It’s been a quiet summer over on Take Courage, eh? It’s actually been strangely refreshing to take a break from technology and from the blog. I’ve been limiting the use of my phone – ditching Instagram and Facebook in favour of a book on my daily commute to and from work (I’ve already made it through four chunky books in one month…) – and focusing on decorating the new house at a normal person’s pace rather than feeling bad that it isn’t 100% perfect within one week of moving in. Unlike our rentals, where we knew we’d only be living at each place for a short while, there’s no need to rush with the new house – and it feels good to take our time.
One room that is starting to come together is the dining room at the front of the house. I’m not usually a fan of houses where the front door leads straight into a room (I’m a bit of a hallway snob) but our house has three “reception rooms” as the estate agent described them, so I don’t mind it too much (sorry for boasting!). I didn’t want the front room to be our main living room, nor did I want it to be an odd hallway room that is never used, so I decided on making it a dining room. But not just any dining room – the Texan’s grandparents used to have a room in their house called the “ancient room” where all the antique-y, old things they own lived, so that’s what I’ve envisaged for this space.
The oak farmhouse table was an eBay steal at £150 – it weighs a tonne and will last us for years to come. It sits on top of one of four Turkish kilim rugs that I splurged out on when we first moved in – the Texan wasn’t very happy about my spending (!) but I absolutely love them and I found a fantastic seller based in Istanbul who has an incredible selection for sale (ping me an email if you want his details). Overhead is a great industrial-style pendant light shade (c/o Homebase), which disperses the light really well over the dining table.
One of my favourite things in the room is the Victorian chest of drawers. The Texan spotted it in an antiques shop in Crystal Palace when we were in the middle of buying the house (and therefore couldn’t afford to spend money on frivolous things), but he kept going on about it so my nana and I chipped in and surprised him with it for his birthday. I had originally intended to keep it in our bedroom but the movers couldn’t get it up our narrow staircase – but that’s a story for another day – so now it lives in the ancient room.
Annoyingly quite a few of the rooms in the house have the radiator placed right in the middle of the wall. Radiators are ugly things and not very ancient-looking, but we found a solution in this pretty radiator cover (c/o Homebase). I think it works really well!
There are three additions to be made to the ancient room, which I will share with you in time. The first is a wardrobe for our coats – given that we don’t have a hallway, I’m conscious that the Texan will dump his suit jacket on one of the dining chairs when he gets home from work, much to my annoyance! So I’m on the lookout for a cheap second-hand wardrobe which I can paint in an off-white or grey. There’s a great charity furniture shop around the corner from us which I’ve been checking in every weekend, so it’s only a matter of time before I find the perfect wardrobe.
The second addition is a wood-burning fire – you can’t see it in the photos but behind the door is a huge brick fireplace with a hearth, just waiting for a fire to be installed. Problem is that it costs a bloody fortune - £500+ for the stove, and £1,000+ for installation! So I think that might have to wait until bonus season next June…
The third is an amazing addition. A few months ago the Texan and I were wandering down Camberwell Grove when we came across a collection of furniture legs and odd bits and pieces on the street with a sign attached to it saying, “If anyone is smarter than me and can put this 18th century daybed back together again, you can have it for free!”. Well, we took it! I spent last Saturday morning working out how it all fits together, and then I looked online to see how old it is. It looks almost exactly like this picture which would suggest that it’s actually older than its previous owner thought. I’m itching to restore it and give it pride and place in the ancient room – I’ve just got to work out how to put it back together again…!
Just a quick word about the wall colour – the ancient room can be a bit dark in the mornings, but Dayroom Yellow by Farrow & Ball has proven to be the perfect shade to brighten up the room – I really love it.
So there you have it, the first few snippets of our house – I hope you approve!