Thursday, January 29, 2015

Second Hand Living Room

We almost moved to Portland, OR last year. The first quarter of 2014 had me preparing for that move. We've lived at this address south of Capitol Hill in Denver since 1998, raising our two daughters here. It's a typical 115-year-old home for our neighborhood with high ceilings and small rooms. The pine floors are sanded down to the nails and creak but it's our humble home.

The potential move forced reflection upon the expectations I had upon moving into our home and how they played out over our residence. In 1998, I was a new mother who'd never lived in one spot for more than five years, ever. I was intent on soaking up our neighborhood and participating in a community.

It was satisfying to see so very much of our lives portrayed in items collected in our home. I saw furniture bought in neighborhood estate sales from people we once knew, like our 1900 Parckard upright grand piano of quarter-sawn oak. We know this piano's entire history and it has a rich sound that echoes through the home, a blessing and a curse. There were items from school silent auctions. Paintings bought from students at the Art Students League of Denver just a few blocks north of us across the street from the community garden we'd participated in for over a decade. Yard sale and thrift store acquisitions throughout the home, some I'd refinished. I'd lived the way I'd intended all those years ago.

The following were taken on a random day and are obviously not professional photos. This is merely to document what a person can do with the second hand market. There comes a vulnerable feeling in posting photos of rooms in your home. Past photos have mostly been of objects taken out to the backyard.

Just about everything in this room, aside from the two chairs and the TV has a story in it's acquisition. That makes me feel like I participated in my community and my purchases meant something, did something aside from add figures to reports on Black Friday sales. My purchases helped someone besides my family and decreased the carbon footprint of my shopping. The carbon cost of shopping, something we've yet to address in this nation. I've no doubt lobbyists in DC never want that conversation to come about.

Of course there are projects still in the waiting, like building a new mantle for what we assume is a Van Briggle tiled fireplace.

Except for the dried rose hips, it's all thrift.

Our coffee table is of thrifted origins including the items on it. The exception is this set of iron tongs. My sweet daughter Pi made them last summer in a blacksmithing class at summer camp in the Adirondacks. If we had a house fire, those tongs would be on my list of things to grab. They are precious to me.

This basket holds our dominoes. Intense games happen on this coffee table. Sweet Pi ususally wins big so I've made it a point to lose big.

 A pendant lamp over a coffee table makes for really comfortable and warm lighting. Make that lampshade a canvas to tack on old photos, drawings and postcards.

Add sheet music and maps from vintage books from thrift stores.

  Empty frames help camouflage the uneven surface of 115-year-old lathe and plaster. Baskets that retail over a $100 sell for less than $8 in thrift stores, even if the original price tag remains.

I bought this wicker chair for $20 at Goodwill yesterday. It's amazingly comfortable and will go in sweet Pi's tree house in the summer. Felt like including it in the post since it's a recent acquisition at a very reasonable price.

Look about your home to see if you're living the way you planned and if the purchases helped someone aside from yourself. Godspeed.