Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why the vintage? (part two)

Thank you so much for all the compliments and comparisons to Vivien Leigh on my last post.

I've been told that all my life, and although I don't really see it, aside from the dark hair and light complexion, I take it as a huge compliment, because she's my favorite actress.

My daughter's middle name is Leigh, after her :)

Last time we covered the clothes, so this time, how about the decor?

As a child, my mother had antiques throughout our home that were passed onto her from my great grandmother Annie Belle (Annie's other namesake), which in turn were passed onto me, when my mom downsized.

Annie Belle:

You've seen them here and there.

One of the two sets of silver and some china that you can see a glimpse of...

The cedar trunk (more on that on a later post)...

The bedroom set...

The Welsh hutch..

The record player....


All of those things and many more were in the homes that I grew up in (all three built between the 1920s and 1950s).

So, I can see my love of antiques coming from there.

The beauty of average objects during that time have always fascinated me, because no one puts that much work into them anymore.

Take for instance the record player above, compared to something that looks like this:

More convenient? Yes, but certainly not pretty.

But it's not just that.

For some reason, I've always been more comfortable in an old home filled with old things and I've never liked anything modern.

Do I find them pretty to look at? 


For example, I could never live in a place that looks like this:

No offence to anyone that likes this look, but what does it say about the people that live there?

Nothing that I can tell.

It basically says "hotel" to me, which is fine if that's what the owners like, but I don't want to live in a hotel. I want to live in a cozy, colorful place filled with memories. Somewhere that says "this is who I am".

Which brings us to why I not only love antiques, but vintage interiors as a whole.

I attribute that to my grandparents, Bonnie and Ox.

Not at first though. I was all about Victorian decor for years, much to my mother's chagrin.

Then one day, I realized that wasn't where my heart was and I went with it.

My grandparents lived in a little 1940s ranch house that was never redone (even in the 1970s and 1980s), but kept up, with a victory garden, a red front door, original bathrooms, and the original kitchen that looked something like this:

The fridge was on the left just like the picture and it had a window like that, but the tile was different.

I want to say it was more like this, but not exactly:

Which would probably explain my love of yellow and green ;)

Bonnie also had a stool kind of like the one in my kitchen on the right, which is what I would stand on to help with the poundcake:

They also had a table kind of like mine in their kitchen, except it was white and the glass top was clear:

The story is that I was so little when I learned to walk, at the age of 9 months, that I could go right under it without hitting my head.

It was where I spent my childhood when I wasn't at home, looking at all of Bonnie's bric-a-brac, making creations out of felt on her sewing machine, helping bake her famous poundcake (I was the official sifter), where Ox taught me to use an aloe vera plant for burns, about vegetables and fruit in his garden and how to hold a baby chick.

It was where I had my first crush on a neighbor kid, named Hudson Elliot, around the age of 5 or 6, where I saw a tinsel tree that spun with a color wheel every Christmas, watched old family movies on a projecter without sound, learned how to use an old crank style ice-cream maker, where I looked at a hunting scene wall mural in the dining room with fascination, and it was where I heard them sing "If I knew you were coming, I'd have baked a cake" or "Open the door Richard" every time we showed up on their front door step.

It was also, for the most part, where I learned how women and men were supposed to act... like ladies and gentlemen and most importantly, husband and wife, about good music, how to bake, to fix what you have, instead of buying new and to appreciate the old ways of doing things.

It was my home away from home.

I didn't always appreciate it or them them until later in life though.

Silly teenager that I was.

I wish I could thank them now.

I can still hear Ox's voice the last time I talked to him on the phone, after Bonnie had died and just before he followed her, about 11 years ago...

"Is this ol' Heath?"

Rue is a nickname a friend gave me years ago.

My real name is Heather, but he never said my whole name, only the first syllable.

Anyway, that's where my fascination came from and why it's such a mix of antiques, vintage and memories :)

To be continued....



  1. This is great! I am really enjoying this little series.

  2. What a lovely post! I so enjoyed reading your stories and seeing your wonderful goodies!

  3. Rue- dear Heather, please please please start writing a book about this. Seriously. You need to share this in a larger sense, it is fascinating.

