Feels like Home

Do you remember the day when you first stepped through the door of your home? Maybe you had just spent days trekking through house after house. Or perhaps it was the first home your realtor showed you. Either way, I bet as soon as you crossed the threshold, your heart said this is it–this is home.

And sometimes there’s a room that really seals the deal. I vividly remember the day I walked through the front door of my home. Once I passed through the entry with the badly outdated parquet flooring, and entered into the paneled family room, I knew this was the house.  This was home.

Family Room with Hunt Nature Themed Judges Paneling

I rationalized away all the negatives.  Never mind the horribly worn, orange carpeting throughout the house. Never mind that the interior hadn’t been painted in eight years and the master bedroom walls were painted grammar-school green, including the molding and trim. Never mind the genuine Formica, kitchen counter tops with large melted spots from carelessly placed hot pans. I would un-do, re-do and make-do–anything just so I could have this one room. The warm glow of the judges paneling seared through to my heart that day. What room in your home captured your heart the day you first saw it?

The family room slowly evolved. As I plotted and planned the room, the one thing I knew for sure was, I did not want a sofa and a love seat. In our previous two homes, that’s what we had and I was ready for a change. I really wanted more seating with lots of cozy chairs.

I decided very early on that jewel tones (reds, navys, greens) would look beautiful against the paneling.  So we sold our 12 year old sofa and love seat in a garage sale and bought a striped jewel-toned sofa and a burgundy, leather wing-back chair. Then we paused for a bit, just to catch our financial breaths.

While I was trying to find just the right chairs for the other areas of the room, I took a class on decorating at a local community center. The first evening the instructor showed us rooms she had decorated. They were the most boring rooms I’d ever seen…dull and lifeless. Ummm, this was not going to be helpful.

The instructor grudgingly told us that part of the class included her coming to our homes for a 1/2 hour free consultation. As soon as she walked into my family room she turned to me and announced that what the room needed was a sofa and love seat. I stared at her in disbelief. I think I mumbled something like, “over my dead body.” (LOL)  Then she added, “This sofa looks terrible with that wing-back chair.  All I see is a green sofa and burgundy chair.  They don’t even work together.”

I attempted to point out the burgundy pin stripe that was repeated in the fabric across the sofa…my instructor scoffed. I was really glad when my free, 30 minutes was up.


I found a two cozy down-filled chairs with a matching ottoman (by Hickory Chair) for a little seating area over by the fireplace. I tucked a heart shaped table in between them.  The heart shape was perfect for the angle of the chairs.

A little rooster lamp for the bookshelves behind the chairs.

I’d always loved the look of a flame-stitch chair, so I chose this wing back chair to balance the leather wing back across the room.

Hid the t.v. in an armoire…then added a large green ficus across the room behind the burgundy wing back to balance out the height of the armoire.

Added a Baker, pie-crust, tilt-top (bird cage) table between the chair and sofa…

The other end of the sofa sat empty for a long while until I came across a double bonnet secretary at an antique show.  (Sorry about the blurry pics.  These were taken when I first began blogging and my camera was pretty unsophisticated, as were my photography skills.)

A little close-up for a peek inside…

Coffee table was only added in the last year or so…comes in handy for that little decorating book addiction I have.

One night I bolted straight up in bed…what was that noise?! I decided I must have been dreaming and went back to sleep. Next day I discovered the mirror that hangs above the fireplace had decided to heave itself onto the floor during the middle of the night. What a sight!  The mirror was shattered and the frame was broken in half across the bottom edge. I was able to have it repaired but unfortunately, the old mirror with its wonderful blackish streaks was gone.

This clock was the very first antique thing I ever bought. Amazingly, it stayed on the mantel when the mirror fell. The only damage was a very small scratch.

Found a cute ceramic doggy and had him made into a lamp.

