Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Victorian House Tour Part 2...

Yesterday, we arrived at the "Family Side" of the home of my brother Tom and his wife Nina for their Christmas House Tour.  Just in case you missed the tour of the outside of their 1890 Queen Anne Victorian Bow Front home yesterday, you can read about that here...  Check out the comments because I made a few boo boos and Nina made some corrections...She will comment on this one too and fill you in on some of the details that I messed up or missed--which I am sure I will...

We got as far as just inside of the door and were standing in the hallway enjoying the bride's baskets...

This is a floorplan of their home that I snagged off of Tom and Nina's website here.  Their website is devoted to stories of the restoration of the house and construction of their gardens and includes many great stories...

The arrow marks the door that we entered.  Now we are headed for the Dining Room.  

When the house was originally built in 1890, this was the kitchen--thus the thought that the door we entered was the "Family" side.  When the addition was added after the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, the kitchen was moved into the addition, where it is now.

Let's take a look at the Dining Room shall we?  

As you can see, the table is set for dinner.  The room is decorated in Blue and White.  Why?  Well, Nina collects Flow Blue china.  Flow Blue china is a type of transferware.  From time to time during the transfer process, the color would "flow" leaving a blurred edge which was considered a mistake until the potters realized that the flowing of the pattern helped to cover imperfections of glazing and kiln marks.  With this realization, they began to add more and more color and intentionally "flow" the pattern.  If you would like to know more about Flow Blue, you can read about it here.   

Nina showcases her ever increasing collection in this room.

When they first began to collect the flow blue, they picked it up on Ebay and at auctions or shops and picked up the pieces that they found as they found them.  As time went by they decided on the 

La Francaise Pattern shown here.  It has a delicate scallop of gold on top of the flow blue and as Nina likes to say--It was less expensive than the others when they began to collect!  

It seemed as if this was fate because while doing some of the renovations later, they found a piece of the same La Francaise china that they had been collecting on the property.

To the left of the door are a couple of mismatched flow blue plates on the wall as well as Nina's violet case.  

She has grown them since the time that I met her--decades ago!  I am surprised they didn't name their daughter violet!  

Tom built this violet case for her from an aquarium that their kids gave her for Christmas after they moved into the house for that purpose.  Nina loves to paw around in the dirt and she and Tom have extensive outdoor gardens.  Later, Tom built her a greenhouse so she could overwinter plants and start her own plants in the middle of winter when you just yearn for spring!  In January and onward you will find Nina in the greenhouse with her hands in the dirt just waiting for weather that is warm enough to work in her gardens!

Then we see the buffet which houses another of her flow blue sets and a beautifully carved mantle clock.

This is her Orchid Case which resides on a small antique table that sports china wheels.  Tom built the orchid case as well.  he's good that way!  It has a humidity control, lights for warmth and everything that the demanding little orchids require.  

And angel is keeping watch over them for the season.

This beautifully carved sideboard is originally from England.

They found this at a local auction and it came home with them!  It is really massive and heavily carved.

Here, take a look at it from the front...

You can enlarge the photo to get a good look at her collection of Victorian pickle jars and holders.

There is a little tree sitting in the corner by the door to the kitchen.  Above the tree is a "Pinky" print.

Do you see the burgundy curtain to the left of the tree at the door to the kitchen?  The set of curtains or portiers were originally in my grandmother's house in Pennsylvania where they served their function as portiers keeping the drafts at bay in the house and shutting off the "good" rooms from the family rooms.  They are heavy and very thick with tassel trim.

Since they were old and no longer needed by my grandmother, they then hung in my mom and dad's first house while they remodeled it just after their marriage and then made the trip to Missouri with us where they were ingloriously used to kind of divide the unfinished basement into "rooms".

Later, they were packed away and unearthed after Tom and Nina bought their house and brought them back to their original purpose.

This little cabinet holds all of the La Francaise pattern that is used for dining.  Stacks of dinner, salad and dessert plates, butter plates, soup bowls, serving bowls and platters, gravy boats, cream and milk pitchers--you name it!  The Victorians had china for everything!

