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dining room update

September 21, 2010

We recently switched up the dining room.  Mostly because of a rug.  Partly because it was kind of boring before:

{snoozefest 2010}

So, yes, we were lucky recipients of a super-cool rug. It’s a rug with a story.

My grandma grew up in the cutest little house in the cutest little subarb of Milwaukee.  In the early nineties, when my great grandma moved out of the cute little house, my aunt, uncle, and cousins moved in.  And while I’m sure my great-grandma’s house was probably (mostly) cleaned out before aunt, uncle, & cousins moved in, there was an old oriental rug left in my gramma’s childhood room.  The rug was rolled up and thrown in the attic.

{Insert picture of cute little house here.  Except that I checked my records and do not have a picture of the house.}

Until a few months ago.

My aunt & uncle sent their girls away to college and moved on to bigger and better things.  And the rug got moved to gramma & grampa’s garage.  Where it sat until I picked it up a few months ago.

Now.  If you can imagine the amount of dust, dirt, & stank on this rug, then you can imagine my husband’s horror as I loaded the rug (which barely fit) into the highlander and proudly proclaimed that this was our new treasure!  He was so not impressed.

I have since discovered that it’s a wool rug, made by Mohawk, probably in the 1930s-1940s.  Also filed under discoveries! is that Woolite does wonders for wool rugs.  I scrubbed this guy with a 1:4 dilution of Woolite in water and then hosed him off.  It took an entire afternoon, and he still kind of stunk afterwards (he’s a “he” because of his stinkiness. Ladies don’t stink like that… right?).  So I borrowed a friend’s steam cleaner and went over the rug a few more times.  Much better.

He’s now living in the dining room, over the horrid green carpet that we hope to replace with hardwoods someday.  He looks great, although is faded, bare, & coming apart at the fringe.  It gives him character, right!?

The rug was so big that it only fit in our dining room one way.  Which meant that we had to rotate the dining table.  And then we got carried away and decided to move the rest of the furniture (i.e., our gun cabinet turned china storage) and hang a few more pictures.

Those of you in my family will recognize the last supper picture resting on the gun china cabinet – somehow it ended up in my grubby little hands, but it used to grace my great-grandma’s dining room.  It’s a little outside the realm of what I’d normally pick out to hang in our home, but the history & unexpectedness makes it fun.  Or at least that’s what I tell Jason.  He doesn’t believe me.  But he also doesn’t care enough to take it down to the basement and throw it in the stack of rejected & yet-to-be-hung pictures.  I’d like to think it’s growing on him.

And, while I’m showing off my hand-me-downs, I should also mention that I took a minute to frame some of the embroidery work done by my great-grandmothers.  After visiting the quilt exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum in August, I decided that the sweet handiwork of my grandmas and great-grandmas shouldn’t be shoved away in a closet.  I mean, after all, these sorts of things are “too good to be used” since I’d freak out if they ever were stained or somehow ruined.  So why not frame them?

(My main concern with the framing, though, is that they might fade over time.  Which I’d rather not have happen.  They’re not hung in a place that will get direct sunlight, which will be okay for now, but if anyone has experience or knowledge about how to prevent fading on these sorts of things, I’d be grateful for your advice!)

So… that’s my story for today.  What do you think, grammy?  Does the rug look as cute in my dining room as it looked in your bedroom?  And for the rest of you: I’d love to hear about what you’ve been framing lately.  Anything unusual?  Any extra-fun framing tips?  I’m always on the lookout for fun things I can claim as art!

PS I’ve had a few questions about wall colors: the color in here is Martha Stewart’s Potter’s Wheel (MS152), but it’s an old color from when her line was at Lowe’s.  Rumor has it that Home Depot has the formulas & can still mix up the old colors upon request.  If you try this, will you let me know if it works!?  I’ll need some touch up paint for our hallways & living room soon and I’m hoping not to have too many problems getting it mixed up!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2010 12:14 pm

    What an awesome find with the rug. I think it looks great! I love having family pieces; it’s much more special and fun. Great idea with framing the embroidery work. I think I’ll have to steal your idea since mine is all stored in a trunk. As for the fading. If you go to a framing place you can get glass that supposedly makes it so the sun doesn’t fade the piece. I had a few cross stitches and pictures custom framed and I went with that glass option. Haha on the paint information, because I was going to ask you! 🙂

    • September 21, 2010 12:27 pm

      Oh! Thanks for the tip! I didn’t realize custom framing places would have that sort of thing… hope it’s not too cost-prohibitive!