All the rooms in my home have evolved, slowly changing as I found pieces to create the “feel” I wanted. I tend to be an “emotional” decorator.  I don’t decorate to make a room “look” a certain way, but rather to “feel” the way I envision. In my heart, a family room should feel cozy and inviting to all who enter, especially to the family who will make memories there for many years to come.

Update:  This room saw a change the first week of January, 2012.  I removed the faux plant and tree and moved a large painting to the wall where the tree had been.  Here’s how it looks now. minus the Christmas tree.

I’m so glad you stopped by.  How about a lemonade out on the porch?

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  1. Diane@A Picture is Worth.... says

    I love your home. Your attention to details really pulls everything together. Now, why don’t you teach a class??? I would enroll for sure!

    I don’t have a loveseat either. LOL


  2. RetiredAtLast says

    I’m guilty. Shoot me at sunrise without a blindfold. My family room has two couches and two love seats. DH has one couch and I the other. They are fairly high since both ends of each couch have a recliner built in, so they are positioned against two right angle walls. The love seats are back to back in the center of the area. It works for now, but doesn’t really offer the eye appeal I want.

  3. SHaBBy ViNTaGe CHiC says

    No doubt you should be the one teaching a class! You are talented, for sure! It must be instinct with you because your teacher certainly didn’t help you, did she?
    I have to say, following all the rules gets very boring. I do have a sofa and loveset – but that’s pretty much where the rule following stops for me. I think you sould always follow your instincts instead, after all, It’s your home, not anyone else’s. You have done a lovely job in yours! I wish I could say I knew right away that this house was for us – my husband’s best friend lives right down the street, that’s what prompted us to check out this area, and my husband fell in love with the HUGE garage – which he needs for all his “toys” – Moto-X bikes, Jet ski, etc..etc.. I would have chosen a house with a larger kitchen for all of MY “toys”, LOL……

  4. One of my most very fave rooms…warm, cozy and just beautiful! Thanks for the lovely tour, I truly enjoyed it with my morning tea! Lori

  5. Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity says

    Susan, I love your room. Heck, I love your whole house. I really like your decision for a lot of chairs in this room. It’s very.. warm and inviting!! I think it’s best to always follow your gut!!
    Have a great day!! Terrie

  6. Cathy Miller says

    Very warm and comfy room! I agree, you should have been teaching the class!

    My “room that sold the house” was my kitchen…and 10 years later, it’s still my favorite room in the house!!

  7. Wow, Susan…. This family room is sooo you! ..warm, cozy and beautiful!
    I’m glad you showcased it. Very inviting and rich in detail. I also opted for the sofa and three chairs in mine instead of a loveseat. Couldn’t agree with you more. Oh, that little doggie lamp is to die for! Love it , girl! I think you should quit your job and we both should go to interior design school! Whata you think?!
    Be good,

  8. I can see why you fell in love with this room. And you have decorated it beautifully. I have never seen a secretary like yours. It is stunning.

    Smiles, JoAnne

  9. decorator101 says

    I don’t believe your teacher was much help in the way of decorating. However, I think she helped you realize you had more taste and decorating skills than she did. πŸ™‚ I’m wondering is she still teaching??? I’m one that likes to think outside the box..to do my own thing..not follow the trends..put my family and their needs and wants first.. throw in abit of whimsy to shake it all up…and we have what we call Home…I love the dog lamp..is it a cocker spaniel?? I think I might try that with a bunny… Thanks so much for another glimpse into this beautiful room…hugs ~lynne~

  10. Hi Susan, what a warm and inviting room, just like the person that created it. I am glad you didn’t let that teacher change your natural design skills. She obviously decorated houses, you on the other hand was designing a HOME from you heart. YEY! Keep doing what you’re doing and sharing it is a gift to us all. Your friend, Kathysue [rms]

  11. I can see how you zeroed in on this one spectacular room in a mish-mash of horror decor throughout the rest of the house…
    You probably decorated it in your mind’s eye right there and then…
    Fabulous, stunning, warm, cozy, elegant, inviting and I’m running out of adjectives but this room is that and more.. πŸ˜‰ Bo

  12. Love this one too.Yep,you should go to design school,you could teach them alot,ha…..Ann

  13. Twice as Nice says

    Just WONDERFUL!! Yes, I do remember when I walked into my home and I just KNEW it was the one. I wouldn’t of ever thought about making a lamp out of something I liked. It looks great.

