Wood paneling like ours lends itself well to the cottage or beach house style of decor. I have always been against this, feeling that the whitewashed wood and deliberately distressed finish associated with it to be pretentious and off-putting a la Martha Stewart. So we didn't do it. We painted several serious layers of white semi-gloss over that stuff and it changed the entire room. We also added a deep forest green around the windows and the toe molding and have created a completely different environment.
|White walls and green trim is very beach house, even without the pickling|
We also purchased a much-needed china cabinet. We have an abundance of the stuff, having acquired ancestral sets from both sides of the family. Mine is a rosebud Spode pattern that was my great-grandmother's. It is simple, beautiful, and reminds me of where I come from.
|Sorting the china with a little help from Gracie|
|My great-grandmother's Spode|
My counterpart's is an elaborate set of Limoge china that one of his mother's forebears brought over from France. It is service for eight like my great grandmother's Spode, but the Limoge is indeed a full service, consisting of dinner, salad, bread, and dessert plates, plus tea cups and saucers. Each piece has a different scene of provincial French life painted on it, from hunting to gardening to going to market. This set is truly a work of beauty and will take prominent position in the cabinet.
And as I sorted through my in-laws' heirloom china, placing it carefully in my first china cabinet, in the dining room that I had designed with my spouse, I felt as if I had found my place in the domestic portion of my life. So often I cling to the old #badwife as a part of my identity when it has always masked my insecurities with creating a home, my great fear of failure as a true domestic partner. Today it is all but disappeared.