Thursday, July 11, 2013

Adding Summer Touches To The Family Room

Hi everyone!  It seems that I've disappeared from blogland recently; but not by choice, I can assure you.  Life has certainly changed since our son graduated from college and moved back home -- more dirty dishes, more trash, more recycling, and less time for me on the computer.  We have two desktop computers in this house and two laptops, but my son and I both want to use the same desktop computer.  Sigh.

What have you been up to during these rainy summer days?  I hope you all had a great Fourth of July holiday.  Ours was very nice -- a family reunion on my husband's side of the family, and a cookout at my parents (with homemade ice cream) on the Saturday.  It was a busy four days.

I've been making a few wee changes to our den just for the summer months; I felt it needed some lightening up.

The colors in this room are fairly dark, so making it look summery is a challenge.  I can't change out my furniture, but I did change some accessories to make things look a little more seasonal.

First, the bookshelves.  You've seen them at Christmas, but not in the summer, fall, or winter.

I keep the same family photographs here year round, and I just change out the "knickknacks" with the seasons.  One change that I recently made to these built-ins was to remove almost all the dust jackets from our books, because I decided the designs on the dust jackets made everything look too busy.  I also took out most of the paperbacks (with a few exceptions) and replaced them with hardbacks that I had in other parts of the house.  I even added a few of my World Book Encyclopedia Yearbooks that we had in my parents home when I was growing up.  The rest of the encyclopedias are in a bookcase in our son's room.

My Jim Shore rooster...

...and my James Herriot books with creased spines from being read multiple times.  :)  I wrote about the "All Creatures Great and Small" BBC series Here.

Our little watercolor of the North Carolina coast that we bought in Wilmington many years ago --

...and my Dedham Pottery rabbits.  I love these little cuties.  :)

The tin with the "F" on the front came from "Fauchon," the famous market in Paris.  Our neighbors in Greensboro brought it to us when they traveled to France back in the 1990's.  It was filled with wonderful French cookies dipped in chocolate.  Yum!

Does anyone remember those David Winter and Lilliput Lane cottages that were popular back in the 1980's?  My MIL gave me this one; it's Anne Hathaway's cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon, which I wrote about in one of my England posts.  

This one is called Rose Cottage, a long ago birthday gift from my mom.

Some of my beloved Jan Karon "Mitford" books.  You can read about Mitford Here and Here.

This antique anniversary clock was a gift from my MIL for our third wedding anniversary.  This clock was so hard to photograph because of the wood paneling behind it.  Now I'm wondering if I need to display it somewhere else.  Isn't it funny that you often don't see the way things really look until you take a picture of them?

I don't think I've ever shown our den sofa in my blog (usually because there are warm bodies sitting there watching television, eating a snack, surfing the Internet on the laptop, etc.  :)  I actually had the house to myself for a little while this afternoon, so I made the most of it.

It's hard to capture the color of this sofa properly in a picture; it's not burgundy but actually more of a brick red.  I took the above picture in the afternoon with natural light coming in through the window on the left.  The pictures below were taken in the evening.

The violin hanging on the wall belongs to our son.  It was given to him by my husband's grandfather when Will was about three years old.  It's smaller than normal size violins because it's actually a child's violin.  Unfortunately, we couldn't afford violin lessons back then, and when our son was older, he learned to play the piano, trumpet, and french horn.  I love string instruments, and this violin is a real sentimental treasure for us because it came from Will's great-grandfather.

The print hanging above the sofa is the Julius Foust building at UNCG; it was a gift from me to my husband when he earned his MBA there in 1992.  The throw cushion in the center is one I put on the sofa for summer...

...and a frenchy throw pillow for the chair to replace the dark one that's here throughout the winter.

You saw this chest in a post I did last year--

I switched out these pottery mugs and the fleur-de-lis for something more summery --

I love all the colorful bottles that are popular right now.  I bought this green bottle a long time ago when we lived in Greensboro, and it's been collecting dust in our basement for the past several years.  I spotted it the other day and made a mental note to bring it upstairs and clean it up.

The bowl came from Home Goods several months ago; I decided to fill it with seashells for the summer.

The pattern is one of my favorites -- Johnson Brothers "Old Britain Castles."

Of course, you know I had to change up the fireplace a bit.  :)

A watercolor above the mantle by William Mangum called "Summer Colors" was our anniversary gift to each other this year.  It will replace the snow scene that hung there until winter rolls back around.


I found the little clay pot with faux topiary at Michael's earlier this year; I added burlap to the base of the plant and tied a red and white gingham bow around the pot.

I've had this little stone bird for years; I brought it in from another room.

The chippy, green bird finial came from Home Goods a few years ago.

This is such a simple little patriotic banner, but I just adore it.  I found it years ago at a gift/antique shop in Southport, NC, on one of our annual summer visits.

I traded the pine cones and burlap bow for some moss and grapevine balls and a toile bow in my oak basket.  The toile ribbon was from Hobby Lobby this year; the bow was made by me.

So, as you can see, this room is not easy to lighten and brighten up.  On sunny days, it does get lots of cheerful afternoon sun, but because of the paneling and the darker colors, we need lots of ambient light in the evenings to make it cozy.

In view of that, here's my idea for updating this room and making it brighter.  I think we should get the paneled portion of the walls, including the built-in bookshelves, painted SW "Dover White" (the same color we had our kitchen cabinets painted).  I think the remaining section of the walls should be painted a soft khaki color.  Khaki would go with our furnishings and art work, and it's a nice sophisticated color.  Best of all, it would bring this room out of the 70's and into the 21st century.