  14. Thank goodness you didn’t listen to the unimaginative lady. πŸ™‚ Love your home!

  15. Good Morning sweet Susan…WOW!! I just love that you shown all the details in your family room..Its just beautiful girl it looks like English country at it finest..Love love the dog picture and the lamp is so cute..Now I have to try and make one of those..Thanks for all your great decorating ideas girl…now go get that teacher and show her what looks beautiful when you think outside the box..I hate rules when decorating..I decoratate for my Family and whats comforatble for our life style..Love you r blog girl.. Hugs and smiles

  16. Pat@Back Porch Musings says

    For awhile, at the farm, we had two loveseats, no sofa. Sold them and went back to sofa and chair. Then when we built our present home, we had two Windsor rockers made. To those I added two wing chairs, for the hearth room. I long to put slipcovers on those wing chairs. All this, because we noticed the same lined up on a sofa effect you noticed.

    I absolutely adore your gorgeous home. Your family room is perfect!

  17. An absolutely stunning room just full of personality and warmth.
    love bj

  18. Darlene - Our Creative Life says

    Funny story about that designer that came to your house! Sometimes we know better than they do! I had one talk me into mauve (pink) carpet throughout my whole home! YIKES! She said, “don’t be afraid of color.” “Don’t use beige or gray like everyone else, you have mauve throughout your home so put in mauve carpet. Sadly, I did listen to her and it was the worst decorating mistake I ever made! This was back in 1992/1993. I can happily say that mauve carpet is now long GONE!!!

  19. So beautiful!! The room has that wonderful feeling of having been accumulated over a period of time. Sally

  20. I stumbled upon your site earlier this week and just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed it. I love seeing your home and all of the sweet details. I’m especially into becoming a better tablescaper these days so have thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of your site. I posted my first room on RMS yesterday and am trying to get thick enough skin to do it again. I got good comments this time but just don’t know if and when I’m ready for negative ones. I’m just a softy that way. I’m kelleywms3112 on RMS.

  21. Wow Susan,
    You’ve created a most charming space. Your home is beautiful, warm, elegant….thanks for sharing…..Pat H aka 9405018

  22. DishDiva aka Kay says

    What a home! You have created a true Masterpiece.

  23. Well, I do not know your instructor, but she has made me fightin’ mad! Any good decorator knows that there is not one right way to do something and that the goal is for the homeowner to be happy in his/her space. Even I know that! I am so glad you had the courage to follow your convictions,because it is apparent that you ended up with a much lovlier room than you would have ended up with if you had followed her advice! (Whimp that I am, I would not have had the self-confidence to continue decorating and I would have hired her on the spot and ended up with a room I hated). I believe that instructor would have done well to seek your advice. I’ve always loved this room, and it was so much fun to get to hear you talk about the first time you saw it, and how you made decisions about the decor. Sorry, I’ve written another book. You don’t want to get me on my soap box! Laurie (bargainhunr)

  24. Life on Bonnie Lane says

    Obviously your “teacher” was an idiot, lol. Your room as fabulous! Perhaps you should be the one teaching! This room is so warm and cozy and just the kind of place to call yourself at home. It just exudes warmth! You have so many beautiful things! I especially love that secretary! Also love how you hung those cute pics on the bookshelves.


