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the living room

January 25, 2010

Since moving to the country, there have been a few occasions where I feel like a pioneer.  Seriously.  Stop laughing.

For example: when the electric went out and we didn’t have electric or water for an entire day, and we had to light the house with candles and pee without flushing.

Or, another example: when we used the last of the propane in the tank because we haven’t been checking it because it was 70% full when we bought the place and we (stupidly) assumed that that quantity of propane would last us years.

Unfortunately, that example happened over the weekend.  And, although I figured out how to get our tank refilled, it might not happen until later this week.  Which means, no hot water or heat until then.  Which means that it’s 50 degrees in the house (8 degrees lower than usual!) and no one can shower.  And I’m considering heating water on the stove to a) wash my hair or b) wash the dishes.  Like a pioneer.  Right?

Yeah, I KNOW! I AM THE REAL 2010 Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Or not.

Anyhoo, to distract myself from the fact that my fingers are freezing off my hands, or the fact that one of the dogs that I’m cuddling with for warmth may have just rolled in animal excrement, I figured we could look at some pretty pictures of my cold, cold living room.

Here’s a photo of the before, with the old owner’s furniture.  The walls were white, the trim was off-white.  It kind of looked dirty (more so in real life than in this picture).

I painted the trim white, and I think it really brightened up the room.  The upper wall area was painted “mercury glass” by Martha Stewart, the the lower portion of the wall was painted a shade or two darker.  You can barely tell that the upper portion of the wall isn’t white – in fact, we used the same color in our hallways and it looks white – but I like the slight greige hue to the paint.  It’s a little more interesting than just plain white.

We brought all of the furniture (except for our little entertainment dresser) from our previous house.  My long-term plans for the room include trading out the couch and one love seat for a sectional, and replacing the other love seat with a) two chairs and a game table or b) a super-comfy chair-and-a-half and a little side table.  We also hope to replace the white carpet with wood floors.  Dogs + country living + white carpets = not a good idea.

The picture collage in the corner features postcards, paintings, and photographs from our worldly adventures.  I purchased the red-framed painting for something like $0.15 when I went to China a few years ago (the frame +mat cost 1000% more than that…).  The old school map above it is actually a postcard that J and I found on a trip to Hawaii.  The postcard next to it (with the globe) is from Norway, and the watercolor on the right is from France.  The rest of the pictures are from our adventures in Ireland last fall – the single photo is an up-close shot of the Peace Wall in Belfast, and in the 3-photo frame, photos are from St Bridget’s well, a car parked in Killarney National Forest, and a fence outside of a church in Kilkenny.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of the flatscreen over the fireplace design-wise, but as far as watching the TV goes, it’s definitely the best place for it to hang in our house.  So I tried to surround it with pretty, interesting things.  (And, when we pull up the carpet in the master bedroom above to put in recessed lights, we’ll also hide the tv cables).

We try to stick with artwork that is meaningful to us – as mentioned above, we pick up things on our adventures to frame and hang.  We’ve got a picture of the Cherry-on-a-spoon sculpture to remind us of our adventures in Minnesota above the entertainment dresser.  The poster above the couch is from a trip to Belgium, and there are other paintings in the room from France and Germany.  One of our favorites, though, is this poster that we picked up at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  We are both particularly drawn to old school ads, and we both actually worked with the drug that’s advertised on the poster at different times in our scientific careers.

So, there it is – a tour of our currently freezing cold living room!  I’m going to go sit on my hands (to warm them up again).  And while I’m cuddling with two warm (but kind of stinky) dogs, a heating pad, and a down blanket, why don’t you fill me in on your best pioneer moment.  Or your favorite piece of art.  Or pretty much anything else that will keep my mind off of the fact that I’m wearing my down jacket inside the house…

14 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2010 5:56 pm

    Love it! Modern day Laura Ingalls Wilder 🙂 You have a large living room I like the colors you chose, I’m in love with gray. I agree personal art means so much more…

  2. Mom permalink
    January 25, 2010 5:58 pm

    Ashley says “You should have kept the Snuggie from Yankee Swap”

    As for me, why don’t you bite the bullet and buy a space heater for a few bucks and then even after you get propane, you can keep the temp low and just warm up the little area that you are in. Sounds like it might be worth while to have a back up in case some propane tank parts break in the future!

