A Project of My Own

We Heave Ho
Anita Devlin
A Project of My Own

There’s a big difference between something being comfortable and the things that bring us comfort.  Nothing means more to me than family and no matter how much I declutter and heave ho, I always hold on to and surround myself with pieces in my own home that are comforting.  Many of my clients are in the process of downsizing their lives which creates an opportunity to hand down pieces of their parents and their grandparents' furniture to their own children.  My generation seems to have so many pieces that have been passed down through the generations that are cherish and yet have children that have no desire to have those same pieces passed down to them.  That makes me sad.  I know it makes my clients sad as well.

My own life has changed so much over the past few years and when it was time for me to downsize as well, I had some decisions to make.  So I did.  I decided that even if no one may want some of these pieces in the future, I focused on the present and held on to the pieces from my past.   I instead sold and gave away many of the new pieces I had in our family home realizing that those could all be replaced if I needed to one day.  These heirlooms could not.  

Everything is so cookie cutter these days.  I love mixing it up with old and new together.  Shiny and new can feel so cold and sterile but the old pieces can be spruced up to fit in to a room to bring in warmth.  These pieces handed down from generation to generation don’t just hold books or dishes.  They have their own stories.  They hold stories of our past, of our families, of who we are and where we came from. 

My dining room is the center of my home.  Being Greek, I love to cook and have friends and family sitting around my table, so I can feed them.  Whether I’m cooking a simple meal or one of my grandmother’s Greek recipes, I find serious comfort in gatherings at my dining room table, eating off of my mother’s china and using her favorite crystal glassware.  The table and chairs are new from #ballarddesigns.  I love mixing it up with my grandmothers buffet table   from her Cape Cod dining room.   I’m not big on dark wood, so a friend of mine distressed them for me. No one seems to want brown furniture anymore, but I don’t see that as a reason for getting rid of these meaningful pieces.  All it takes is a little paint and imagination to change the color allowing us to hold on to a memory.  The color is different but the childhood visions remain.

The mirror above that piece was the mirror in my grandmother’s bedroom which once upon a time sat on her makeup table which proudly sits in my guestroom now. I just think it’s so beautiful and needs to be seen by more than an overnight guest.  

The mirror you see in the background underneath the staircase was my grandmothers as well.  It hung over her buffet table over 60 years ago.  It’s absolutely beautiful, and one of my favorite pieces.

The chandelier hanging over the table belonged to my dear friend Thomas who passed away a few years ago.  It belonged to his mother and I will cherish it forever.  It holds memories of one of my closest friendships I’ve ever had.

I had a sweet little room off the kitchen in my Cape house overlooking a pond where I had a little table to dine at.  I always hated the kitchen where all you had was a counter to sit at even though it was the big rage.  I liked sitting down as a family together even at breakfast when my kids were little.  Remember those days?  Kitchen islands are for serving off of or for food prep.  Not for mom to be standing at and serving everyone, picking off her kid’s plates as they sit watching the tv and looking at their phones.  I say bring back the table for meals with no phones allowed and where mom is not the server but part of the family.  Take it down a notch, slow down and talk to one another.  When my mother said be at the table at 6:00 for dinner we were at that table and spent time with each other. It mattered.

Back to downsizing now that I’m totally off track…..the table right?   I loved that little round table but now I had no room for it in an apartment.  Instead of giving it away we cut that baby down and here it is now as my living room coffee table.  Perfect fit and I’m happy to have been able to keep it and to not have to spend money on a new one that everyone else has a copy of.



On one couch I have a big fluffy new blanket for those wintry nights by the fire and on the other I have my mother’s bedroom throw to cuddle up in.  Although she passed many years ago, I still have a bottle of her favorite scent and every so often I give it a little spritz.  If I’m having a really bad or sad day, I wrap myself up in it and that scent and warmth remind me of her wrapping her arms around me when I needed it most.  Can’t get that from a catalog.

My grandparent’s sofa has been passed around through the family and reupholstered many times over.  My daughter has the two matching chairs in her L.A. apartment now and I have the memory packed sofa sitting in my bedroom.  It doesn’t matter how any times it’s been recovered, the memories will exist forever of being a child lined up with my cousins on hot summer nights at our grandparent’s house.  We were always together and there were a lot of us, always having cookouts and eating popsicles at the place we loved the most.  Our grandparents home.  If you look closely at the wood on the top of this piece you will see the carved design which held my job as a child for spring cleaning.  Every spring my mother and aunts would tear apart our grandparent’s home for the big spring cleaning.  I can still hear the countless venetian blinds being taken down and put to soak in the tub and then hung to dry. Off track again, but I can remember having to wrap a Pledge soaked rag around my little fingers in order to clean in between all the little carved holes on that sofa and chairs.  A most important job during the #springcleaning event.

My guest room is a mix of old and new as well.  I brought my favorite carved seashell bed from our Cape house and mixed it up with an old mirror and table from my grandparent’s basement which sat in storage until I finally took them out and painted them.  I was so tired of paying for a storage unit with all these memories packed away in the dark.  One day I just dragged everything out,  laid out a tarp and started to paint.  Now I have my favorite #clairemurrayrug with my grandparent’s pieces and a cute little bench I picked up @pier1.  It’s simple to the eye  which is what I like these days, but it fills my heart with love and warmth.  Memories keep me warm just like my mother’s blanket.  The older I get the more I seem to yearn for that warmth and I’m just fine with that.

Today is #MothersDay and I am content just writing about furniture and the memory of my own mother and grandmother.  They may not have been on social media trying to rack up “followers” and “likes” but they will always and forever be the biggest influencers in my life. 

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Anita Devlin

Mother, Recovery Advocate, Lifestyle Enthusiast, and Professional Organizer. No matter how big the project, Anita is here tackle it with you.