  25. I am still waiting for that “this is the one” feeling Susan, gosh we move about so much, your home is just beautiful and this room has such a welcome comforting feel. you really are very good at what you do. Kathy

  26. This room is fabulous! So warm and cozy and rich all rolled into one. Down to the tiniest of detail. ~ Robyn

  27. Susan, Your room is so warm and cozy. I just love it! All of your attention to detail is amazing. I’d love to hear how the little dog lamp was made. I have a piece I’d love to do that to but I’m afraid to drill into it. ~ carol

  28. Susan (Moonlight and Magnolias on RMS) says

    Hi Carol, Actually, the lamp store just glued or cemented the doggy to a base. She allowed me to pick to the finish of the base. I chose a stain but she also offered to spray paint it gold, etc… The rod you see is just going up behind the dog, not through him, so they never drilled into the dog at all. Great question! Susan

  29. Hey girl! Ohhhh my house definitely spoke to me when I walked in..I literally started shaking & crying! I love your family room…ohhhhh it is just so inviting and such a comfort zone! I also want to thank you so much for all your prayers & encouragement this past week…I do so appreciate it dear friend….hope you have a beautiful Friday!

  30. Debbie @ ribbonwoodcottage.blogspot.com says

    Hi Susan I’ll be over for some lemonade. That sounds wonderful. Love all the peeks inside that you give us. Those close up shots are wonderful, you have done so many beautiful things. I love to see all the groupings and your thoughts behind what you have done. Thank you for all those wonderful pictures!

  31. Susan, I know I’m late but it wouldn’t let me post last night! You know I love your family room! You said I do english Country better than anyone, I beg to differ! YOU do! Connie/puddin07

  32. The double bonnet secretary is the most BEAUTIFUL I have ever seen! I ahve never seen a double bonnet one…oh my son would DIE for this!!!! This is such a wonderful room…that “decorator” didn’t know what the H— she was talking about! And thank God you knew NOT to listen to her!!!! LOVE this room, just lovely and lovingly put together!!! Hugs, Pinky

  33. Had to add: I have always LOVED that dog lamp! Also would LOVE, love to see your kitchen!!!! Hugs again, Pinky:)

  34. Susan Hickam says

    I am so glad you had enough sense to ignore the “teacher”. Your room is fabulous and full of personality. I love everything you’ve done with it.

  35. Another lovely room!! I love how you tell a story in the creation of your decor… it is so true how some people’s decorating ideas are right out of a box, or store display. Real people’s homes show so much more in personal touches and personality, such as yours. You are inspiring, Susan! p.s. yes, that is me at my aunt’s farm when I was 2! πŸ˜‰

  36. I remember the day we saw that house for the first time. I was with you when you walked through it. Gack! The orange carpet was awful, but who can forget the carpet in the basement. The only explanation can be that it was designed to hide vomit.

    I love that room. I remember being shocked at the transformation from when I left for college and came to visit for the first time. I still love it! I’m so glad you didn’t listen to the designer or the lady who tried to talk you out of doing these colors in the first place. What do they know?!

  37. Susan I don’t know HOW I missed this!! It is one of my favorite rooms period! Girl if you do as well in your job as you do decorating? The whole country is gonna be fixed up fast! *winks* Beautiful, cozy, warm amazing!! A classic timeless room. I don’t think it could be done better. And I LOVED your story! Vanna

  38. judicreations says

    I have enjoyed looking at your home. Its very beautiful and you have given so much thought and attention to every detail. The colours are lovely.
    I’m so happy I’ve found your site and I too work full-time but will be back for further visits.
    Come by and visit my blog as well when you have some time.
    Have a lovely day.

  39. Lady Katherine says

    Does your coffee table have a leather insert? It looks a lot like mine, that I bought at a garage sale for $8.00 about 20 years ago.

  40. I’m glad that you didn’t take that ‘terrible’ Instructors advice. Did you send her photos after some of this wonderful “attention” to details of yours started to ‘roll in’??? Such a beautifully comfortable room you have! Blessings to you. I’ll be back when I ‘CAN FOCUS’ [LO] Verne [redprosper @ RMS}.

  41. I adore this room! I wish you would come help me “tweek” my livingroom. I like it a lot, but I LOVE yours! Really a terrific job!