  3. tami permalink
    January 25, 2010 6:11 pm

    Oh yeah, I agree with Ashley…if Jason had taken the Snuggie instead of MY hammock, you could be looking good and feeling toasty warm right now.

  4. tami permalink
    January 25, 2010 6:15 pm

    One heavily wooded yard + Stihl chainsaw + Fireplace Extrodinaire woodstove = one nice warm house.

    Seriously, if Jason wants to play woodsman, you have the ideal spot for an efficient wood burning fireplace. If I start a fire early in the morning, it stays toasty warm (70 to 72+) downstairs and the furnace takes a vacation for the day. AND YOU KNOW HOW COLD IT GETS HERE. We have a built-in Fireplace Extrodinaire at home and an Avalon free standing wood stove at the lake. That was the ONLY heat up there for a while and it truly could heat the whole (old and poorly insulated) cabin, even in the dead of winter.

    Some models can heat through the night and they are about 85% efficient (qualifies for a tax rebate too). I have to admit that a real fireplace is pretty, but wood stove’s doors and windows have gotten larger over the years and you still get that fire light flicker on a cold winter night. I would guess that your whole first floor would stay very, very warm. We have been happy with both stoves/fireplaces. The Avalon is 20 years old and the Fireplace Extrodinaire is 10 years old. They are both manufactured by Travis industries.

    The best part is they actually produce heat even when the power/ gas is out! No more Laura Ingalls…except the hauling wood part. Just think, then you could actually hang your jacket in your newly organized closet!

    Isn’t Jason’s birthday coming up? I’ll bet he would love a new log splitter.

  5. January 25, 2010 6:22 pm

    Awww…you poor thing! I wouldn’t have known anything about the propane either. Your living room looks so light and airy. Can’t wait to see all the changes you guys want to do!!

  6. January 25, 2010 6:51 pm

    Love your tour of your room, and the source of all the items – I love a good “nosy!”

    Our pioneer moment was New Year at the cottage with no central heating – but we still had hot water, a gas fire and electric blankets – however after 4 days without it, I really appreciate my central heating now!

  7. January 25, 2010 10:38 pm

    Up near Otsego, we have Ferrell Gas who stops in and checks the tank when they’re in the area. It’s definitely saved me from having ‘Oh shit’ moments when the tank is suddenly at 20% in the middle of January.

    Back in November, my furnace had a problem. The hvac guy couldn’t get out until the next afternoon to check it out so I broke out the electric heaters and the kerosene heater. The kerosene heater kicks out a lot of heat and the electric heaters were $5 or $10 garage sale purchases which helped keep the dogs warm. The next day, after the venturi tube was unplugged, the heaters were all stashed away.

  8. January 26, 2010 9:46 am

    why don’t you just drive down here and stay for a few – it’s actually warmed up! 😉
    I really like the photos that you have hanging –
    i try to decorate w/ art that has meaning to us also,
    from places we visited, etc rather than just hang something
    Hope the puppies keep you warm for a few more days!!!

  9. Janis from Scotland permalink
    January 26, 2010 12:59 pm

    Totally commiserate with you……we had no heating for a full week – and boy was it cold in the house. I wore my PJs with three tops over them and a pair of trousers plus a jacket. Fortunately we had our gas cooker so I used to switch the hob on and just stand for a few minutes getting a heat haha.

    Living room looks really good.

  10. January 27, 2010 12:52 am

    You poor thing! I am so sorry that your freezing =/ I hope that you get warmer very, very soon (and that the dogs didn’t roll in something really gross!—why is that by the way? why do they think the worst possible smell in the world is the best?).

    Anywho, I have four different “collections” of artwork that are my favorite in our home. 1.) The drawings that Mr. B did for his proposal 2.) The oil paintings we brought back from our honeymoon 3.) Three little watercolor paintings I bought him for our second year dating anniversary and 4.) three big drawings that a Louisiana artist did of different fleur de lis…they are made to look like other things [ example: one is a bride and groom, one is an LSU tiger, etc.]

    Happy Tuesday…try to stary warm!

  11. Brian permalink
    January 27, 2010 9:40 am

    Why is 50 degrees in the house cold….if it was 50 degrees outside you’d be running around in shorts.

  12. GGG permalink
    January 27, 2010 5:51 pm

    Just don’t light a fire in your fire place. I just heard that heat from a fire place is not good for your TV if it is above your fire place.


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