Above the cabinet are the fish and game plates.  They are getting quite a collection of those now too!

And there is "Blue Boy" on the wall keeping watch over the music box that resides on a small Eastlake Table.

This little cabinet was built on the chimney.  I am not sure if the cook stove was originally here when it was used as a kitchen or not.  Nina will come in and tell us in the comments...

You can see that the little cabinet showcases more of the flow blue.  I am particularly fond of the platter that rests on the trim on top that has the floral bouquet in the middle.  You can also see that some of these plates are portrait plates as well.  Nina likes the cavorting victorian ladies...

You can just see the top of the burgundy colored settee and another little tree in front of the other portier in the doorway that leads to the living room, but for the Christmas season is holding the Fairy Garden--which you will be able to enjoy later...

Moving on to the Kitchen, we step down into the circa 1905 addition to the house and just look back to the dining room for one last glimpse of the table and that centerpiece of white roses under the chandelier.  Did I tell you that Nina does all of this herself?  All of the arrangements and decorations?  She's good that way!  Well, Tom helps to hang stuff.

See the carpet?  This was a find when their daughter and her husband bought the cute little cottage next door.  

It was on the floor of the house and you could barely make out the design due to all of the plaster dust on it.  Tom and Nina drug it home and cleaned it and isn't it beautiful?  And so perfect for their home!  Cost:  $0  Priceless...

So, here we are in the kitchen.  It gets decorated with gingerbread people... 

See the soda bottles along the top on the little shelf?  The kids and Tom used to walk along the railroad tracks and area and find them.  They didn't turn them in for the deposit, but washed and kept them.  Additions have been made through the years when the local sports team like the Blues Hockey and the Cardinals baseball teams have released some collectors bottles.  I seem to remember something about a World Series...

But I digress...You can also see the coffee grinder and some oil lamps and a couple of little china pieces.  One is an elephant and one is a little piggy.  

The 3 plates to the left of the mantle clock are from the Farmer's Merchantile in High Hill, MO.  They are fairly rare and hard to find.  To the right of the clock are 3 portrait plates that balance them out.

The shelf that the clock sits on was made by my dad from a pattern taken from an antique eastlake style shelf.  It has a drawer in the front.  I have one like it too.  My dad was always good like that...

Under the Mantle clock is a buffet.  When Nina was a little girl she had a little kitchen playset and her uncle gave her this old buffet and a round table to play with in her "kitchen".  

See the rug beaters on the wall?  She will use those on me if I don't get moving with this tour!  Not really!  Well, maybe...

I was just looking at all of my pictures and I failed to get a great picture of the framed bag on the wall.  It was from the High Hill Roller Mill.  They found the bag when they were taking down the walls in the house and it was really in great shape!  The Roller Mill is long gone...

Next we see her butcher block.  You can tell it has seen it's fair share of use in it's day!  It is sure a chunky piece!  She has an old milk bottle holder filled with milk bottles.  Do any of you remember getting your milk in those?  My grandmother still got her raw milk in bottles clear into the 70's in PA.  You would see the cream rise to the top and she would skim it and use it in cooking...oh my!

The block is flanked by crocks filled with greenery and lights.

The window is flanked by more rug beaters and a cross stitch of Noah's Ark--which I am thinking was made by my niece.  

See the egg baskets up on that shelf around the ceiling?  The property had a chicken coop on it along with the outhouse.  They both burned when the first greenhouse burned.

Now, take a look at the stacked glass pedestal plates.  The third one down held some of the most yummy Christmas treats I have had!  It is called Christmas Cracker Candy and Nina found the recipe in Southern Living Magazine.  She has renamed the candy Christmas Crack because you eat one piece and you are HOOKED and cannot stop eating it!  Here is the recipe so you can get hooked too...

Christmas Cracker Candy

2 sleeves Ritz Crackers  
3/4 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
Toppings of choice...