    Hugs hugs. xxxooo

  4. Kitchens of my dreams, too! I still live in the same town as my gramma's house. I always want to stop by, but I am afraid I would be so disappointed in the changes. It is better to remain in my dreams.

  5. I just read both posts...had to laugh in the first one about your mom worrying about you : )

    Love the memories of your times with your grandparents ; what a wonderful influence they had :)

  6. As I have said before, I think that you have great taste and style and it is your very own and that is wonderful!! xx

  7. What a beautiful post, Rue! When I was a child, my family (parents, four kids and three pets) sold everything and we all piled in a '55 Chevy station wagon and moved across the country with only our suitcases. My family started over with what I call yard sale modern furniture. My dad is 92 and still enjoys his 1950's decor! You are so fortunate to have such beautiful pieces!

  8. My grandparents lived in a huge old victorian home, filled with antiques, pull chain toilets, claw foot tubs and velvet drapes. It would be my dream home now. Back then it was just a really cool place to play hide and seek. I think it wonderful that you have so many important pieces that fill your home and I think your decor fits you, it's warm and personal.

  9. A perfectly delightful story, Rue, just like the stories your house tells about you, and you are so right about the picture of the room you could not live in, there is no narrative there. While the kitchen pictures you show, including your own, do give me a clear pictures of what the lady of the house could be like.

    It is rare to live with keepsakes and heirlooms passed down through so many generations in the same family. Your silver and pieces of furniture have been lovingly polished through the years and now you are and I hope some day that your daughter will, and so on.

    Thank you for this post that warms my heart. And my mother sang that song too, If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake….howgado, howgado, howgado! Or something like that!

    I think the most valuable possessions your grandparents left you were the examples of being a lady and gentleman, for you, Rue, are a lady.


  10. this post is just magical. again.
    and i agree. it reads like a wonderful book! you truly should think of writing one. and using pictures of your home.
    i see it as a magnificent coffee table book!

    rue... alas... I am one of those people who could easily live in the 'hotel looking' picture! i find it calming and serene and totally comfortable.
    but no offense taken! LOLOLOL!
    i had a completely different upbringing than you did though. we moved every single year due to my father's work.
    so we lived rather minimally as you can imagine. packing became an art. and the less you had to pack the easier it was.

    my mother still managed to make every single place lovely. she had beautiful taste. and what few things she treasured went with us to each place. but it was never as full as most homes are.

    this is just a wonderful series. i hope there are more 'parts' to come! it's a pure pleasure to know you! xoxo♥

  11. Loved this...such sweet memories! Looking forward to part 3!

  12. Neat post! I love all of your passed down family furniture pieces, all are very pretty! My paternal grandparents lived in a 50's style kitchen, never remodeled until my grandfather passed in 1998. They had a red stool like the one you have pictured... I thought it was THE coolest thing ever! I find myself buying bowls and other kitchen implements similar to what they had, and those I use everyday. I feel connected to them still, by recreating a little of their kitchen, by what I use in my kitchen! ~Rhonda

  13. I am really enjoying this series - I love how this post takes us back to yesteryear through your eyes and seeing all the family heirlooms you are soooo fortunate to have! This series reminds me of what Radio in the 30’s would have been like with the whole family crowded around it to hear the latest installment of a favorite show. I hope we can all look forward to many future parts! Thanks Kari

    1. What a sweet thing to say, Kari! Thank you so much :)


  14. These last two posts have been a joy to read, and your photo's so nice to look at too.

    I do hope your week is going well.

    Take Care

    All the best Jan

  15. These last two posts have been a joy to read, and your photo's so nice to look at too.

    I do hope your week is going well.

    Take Care

    All the best Jan

  16. I get 'it' totally! Love all things old and well loved surrounding me all the time. Can't imagine living any other way! Love all your hand-me-downs Rue!

  17. Love it all Rue. I could never live in a modern home either. Great two posts. Hugs, cm

  18. What a nostalgic post...made me think back to when I was a little girl. You have inherited some wonderful pieces, Rue. I much prefer living in an older house with character and quirks than a brand new one, too.

