On Tuesday, I finally finished decorating the dining room in my new house. I wasn't at all sure how to decorate the large wall where I had placed the buffet and two side chairs, but I knew I wanted it to be with pieces that have been in my family, that would give me a connection to the past.
Which meant that I decided not to decorate this room with the 792,867 enlarged and framed photos I have of Cheyenne. And it also meant that the wall was bare until the idea came to me.
The four prints (St. Albans Grande Steeplechase, Plates 1 through 4) belonged to my maternal Grandmother. They are hand-colored etchings from James Pollard, a British painter from the early 1800s who focused on equestrian events. Years and years ago, I discovered these prints while rummaging through a hall closet in my parents' house. Instantly I fell in love with them. Where did these come from? My mother answered that they had belonged to her mother. Of course I had the nerve to ask if I could have them (because what good were they in the closet?). Of course she said No. As she looked at them, she fondly remembered growing up with them in her house. While I was salivating over them, she decided that she wanted to get them re-framed and hang them in her dining room. And then she asked if I wanted to go with her and help her choose the frames. I jumped at the opportunity, and then she said, because one day, these will be yours.
The plates to the left and right of the prints are from my parents' formal china, gifted to them for their marriage. There are 24 of each dinner plate, salad plate, soup bowl, coffee cup and saucer. It's an exhaustive and lovely collection. We only used this china for holidays and special occasions, so I have a lifetime of special memories associated with these plates. I think the pattern is too lovely, however, to keep hidden in a cabinet so I decided early Tuesday morning that I was going to hang them so that I could see them every day and be reminded of special family meals through the years.
Putting these prints and plates into my dining room makes the room a bit more formal than my usual decorating taste but I do like the results very much. And I feel that way because the room gently says, we were here, we are part of you.
Taken from another angle, the corner china cabinet to the right is the first good piece of furniture my mother bought with her own money (as she used to say). For that reason and many more, it's such a special piece to me and I love having it in my house.
Having my dining room echo my grandmother, my mother, and my parents' marriage? It's part of what makes this new house a home for me.
So, another room complete. Slowly but surely, this place is coming together.