  42. Terri and Bob says

    I have love seat but no couch! I have four chairs in my LR. I need to add the layers you have in order to gain the feeling of coziness and love that you have been able to capture. I love this room. Your instructor was bonkers.

  43. I love the way you tell the story of a room as much as I love the actual room…you show the importance of waiting for just the right piece….seems more fun that way…such an amazing room. I think our family room also sealed the deal for me….we have wood paneled waincoting and a large brick fireplace….wouldn’t I be lucky to have your talent to decorate it!

  44. I clicked on your family room photo on the side… and wow! glad i did. Gorgeous room, and a great chronicle of how to “do” a room layer by layer, and wait for the right pieces and inspiration.

    BTW I took a decorating class at a local college last fall… and had a similar experience. The instructor was a nice woman, but not what I was expecting, and when she said to me, “Did you study design?” I realized I was probably speaking up too often in class!

    Great job on your family room, and yes, MY house said I AM YOURS as soon as my foot crossed the threshold. The best houses choose us.


  45. Monkey's Momma says

    I absolutely love your home. What you have created is simply amazingly beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing all the gorgeous pictures with us.

    I am grabbing your button to add to my "Home & Garden Blogs" page.

  46. Cote de Texas says

    this room is so wonderful! it’s so cozy and classic – I love the walls – the secretary and I love the fabric with the burgundy chair – what was that woman talking about? it’s perfect!!!!!
    just beautiful – so homey and warm.

  47. Rita Kent at TesoroFino.Com says

    Susan~ This may sound strange, but I need your help. Under this post of yours, you have a COMMENTS section and then LINKS TO HIS POST section. My blog name kept appearing on someone’s blog under LINKS TO THIS POST and the author thought I was doing it intentionally. It was linking my blog name over and over. Do you know how this section of our blog works and are my format settings or hers causing this to happen. Please help. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

  48. ~~Rhonda says

    Love your family room. It’s beautiful. I love the traditional look. Re: the mirror…I can understand your dismay at the loss of the antique mirror. There are ways to “antique” new mirror glass. I’m sure a google search would bring up a solution. Worth a try. πŸ™‚ ~~Rhonda

  49. Kevin Graves says

    Your lovely room needs no decorator. Did it ever occur to you that she was "teaching" at a community center because she had no taste? Confidence she may have, taste, not so much. Once you have the spatial and scale skills, you can learn the rest. It's innate to some people, as foreign as Greek to most. I think it's a great gift to be born with it, as opposed to learning it. Some of my favorites are self taught.

    The wood is beautiful and reminds me of my favorite wood for a study or family room, Butternut. The secretary is a great piece and the two chairs with one ottoman are my favorite. Great for the toe-tap unspoken language of "I'm reading, but I love being here with you"

    A warm and beautiful room. Well done.

  50. I loved my visit thru your lovely home, very pretty but yet you sure feel at home there..cuddle up with a throw and good conversation or a good book ..right at home πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing….

  51. Bonnie Schulte says

    I look at this room, probably once, every couple of weeks, and my heart still skips beats, when I see it. I even dream about it..REALLY! It is one of the most beautiful rooms I have come across, on all the blogs I have seen. You have decorated your entire home with class. Love it!!!

  52. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Bonnie, thanks so much for those sweet words! I need to take some better pics now that I have a camera that handles the low lighting a lot better. πŸ™‚ If I get that done, I'll add them to this post some time. The first and last pic are taken with my better camera…as is the doggy lamp…that's why those are so much clearer. πŸ™‚

  53. Hello Susan,
    I just simply adore your home.

    You are a very talented lady to have put it all together so nicely.


  54. Bonnie@Creative Decorating says

    I just had to click on this room because the picture was calling me!! Obviously the instructor had no clue what she was talking about!! You have blended patterns successfully and gave this room so much life! I just love it!!

