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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a


I’m afraid I would only bore you with my list of excuses as to why I haven’t written lately—more work and less play sums it up pretty well.  That, and knowing that our oldest will be graduating soon, which meant that any writing attempts on my part resulted in treacly drafts about the passage of time.  You’ll probably see one of those before long anyway, but for now, I’m sticking with a few items that have stood the test of time.

Not long after I’d “set up housekeeping,” as my beloved Nannie would say, I went to work for a regional art museum as the public information director and editor.  Each year, the museum’s membership organization held an antiques show as its major fund-raiser.  The show, which will be twenty-five years old next fall, has raised millions of dollars for art acquisitions, and this same show ignited an antiques acquisition fever in yours truly.   Young and poor and spending too much money on shoes, I could only afford to buy a decoy that first year.  I bought it from Philip Harvey, at the time one of the country’s foremost collectors and dealers in shorebirds and old working duck decoys of the North Carolina Outer Banks region.  IMG_1942 It didn’t take me long to decide that my bird would look even better on a great blanket chest or table.  And so it went.  Thankfully, a colleague, who was also an antiques dealer, took me under her wing.  She invited me to her home and showed me her collection, and she visited several antiques shops with me, showing me how to look for signs of wear and age.  She recommended I read Nancy A. Smith's Old Furniture, which no furniture lover should be without.  And she told me that I should concentrate on buying one great piece each year—if I did that, she said, by the time I was 40, I would have a great collection.  I was 25 at  the time.  My mentor also advised me to buy things with versatility in mind—a blanket chest, for instance, could be a coffee table, a toy box, guest room storage, a side table for a chair, a charming seat under a low window.   She was, of course, absolutely right.

And so, without further adieu, here is my first antique purchase: a circa 1820 walnut American (Virginia) washstand.  1820 VA washstandIt’s been a side serving table in my first tiny dining room, a foyer table under a mirror, a bedside table, and even a computer table.  Presently, it hangs out in the kitchen, where, at long last, it just gets to be pretty.   IMG_1941 At least I think so.  Of course, in the picture I can see that I need to re-tuck the lamp cord.  The hand-turned bowl on the bottom shelf was my great great grandmother’s dough bowl; now it holds corks from Sunday night suppers.


  1. you are invited to follow my blog

  2. Your house looks gorgeous! I love how you have used one piece in so many different ways!

  3. What a beautiful piece... And THAT is your kitchen!?!?! It's lovely. I would have guessed a wall in your living room!

  4. oh wow, thank you so much for putting my blog on your blog roll-- so delighted to see it there, means so much!

  5. I saw a dough bowl today on Portobello Market and was so tempted to buy it...seeing this makes me kick myself for walking away without it. Stunning set up darling. Thanks for playing along on the Fab Nest Friday, wishing you a great weekend. We have 2 weeks left, the countdown has really begun.

  6. . . . your wash stand, entry table, etc.

    i have moved antiques all around my house, too.

    blessings on your graduate!

  7. I love it...and the dough bowl is a great piece as well. Perfect spot.

  8. i loved your slogan at housewife bliss. am i
    going crazy or are there two "housewife


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