When it came time to create the feel for our master bedroom, I knew I wanted to maintain the clean, streamlined, country house aesthetic we had used in the other spaces of our home. When reflecting back on previous bedrooms, I can recall an array of bold color choices and patterns that did not stand the test of time. Throughout this process, Jeff and I always said this was the house we planned to live in for the next thirty years, so I wanted our design and decor to be something I still loved many years from now.
To be honest, the inspiration for our bedroom came from a fellow mom I followed on instagram (seriously go and check out her page because I love what she has done with her historic home, and it serves as my daily inspiration when creating my own). You will notice that my bedroom shares one very important piece of furniture with the design of her own master bedroom: the bed frame. Check out the picture below:
All of the rooms in my house are painted white with a subtle trim color (Benjamin Moore's November Rain). I love how the black bed frame pops against the white walls and quilt. The quilt that adorns the bed is from Pottery Barn, and I absolute love its subtle stitching. Fair Warning: It is a very light-weight quilt, but I secretly love that because it allows me to have flannel sheets when normally my husband bans those from our bed! The quilt is also machine washable which is a must!
You will also notice that we added two new windows to this room (like the dining room and living room on the first floor). While adding those two windows was labor intensive, it was completely worthwhile because I love the additional natural light they provide. The two bed side tables nestled snugly beneath the new windows provide endless charm.
If you are interested in sourcing the other pieces of furniture in our master bedroom, head on over to our interior designer's shop, High Street Market, as the bed side tables, bench at the foot of our bed, and table lamps all came from her store. I think our bedroom achieves a nice balance of inspiration from our interior designer coupled with a few personal decor and furniture pieces Jeff and I have inherited from our families. Look below for some pictures that highlight some of the historical and sentimental pieces we've incorporated into our master bedroom.
While our bed side tables were a new purchase and not antiques, we balanced them with specific treasures that help to unite the historic with the modern. The antique luster pitchers on my bed side table belonged to Jeff's grandparents and were passed down to us from Jeff's mom. I love how the bright blue compliments the sheets we have here on our bed. The horse and buggy figurine on Jeff's bed side table celebrates the horse and carriage business that Jeff's great grandparents built and showcased at competitive horse shows in Pennsylvania.
When it came time to choose pieces to adorn our walls, we began with a sentimental piece given to us from the previous homeowners. At the closing of our house, the previous owner brought with her a painting she commissioned of the home. She had this painting on her wall for the thirty years she lived in the home, and she passed it along to us as she was excited to see another young family grow and create memories in a space that had been so meaningful to her and her family. You can see from the painting that there used to be a white, split rail fence and ornamental benches on the front porch that are no longer there. I would love to bring back those features!
Something else I love about the original 1874 part of the home is that we were able to restore the original doors and give them historically accurate hardware (as seen above). What's unique about the rooms in the original structure is that they each have two doors (one that opens to either side of the center staircase. The door pictured above opens to the staircase going up to the third floor and the door you see pictured below opens to the staircase going to the first floor.
On the opposite wall Jeff found an original painting from an artist on instagram. I love the subtle greens, creams, and blues present in this floral painting. They perfectly compliment the white and green patterned wallpaper and blue and white plates in the hallway. My hope is to one day use this color palette as the inspiration for a quilt my mom has offered to make for us. My mom is an accomplished crafter who quilts, needlepoints, upholsters, basketweaves, and knits. She passed along a few of these trades to me, and you will see some of my own creations in our master bedroom. Below, you can see one of my creations (a needlepoint brick door stopper!). These door stoppers are a "quick" project by needlepoint standards but a fun way to bring some charm to a space. My plan is to eventually create brick door stoppers for all of the bedrooms.
In addition to the door stoppers, you can see a needlepoint pillow I created on an antique rocker in our master bedroom. The rocker was another treasure passed down from Jeff's grandfather. I love its unassuming profile in our modest bedroom, and it serves as a wonderful piece to perch on as you tie your shoes in the morning.
This pillow is one of my favorite needlepoint pieces. You will continue to see some of my creations throughout the house. Most noticeably you will eventually see the needlepoint stockings I created for all of us at Christmas time! I love how my mom has passed down this skill to me and now we frequently share and discuss the projects we work on to make our homes feel warm and inviting.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the stories that accompany the pieces of my master bedroom and look forward to reading about the development of our master bath in the next blog post of "Mill House Musings." If you like what you see, head on over to my instagram page and see more photos documenting the renovation of our 1874 Pennsylvanian mill house.
When Jeff and I were young (well, younGER) we loved to receive treasures from our families to help populate our home in a meaningful way. At the time we appreciated the pieces because we had recently bought our first house and needed help populating it with furniture as we had moved from a one bedroom apartment into a four bedroom house! As you can imagine, there were a lot of empty spaces for quite awhile! Now, in our seasoned thirties, we love those pieces of furniture and decor because they tell a story. Our dining room is a perfect example of this. Every single piece in this space was passed down to us from both our mothers. The only original pieces Jeff and I contributed to this space are the rug and our wedding china. But even that is interspersed with the china that belonged to the generations before us.
