Thursday, March 1, 2012

Step Into My Parlor (Part 1)

Hello my friends! It is time to step into my parlor! It really isn't a parlor, but me and my house, we want to think that it is. The room is a long room so I have kind of divided it into two seperate spaces that still flow together. The front 3/4 actually serves as our family room and then the back 1/4 is more of a parlor. I will feature the front space on this post and my next post will cover the back space. So hang your hats on the hallstand and let's go on in. ;-)

Leaving the foyer and stepping into my parlor, this is what you see upon entering the room and then the last photo shows the rest of the room. Livy dog is hoping you'll come in and pet her. The sofa is one of her favorite places. Ignore the "nonvictorian" coffee table and 2 tan colored chairs and the TV, I need to keep the family happy with a FEW things that aren't antique, right?

Please click on to any photo to enlarge it.

Okay, let us go back to the entrance area of the room and check out some Victorian furniture! I don't know about you guys but I LOVE Victorian furniture and especially chairs! Chairs are my weakness and I have to keep giving myself a "have self control talk" upon seeing antique chairs at auctions/shops, and it goes a little like this...Don't buy those chairs! Don't buy those chairs! ... And it usually works! But when they are going cheap is when it's so hard for me to pass them up! So, speaking of chairs, pictured below are a pair of chairs that I did NOT have self control with!  They are Renaissance Revival chairs with Egyptian influence. I love them and before I get too carried away talking about them, I will show you the before and after photos. You know how I love "before and afters"! The stripes are the after. Oh, and don't let the painting of granny scare you, the lighting is making her look a little ghostly today. (I'll tell you about her later) But I do want to tell you about the frame. When I bought it is was painted sunshine yellow all over it, even the dark red velvet strip was yellow! So I replaced the velvet and painted it back to gold. Much better!

To me they look a lot like John Jelliff chairs, so I don't know. But what I do know is that Mr. Jeliff began working in Newark, New Jersey in 1835 and worked there through the gothic era into and through the Renaissance Revival era! And guess where these chairs originally came from?! You guessed it, New Jersey! I got the pair for $160  from an auction but as you can tell they needed to be reupholstered. They had denim fabric on them! I had planned on doing them myself so I stripped them down, removed 100's of little nails from the frame and even took the springs out! I took the springs out because I needed to reglue the legs and frame. I also added gold where it needed to be and touched up on the ebonized areas. Then I bought the striped fabric, checked out "how to books" from the Library and THEN I chickened out!!! I didn't want to spend a fortune on getting them reupholstered so I found out about an older gentleman who would do them for a song, so I took them to him...and to make a long story short you should always listen to your gut instinct and know that you get what you pay for!! He had to refund my money (most of it at least), I had to buy more fabric and take them to someone else! And this guy upholsters the furniture for our Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City! He felt sorry for me and even gave me a little discount. But even with that, my $160 great deal auction chairs are now $800 chairs. My husband had a cow! But I love them! Did you see the details on them?! I like the pharoah medal medallions and the urns on the crest. And on the sides look at the pharoah looking dudes blowing their horns! So much detail! I still need to find the right castors for them though. If any of you know anything about these chairs please let me know.

Okay, back to my Grandma, her name is Ellen, she is my 3rd great and she was born in 1846, Stark Co. Illinois. I wanted an oil painting of her and did not have one, so I hired a guy to paint one for me. I had a photo for him to go by. Well, he had only ever done black and white portraits so I guess that is why she is a little pale. I even took her back to him to give her a little more color and to change the background from turquoise blue to the gray fade background that I had asked for in the first place.  So, this is what I ended up with. But I really do like it.  On the table is my banquet lamp, a velvet photo album, a rose bowl on vaseline glass feet, a metal cherub and a seashell dome that I made. (stems of  flowers made from shells in a small jardinaire).

Okay Richard, at "My Old Historic House" in Clarksville, Mo. does this table look familiar to you?! It's just like yours except it is a turtle top. Isn't that amazing? I bought it from a Victorian house auction quite some time ago in Boonville, MO. A friend and I refinished it. It had that awful crackling looking polyurethane on it, it looked horrible.

The picture on the wall is one that I bought at an Antique mall in Jefferson City. When I bought it, it had been made into a medicine cabinet and painted gold, even the oak. So for $30 or so I brought it home, took the cabinet part and door off, stripped it and replaced the mirror with this print. I thought it turned out nicely for the price. I love the challenge of redoing things! The Victorian child urn thing is one of my favorites, it is made of plaster. I thought it would be nice on my newel post that once belonged to my grandma that I use as a plant stand. My wall corner shelf came from a mall in Quincy, IL.

Pictured below is my refurbished "overmantle mirror". I call it refurbished because it is originally an oak dresser mirror! (I wish I had a before picture to show you) I got it at a garage sale for $25, it had a carved flat 5 petal flower on the crest and the leafy/scroll work design (that you can still see at the top). Well, I could see potential in that thing. So I brought it home and painted it gold, it looked okay but it was far from the rococco look that I really wanted. So come Christmas, I brought out my Victorian wreath and realized I no longer had a place to hang it, BUT... I had a place for the cherub and those grapes that were on that wreath! Can you believe that?! With a little wire and hotglue I transformed that mirror and I love it now!

On the above table is an antique post card album, a Victorian scrapbook, a seashell box, an antique vase and in the velvet frame is the daughter of the lady in the oil painting, that makes her my 2nd great, her name was Viola and she was born in 1882. The chairs are circa 1840, there were originally 6 but I only got 2, if I had more space I would have bought them all, I hated separating them. The marble top table is eastlake style and has the maker on the inside of the frame, I got it at an auction for $110! I was excited because I have never gotten a parlor table for that cheap! As for the picture above the table I really don't know too much about it, I just loved the fanciness of it and on the top it curves forward kind of like a scorpions tail, it's really neat. The picture inside looks like a watercolor painting, but not sure.

And this is the wall across from the mantle.  Livy dog is ready for a little shuteye.

Under the table scarf is a circa 1900-10 Library table that I bought at an estate sale for $20, it's not as old as I would like it to be but I needed a table of that size to fit in that spot. On the table I have a photo album on the stand, a photo box, stereoviewer, a bird and nest display under glass (fake birds but real nests) and an antique Parker lamp. On the wall from left to the ebonized frame is my great grandma Lorene, daughter of Viola, born 1901; a wall pocket/magazine rack, a hair wreath in a shadow box and the mirror that I bought in pieces and glued/nailed it back together and bought the "looking glass" for it. 
Well, this is all I have to show you for now. The next posting will be the back of the room and I may even have a Part 3 for the ceiling. Can't wait to meet with you again!


  1. Your parlor is glorious . I love your new chairs. i would not have been able to left them behind either. I love your baby, she belongs on the sofa. From on Victorian Lover to the Next. Happy Hunting. Richard from My Old Historic House.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for looking, please keep checking back. Your home is beautiful!

  3. Late to the thread but you did a great job on those chairs. Best part of the chair story was
    But even with that, my $160 great deal auction chairs are now $800 chairs. My husband had a cow!
    Still chuckling about that one! Yes many, most in fact do not understand that it's not about the money, it's about having interesting things to live with. LOVE YOUR PARLOR!