A Tour of the Extremely Bargain Furnished Living Room

Felt like it was time to re-arrange. Sounds much easier than it is – my living room is difficult. Too many doorways and the big ol' Tulikivi stickin' way out into the room. Just have to use a little imagination to get everything juggled around.

It's a blustery, thunder and lightening day. Here it is, the middle of the afternoon, and I had to turn the lamps on just to see what I was doing.

I love these rocking chairs. The smaller one came from Bruce's Grandparents farm, the larger one I found at a rummage sale for $15. We reupholstered both of them and polished up the oak, and I think they turned out really nice. I took the gothic window off the sideboard in the dining room and was at a loss where to put it. I didn't want to squash it back in the closet because it's pretty and needs to be seen 🙂 so I propped it up in the corner and kinda like it there for now.

Moved the leather chair over to the other corner and it makes a good reading spot. I got this chair at a rummage sale for $35, bought the leather at a saddle supply shop in Billings, and managed to find an upholsterer in Bozeman that was a total bum. He had the chair for almost 5 months until I threatened to turn him in to the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Advocates, and any other consumer help agency I could think of. He then finally finished it, and did do a decent job, but the whole experience made me really wish that I knew how to upholster my own larger pieces. Simple smaller pieces I can do; big pieces, I'm a fraidy cat to try.

The metal coffee bin to the left of the chair I got at the thrift store for $25. The roll top desk behind the chair I rescued from my sister-in-law, who had it all ready to go to the dump. The cabinet that sits atop the desk is the upper portion of a Hoosier type cabinet which came from (you guessed it) a rummage sale; a super score in my opinion for $20! I “married them” and they are terrific storage.

That opening to the entryway, above the chair, is where the gothic window was supposed to be built in. A good dozen years later, I got sick of waiting. So when we got the oak floors in the living room last fall, I told Bruce to square off the opening, trim it out, and call it good. I'd had 2 carpenters look at it, and neither of them new how to trim out a Gothic arch. Oh for the craftsmanship of yesteryear! It is so hard to find help to hire in this area, and then you're lucky if you even get the basics completed. Thank heavens I have a very talented husband. Unfortunately, his day job keeps him far away from the “honey-do” list a goodly portion of the time. But when it gets down to brass tacks, he comes thru for me and some things get finished up. And very nicely I might add 🙂

The pictures above the lamp are originals. Some of the very few originals I own. I mostly have antique prints.

I got this tiny drawing of sheep from an art gallery here in town (during crazy daze) for a wonderful price. Bruce cut the mat on our cutter, and the frame was (of course) a rummage sale find. Total cost, approximately $12! Not bad for original art 🙂 I cut the little picture in the lower right hand corner out of a Victoria magazine and stuck it against the glass just for good measure cuz I thought it was cute.

I bought this farm scene at an antique mall in Bozeman because it reminded me a lot of Vermont with it's church steeple sticking up in the background. Turns out that, I believe, it's Russian. The detail on the steeple and the artist's name are what make me think that. This photograph doesn't do it justice. It is beautiful and very detailed when you see it up close. I'm so glad I got it, as the antique mall where I purchased it burned to the ground just a few months later.

Some of my flock of sheepies. This little plaque is cement, and was a gift from my Mom.

More sheep, and the print is one of my very favorite – it has a stone bridge with arches just like the very one we have in our town at Sacajawea Park. I got it at a rummage sale 🙂 and framed it myself.

Here is my custom made in North Carolina couch that I purchased at a rummage sale for $40 and had reupholstered (not by the bum, but by an awesome upholsterer that has since moved away 🙁 ) The lady I bought it from said she had it custom made, pre-children, back when she and her husband both had high paying jobs and more money than they knew what to do with. It is a phenomenal sturdy, hardwood, camel back sofa, and I don't know why she didn't just have it reupholstered herself. My gain!

A portion of my collection of antique, chalk painted Indian pottery.

I put my cast iron barn and farm animals on the sideboard where I previously had the gothic window.

 

There is a small light in the barn which makes the whole barn turn into a night light in the evenings. The china cows came from Bruce's grandparents; I found all the rest of the critters here and there over the years. The barn came from a thrift store in Big Timber.

I put all the rest of my sheep collection out, too. I only put them out about once a year because I have so many different collections and like to rotate them all. So it's fun to start unwrapping them and it never fails I'm surprised by some that I had forgotten about. I'm easily entertained 🙂

Anyway, just thought I'd share some of my treasures. Now, maybe you can understand why I'm so whiney about not being able to rummage due to my new job! I hate shopping retail because I can't stand paying retail prices for anything! For real, 90% of my house is furnished with rummage sale, hand-me-downs, thrift store, auctions, etc., which I'm sure has saved me bazillions of dollars over the years 😉

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Warm Stone and Birch Bark

This very minute as I write this post, it is -19.1 degrees outside. In my book, that's chilly. But here I sit, snug as a bug in a rug, cuz I have a secret weapon… and it's a good one.