  19. Oh Rue, thanks so much for sharing... I enjoy your stories as they remind me of my childhood. I too grew up with antiques, went to my first auction when I was 7. I don't have as many old things as you, but the ones I have I treasure. And, if you EVER want to part with that Welsh dresser, give me a call......

    1. HA! I never would because I love it, but even if I didn't, my mother would kill me LOL

      Thank you, Mimi :)


  20. So many things I'm familiar with on here, Rue.....my mother-in-law taught me about the aloe vera plant and its healing, the Victorian d├ęcor that I used to love, watching movies on a projector (my wedding was filmed on a projector), and growing up in a cozy place filled with memories. It sounds like you were very close to your grandparents and that they taught you many things. And it's nice to know how the vintage love came into your life.

    This is a wonderful post Rue, I mean Heather hehehe. ;~)


  21. Rue---

    I love how far back your love of antiques go, you had a life surrounded by time worn pieces that were part of your family. I think as we get older we learn just how important family is, and if we didn't know way back when we were teens (my case for sure), we have the memories of those lovable souls. Bonnie and Ox sound like true treasures, Heath!

    I have to go back and read your last post. Every time I see this picture of you I think of Vivian Leigh. I adored her and read a few biographies about her when I was younger. Just sort of intrigued about how educated and cultured and beautiful she was and back then, she could have been diagnosed with a mental illness and treated now, but instead---well, it must have been hell for everyone.

    Thanks for a great comment today...you always make my day!

    Jane x

  22. You are so lucky to have things handed down to you from you family. My Mother never had anything to had down from her family, so I am doing it for my kids. In fact my Granddaughter has already told me that she wants several things in the house for herself. HA! HA!

  23. Everything in your home is so gorgeous and I love reading about how your personal taste in decor has evolved and been influenced over the years! These stories are so wonderful! Hugs!!

  24. What a lovely post, old things sure make sense. Great family memories you've shared, thanks for that. Greetings!

  25. In the end, happy memories are what Is important, and you have many lovely ones. Isn't it sad as teens we rarely appreciate those that are closest to us? Those that provide us with so many of life's lessons and shape us into what we will eventually become?

    The silverware caught my eye. I trust you realize what a treasure you have there!

    As for that contemporary room...I'm going to respectfully disagree with you. It does indeed say a lot about the person who lives there. I'd say it would be someone who dislikes clutter, perhaps someone who has decided they don't want to live with too much 'stuff', maybe someone who is not too sentimental or someone who has a small family (or none at all). Could I live there? Hell yes, but only if it was my second home and it happened to be located in a penthouse overlooking Central Park. ;)

  26. I can see why you do what you do and have what you have now. What a splendid story, Rue! Thanks for telling it to us!

  27. Sounds like you know where your heart is. How absolutely wonderful and valuable. I think there are many who wander around trying to catch it in the latest trend, who never really discover themselves. Also, I couldn't agree more about cozy colors in the home:)

  28. I understand the draw and love of vintage and am with you on this!

  29. Here I had just found your blog when I ended up away for awhile at the coast. I LOVED this post and your memories served to remind me a lot of my own childhood. I'll definitely be back to catch up on what I missed in the prior posts.
    (Love that vintage kitchen)

  30. Here I had just found your blog when I ended up away for awhile at the coast. I LOVED this post and your memories served to remind me a lot of my own childhood. I'll definitely be back to catch up on what I missed in the prior posts.
    (Love that vintage kitchen)

  31. Such wonderful memories! I have many special memories of my grandmother's house, too. Thanks for sharing!

    Grace & Peace

  32. Hi Rue, it's certainly been a long, long time. I see you have not changed one bit - and that's a good thing! Your new (old) home is just beautiful and it's wonderful hearing about the inspiration of styles (home and fashion) that have influenced you! Will be back to visit often, I'm sure.

  33. Oh my dear sweet Rue!! I've looked and looked for you. So happy I finally found you! ! We need to talk. Much love, Rachel


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