27 June 2010

Meeting the deadline

We made our deadline. Peter and Jill are on a plane over the Atlantic, or maybe over the British Isles by now, as I type this. They will land in Paris, take the RER into the city, and then get a train from the Gare d'Austerlitz down to Onzain.

The deadline was getting the new guest bedroom set up in time for their arrival. We had a double bed in storage in the garage, and an old chest of drawers that we were using in the utility room because there really wasn't any room for it elsewhere in the house.

The guest bed finally is where it belongs.

The bed is one that my mother bought at a yard sale in North Carolina back in about 1984. Walt and I went down there while we lived in Washington DC and spent a weekend refinishing the headboard and footboard. The bed was a gift to Walt from my mother. We've had it a long time now.

First the room had to be emptied out and the carpet cleaned.

The dresser is one that I bought in an antique store in Washington DC, or maybe Alexandria VA, at about the same time. So we've had that piece of furniture for at least 25 years too. It needs refinishing but it looks good in pictures. I wonder how old the old dresser is, actually.

A dresser finds a new home

That end table to the right of the bed and in the corner of the empty room, which we are using as a bedside table, is one that my father built back in the early 1950s. It's nearly as old as I am. The matching one is in our living room, and it will move upstairs with the sectional sofa after we've painted the walls up there.

Anyway, all these details might not be of interest to many people, but old friends, relatives, and people who've stayed with us since we moved to France seven years ago will know what I'm talking about. The guest room is thoroughly cleaned and adequately furnished. Putting these pieces of furniture in that room — in other words, getting the upstairs space finished and moving ourselves up there — was a plan that took seven years to accomplish.

The $5.00 yard-sale bed looks pretty good.

Moving furniture around is what we are doing right now, and it makes me feel young again. It reminds me of all the times we moved into new apartments in California in the 1980s and 1990s. It feels good to really clean a room and all the furniture in it. You can immediately see that your hard work has paid off.

I even had time yesterday afternoon to go out and wash and vacuum out the car. I'm ready. I hope Peter and Jill land in Paris on schedule and have time to get the train they bought tickets for. Onzain is about 35 minutes north of Saint-Aignan, and I'll be driving up there in a few hours to pick them up. They are going to have great weather for their short visit.


  1. Wow, Ken, I am so thoroughly impressed with all you and Walt have done! I just love the new attic space - it is really wonderful. I can only imagine how incredible it must feel for you to have this accomplished.

    And, although, I don't know you, really, and have never seen any of this in person, it still has been so much fun to watch the transformation you two have made happen, and are continuing to make happen. The furnishings that you have from your mom (the $5.00 bed!) and the dresser, are just beautiful.

    Enjoy your time with your guests, who will be the beneficiaries of your newly found spacious, lovely home!

    Congratulations on everything done thus far, and can't wait to keep watching progress.

    Donna in SF

  2. Now the [$5.00!] guest bed looks more like it did in SF. And the dresser looks terrific. I'd say it was probably made in the '20s. But don't take my word for it.

  3. The dresser looks a lot like my parents' old bedroom furniture and most of that was inherited from their parents. So I would definitely say 1920's or 30's.

  4. I love old furniture and yours is beautiful! Do you feel that you are living in a brand new house now? Such a great job you both have done on your home. Congrats!
    You might not want to show too many pics of your guest room - we'll all be in line!


  5. Forgot to ask - are the pictures above the bed photos that you or Walt have taken?


  6. Schnitzel and I would be very comfortable in your lovely guest BR!!!

  7. The new guest room looks very inviting!
    I'd second/third the others who guestimate that your dresser is from the 1930s.

    I googled around a bit, thinking that was the date, and found that it is probably what is known as the Waterfall design (the molded, curved edge on top and the interesting design in the veneer fronts). Apparently, before the '60s, it was known as "Art Moderne" style (known as Art Deco since the '60s, apparently.) Interestingly, the American designs (and sometimes French copies) seem to be based on French, Austrian, and German 1920s Deco furniture (from this source). Here's another one that's similar to yours. This blogger has several pieces, too. Here's another!

    I can't resist a little historic research project!


  8. Your rooms are beautiful! I remember seeing most of the furniture one place or another, and it all looks fabulous in the new arrangement. Congratulations on a great job.

  9. Oops... the "several pieces" link should have gone here., and this is where the Art Moderne = Art Deco info came from.

  10. I love that dresser and a big WOW for the guest room.
    There used to be a furniture company in NC where one was able to order such pieces and recently I tried to contact them and I was not successful.

  11. I think the dresser, as the other readers have said in Art Deco, probably 1920s. It's a handsome piece.

  12. Now you've done it. With a room that beautiful, you'll have guests year round.

  13. Thanks to all for all the information about the dresser. P. and J. are sleeping in the new guest room as I type this.


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