Our dining room table and chairs were passed down to us from Jeff's mother. The farmhouse table looks as if it was meant to be in our 1874 Mill House, but what I love most about it are the scratches that are sprinkled on the table top. While some might wince at those imperfections, I love those worn and grooved moments because they tell the story of a family that gathered at this table and whose love is etched into each scratch.
Our antique hutch, pictured here with the doors open, belonged to Jeff's grandfather and grandmother. When Jeff's mom gave us this piece after the death of Jeff's grandfather, we couldn't wait to populate it with our wedding china which had not seen the light of day since we had unwrapped it after our wedding. But prior to placing anything into the hutch, we needed to give the light blue paint on the interior a refresh. Jeff did a wonderful job matching the original color, and I love the subtle pop of blue. Our wedding china is the purely white plates featured on the middle shelf. The white dining set with blue flowers belonged to Jeff's grandparents. We loved mixing the antique dining set with our modern place settings to unite our home with the home of our departed loved ones.
Mixed in with the china are unique pieces from Jeff's great grandparents and gifts from our wedding. The boy figurines were passed down from Jeff's mother while the floral tea pot was a wedding present. The luster pitcher and cups sprinkled throughout the hutch came from Jeff's great grandparents. Jeff likes to say that Luster isn't "popular" anymore but he (and I agree!) that the luster provides a striking contrast to the more simple plate designs.
Situated above the hutch is a collection of handmade baskets in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Growing up my mother was an accomplished crafter. She needlepoints, knits, and makes beautiful quilts and baskets. I have picked up a few of these skills from her and love going to her with any questions or to share a new project. My mom created the large basket in the center. I remember my childhood home was always populated with my mother's creations--and she would always find a place for a beautiful basket. I love that I have many of her baskets sprinkled throughout the house because they say "home" to me and warm my heart with fond memories of my mom and the beautiful home she created for my siblings and I.
I love this table runner we purchased from Terrain. The muted blues, greens, purples, and grays compliment the colors that peek out from the hutch and the faded blue chairs at the head of the table. We have a hodgepodge of candlesticks that we have inherited over the years of various colors, heights, and materials. I love mixing and matching those for different textures and effects.
Speaking of texture...how amazing is this ceramic bowl we are currently using for our centerpiece?! I love the primitive nature of this bowl, and the sweeping movement created by the brim of the bowl is breathtaking. The speckled brown and the dirtied white match perfectly with the table runner underneath. Jeff purchased this from a local artist which just reminds all of us that the pieces that bring the most character and life to your homes are often the product of an individual craftsman or craftswoman!
This chandelier was chosen by our interior designer, Kelly Robson of High Street Market, and I think it gives a playful twist to the traditional candle style chandelier you see in most dining rooms. I like how the shades cover both candles at once to give it a more modern and streamlined aesthetic while still being reminiscent of the traditional chandeliers we all love in historical dining rooms.
Our dining room celebrates the people and family history we love by incorporating the pieces passed down to us into the stories we are creating with our own family. There's a magic felt when you remember that the table you're gathering at was used for the same purpose by your departed loved ones, and it helps to tighten the thread that weaves our stories with their's. I hope you enjoyed hearing the stories woven around our dining room, and I look forward to sharing more tidbits with you from our quiet, Pennsylvanian Mill House.
One of my dreams when buying an old house was that it would have an original fireplace. I had visions of a beautiful mantle or even one of those large, over sized brick fireplaces you find in kitchens with all the traditional kitchen tools. When we toured our home, there were no visible fireplaces, but the home had two chimneys. I remember naively remarking, "Well, maybe once we open up the walls, we'll find that traditional, 1874 fireplace."
Looking back now, I realize that a grand living room fireplace just wasn't meant for a home that housed multiple working families. Our home is not a traditional 1874 colonial. The original 1874 structure has two identical rooms on each floor with a narrow staircase running up the middle. Those rooms housed millworkers who worked in the area. The purpose of this home was utilitarian. It was intentionally simple with no extra frills--and I honestly love that about our home. So when we opened up the walls and looked more closely at the basement, we came to realize that each of those separate rooms had a coal furnace instead of a fireplace. You can actually still see the circular imprint from the coal furnace on the original floors which adds such neat character to the home. While I was disappointed that my fireplace dreams were dashed, I realized that if I really wanted a fireplace, I could still have one installed that was keeping with the historical integrity of the home. After speaking with our contractor, we decided to flip the layout of the two rooms on the first floor used by our previous owners and use the old dining room as our living room so as to avoid the furnace when installing a gas fireplace.
When approaching our renovation of the 1874 structure, we knew we wanted to accomplish two things: 1. We wanted to restore the original 1874 floors as best we could. 2. We wanted to add more natural light by adding two windows on the exterior wall. The floors on the first floor were in great shape. They just required a good sanding and new coat of polyurethane to make them beautiful again. As you can see from these two pictures taken before the renovation started, there were minimal windows in the home. Each of the identical rooms only had two windows, one on the front of the house and one on the back of the house. It just wasn't enough natural light for us, so we decided to add two windows to our living room, dining room, and master bedroom on the exterior wall that had no windows.