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread crackers on cookie sheet.  Mix butter and sugar together and bring to a boil and cook for 3 min.  Pour over crackers and pop in oven for 5 min.  Take them out and top with some chocolate chips.  Nina used milk chocolate chips.  Pop back into oven 3-5 min to melt the chips and smear them around over the crackers.  Top with whatever you would like.  Nina used white chocolate chips but it would be good with chopped up peppermint candy, heath bits, those divine cinnamon chips--whatever.  Cool.  Break apart and tempt your neighbors!  Yum!!!!

Now we get to the cabinets.  There was only a small bank of cabinets in the kitchen--you will see those elsewhere in the tour as they were moved and repurposed.

Tom built these cabinets and tops in the same style as the original cabinet that was found in the house.  Then, he and Nina finished them.  Aren't they beautiful?  And do you just LOVE her Victorian microwave and stove?  hehe...  Hey!  The Victorians had all of the modern stuff of their day!  They would definitely have had a microwave and double oven!

See the green box on the counter?  That is a metal bread box.  Nina's Mammy cookie jar is there too.  It came from her family and is a cherished piece that she grew up with.

To the right of the stove is a coffee mug.  It is from Nina's Restaurant.  They came across the restaurant in Minnesota?  Michigan?  Nina will tell us...anywho, they were able to get one of the mug.  The interesting part is that they pronounced it the same way she does--with a long i sound rather than the e sound most use!  

Next to that is a crock of utensils, a butter mold and a butter churn.  Have you seen one like that?  It reminds me of a beer keg with a crank.  It looks like you could churn a LOT of butter in it, but it would be a bugger to clean!

This picture has a better view of it.  See all of the cabinets?  Can you say ooooooh  ahhhhhhh!  

Nina has a real THING about rug beaters.  See them above the sink?  And the old kitchen utensils.  On the counter is a large crock full of utensils that she uses for cooking.  

There is a glass butter churn behind the poinsettia.  She made the little gingerbread people out of felt.  Aren't they cute?  There is a bean crock and the blue pitcher and next to the blue pitcher is--are you ready?  A bread maker!  

The bread maker has a pamphlet with it that states it was the gold medal winner in the 1904 World's Fair!  It is a metal pot with a lid.  There is a paddle in the bucket and a crank on top.  And I thought no one had heard of a bread maker before they came out in about the 1980's!  Go figure!  

The book on the counter holds antique postcards that we found after my mom's mom passed away.  I have always liked the old postcards but never thought I would actually hold one.   And there were a BUNCH in my grandmother's attic!  They were out so people could leaf through and enjoy them as well.  

The picture frame is one of those electric ones that shows slides of the house and gardens.

See the crocks?  One of them in the middle came from my grandmother in PA.  The two on the outside came from a local auction where they were sold 3 for $1!!!!!!  Seriously????  Where was I???

I am not sure what the padlocks and chains were used for, but they are really cool as is the old Pennsylvania license plate.

Under these items is one of the old wooden phones (works as an extension phone) and a big wooden ice box--which I totally skipped do I DO that???

Just through the doorway is the mudroom which houses this cute crock arrangement...

And this cabinet that houses the pantry items all made up for Christmas.

The mud porch also houses the washer and dryer and there is a full bath off of it as well.  The door to the back deck is located here too.  The mud room is not completed yet.  It is on the list...

So, tomorrow we will head to the living room and then the Parlor which is located in that beautiful bow front of the house!

Have a great day!  Don't forget to check the comments for Nina's additions and corrections...

See you tomorrow!


  1. The mode and the forge of your sink produce a big touch on the overall feeling of your abode bar. Choosing the best sink for your bar is one decision that you would want to do right the first time to spare you of costly replacements in the future.

  2. Those dishes are so beautiful--I'd like to see a close up of the light fixture with all of the blue decor on it.

  3. Suzie--So true!


    Kim--I added it into Today's Tour #3 just for you! :)