I love the Little House books. I have re-read the entire series every year of my life since the time I was about 8 yrs old until about, oh, three years ago. You know how sometimes you know a book so well that you know exactly where to go to read the one scene that will evoke the feeling you want to have at a certain moment? The Little House books are full of such passages for me, and in fact, whole books in the series are like that. Every fall I always get the urge to read Farmer Boy. One thing that book mentions quite a bit is the formal parlor of their farmhouse.
Now, I'm not trying to sound fancy, but my house definitely has a parlor. A room that is always kept clean, from lack of use as much as anything else, and only used on special occasions like home teaching visits. My formal living/dining room area is never used as a hang out space for our family, except when I play the piano, or when CT and Lily use the couch cushions to build a lion's den. The room is never off limits to anyone, we just don't gravitate to it. Also, a big factor is that it has no ceiling fan, and it is so swelteringly hot here that we stick to rooms with fans as much as possible. We don't even put our Christmas tree in there.
Sometimes, I feel like it is a big waste of space to have this whole area that we never use, but more often I am very grateful that it's there. It is the first area of our house guests walk into, and I find it extremely comforting that no matter the state of the rooms just beyond it's walls, this room, at least, is visitor ready.
Like every room in our house, it isn't totally finished. I still have visions of crown molding in my head, and someday a big dining room table that our family could actually fit around. And I still need to replace the standing lamp with one that matches and repaint the little dining table and chairs to a cherry-brownish shade.
Here are some pictures, although they don't include my latest acquisition. We bought a nice area rug at a neighbor's garage sale ($10!) that is now under the dining table and looks really great. My favorite things about this room as it is now are: my red lamps that I got at Hobby Lobby for 80% off and my little chandelier lamp shades that I found at the thrift store for $2 a piece. I was a bit worried about the lighting in the room since the shades were all red and gold. I feel there is a fine line between red lamps that look good in a family home and red lamps that look good in a bordello, but I'm pleased with the look of these. I also love our big painting above the couch that was a wedding present from my parent's former bishop who is an artist. It cost us more to frame it than we've paid for any piece of furniture in our home, but I love it. So, you're all welcome to come on over and visit in my parlor, it's always available, unless the home teachers happen to be here...
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