Vintage home decor: my living room

My house is a mess. Stuff from the shop is everywhere. So for some peace of mind, Dave and I worked on bringing the living room back to life. I really enjoy the vintage home decor style in there. It’s not a professionally decorated room by any standards, but a mishmash of things we enjoy. The artwork is a mix of pieces by friends, family heirlooms, outsider art, and stuff we’ve picked up while traveling. The furniture is a complete hodgepodge. Nothing matches. But somehow it feels so cozy. Friends often tell us they feel so comfortable there…and that is what matters most.


Where we started. What a mess. Art supplies and stuff from the store stashed all over the place.


The little formica-topped student desk I picked up a couple weeks ago at Vintage Garage Chicago.


I decided it needed to be freshened up a bit, so I did a couple coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg Blue. Since the desk stays in the living room so I can be part of the family time if I have work to do, I’ve also ordered a Ghost Side Chair to minimize the visual impact of having an odd bulky piece in the room. I got a reproduction ’cause Mama don’t have “Design Within Reach” money.



Ohmygosh. Do art supplies breed? What the heck!!!



Back when our basement flooded, I brought this Hoosier cabinet in as a place to store my supplies and be all crafty and stuff. But ugh what a mess. It’s a constant clutter battle. So back to the basement it goes.


My guys working hard to make our family room nice.



End of day 1. It’s getting better.



Even Beverly was pooped.



Then it was Sunday.

It’s about 80% to where I want it to be now. I still need to paint and I’d like to take all the art down and rearrange it. The plan is to eventually have the walls fairly well-covered with art. It’s all over the house now, lots still in storage. I used to have a large loft with massive wall space, but no longer, so it’s getting massaged in whenever I get a bug to get back on that quest.



Left to right, a print from my old friend Matt Rinard (a popular New Orleans artist), an antique Audubon print from our old store, and a recently gifted heirloom piece from my Great Aunt.

You know, a responsible blogger would be taking better pictures with a DSLR. These are all from my iPhone. I’m a dolt.



I struggled for years with how to hang my instruments. Most options are so…ugh. Then one day the kids and I were walking in the woods and I saw this awesome branch. Dave trimmed it to size and I hung it to our picture rail with cotton rope. With the instruments out, I’m more likely to grab them and play (in theory). And there’s a little Joe Strummer street art piece I picked up from a Minneapolis artist.



One of our favorite weekend morning things to do is to listen to old vinyl (I prefer big bands) while drinking our coffee.



A floor! I suspected there was one down there. The dragon table is an heirloom from Dave’s family. The rug is from HomeGoods.



A good Gulf Coast gal has her oyster plates. The top piece is an antique reverse glass painting that I bought from my friend Jocelyn over at Jackson Square Mall in La Grange. The bottom is my 40th birthday present from our trip to New Orleans. I stepped into the artist’s gallery and swooned over all the beautiful mermaids. Then a couple of doors down, Margarita Bergen (who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for many years, though she somehow stays fabulous and young) had this in her gallery and I just felt like the universe meant for it to come home with me. If you’re ever in New Orleans, please stop by the Casell Bergen Gallery. There’s something for everyone. Originals, prints, posters, all price points.



On the left is my old store open sign. I thought it was so neat when I found it that I decided it should stay in my home when we closed. Below that is a scrap metal crown that my daughter Autumn and I found this last March when we went to New Orleans to celebrate her 21st birthday. On the right is a print from another New Orleans artist depicting the civilian flood rescues during Katrina. The floral piece is a scrap of antique wallpaper border. The sofa was a crazy good thrift shop score. It’s a brand new Room and Board, 7 foot long (my husband is 6’5″) floor model that they had just dropped off. For $75, it had to come home. I found it a couple days after losing all our family room furniture in the basement flood.


Will does his playtime.



I need to recover this vintage La-Z-Boy recliner, but for now we’ll just fuss it up with a throw and pillow so we can pretend it’s just fine as it is.



We use an antique buffet to hold the TV and meda. I painted it with black milk paint and sealed with hemp oil. The chandelier we found in an antique mall just outside Deadwood, South Dakota during a family road trip. And the sticks are pieces of driftwood my kids and I gathered up during a Mother’s Day beach stroll over in Warren Dunes, Michigan.




My friend Matt Rinard has a wicked sense of humor. I love his illustrations. How can you not smile? He does the posters for the Barkus Parade during Mardi Gras each year. Check out his website and be sure to read his bio. It sums him up pretty well.



Another funny cat from the original Jackson Square. The one in New Orleans. It made me giggle. She looks so concerned about what she’s flashing to get those beads.



I love twig tables, chairs, and such. This shelf was found at the Elkhorn Antiques Market a couple years ago. I’ll show you guys the rest of our twig stuff in another post. The jars on the top are treasures my son gathers on his nature walks with Dad.



A better look at our chandelier from Deadwood.



Anything with a charming sensibility can make it onto our walls. Outsider art from a Chicago gallery, below.



I have a weird thing for oyster plates. Maybe it’s homesickness.



I think I’ll always keep this little rocking horse around. I picked it up at the Kane County Flea market when Will was a baby. He’s long since outgrown it, but eventually I’ll have a grandchild to pass it onto…I hope…but I’m in no rush.



So that’s it for now. I’ll be moving through the rest of the house as we recover from being inundated by store stuff. Did you see anything that struck your fancy? Let me know about it in the comments below!

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