Winner! And Transitional Spaces: church pew in the entry

You guys.  First of all, I knew Autumn had quite a following over at Design Dump, but I had NO idea how loyal her fans are.  So many of you followed her over here yesterday, my page views were off the charts.  Not that I sit around looking at page views or anything, but the new blogger format shows you a little graph on your overview page when you log in to post, and I couldn't help but notice the spike.  Thanks for visiting, and I hope you'll pop by again!

And of course, the giveaway winner.  By random number generator, the winner is comment 5, Barb.  Send me and email at heather[at]heatherpetersondesign with your address and your jewelry choice.  Thanks again to Tia at silvercocoon for offering up such great options!

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Between two guest posts and a giveaway, feels like my load has been a little light around here, so today I'll share a little peak at a new development in our home: can you guess what it's about?

One of the best things about moving home has been closer access to some phenomenal hand me downs.  My parents have some stylin' taste, and lucky me, everything that was hot the first time they decorated a house is hot again now--and they kept a LOT of it.  Someday I will share our (disastrous) basement, home to a 70s orange acrylic modular shelf that my parents picked up in San Francisco in the early parts of that decade and a black and white RUBBER dining set that may be a product of the 80s, and was our kitchen table when I was growing up.  Hot.  I also recently picked up a brass standing lamp for my bedside, which was both a practical necessity and quenched the brass lust.

You know what else my parents had lying around the garage for the past 20 years?  An old church pew.  No joke.  They've been cleaning out the garage and asked me if I wanted it.  Fast forward through measuring, debating the merits, cleaning it up (thanks Dad!) etc, and they brought it over this weekend.  My friend Sara and I were recently talking about transitional spaces, and the way they often get short shrift because people spend so much time and energy decorating their main living spaces, when it comes to hallways, landings, entries, bathrooms, etc, there's not a lot of anything left to go around.  Do you see where this is going?  We have a big ole empty front hall, plus an inherited bench.  Two plus two equals awesome.

I will say, one of the things I love about this house is the open feel and spaciousness--even the front hall is like six feet wide--and while I wanted to leave plenty of breathing room, I also want all the spaces to feel finished.

For context, this picture was taken from the entry.  You come in the front door, there's a closet on the left, then the door to a bedroom, then those stairs.  The right side is a blank white wall.  To sort of connect the dots, here's a view of the dining room.


You can see the corner of the stairs on the right there, and the blank entry wall is basically to the right of that big window.  Make sense?

We placed the pew directly across from the stairs.  You know that feeling when something new comes into an empty space?  It feels big and awkward and like it's eating the air.  We lived with that for a few days, and then yesterday I grabbed some stuff around the house to give it context and make it at ease.  Of course I did not take any before shots, but you'll get the idea.

 A framed photograph, ikat throw pillow, and three baskets for boots and mittens.


A garden stool for dropping mail and keys when we come in the door. (Yes, also rescued from my parents garage.  That one called for a bottle of brasso, but cleaned up good.)

Or how about my awesome hand-me-down poufs!  Extra seating when we need it, out of the way when we don't, and somehow the mis-matched leather works just right here.

For context, here it is from the dining room.
It feels close, but not encroaching.  The photograph over the pew is one Dave took on a bike ride we took together a million years ago, along the west side highway in Manhattan.  It's a dilapidated dock or bridge that is half falling into the water.  It was the last picture that hadn't been hung anywhere, and at first I thought I would replace it with something a little more modern and graphic and colorful to better bridge this vignette to the modern bits and pieces right next door, but I'm kind of loving how it works with the patina of the pew and the leather poofs.

You know what makes me happiest about this?  (Other than the price tag?  Nothing beats a FREE transformation.)  The view from upstairs.  We have high ceilings and this sort of massive staircase, and before it was all a big blank.  Now, when I round the corner to come down with a basket of laundry (yes, my life is so glamorous), I love seeing this sign of life.

My husband is not totally convinced--mostly, I think, because he's not sure the look is in keeping with the rest of the style of the house--but I love a good eclectic mix, especially when the unique pieces have personal meaning.

Paint the pew, you say?  Not a chance!  Some things are meant to be honored as they are.

Okay. I guess I missed all the over sharing I usually do--that was a LOT of words!

Thanks so much for reading!
Heather Peterson