  2. Debbie permalink
    September 21, 2010 1:32 pm

    The pictures are not showing up on my computer so I cannot see your room. (This computer is on it’s last legs). I’m sure it looks great! I love the idea of family pieces and pieces with a story behind them. We gave away our large dining room set so I could use those pieces that were my parents.
    I agree with Casey; framing stores will have a special glass that you can get to keep the items from fading.
    Hopefully I’ll see the pictures later today since the computer has a mind of its own.

  3. Debbie permalink
    September 21, 2010 2:39 pm

    I see the pictures now; the rug is beautiful! The embroidery looks great framed as well.

    • September 21, 2010 2:44 pm

      Thanks! Glad your computer decided to let you sneak a peak! 🙂

  4. September 21, 2010 3:00 pm

    You and I are so much alike when it comes to our Grannys’. I am not a huge collector, but anything I get from my grandmas’ is so dear to my heart. This rug is amazing and could be passed down for years! I actually love it with your green carpet. I know you might think that is strange, but it adds to the vintage feel of the rug.

    For the fading…It’s called Museum glass… at least that is what it was called about 5 years ago when I went into a framing place. It is a little pricey, but way worth it!

  5. September 21, 2010 3:05 pm

    I love the china/gun cabinet!

    My mother had done some embroidering when she was a tweener. She did it on handkerchiefs. About 5 or so years ago, she had a great idea to have someone make a wall quilt using her embroidered handkerchiefs and other quilted panels. It’s SO cool! I absolutely love it and have claimed it as mine when she passes over to the other side (which seems like a touchy subject, but we’ve been talking about when she passes all my life…she’s usually the one that brings it up).

  6. mom permalink
    September 21, 2010 3:24 pm

    Wow! That rug looks beautiful. Amazing what a little water and soap can do. As far as the paint colors, maybe home depot can mix it from the formulas BUT if they don’t have it, some of the paint stores around here can custom match paint if you have even a tiny bit left in the bottom of the can or dripped down the side….you could try stores near you. The paint color or finish on the walls may have changed slightly due to use or fading. You won’t have to paint the whole room again but you may end up having to paint just one wall (probably won’t even have to do the edging again). It should be close enough that you won’t be able to tell the freshly painted wall from the old wall because the light hits them all differently.

  7. Tami permalink
    September 21, 2010 3:25 pm

    Whoops…not “mom”, Tami 🙂

  8. real mom permalink
    September 21, 2010 7:06 pm

    I really like the new room arrangement. I can’t get a good idea of how the rug looks in it so it looks like I will have to wait for the next road trip 🙂 Ditto on the museum glass…

  9. September 21, 2010 10:17 pm

    What a great rug! Love the colors and design.

    I love having items with a history.

  10. September 21, 2010 10:30 pm

    What a special piece to put into the room! And I love to see mini-makeovers in a space….it is amazing what a few minor changes can do to the feel of a room!

  11. September 22, 2010 9:30 am

    I love the rug. Your room is so pretty. I have a wool rug and I’ve been afraid to clean it. Thanks for the woolite and steam cleaning advice! 🙂

  12. Tami permalink
    September 22, 2010 2:13 pm

    Oh, PS…. I like the new dining room layout too!

  13. GGG permalink
    September 22, 2010 9:23 pm

    That rug is beautiful! I don’t remember it being that pretty. Maybe I should have cleaned it before I gave it away:) I hope you know I’m kidding! It looks really great in your dining room and I’m am thrilled that you have it. It looks like it blends very nicely with your walls. We have to get over there some time and see the whole place for ourselves.

  14. September 23, 2010 9:46 am

    Hi Jen – just wanted to say I love your new dining room – it looks great – have enjoyed “catching” up on your blog. Hope your doing well –

  15. September 23, 2010 12:37 pm

    I like your new to you rug and the story behind it. Good thinking on framing the embroidery work – I don’t know a ton about framing, but if your worried they might fade or turn a funky shade in the future consider archival glass – I think it prevents that? Hope that helps.


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