Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Foyer... Foye-Aiye?

Right now I am sitting on the couch with a puny LMC on my arm under the blanket. Bennie is laying in her crib down the hall, not napping. She's tired, but like a POW, she is taking her sippy cup and sliding it down the bars before laughing at her music and running the cup again. It has been a while since I posted anything about the house, mostly because as we get further down the hall, the house gets less and less "done." And there have been changes to the front of the house that I feel I need to share.

Step into our foyer from our large double doors and hopefully, you will feel welcome. On the left is the dining room (currently covered in remnants from the back patio waiting to be rehung and several different china patterns) and on the right is our living room/Music room.

Starting at the opposite end of the house-- LMC is sitting on the couch, not feeling great. She's watching TV and very curious why I opened the doors on this very cold day. Behind her are the greatest windows in the world. Not great because of their efficiency, rather great because they are over 24 feet long of windows. It's like 150 square feet of window.

But that's not the foyer.

The foyer is full of sentimental and significant things to us.

The chicken hangs to the left of the entrance to the den. It is one of the very few pieces of art that has no fun story behind it. I won it at an auction and thought he was kicky. Underneath the chicken is an antique highchair. It's not mine, it's SIL's from when she was a baby. When we were moving stuff out of her attic, the movers accidentally grabbed it thinking it was ours and it just has not made it's way back to her house yet. Currently, that high chair holds Husband's toddler best friend, Brown Bear. He's a brown teddy bear that Husband, apparently, carried everywhere with him. My in-laws brought him up here a few weeks ago.

I bought a rug. Actually, I bought two rugs. One for the foyer-- do you say Foye-Aiye or Faye-Er? I try to say Foye-Aiye, but typically end up with an "ER" on the end of my Foye.  Right, I digress. Two rugs. The one in the foyer looks like it was made for this house. It has an off-white background with a gray and turquoise pattern wound through it. It brings the living and dining room out to the foyer and the foyer into the two adjoining rooms. It really brightens up the space. I love it. The second thing that happened in the foyer is we got a new light.

It's a special light.

Aunt Bennie passed away and I totally threw myself on my cousins, asking if I could look through some of her old things for my research and take pictures of pictures, etc. {Read: Can I be nosy in your mother's things?} I also asked (and prefaced with the statement that I didn't know if what I was asking was couth)- but if there was something that no one else wanted, could I buy it for my Bennie. Something that I could give her down the line and tell her, "Hey- this is from the woman we named you for. This belonged to my Great Aunt Bennie. And let me tell you, she was a card. Sit down, I want to regale you about her and her lovely sisters." My sweet cousin gave Baby Bennie a rose wood Rosary that her brother (Aunt Bennie's son) brought back from a pilgrimage to Malta. As we were walking around the house, I mentioned that that light hanging in the foyer was "cool." It is the old brass with beautiful cut crystal. It's old; older than the house. Cousin asked if I wanted it. Husband got a ladder and some tape, and that light is now hanging in the city where Aunt Bennie was born- it's waiting for Baby Bennie to grow, get married, have a house of her own and be hung in that Bennie's house.

The desk I don't use very much anymore has been moved to the foyer. It's a really cool piece and Husband thought I needed it at a benefit we went to when we were first married. I about died when he bid on it... and then bid again. It was expensive for two people living on love. But, Husband wanted to buy me something nice that I could sit at and sell insurance from. Don't let the size fool you, it's terribly handy- with a drawer on the inside and three secret drawers on the outside. The lamp was a wedding gift from my parent's neighbors. The biscuit basket was a wedding gift from my godfather. The desks sits between a closet on the right and the dining room on the left. 

The teapot came from Southern Bell to my grandfather when he retired. In it, you can see a crystal bell. One of the fondest memories that Husband and all of his cousins have of his grandmother's house is that she had a bell collection. They all loved to play with them. When she passed, each grandchild got one.

This is cool-- really cool, actually. It is the document that elected my great grandfather to a Lt. Col in the medical corps of the "regular army" in 1937. FDR was president in 1937. (Yes, I googled that.) Dad gave it to Husband when he graduated from medical school.

