Monday, September 15, 2014

Family Musuem Room-by-Room - The Living Room

When was the last time you took a walk around your house and stopped to look at a particular piece of furniture, antique, or artwork and realized that it was handed down to you and your family from a past relative? Or perhaps you found the piece at an antique shop and placed it among your collections? When you take the time to make this trip, you may be surprised to see that your house is a Family Museum.
My daughter gave me this idea. But first let me tell you about a little quirky habit we have . . .we assign our furniture, etc., names, such as Uncle Mike’s Dresser, Nana’s dining room set, Bestafar’s (Grandfather in Norwegian) clock, Joan Hitz’s lamps, Caroline’s chest, Dorothy’s piano. Get the picture. I guess you can say that we get very personal with our stuff by giving an identity to the piece. Not only is it fun, it honors the person from whence the piece came and helps you to keep their memory alive. 
So now, Ladies & Gentlemen, please allow me to give you a tour of my home and point out all the things that truly makes our home a Family Museum.
The Spinet piano with the picture above has always been in the Living Room ever since I could remember. I am talking about for 64 years give or take. My mother purchased both in 1947. The piano is a Chickering and the print is a scene from an Italian Opera. The two have never been separated, other than the time my brother was first given the piano and then later he gave it to me. I always had the picture and had it restored and reframed many years ago.
Standing next to the piano has got to be the most curious antiquity my family owns. I found it an estate auction and just had to have him. He stands about three feet tall, is made of solid wood and painted in luscious Persian colors. He represents a wealthy Banker, as he is holding a gold bag of money. His name is Ish Kabibble.
On the fireplace mantel stand two identical lamps. We call them Joan Hitz’s lamps because that’s who gave them to my mother. However, at that time they were heavy brass candlesticks, not lamps. Not knowing what to do with them, my mother passed them unto me and I had them converted into lamps with fancy silk lampshades. The crystal icicles tinkle when a breeze comes through the living room windows. An unusual magazine table holds a collection of art books. I found this table at an estate sale and had it refinished. The mirror behind the lamp is also an antique I bid for at an estate auction. The others pieces in the living room; couch, chairs, coffee table, sofa table, and carpet are purchases my family have made.      
As your tour your home and appreciate your things, this is an excellent time to create an inventory. There are many types of inventory books, like the one pictured here. There is a section for photographs with a page for listing all the information about the piece; what it is, date purchased and price and current value if you have the piece appraised. You can also create this document on your computer and save it there or on disc. Physical inventories are important to have, particularly for your insurance company. In case of any disaster causing the loss of your possessions, you now have proof of their existence and the value therein.
Tomorrow I will post about my Dining Room. Many precious antiques reside in that room and the stories they tell are priceless.

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