Do any of you live in a home built in the 1970's?  It's a challenge to update them sometimes, yes?  They're not technically old enough to qualify as vintage; they lack some of the charm of houses from earlier time periods, and they also lack some of the nicer features of homes built more recently.  Mr. Forest Manor and I would love to have bigger windows and closets in this house, but we know we're lucky to have a home.  I realize a lot of people out there are not so fortunate.  If you have a home built in the 1960's or 70's, I'd love to hear how you've updated it.

Thanks for taking time to read about our home; your visits make this thing called blogging so much more worthwhile.  :)  I hope you're having a great week, and now I'm looking forward to visiting all of you!

This week I'm joining:
 Sherry for Friday's "Home Sweet Home" Party
The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays
Susan at BNOTP for Metamorphosis Monday
Cindy for Amaze Me Monday
Marti for Inspire Me Tuesday



  1. It looks like a cozy room to me and must be perfection about six months out of the year when warm is a look we are all trying to achieve. I own a 1950s house so it is really lacking charm.

  2. You have been busy just taking all the photos. I too like your patriotic banner and your new header is great for July. It is nice to picture you in your home and hear about your accessories and what they mean to you.

    I like your decorating ideas for lightning up the room. I believe you will love it. Go for it!!!!

  3. So warm, love this room! We painted the paneling in our old home and it turned out nice. Only problem with "brightening" a room like this was that painting the paneling usually leads to this and then that...then the windows and trim needed to be painted, then the carpet looked dingy, the fireplace mantle/brick...! LOL, always something!

  4. I like your summery decor, Denise. Your idea of painting the paneling and built-in bookcase the Dover white would brighten and update the room. I love the idea of the khaki for the walls. I look forward to seeing the changes.
    Our son is still here with us, too! xo

  5. what a beautiful classy home you have.. love the summer touches you added.. Its great to have a room where changing the accessories makes it feel so new and fresh.

    that paneling would be great in dover white.. it would be like having a new home without having to pack even one box:) talk about a transformation- wow..

  6. Denise - so many things in your post brought back memories for me. I remember, when our son moved back into our house, after college - yikes! I thought he would never find a job and leave - lol! I guess that sounded terrible - as a disclaimer, he and I are incredibly close, even now. It just took him a while to "find himself"!! Also, your copy of "The Wind in the Willows" brought back such happy memories, again, of my son. When he was young, there was a special lady in our lives who had been a "kiddie lit" college professor and introduced him to that book. We must have read it a thousand times! My sister collected David Winter pieces, so I remember trying to find places to buy them - not always easy! What a terrific post - your family room changes are wonderful and I so enjoyed the walk down "memory lane"!!

  7. You have a lovely house and so many treasures. I love decorating with books and seashells...and sweet figurines. It makes a house cozy and welcoming! Happy Sunday!

  8. Hi Denice! Oh, your home looks so nice and I love all of your special touches. Oh, I've read all of Jan Karon's books. Just loved them and wish she would write some more. I know exactly what you mean...our house was built in 1970. The way it sits on our lot doesn't bring in much light! We have a large den that was completely paneled with dark wood and had dark wood beams on the ceiling. I tried to talk my hubby into painting the paneling for 10 years! No way. Well, finally I won and we had it painted and oh what a difference it made. It brightened up the room so much. Our closets are small, I don't have room for a nice big garden bathtub, my kitchen is small, but we've been in our home for 17 years now and love it.
    Thank you so much for popping in to see me. No, I don't put any of my colored and printed Pyrex in the dishwasher. The dishwasher can damage the shine and just ruin the pieces so I wash all of my Pyrex by hand except the clear glass which I do put in the dishwasher as fast as I can.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  9. I love your summer touches and all of your lovely vignettes. You did an amazing job with the hutch too, the looks look so pretty with all of your other accessories. Thanks so much for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  10. Denise, I have the same "challenge" because my house was built around 1980. Oh, and before I forget, yes, your photos are showing on your post. We did some updating 13 years ago, but I'd still love to do a few more things. Your summer touches really brighten your den. We have dark furniture, too so I'm always looking for ways to brighten it in Summer.
    We are huge James Herriot fans, too. Wish they'd bring back that series on PBS.

  11. Sorry nothing comes up on today's posts.

  12. Very pretty summer your cottages and great collections of books! Happy Summer!

  13. Denise,
    What a cozy room! The colors are very soothing and I love your collections! I see you have visited and written about several places in NC as well! Have a great week.

  14. Love all your seasonal touches and treasures Denise! Our house was built in 1984, the decade for big hair not big closets :) I love the idea of painting the paneling, paint makes such a big impact for a relatively little investment. One thing does lead to another though like in Cindy's comment!

  15. Great touches for summer.

    Wonderful to have you at Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  16. I love the look of the room. And those cottages are so cute. My grandparents house (which is now my parents house) has paneling in the living room. A number of years ago they painted it a soft white color and put up chair railing. It totally transformed the space. If you decide to paint and make the changes you suggested I would love to see them. I'm betting they would look great.

  17. Beautiful summer touches. I'm a lover of birds, and use them in almost every room. Love the ones you are using, especially the one made of stone. So sweet!!

  18. Had to come back to than you for sharing at Amaze Me Monday!!!

  19. Hi! I just love your blog. I visited you a few weeks ago and have nominated you for an award. Please stop by my blog link below and claim your award. I hope you will accept it and share with other bloggers you would like to nominate as well. Have a wonderful weekend. Such a spirited July all month long here!





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