat shades.  How about something in the barrel shape, n’est-ce pas? 

I plan to use the small table in the center of this picture in the bedroom.

 The next year is going to be very exciting for us: rehabbing the house, moving furniture around, changing the decor, updating pieces we’ve had for decades. Can’t wait!

What are you waiting for?

Sidebar: Happy Anniversary, Charlie!

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Lost Tree

Japanese Red Maple under large oak was crushed when the oak fell on it.

 When the oaks trees fell during Irene we lost four-fifths of the vegetable garden, most of our lilac bush (which is on the left side of the above photo) and the lovely Japanese red maple tree above.  We haven’t uncovered the actual tree yet but we’ve seen lots of detached branches.

Trip to France: Turning Dollars into Euros

I spent quite a bit of time recently figuring out how to have cash in France.  Turning dollars into euros is not as difficult as spinning straw into gold but it’s still a travel consideration.  

1886 Walter Crane illustration for Rumpelstiltskin

 France’s currency is euros which at this time are worth about $1.50 each.  In the past we might have bought Travellers’ Checks or got some euros from our bank before leaving but this time we have a different plan mainly due to ATM machines.

Euros (photo by Donald Townsend)

 We have been told that the exchange rate in France will be better than we could get here.  Our first stop off the plane will be an ATM machine or the Bureau de Change where we can exchange enough money to pay our RER train ticket to Paris from the airport, the Metro to our Paris digs penthouse and get something to eat.  We’re arriving on weekday morning so presumably we can change money in the city at either an exchange place or a bank. 

The real worry is that the most common crime in Paris is pickpocketing. Charlie and I each have our own money carrier that is worn under our clothes. In it we keep our passports, cash and debit and credit cards.

Silk document holder by Rick Steves (top), money belt by L.L. Bean (bottom)

The snag I fear we’re up against is that our cards with FIA Card Services are being changed to Bank of America in the middle of our stay in Paris.  I hope that doesn’t cause the problem of a blocked card.

I called my various banks to see how they handled foreign debit card cash withdrawals and one of them is heads and tails above the rest.  This select card has the best exchange rates and reimburses all ATM fees no matter where in the world we are and has no surcharge for exchanging foreign currency. It pays to check out your options because different banks have different policies.

Both our credit card and debit card carriers told us to call the company shortly before our trip to have the fraud alert removed while we’re away so the card won’t be denied due to unusual usage. A fraud alert can be removed for up to three weeks.

Furthermore, I make photocopies of the front and back of my cards which I keep in a file at home.  Should one become lost or stolen, I can call home and get the information I need to report the problem.

When we return home I’ll let you know how these plans worked out.  Have you any advice for a first-time trip to Paris?  We want to see and do everything.  I’ll have our itinerary for you very soon.

Get Moving

Before we begin to build we’d like to preserve some of the foundation plants that grow around the house. 

West exposure of The Glade

 Specifically on the west exposure there are lavender, yellow azalea, English boxwood and varigated liriope.

2 azaleas, 2 boxwood, 5 lavender

 We need to pick a place to move them in the Fall which is the best time to move shrubs.

Close up of the lavender in front and box behind.

  Temporarily let’s move the azaleas and box, both of which can tolerate shade, near the marble bench in the West Side Shade Garden.

Plenty of room for azaleas and tiny box plants near this bench.

 We’ve staked the yard so there’s no question as to where the bushes should go.

Stakes for azalea flanking the bench and boxwood on the right.

 The lavender needs more sun so I was considering using it as an edging for the vegetable garden. 

Couldn't we make space for 5 lavender plants? Please!

 The garden, however,  was all but demolished in the hurricane so we’ll put the lavender in the west yard with a rose bush from the east side of the house.

Let's plant the lavender around the clematis.

 This is more of an undertaking than it seems. We figured the best time to move the plants would be after a considerable rain when the ground is more digable and the plants more ready to root. It’s going to rain all this week but we just might not get to it.

Pruned azaleas, ready for digging and transplanting.

I pruned the azaleas to make them more manageable and to reduce the stress on the roots. Our real set back on getting anything done is cleaning up the debris from Hurricane Irene. It consumes us.

We hope to pick up our log splitter and get a pull-behind cart for the lawn mower tomorrow.

Are you on schedule?  How do you do it?

Kitchen at The Lodge

I stayed at this 1880s lodge for a few days last week and showed you the 1930s GE refrigerator (below) that is still in daily use in the kitchen.

