Monday, December 1, 2008

Credenza: Before & After & After & After..Plus Merci Beaucoup

I thought I'd show you the vignette that's on the same wall as the Wicked, Weird Corner--we call it the Credenza Wall.

Several years ago, I went to an art "truck sale." The art is mass-produced in China, I believe, and I bought it (this will sound weird) for the frames. At first I balked at paying $100 per painting, but a friend pinched my arm and told me to go price the teeny frames down the street.

I knew this, but still.

I called Mr. Tom to help me move the big piano picture to the hall and to hang the smaller art. He and I both saw that it was too small. What to do? I found a resin shell thingie and glazed it with walnut stain. Then I hung the shell over the picture. It looked better--and worse, too. I hate when that happens.

It wasn't the I.C. It was just a fact. I don't know how I can work so hard on a project and then feel ambivalent. Why must this BE? Why can't it just be simple?

When this happens, I don't know what else to do but "edit." I removed the accessories and added a vase. It's off center on purpose--but it's TOO off center. By the time I straightened it out, the flowers had died.

The simple vase was much better...even though I knew the lamps were too small (they were bought at the truck sale, too--you'd pick a base and find a shade and the right harp).

But I was stymied. I quit. Gave up. Moved on.

Then I went into a dusty shop (it's filled with art from Goodwill and art from local painters) and a landscape caught my eye. I convinced Dr. G that we needed this for our 29th anniversary. Because I loved the black chest (see yesterday's post) in the corner, I decided to use more black--a frame, black lampshades, and a black box. The box and lamps came from Horchow.

One year later, I haven't changed anything. Because this family room is rather "full,"

it can look messy even when it's clean. I still need to weed the tables. Fewer accessories fool me into thinking the house is tidy, but it also allows my eye to rest. Plus, it's easier to dust. :-) Now that I'm in my 50s, my whole philosophy has changed. I do see an overall trend--and that trend isn't "less is more" so much as it's "how hard is this room to maintain?"
Here is the "after" photo of the credenza (that's what my mother calls it, anyway):

I stopped by Artie Ben's blog, Color Outside the Lines and saw some before/after photos of a home that has radically altered its internal landscape. It went from formal to gorgeous and relaxed. Me, I'm a relaxed sort of gal, and I live with a formal sort of guy (but he brings me dishes--ain't complaining). But I know the answer is there somewhere, an answer that won't involve a major overhaul or furniture movers or the acquisition of major pieces. Surely the answer is right before my eyes! So I'm going to study those pictures, then I'm going to study them again.

Mister says he knows the answer, but I'll have to figure it out for myself.

If you aren't familiar with Artie's blog, you are in for a treat--and if you are already following him, you've no doubt checked these rooms. If so, please come back and tell me what you think of the dining room transformation. I'm obsessed! It doesn't even look like the same room--but it is. (Edited to add: And the bedroom!!! I love the shutters propped against the wall. Why, the bed doesn't even look like the same bed!)

Have fun!

I received this lovely award

from one of the sweetest people I know, Kathy at Casa-Dolce blogspot. Plus, she's a native Brit and shares my love of all things Cotswoldy and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Here are the rules:

Post five of your addictions.
1.Morning coffee--must be freshly ground beans...and I need heavy cream, too.
3.Writing--every day
5.I am a secret dish/china addict.

Thank you, Kathy!



  1. I too find sometimes editing is the trick. But am I editing because I like the way my eyes have a place to rest or is it because I enjoy not having to move so many things to dust? ummmm!! Then "boom" the nonediting side of my brain takes I love the dining room Artie showed in his blog..I want to know what happened to the gorgeous chandelier before they did the "switch". I meant to stop and buy the magazine on my way home from work this evening and forgot..which is your favorite? The first dining room or the second one? hugs ~lynne~

  2. Lynne, I love the breakfast room and the dining room. The DR was beautiful both ways (I wouldn't have messed with it, lol), but I love how the new DR is more "relaxed," yet incredibly beautiful. I went back to Artie's for another look, and the "after" photo of the bedroom is amazing, too. I love the old shutters propped against the wall. This designer is amazing.