Hanging above the picture is a gift from one of my dad's best friends. It's a plate of the Robert Toombs House in Washington, GA. Andy's house is across the street from the Robert Toombs House and it is where I had my bridal portraits taken. (Mental note- need to order those.) Our photographer came down from Athens and we drove up from Hometown. I was going to have to change into my wedding dress at a car dealership- another friend of my parents. Thank goodness the guy's wife was there and said NO! There would be no way that she was going to make me put that exquisite silk dress on in her husband's Ford dealership. She took us to their antique farm home where I changed in her daughter's bedroom with an old quilt on her bed. I walked down the stairs and I think I saw my dad cry.

If you turn around from the desk, you will realize that our foyer is actually an "L" shape, with the living room tucked in on the inside of the "L." The pink bathroom is visible at the end of the hall and our TV is mounted above the fireplace in the den. Our den is nowhere near done, so that will be another day. 

Husband calls this our art museum. We have several pieces hanging on the wall and I love them all. We also have an art closet that once was the master bathroom shower, but that's another story. On the left is an Ernest Lee, a pen and ink of DC that Mama Bits gave me, and a picture of me. Clearly- you can see it? Right? The artist is a family friend and she gave it to us when we got married. She did a whole series of these and this was one of her first. She said that she remember the last time she saw me, I had long brown hair and a short black dress. Where those bosoms came from, are anybody's guess!

Between the "me" and the two on the far side is a copper menu from Allred's. It is a restaurant in Telluride, CO that we went to on our honeymoon. The receipt is still inside. And no, we didn't steal it. We asked for it.

On the right are three Hair paintings. Hair is the artist's name. Aren't they cool? Husband has such an eye for art. These guys hung in a coffee shop downtown that we used to go to almost every weekend for breakfast. They were $100 a piece. Not bad. But nothing we could afford. I threw an arrow in the dark and asked the manager if he'd call the artist and see if he would take $100 for all three. 

Hair said yes. I dropped what I was doing and went to pick them up. That was six years ago and I think I love them more now than when we bought them.

The cross looks like nothing special and to the naked eye- it is nothing more than a Catholic cross made of seashells. It makes my heart sing and my eyes dance. I love this special piece. I have no idea where it came from, but it hung in my grandparent's house for as long as I can remember. My mom has three sisters and there are so many grandchildren. When my grandfather died, the Sistahs had the arduous task of dividing everything up. From there, they decided which of their things their children would get. Confusing? Totally. But, it worked for this family. I have absolutely loved going into my cousins house since his passing and seeing small mementos from my childhood in their homes, as I hope that when they come here, they will feel the same way.

When I think back on items and where they once were, it makes me feel good that our family is still so close that I know where they are now.

If you run past the artwork and turn around, you get to finally see Brown Bear and SIL's high chair. Behind the high chair is another of our numerous closets. This one holds outdoor Christmas decorations, Husband's cold weather duck hunting gear (waders, camouflage jackets, etc), and our jackets.

Please note the pink cup, Bennie is walking everywhere now and if she is not holding her Minnie Mouse doll, she has made her way over to where we stash her cups and is carrying one or three with her.

Last, but not least... our second NEST thermostat. I have no idea what that thing does above it. If you have any idea how to work it, please let me know.  I am on the lookout for a frame to put around the NEST to make it look little less, um, messy. Yes, I know I need to paint around it and touch it up, but for the moment, I am holding out for a frame.

That's the foyer. It is, like the rest of this house, big. I love the slate floors and the artwork makes me smile. This whole house makes me smile. It makes Husband's eye twitch, but that's another story.

Up next? Probably the guest room. It's the closet thing to being done. Once I raise LMC's curtains, the purple room will be after that. And once our bed comes in, well... let's be honest, I don't know if the master bedroom will ever be done. The outside back patio is nearing completion.

Slow and steady. That's how we roll.

Whatcha think?

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