Saturday, April 18, 2009


Welcome to The Downing House, our family home. I wasn't going to share these until we finished up some projects, but decided to give you the "before" look now. Our home was built by my great-grandfather's Uncle Henry Downing in about 1869. Henry and his brother, Moses, came to Michigan from New York and started an apple drying company in Holly. Henry was also the vice president of the bank. In an old abstract, it says that he willed $100 to the Lakeside Cemetary Beautification Committee. We did some exploring at the cemetary and found all of their headstones. In an earlier post, I showed you a picture that my mother gave us of Christmas Eve 1897, in our house, it had pictures of my great-grandparents and my grandmother when she was 12 years old. When we signed our purchase agreement, we didn't know any of this family history. We took my folks for a drive to show them our new house and it was such a surprise when my mom told me about all of the connections. Some things are just meant to be! I hope you enjoy part one of the tour... Our living room has built-ins at both ends of the room and I'm trying to prim it up more and more. I think the curtains will be going SOON and are going to be replaced with curtains made from old feed sacks.
I love stitcheries and tin molds. This is on top of an old pie safe in our living room. The large stitchery is about "old things".

This is an old chair back made into a shelf with hooks. Great for displaying "smalls".

Another display on the other old pie safe. I also love old bobbins and bobbin lights.
One of my favorite pieces is this old pie safe with the original punched tin panels. I use it to store my material.

The old black hoosier was originally "up north" at my in-laws old cabin. It is an OLDY! I love the wood work top. I hope to take this to "The Little House" one of these days.
Another favorite piece is the dough box between the wingback chairs. Sure wish I had room to put it in my kitchen as an island!

This pie safe is REALLY AN OLDIE! I keep it filled with old quilts and I also have a thing for antique socks!
Onto the dining room. Another favorite is this bonnet chest. The top lifts to put hats inside, it has a little drawer for gloves, and a little front door to put shoes in. I always wish that I could find out who owned these pieces and where they really came from.
Above the bonnet chest is an old divided drawer and another stitchery. This one is called "Dear Old House" and is one of my favorite verses.
Another built-in in the dining room. Makes a great buffet! Oh look at the wonderful Tavern Scene tray that Linda brought me from Primp Your Pad. She had noticed that we collect Tavern Scene dishes on an earlier post! Thank you, thank you, thank you Linda!

Dining room table has storage underneath for linens. It's a reproduction and I would love to replace it with an original, antique harvest table one of these days! The light fixture in this room is also original.

The built in corner cupboard is where my pinkeep collection is housed (at least at the present time).

These built-ins house our collection of Tavern Scene dishes.

Okay, on to our next project. THE KITCHEN! These French doors lead to our family room (where we really live everyday). The crow wallpaper has been up since Amanda was pregnant for Gannon - over 11 years ago, and is going to be replaced with mustard ticking paper (which I already have). The cupboards are going to be painted mustard, and we are putting wood countertops on. I'm hoping to get this project started very soon. Please Dick???!!!
I also want to put beadboard behind the countertops and get rid of the formica!
Couldn't you just see mustard cupboards with wood counters???
Top of my old piano. Dear Dad and Dick surprised me with this old upright quite a few years ago and I just love it. I only play when I'm here by myself or with the grandkids, but it gives me a lot of enjoyment.
The only "new" piece of furniture is our entertainment center (which I try to camoflage the best I can). Connie and I got this Mother's Day sign right before she moved to Tennessee. The antique shop had 2 of them, so we each have one in our homes. Great memories!
All right, all right. I had to bring the green lamp home from the shop. (And I'm so glad I did!)

Shelf above our comfy "t.v." chairs. I want one of Kenny's beautiful shelves to put in here, but for now I just laid the old shutter across this one. The "yard long" picture belonged to Dick's family. The puppies in it are adorable.
Welcome to our guest room (or as Debbie would say, "My Room"). I think this room was originally a parlor. This was our master bedroom until all the kids moved out, then we moved upstairs. (Okay Melissa, this is where you would stay!) The old bed was found in a basement of a previous house and I had it sandblased and repainted.
Sitting area in guest room. The old door in the corner was cut in half and hinged. I love the old peely paint.
Old suitcases on top of the wardrobe make great storage!
Had to add a t.v. in here for guests, but hate that you have to see it! Oh well.

