that old settee

This settee belonged to my grandparents.  After they died, my mom inherited it along with a table and rocking chair that went with it.  Those three things were probably my favorite pieces of furniture at my grandparents’ house, which was my favorite place in the world.  They resided in the nice living room, the special one with the grand piano and my grandmother’s writing desk, the one with sealing wax in the drawer.  The settee and matching rocker were both covered in a deep turquoise tweed fabric.  The rocker still is, but my mom had the settee recovered in a pale blue gray velvet a couple of decades ago (and being one who likes old things to stay the way they are, especially sentimental ones, I am sad that she did).  When Jonny and I moved to Virginia, my mom gave us the settee along with the rocker and table.  The rocker and table are stored now in our shop, waiting until there aren’t small children in the house to destroy them, or until I have a big enough bedroom that they will fit there.  The settee, it’s in bad shape.  I am tempted to move it out as well, but it must be the most loved piece of furniture in our house.  It’s nearly always occupied.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to have it repaired and reupholstered, but for now no one else seems to mind too much that if you sit down too hard, the springs hit the floor.


  1. Settee? Very cool. We gave some furniture like that. What really captures my attention are the BOOKS on it. You are a boy mom. I have five sons and the military vehicles and weaponry books area constant around here.

  2. We have a very similar one – hand made by my husbands great grandfather and handed down to us via an uncle (who got it recovered in bright orange!!)

  3. I love it all, the ragged furniture and the sweet sentimentality. Oh, I am so that way too. And my grandpa’s house was also my favorite place in the world. Sometimes I am there in my dreams and it makes me so so happy.
    The wool blanket covering the settee is lovely too!
    And the baby is exceptionally wonderful!
    Love you!

  4. Once again, loving your post. Absolutely adore the wool your little one is snuggled up in! Any chance you remember what yarn you used? Such beautiful colors!

  5. Darling photos of darling children! I’m a long-time reader and am always so inspired by your life and work. I do think that you and Jonny could repair the settee a bit. My aunt was playing under a chair once, as children do, and one of the springs ended up popping out and poking her in the eye, and she lost that eye. I hate to mention it, because I’m not the overprotective alarmist type, and mostly because I know y’all are great parents…I guess when it happens to someone you love, you try to keep it from happening to anyone else. Much love to you all as you await Christmas!

  6. A couple of meters of heavy duty upholsterer’s tape, some tacks and fine burlap or plain calico would be a ten dollar save on the bottom of the settee at least. I had an old chair redone and the guy said you ‘can’t get springs like that any more’ and if you have it redone they’ll reuse the springs anyway. 🙂 Larkspur and her baby brother, so adorable….how they learn from watching is so wonderful.

  7. It is so very lovely just as it is – so much family life being forged on there. (and I love seeing the menfolk’s book selections)

  8. Beautiful memories and photos as well. Warmed my soul on this cold winter night.

  9. Tonja Pizzo says:

    As usual, loving your blog. I’m almost in sentimental tears over your settee. Thank you for blogging.

  10. I have a dresser from my great grandfather – and my husband has one from his great grandfather – different woods, but similar styles and I just love the classic look to old furniture. Yes, sometimes it is fussy, and sticks funny, and maybe the springs fall out, but it has a story, and you can bet that there are not many out there like it.

  11. Love this! I am sitting here, at my grandparent’s table, reading your lovely blog. Happy holidays to your family!

  12. Oh, I love the way Larkspur cares about Job… good for both of them.

  13. The very best bits of “stuff” are the ones that come with stories.

  14. Your photos are absolutely lovely, as are your subjects 🙂

    I, too, have an old “love seat” of my Grandmother’s, and my daughter (22) has already earmarked it as hers when she has her own place. Family history is such a good thing. And I second the You Tube approach. I fixed my dryer with the laptop propped on the washing machine, telling me what to do, I’m sure you could reinforce the bottom at least, if not redo the whole “sitting part.” Thanks for your blog, I’m a newbie, but I’m really enjoying it.

  15. My godmother set aside my great grandmother’s telephone table for me when they were cleaning out her house. It now serves as my bedside table and never fails to bring a smile to my face. There is something about furniture with a history that stirs such warmth.

  16. I received most of my grandma’s furniture when she entered a nursing home several years ago. But before that, she would always tell me, “When I die, I want you to have my dining room table. I know you’ll take good care of it.” Now I have two young children, it is perpetually crusted in applesauce, and there are stains all over the upholstered chairs. My grandma passed away in May, so I try to believe she is in Heaven and no longer has attachment to worldly objects. 😉 Anyways, it is so nice to have reminders of her all around the house.

  17. I love this. I am a sucker for old things and keeping them the same…maybe to a fault. I love the picture of Larkspur cradling Job’s head. Too sweet for words.

  18. such a sweet post 🙂

  19. We lived with my grandparents for much of my childhood and their rooms were adorned with furniture just like this. When my mom decided to gut and remodel (with my nannie’s permission) some things had to go. The furniture was a mainstay, but the sentimental side of me cried for days over tossed rugs and the ugly blue velvet pillow my papa propped his feet up on.
    The renovations took an obscene amount of money and after my Nannie passed my mom was forced into foreclosure. She moved from 3000 sq feet to 900 sq feet. The furniture, the old priceless, chock full of love and popping springs too got left with the house…only to be enjoyed (or abused) by future owners.
    I can’t be angry…but I am deeply saddened by it. I keep telling myself it’s just a house. Or it’s just a chair. But the memories stretch far and wide across the days I sat coloring or playing with my dolls on those steps or in those cushions.
    This post resonates so profoundly with me. It’s not an ugly old settee at all. It’s legacy.

  20. LOVE. THIS. I have a small chest of drawers that belonged to my grandmother that I use every day. It needs more glue, and there’s a certain “smell” about it, but every time I look in the old warped mirror, I remember her. Old doesn’t mean worn out, especially when pieces hold so many memories!

    PS I blogged about the chest of drawers here:

  21. this is a great article…I wish I had some stuff from my grandparents…and I loved the comment about the springs hitting the floor, that made me smile too 🙂 your kids are beautiful…we are in DC, wish I could meet your family for my boys to play…

  22. this made me smile; smart to save the other furniture for later; I love old furniture very much. 🙂 blessings on your day!

  23. very nice post! even me i surround myself with our family furniture, it makes me smile and remember the good old days that we have. and it makes me feel home everyday and i love it.

  24. PS I have been thinking of you as I go round and round knitting the “Jonny” hat. Whatever it was known as before has been forgotten!

  25. Ginny, I am sure you and Jonny could repair that settee yourselves. I have never seen two people so resourceful! And there is a YouTube video for everything these days. 🙂 if you let it get too out of repair it may be hard to get it back. I love old things, too. And new things don’t last at all anymore!

  26. I am surrounded by loved furniture like yours. I have inherited my mother’s & grandmother’s antiques and they mean so much to me. Lovely pictures of sibling love! Thanks so much for sharing!

  27. so lovely.
    I love newborns swallowed up in woolens. 🙂 Miss that!

  28. there is a lot of living going on that settee, I wouldn’t be able to give it up. I have a few pieces of furniture that were my gram’s and I love them so. A wardrobe and a chest. I also have my mom’s sewing machine when she graduated from high school (and it works!!).

  29. I have some sentimental furniture like that. I think it is best to live on it and enjoy it. We use my grandmothers china as every day china and I love to see it every day.

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