We might have considered adding windows to our children's bedrooms, but the cost and labor involved prohibited us from doing that. The walls on the 1874 structure are THICK, stone walls. We're talking 20 inches of stone that had to be drilled through to create these new windows. Take a look at the mid-renovation picture below to see how extensive the process was, and then look at the more polished picture of the doorway between the living room and kitchen to really get a sense of how thick 20 inch stone walls really are!
We made sure to mimic the deep sills that were a hallmark feature of homes built in the 1800s and existed in the original windows. In the midst of drilling holes through our walls, we discovered that the plasterwork over the stone walls needed serious restoration. We had a specialist come and really do a complete rework of the plaster in all of the rooms in the original structure. It was time consuming but completely worth it. Check out the suffering plasterwork and exposed ceilings in the picture below. I really wished we could have kept those exposed ceilings, because how beautiful is that wood?! Unfortunately it just wasn't practical as the day to day sounds would carry far too easily between the floorboards.
When we decided to add the fireplace, we also wanted to add a set of built ins below the new windows that flanked both sides of the fireplace. We again worked with Village Handcrafted Cabinetry to create these built ins. As many of you know, storage is kind of like a unicorn in the world of old homes, and we were intentional and creative when trying to add useful storage throughout the house. Much like in the mudroom, whenever we put something "new" into our "old" home, we wanted it to seem like it was a part of the original structure. We accomplished that with the new fireplace and built ins by choosing historically accurate hardware and mantle. I think the final outcome is stunning. It provides the warmth and cozy feeling I craved while still maintaining the historical integrity of the home.
When it came time to choose furniture for the space, we really benefitted from our interior designer, Kelly Robson of High Street Market, because the room lost a good deal of real estate due to the new built ins and fireplace. Every piece she chose worked beautifully in the modestly-sized room. We still have ample seating that truly fits the scale of the room. My favorite pieces from the room would be the light fixture and the ottoman. The ceilings in the 1874 structure of the home are low, so we didn't have too many opportunities to choose a light fixture that was not a flush mount style. This light fixture is a vintage surprise in the space. When it came to an ottoman for the room, I loved the fabric Kelly chose and its soft texture is perfect for our still toddling toddlers to avoid unnecessary bumps and bruises.
As I close out this post, I'll leave you with a sneak peek of our next space: the dining room. I love this shot because it really captures the beauty of the original 1874 pine floors. Thanks for following along in our renovation adventures. As always, you can see more of our home on my instagram page or feel free to leave a comment--I'd love to hear from you!
Growing up as a child, I remember sharing many moments with both my mom and dad baking Christmas cookies, peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner, and learning how to make my all time favorite dessert, blonde brownies. The meals shared in my childhood kitchen always served as a touchstone for my mom, dad, brother, sister and I to reconnect after a busy day. Both my husband and I wanted to recreate this for our own children.
When we first purchased our home, we knew that we wanted to update the kitchen. The kitchen had seen a lot of love over the years, and we wanted to create a space that would really function as the heart of the home.
Once we took down the original addition, we expanded the foot print to really allow for a space where many people could gather at once. Whether it was just my intimate family of four or our large extended families, I wanted our kitchen to be the hub of activity. Before embarking on construction, we had a meeting of the minds with our architect (Warren Claytor of Warren Claytor Architects), builder (Pete McKenna of McKenna Building Group), and interior designer (Kelly Robson of High Street Market). Together, we designed our dream kitchen and got to work.
If any of you have completed a kitchen demolition, you know that there are an endless amount of decisions to make from the color and style of cabinets to hardware and appliances. It can be extremely overwhelming. Thankfully, Kelly really listened to our ideas regarding style and aesthetic. It's no secret that white kitchens are a popular design. Whether we're in the kitchen, in the mudroom, or in a bedroom, I like a simple, edited, and clean design. To me, those attributes will always be timeless, so in thirty years, I hopefully won't feel like my home is dated. Here is a view of the finished result.
To fully achieve our dream of a family-oriented space, we made the choice to ditch the traditional center island and put this beautiful farmhouse table in its place. When I look at this table, I see Sunday morning breakfast in our pajamas and family game nights filled with laughter. Sometimes it’s chaotic-but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you love these choices, you should hightail it on over to Kelly's instagram and website to see more of her beautiful spaces and decor. Our table, chairs, lantern and rug are all from her shop.
How beautiful is this vintage rug? It is completely reminiscent of the rug we chose for our mudroom which serves as a nice thread between the two spaces. When it came to our cabinetry, we worked with Village Handcrafted Cabinetry (the same business who completed our mudroom cabinetry). They were phenomenal. If you are looking for more of a small, independent business, they are the people for you. Full disclosure--my husband is the cook in the family, and he had very specific ideas regarding what type of cabinetry he wanted in the space. Village listened to all of his suggestions, and he could not be more pleased with the results.
With that, I leave you with one final view of our kitchen which offers a sneak peek into our next space, the living room, which will be our first look at a room in the original 1874 structure of the home. You can see that we mimicked the transom we discovered off of the mudroom to create a cohesive look. Thanks for following along our journey, and I hope you enjoyed our kitchen renovation!