This old doll buggy belonged to my mother when she was a little girl and I cherish it!
We made some changes in the bathroom and I LOVE our sink and faucet. The faucet is like an old pump. We put wood counters on, changed the door to the medicine cabinet with an old window, and put a piece of painted tin ceiling tile in the door to the vanity.
Old long-johns and stockings hang from the shelf at the other end of the bathroom. I got the white cupboard from Debbie a few years ago and it is such great storage.

Now, this is the spot that I want to hang that "first aid" cabinet that we have at the shop. Don't you think it would look perfect in here???
Well, there you have it! Part two will follow soon with pictures up our upstairs, the den and outside. Hope this didn't drag out too long.
It is supposed to be another BEAUTIFUL day in Michigan today - up to 72! We will either get lots of customers OR they will all be home working in their yards. Either way, at least I can open the door and let the fresh air inside.
Have a great day ladies and we'll talk soon...


  1. Dawn - I can't wait to see the rest of your pictures of your house. These are wonderful! I love, love everything about them. I kept going back and forth through all of them looking at all your great pieces!! And ha! I see that the green lamp made it to your home - I remembered you saying that it just might have to go home with you! And aren't you just loving this weather. About time is all I can say. Hope warm breezes flow through the shop and you have a lot of customers suffering from cabin fever visit you!!! Hope you have a wonderful day!

  2. Oh Dawn thank you for sharing your wonderful home! So you are saying that you did not know at all that the house you had bought belonged to your great-grandparents? that's amazing! definately meant to be! wow! I love your sofa and that pie safe is to die for! You have soooo many fabulous pieces and I love those french doors in your kitchen! Just such a charming home you have! Janet :)

  3. Thanks for the tour and can't wait to see Part 2! You have some beautiful things...I'm envious...LOL I grew up in MI so I know what 72 degrees feels like after a long winter. Enjoy!!

  4. Your house is beautiful. If you could wear out a picture just by looking at it I'd have worn yours out. I've gone up and down the page trying to decide what I like best and it's impossible. Thanks for sharing.

  5. That was just the best tour!!! I love all your prim touches and you make everything look so welcoming and homey! I agree- you must take home the first aid cabinet - it would be darling. Can't wait to come visit again!!! What an amazing story about the house! Truly unbelievable ~ some things are just meant to be!!!

  6. What a wonderful home with such history and so many wonderful old and repro pieces. I loved the tour - thank you for showing us your home now... it was great! It will make it even more fun to see the changes you have planned!

  7. What a lovely home! Love the history in the house and about the house! Looking forward to more!~~Terry

  8. Hi Dawn,
    What a wonderful prim home you have. Everything looks so great...warm and inviting. How great to know the history behind it. I can't wait to see Part 2!!

  9. Hi Dawn,
    Your house is very nice indeed.It was wonderful that something drew you to buy your 'unknown' ancestoral home.That must mean a lot to you.I love the wall paper in your kitchen and the chair back made into a shelf is a fabulous idea!
    Looking forward to the second tour.

  10. LOVE IT, LOVE IT....thanks for sharing.

    Oh, I can't wait to see the mustard ticking paper - I think mustard is such a beautiful warm color.


  11. Dawn, thanks for sharing the pictures. I love your old bathroom. The long red underwear is perfect. It looks so comforting in your home. You have done a great job and your new remodel ideas sound perfect! Dawn

  12. Hey Dawn~~
    That would be great! We usually meet for lunch with Joann and Sharon and Angie and I at Ruby Tuesdays!! Just across the street! I am not in the show this time! but WILL be at the show!! We can make final plans as time gets closer!! Can't wait!!

    Talk soon.......

  13. i loved my tour of your home dawn....feels like a place i could move right into and feel at have so many wonderful pieces...i am thinking about going on a road trip the 28th thru the 3 of may......want to tag along....hehe...thanks for sharing your home with us....i cant wait to see the afters in the the idea of ticking wall paper...