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.