Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Decorating with family heirlooms

I know I've posted about this subject before, but I've never posted pictures of the family heirlooms that got passed on to us. My husband's mother has always given us things that she wanted kept in the family, she knew my love for antiques and vintage so she knew it was in good hands. When we lost both of my in-laws, we had so many beautiful things that we just couldn't part with. My husband has two brothers so each of them picked out the things that held special memories and meant the most to them.

My mother-in-law was a lover of memorabilia, my husband is very lucky in that he has genealogy that goes back to his great-great grandparents, and maybe beyond that, as we have not gone through the scores of paperwork that his mother collected over the years, learning as much as possible about her family's history.

My husband is the middle child, and the one who inherited his mother's sentimental side. All of his brothers share in that but I think my husband is the one who takes more after his mother. He hates to get rid of things that hold a memory.

That being said, we have lots of beautiful Zumach (his mother's maiden name) family heirlooms decorating our home. I am honored to have these pieces, it's exactly the type of things that I love. I
love antiquities and especially ones that are handed down from generation to generation. If you are
lucky enough to have family members who are interested in having and passing them along, it is a
wonderful way to preserve a little of the past. What can be more warming than being surrounded by  things that meant so much to your family.

If you've taken my home tour (go here to see it) you may have noticed these pieces, but today I am paying special attention to show them off.

These pieces were from my mother-in-laws family that I am extremely proud to have. 

It's my mother-in-laws (Vernita was her name) parents marriage Fraktur. It's written in German so I don't know what it says:(

I snagged this picture that was hanging in the spare bedroom in Vernita's home, I am assuming it hung in her mother's home. 

This is a wedding portrait of her parents, my husband's grandparents.

And this is another Fraktur that belonged to Vernita's father, but I don't know what kind it is. Someday I need to sit down and Google the words so I'll know.

This grouping over the guest bed are frames that belonged in the family. They had no photos but are beautiful in their own right. The small photo on the left is one I picked up at a flea market, but it's so cool and looked at home with this bunch.

The small picture that I hung inside the large frame is a written and framed "rememberence" of Vernita's father. I loved these beautiful memorials that they made years ago. 

have to show a closeup of this small portrait, I found it at a flea market and at first glance I fell in love with the frame. But as I got closer I noticed how this photo was mounted and just pictured his loved one carefully cutting and fitting the layered matte around the picture and made it a little more special. I bought this for resale but decided to keep it, someone put some work into this which I fully appreciate:)

We have two of these very, very heavy wool quilts. Made by my husband's grandmother using the winter garments that the family outgrew. I think the quilts are my most favorite. You will not be cold when you get one thrown over you, and you can hardly move!!

The pink patch was my mother-in-laws coat when she was a little girl.

We found a few pieces of milk glass scattered around the house.....

that belonged to Vernita's mother, to the left is a photo I took of my husband holding my father-in-law's hand just before he passed.

I love these vintage mirrors

And these treasures we found in the damp basement, they had been in storage for quite some time so I was surprised how good of shape they were in.

No doubt these hung in my husband's grandparents home.

And the piano stool that needed to be repaired and refinished. You can see how I did that here. The piano stayed in the home, it's so large we didn't know how to get it to Ohio! But we have the option to go back and get it if we want. We had a gracious woman who bought my in-laws home:)

I do have a few things from my mother's side, from my grandmother. I remember when my paternal grandparents passed away I didn't get any rememberences of them. There were 11 kids on my dad's side too, so there probably wasn't enough to go around. Neither set of grandparents had much to show for all of their very hard work. So I made sure I asked my maternal grandmother for these chairs when I was a very young girl. I guess I wanted to make sure I had something of hers to hold forever. My grandma Olga was so near and dear to my heart. I miss her, but I have my memories every time I look at the pieces I have from her. I have two of these chairs and they were so black with old varnish I had to refinished them both, and have since had to repair them. I don't even know how old these are!

Another chair from my grandma, refinished and new leather seat replaced a cane seat that was damaged.

This dresser belonged to my grandma too, story goes, she needed a dresser so my grandpa made this for her. 

The body was an old ice box

And he made drawers for it out of old fruit crates.

I got this piece also, when I told my grandma I wanted it, I remember her saying, "Oh you don't want that old piece!" "Oh yes, grandma, grandpa made that for you! I was intrigued by the story behind it.

Gus and Olga (good old German names huh?!) had 11 children and no money, so the fact that he made this just makes it that much more special to me. 

He never did get all of the handles put on, for some reason, and I didn't see any reason to put them on either. If it was good enough for Grandma Olga, it was good enough for me. I still have the handles in the same bag they were in when they handed me this spendid piece of memory.

And on top of this treasure sits my husbands grandma's old radio, velvet dresser scarf with fringe and the lamp that sat on top. This is how it sat in her home, exactly how you see it here. The radio still works, however, it seems a little weird to hear Aerosmith crackling through the speakers:):):)

Do you have family heirlooms that you decorate with?

I have to apologize for the quality of these pictures, they really don't do my treasures any justice! However, I got a new camera.........now I need to learn how to use it:)


  1. Thank you for sharing some of your family history it was really interesting to read, and your love for your family history comes through very clearly. I love the idea of curling up under one of those heavy wool quilts in the winter, and the chest of drawers that your Grandfather made is such a lovely piece you can almost feel the history coming out of it, love that he didn't put all the handles on, a true piece of DIY if ever I saw one, lol.

    1. Thank you for stopping by my blog Judy! I have always loved antiques, and the fact that these have been hung on to for so many years and well cared for is testament on how much the family cared to preserve them. I would love them to know how much I cherish these pieces that they have passed on to us. Have a wonderful holiday weekend, remembering our loved ones!


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