 

It's our Tulikivi soapstone stove. They are awesome. They are expensive. They are totally worth it. Especially when you live in a climate that consists of about 7/12 of the time immersed in very coolish to downright frigid temperatures.

 

When we had our addition added to the house, the plan was to have a gas fireplace installed. Not particularly what I wanted, but, as with all our projects, there was that ever present, nagging budget hanging over our heads. I wanted this new space to be a bit more formal than the other living spaces in our home, and Bruce wanted carpet, so with all that being said, I knew a wood stove was not a good option; carpet and wood stoves are a bad combo. So I ordered and paid for carpet during a big sale in October, with the understanding that they not install it til the following April, to which they agreed. My folks were doing some work on their place at the same time and replaced their wood burning stove with a gas stove. They got to be the guinea pigs. Unfortunately for them, the gas stove salesman told them what turned out to be fib after fib. All of the promises of extremely low fuel use to warm their home, little to no maintenance ever to be needed on the stove, and generally overall extreme efficiency – all those promises turned out, in my Mom and Dad's case, to be false. They encountered problem after problem right from the start. Well, phooey on that! A gas fireplace or stove was out of the picture for our addition after seeing all the headaches my folks were going thru.

 

Several years prior to any of this, I had read an article about soapstone stoves in Country Living magazine. After that, owning one had been a dream of mine, but I figured the odds of getting one were about as good as me capturing a unicorn. A very funny twist to this story is that about a year before we started the addition, it just so happened that the Tulikivi headquarters for something like the Montana, Wyoming, parts of Idaho and Colorado region (not exactly sure how much area their particular region covers) opened right here in our little town. All I had to do was mosey downtown to talk to the distributor, rather than call someone up to 500 or so miles away and try to figure out, long distance, if getting a Tulikivi would even be an option for us. 'Twas meant to be! And it is truly an asset to our home. I would recommend ownership to anyone. It was a pinch (more like a punch) to come up with the funds for it, but we had penciled it out as closely as possible and figured the stove would pretty much pay for itself at about the 8 year mark. And it has. It works like this; soapstone is a soft stone that easily absorbs heat. The whole stove is constructed of stone (from Finland!) and has an intricate flue system. You stoke your stove, open the air vent wide, and get a massively hot fire burning in the box. The fire passes thru the flue system and all the while the soapstone is heating up. The stove only needs to be loaded up 2 or 3 times, depending on how cold the weather is. After the last burn, the stone is toasty warm and provides radiant heat for around 24 hours (which keeps your house furnace from kicking on because the room temp is ^). Shut the vent down and you are good to go!

 

There have been a few hitches – the carpet was bought and paid for, so there was no turning back on that (ugh – carpet and wood stoves), and, had we known before I designed the addition, the placement of the stove is not what I would have chosen. But the room was already built when the plan changed from gas fireplace to Tulikivi, so we did the best we could with what we had. It makes it a little difficult to arrange furniture because that stove comes out into the room 5 feet including the hearth. But that's a small price to pay in exchange for all the goodness we get from the beast! And, of course, I whined for at least 6 of the 12 years we had carpet, about getting wood floors. Bruce finally caved, and we had oak floors (oak flooring that I found on Craigslist for 1/2 the price of retail) installed last fall, and they turned out beautifully. In the pictures above, you can see the area rug I found. On Craigslist. All wool. Vintage. Perfect condition. Amazingly, the exact colors I needed for the room which was crazy happenstance as the walls were already freshly painted when I found it on CL. 12 feet by 9 feet. $250 smackers. BONUS! We saved enough on the rug that I broached the subject of adding some kind of stove backer to the wall just for aesthetics. I always felt it looked nekked and plain with just a painted wall behind the stove. I got the hairbrained idea that I wanted to nail a row of quaking aspen saplings to a piece of plywood and mount it to the wall. We couldn't find a source for wood that small, so I started researching birch or aspen bark. Found a supplier, and voila! Bruce and I installed the whole works, and Ima likin it a lot! I wallpapered the entryway in birch tree paper that I had been coveting for 3 years and the whole thing is perfectly tied together in my opinion. I'll throw in the next picture so you can see a snippet of the wallpaper.

Here's a close up of the real birch bark behind the stove, complete with moss!

 

We used birch tree branches to trim out the sides to cover the plywood edges. I advertised in the wanted section of Craigslist for anyone that had trimmed birch or quakie branches, and a kind person responded and we picked up all their yard litter cut offs 🙂 .

So now you have the lowdown on how great Tulikivi stoves are, how birch bark panels look as a hearth backer, and a reminder of how wonderful Craigslist is! Oh, and also, how totally much better it is to have pretty oak floors rather than carpet when your house is heated with wood!

TTFN

Teresa

 

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