4-door General Electric refrigerator from 1930s

 The kitchen has been recently updated, that is in the past 3 years.  Before that it hadn’t been modernized to any great extent for over fifty years. This is not a “family kitchen;” it’s used by a fulltime kitchen staff. A new stove was installed and a new range hood.

The brick wall behind the stove was painted a sunny enamel yellow to go with tiny square accent tiles on the floor.

 New white cabinets and dark blue granite counters were installed on the window side of the room but the original painted cabinets opposite were simply given a new countertop.

Original kitchen cabinets in the Lodge's signature blue color.

 A rustic island partially topped with tin and completed with butcher block creates a versatile work surface for multiple cooks. Hanging under the clock is a continuous linen towel for drying hands.

At the far end of the kitchen is a table and chairs for the house staff's meals.

 The floor has new tile layed in a diagonal design: one large cream colored tile with 2 blue and 2 yellow small tiles in each corner.

Attached to the kitchen near the refrigerator is a large pantry.

The pantry is just through the doorway.

 The pantry holds various sets of dishes for breakfast, dinner, buffet dinners, etc.  The table is set each evening with place plates which are are removed before the first course is served so there are lots of dishes. (You know that gets me excited.)

Pantry at the Lodge

 The door on the right in the picture above leads across a small hall to the breakfast room where the family eats breakfast and sometimes lunch if the weather is bad.  On nice days lunch is served either on the porch or on the terrace.

The breakfast room is across the hall from the pantry.

 Most of the furniture in the breakfst room is painted and as in the other dining room at the Lodge a fishing theme abounds. Do you have recurring themes in your home? Did you plan them or did they just sort of creep up on you?

Side Effects of Irene

You know from my earlier posts that Hurricane Irene toppled a couple of huge oak trees in our yard.  As the week progressed we suffered a few more nuisances that can be attributed to the wind and water produced by the storm.

1. A few days after the storm the pilot light in our hot water heater in the basement went out.  At first we thought we were low on propane but our propane stove and additional hot water heater in Glade Cottage still worked so that couldn’t have been the cause.

The non-working hot water heater.

 We had lost power for almost a whole day during the worst part of the storm which rendered the sump pump in the basement useless. (We forgot all about the sump pump.) 

The sump pump in the basement.

Apparently, the water rose enough to cover the base of the hot water heater which would no longer light with the electronic starter.

We had a plumber friend come over who did get it lit with a long match.  Both the pilot light and the burner lit but promptly went out after he left. We couldn’t figure out why the pilot went out in the first place since it stayed lit for at least 24 hours after the water subsided.

In the mean time we made an appointment with our fuel oil company, Warthen Fuel, to have our furnace cleaned and they offered to take a look at the hot water heater while they were at the house.  When the technician came he looked at the water heater, lit the pilot and proceeded to work on the furnace. It was still working when he finished and now we have hot water.

The theory is that it had dried out enough overnight to stay lit on its own.  Never knew hot water could make me sooooo happy.

2. When the trees fell over two storm window panes and 3 inside panes were broken.  Our plan is to take the storm windows to a hardware store and have them repaired while we repair the sash window.  We’ll need to purchase some glass for the panes but have all the other supplies from our project at Glade Cottage.     

Broken window

 3.  While the rain barrel is in tact,  the downspout and gutter that feed into it were damaged when the trees fell.  

Rain barrel and a couple days progress.

  Since this part of the gutter as well as the roof will be either removed or replaced when we renovate the house next year Charlie is going to try to bend the existing pieces back into action for the time being.

Bent gutter with section of downspout missing

 4. A commenter from my post the other day about damage to the garden wanted to know how bad it was.  

Here's a photo of the garden in June, fifteen 4 by 4 squares.

 All but three of the 15 squares have been destroyed.  Here’s a picture of the garden from the same angle after the trees fell on it.

The garden was demolished by falling oak trees, all but 3 squares.

 The garden project will need to be rebuilt and replanted but maybe not this fall. 

All in all we have a lot of work ahead of us but, at the same time we’ve been blessed many times over.

  • A friend has offered us use of a huge chipper.
  • We were able to financially help someone who helped us.
  • No food (other than the garden) has spoiled during the power outage.
  • No one was injured.
  • All appliances have been restored to working order.
  • And our pile of firewood is growing.
    We'll never be cold again.

    And growing!


It’s little things like HURRICANES that keep us from progressing down our TO DO list.  What holds you up?