by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
Staying within the confines of our homes or apartments for close to two years now, gives time to observe more closely our decorating choices. Sometimes a décor we liked decades ago might still be pleasing, but other times we know it is time for a bit of “revamping”. Television news segments have related how people are becoming more interesting in changing their home environment and do makeovers because they have time and are also tired of the same décor. One designer talked about having something in each room that is a “focal point or conversation piece” that stands out from typical home decorations. This can mean mixing and matching old and new pieces to provide a stimulating and an invigorating look to your home. Even small assorted artifacts can add interest to the room, properly placed on bookshelves, coffee or end tables. Having these pieces in view can evoke warm memories of the past, especially if they belonged to a beloved parent, grandparent or aunt.
My mother-in-law was a wonderful baker and used a special table for her creations. It was a small kitchen table with an enamel top that lifted up to reveal a wooden butcher block beneath it. When she needed to roll out pastry dough, the top was lifted on its hinges and rested against the wall. Then she was ready to flour the board, which was the same size as the enamel top. Years later she gave this table to our daughter, who uses it for the same purpose and delights in it each time she bakes. A favorite piece of mine is a handmade “hope chest” built by my father-in-law. It was completed by my father that upholstered the top for me in dark leather, with thick padding, so it can be used for extra seating at the foot of the bed. In our guest bedrooms are large paintings or prints, also handed down from family members and each time I look at them, I fondly recall where they were hanging in their former locations.
One friend of ours has an old fashioned grape crushing barrel that her grandfather used back in the 1930’s making his homemade wine. Standing in her living room corner, now used as a planter, this oak barrel with its wrought iron handles and crushing devices is certainly a conversation piece when guests visit. Even the smallest artifact properly placed in living rooms, dining areas or the kitchen can add interest to even the plainest décor. One friend has an old time sextant (early nautical instrument that used celestial navigation) as a centerpiece on her mantel. It certainly draws interest as guests sit down to dine at the nearby table and notice it.
Let’s not forget all the items of nostalgia that we might find in the kitchen area. From fancy teapots, possibly brought over from Europe, sets of dishes or heirloom silverware settings, these are items that are still enjoyed decades later. Recently a friend related a story about a trip to a Goodwill Store she made donating some items to them. Of course, no trip is complete unless a little shopping there is included. What did she discover there that brought back memories to her, the same butter dish that her grandmother had! The glass dish came inside refrigerators back then and looking at this dish among the other pieces of glassware brought back a flood of fond memories of visits to grandmother’s house when she was a child. These nostalgic items help keep warm memories close to our hearts as well as spruce up a room with their unmatched uniqueness.