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  • Virginia Tolles

Gifts from Our Heavenly Father

I've long enjoyed interior design. I favor traditional styles: Queen Anne, Chippendale, and several more refined French styles (no Louis XVI for me). I love the styles seen in the historic homes along the eastern United States, such as Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello.


I was greatly influenced by Jackie Kennedy's work with the restoration of the White House. Some people faulted her for allowing her French heritage to influence her work to excess, although she used it beautifully. Too, we have to admit that this country was settled by several nationalities, the French included.


I didn't have the budget necessary to acquire period pieces or even authentic reproductions. Being in the civil servant tax bracket, I purchased inspired-by pieces by reputable mid-market manufacturers -- American Drew and Lane, to name the ones that feature most prominently in my home.


Here is the part that is simply remarkable: I've seldom had the funds to buy accent pieces, and yet, my home is nicely coordinated from pieces given to me. A pair of china vases with latticework bases, pink flowers, and sage-green leaves once belonged to my grandmother. Three bowls with similar latticework, pink flowers, and sage-green leaves were gifts from other people. A brass swan and a brass duck were gifts from still more people. These were not planned. They simply came to me and went together. I cherish them to this day.


Consider this picture that shows my two Georgian-inspired bookcases separated by my Lane low-boy-inspired cedar chest:


The Oriental vase on the top shelf of the bookcase on the left was a gift from someone whom my husband knew. The Colonial prints were less-expensive prints of better ones that I admired in Colonial Williamsburg. I framed them in off-the-shelf frames. The seashell collection came from as far away as Florida and Hawaii. Some, we collected, but some were my mom's. The green vase was my mom's; the salmon-and-white teacup was made by my granddaughter. The copper pitcher belonged to my grandmother. The blue willow lamp goes with our blue willow china.


Somehow, it all comes together to lend credible accents to my cherry and walnut furniture. It couldn't have happened, except by the hand of Our Heavenly Father. Thank you, Father, for giving me a beautiful home.

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