  3. Hello Gollum, I watched the Tudor bloopers and they were so funny, thank you and thank you for your sweet words.

    I really love this room of yours and I think the credenza wall now flows so perfectly with the wicked weird corner as photos 2 and 6 show, your art pieces are beautiful.

  4. I am pretty sure you could have added a bag of garbage to the photos and it would have looked wonderful! your house is beautiful in any "scape"!

  5. First off, I just LOVE your sweet sense of humor...I always come away from your cottage with a smile.
    Next, every thing you do...the too small painting, the small lamps...everything, it all looks fabulous to ME ! I can't see that the pictures are too just know how to put things together and they always look GREAT.
    Now, I'm off to visit the site you spoke of...
    love, bj

  6. It IS hard to edit a room, especially if you like all the things in there! I've been doing that now for a year, here and there, taking a few items's more relaxing this way too...I switch things out a lot though so I don't get bored with the same ol' same ol'!

    THe credensa looks great as is! :) The black lamp shades really make a statement...

  7. This room has always been a favorite of mine and the lamps fit beautifully with the crendeza. I'm especially partial to the black lampshades. Of course I've always admired how this room exudes warmth yet is elegant.

  8. Hi Gollum... I love the look of your credenza and its accoutrements! I also love the word "credenza," don't you? I am happy to know that I am not the only plate addict!...Debbie

  9. Hi Gollum, I appreciated your visit the other day. Thanks so much for stopping by! I love this room and think it looks Fabulous! Not long ago I tried to edit my bookcases, I took out all of the greenery and alot of the accessories. It just looked empty and cold. I know I probably still have to much, but I couldn't stand the bare look!

    I hope you are going to show us some of your Christmas decorating, I see a few pics on the sidebar......Happy Holidays, Kristen

  10. I missed yesterday's post, so I've gone back to look at it. Your home is just so beautiful. I wish I could figure out how to edit. I try, and then mine just doesn't look like anybody lives here. Your's looks gorgeous. Maybe I need you to come help me edit! Next time you're at TBIB, I'll kidnap you to come help me! laurie

  11. I bet Mister does know the can tell by that look on his adorable face! Although I'm pretty sure his mom will figure it out!!! The proof of that is in your amazing home!

  12. Hi Gollum... I just love your room and think it is perfect now... You have such great taste even if you do have to edit it... I liked each and everyone... Can't wait to see your home all decorated for the holidays... Have a beautiful Tuesday...


  13. Dear Gollum ... you've got the Midas Touch and Mister looks like the cat that swallowed the canary.

  14. Gollumn, this room is awesome. If the relax fit's than you wear it well. I have been trying to take things out of the rooms also; it's difficult to do because I have always had lots of stuff! My husband is a relax person also but I love cozy and comfortable feel.
    I will check out Artie's space.

  15. Gollumn, this room is awesome. If the relax fit's than you wear it well. I have been trying to take things out of the rooms also; it's difficult to do because I have always had lots of stuff! My husband is a relax person also but I love cozy and comfortable feel.
    I will check out Artie's space.

  16. Well I think you nailed it G girl! The black shaded lamps look fabulous! And the balance is just right! Have you noticed that when you get something "just right" the rest of the room suddenly doesn't look as good? And you feel like you have to re-do everything bring it up to the level of the "just right" arrangement?....Probably just me *sighs* Doesn't help that I have the most painful time editing. I seem to LOVE everything!*winks*
    Little Mr. Mister looks sooo adorable in that shot! He does look like he has all the answers and is savoring that doesn't he?
    As for Ms Lisa's interiors?....STUNNING!! Both before and after. I wouldn't have messed with that dining room either! But it looks equally amazing in the after pic. That pale limey washed french look gets me every time!! Do you think she has any pets? I love all the white but with 4 dogs and one cat (who think they own the furniture)...I don't think It'd work...But I sure love it! Vanna

  17. Well, Mister still won't divulge the secret. While dragging out the Christmas stuff, I sort of wrenched my back, so today, I have been gliding around the family room, trying to declutter and edit. And everything I touch gets worse and worse. Sometimes it's like this...the design equivalent of a bad hair day. And it's not just with decorating!

    So: To heck with it.

    The clutter STAYS. I like it. Let's start a trend!
    (Some of my Decorating Strife is an after-effect of Thanksgiving--sometimes more than food gets leftover. :-)

    And more clutter is coming just as soon as Dr. Gollum and Young Gollum finish dragging up the boxes.Tra-la-la!

    Have you all seen Cindy's plate and tea cup tree over at My Romantic Home. I LOVE that tree.

  18. Oops, the link to Cindy's blog doesn't work. Let's try this
    My Romantic Home

  19. Gollum,

    I love your Credenza. You certainly worked your magic! Those Horchow Lamps are lovely! I love the black shades!

    Donna Marie

  20. A suggestion for the credenza. I must admit that I love things just a little off balance, so keeping this in mind I would remove 1 lamp and keep the other just where it is. Then create a vignette around it. Check around for prized possessions and maybe a potted flower to arrange around the lamp. I like to add books to a vignette and often stack a few up and set the lamp on them to get it to the height that I like. Let me know what you think.

    I so much enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing.


  21. I wanted to come by and thank-you for visiting my blog. And for your kind words about Sammie. He is doing very well. I adore your home!! You have such great style.
    Hugs, Terrie

  22. Hi Gollum, Good grief, it's been a long day. I've been Decking Halls and spreading Fairy Dust all day long and I'm just ready for a hot bath and to say Bah humbug! It all starts again at darkthirty tomorrow. The backend of my SUV looks like I had a fight with some elves! I did have enough energy to stop at Target and buy a Veranda (snagged the last copy they had)! I have a feeling it's going to become a bit of a Bible to me this month. I want that dining room for Christmas. I love it... the neutrals and the little slipcovers on those chairs are amazing.
    I'm so sorry you hurt your back. You know, once we get past fifty, we have no business carrying and climbing! Let young Gollum and Dr Gollum carry in the rest of the Christmas stuff. Mister is laughing because he knows the answer. It's already perfect. I love your family room just as it is and tonight I could really use your Chaise! So rest your back, put your feet up and watch The Stagers. It's my new favorite HGTV show!
    hugs! Carol

  23. I love the way the credenza looks now. The two black lampshades give it a sleek, modern look. But the way they light up the room makes the whole arrangement (credenza and all), look like a piece of art unto itself. Very pretty! :-)

  24. Oh Mister, please tell us the answers! I went back to Artie's Blog and re-analyzed all the photos and I much prefer the French Formal dining room. I adore that chandelier! I do love the breakfast room chairs and the feeling of that art on the wall. In the bedroom setting, you are right those shutters do so add to the room. I prefer the slip covered chairs to the velvet chairs from the first photo. Now about your credenza, I am wondering if the black lampshades are too heavy looking? They draw your eye right there and overpower the art. But I am not standing in the room and it may be different. I know I try to take pics of my living room and it does not come out as it looks to me..... Robyn

  25. Hi Michael...your lamps look favorite part is that warm hour-glass shaped glow they create on your wall. And Mister is wise beyond his years! :-)

  26. I wish the credenza was a little longer..or the lamps were just a tad smaller. It really bugs my mother. But the good part is, the black shades, frame, and box helps reinforce the black in the room and adds gravity to the neutral walls and upholstery. It's always a trade off!

    (I did have a much longer credenza, but I sold it. Hindsight is 20/20.)

    I loved the way the designer in Artie's photos changed things so radically! There are so many ideas in those photos.

  27. Er, that should be help, not helps.

  28. I love watching your editing. You have such beautiful and fun things, Gollum! You could make anything look good with that eye of yours. I've really enjoyed the step by step of the making of your fabulous vignettes!
    That post of Artie's made my sing, too! Especially the final transformation of that bedroom. I WANT those grey shutters. Mmmm!