  55. Liz - Infusewithliz.blogspot.com says

    I absolutely love this room and I can well imagine why you knew this was home when you saw it! Your decorating is wonderful and I agree with everything you have said about how and why you do things. I agree with your reasoning on the colors and the furniture choices. Obviously the person that came to your home had no idea how to decorate with personality! I love all your classic and traditional furniture, I just got a beautiful Mahogany dining set two years ago. If you get a chance come to my blog and see my outdoor garden area I've posted! Love your home! Liz

  56. I've looked at the room before, but I don't recall reading the narrative. I sure hope you dropped out of the class! No decorator worth his/her salt worries too much about "rules". Rules lead to boredom and predictability. Neither of which exist anywhere within your home!

  57. I love your room.I too would take the class if you taught.
    I always enjoy your blog.

  58. Anonymous says

    Timeless…very English Country! I love everything about the room. I could sit in a room like that all day

  59. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Anonymous, thanks so much! I can't believe how bad the pics are in this post. They were taken with an older camera when I first began blogging and my camera skills weren't so great. lol I just tried to auto sharpen some of these pics with Photoshop. I will retake these sometime soon…definitely can do a better job now with my current camera. Thanks for you patience viewing this blurring pics.

  60. Hallo!!
    E' beutiful il tuo salone, sono immagini molto molto belle!!
    Mi piacerebbe avere qui in Italia una casa come la tua!!
    Buona serata!!
    Un abbraccio Sabrina

  61. Rita @ TesoroFino.com says

    I have to agree with the above post from "sabrymagic". In Italian, she says, : Hello!! Your home is beautiful, the photos are very, very beautiful!! I would love to have a home like yours here in Italy!! Compliments!! Have a good night!! Hugs, Sabrina".

  62. Kevin Graves says

    Your family room is so inviting and warm. Your colors work together very well. What a great place for a movie night with the family or a quiet evening of reading alone with each other.

  63. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Thanks so much Kevin! It really is a great spot for a movie. πŸ™‚

  64. Mid-Atlantic Martha says

    That so called decorator could NOT have been more wrong! Your home is so welcoming and elegantly put together in a style of invitation. I love your pretty room — looks like a very cozy spot — warm and delightful…..just like you Susan.

  65. Susan Shay says

    Wow. Just wow.
    I wish just having the name Susan made me as talented as you are.
    Love your home! Want to fix mine? πŸ˜‰

  66. Oh that is so funny about your decorating class teacher. What a waste of money if you paid to be in that class, lol. I love your family room. It really reminds me of our formal living room except ours is so much smaller, which is fine cause we don't really use it much. I love how you decorated it and love your furniture, so classic and so warm….Christine

  67. DownTheLaneWithDaisy says

    This is a yummy cozy room. Great job!,,,

  68. Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates says

    Beautiful room. My daughter is an interior decorator and told me not to get a couch (unless you plan on sleeping on it) as never have more than 2 people ever sat together on a couch. he said either two comfy chairs or two loveseats. Hum!! can't decide. Your colors are great and that dog lamp I just love.

  69. Susan BetweenNapsOnThePorch says

    Thanks, Diane! I like that idea. I have had three people on the sofa during a party…but that's about the only time. They are nice to stretch out on for a movie.

  70. we have very similar family rooms. My judge paneled family room is carpeted right now– and we are looking at redoing it with engineered flooring- and i am wondering about the coloring . We have a darker wood flooring in the front foyer and wonder if it should be the same color of the panel or the darker hard wood it will meet with in the door way…Thank you!

  71. Susan this is just exactly the blog I have been looking for. I actually found your blog while trying desperately to find a toile-type pheasant fabric or wallpaper… and I have been in love with ‘your nest’ ever since! My only complaint about this blog is that I just want to see more of your house! I have enjoyed seeing the old video pictures too… we are looking at getting a new house and I try to figure out if these ugly houses we are looking at could be made beautiful somehow… I don’t know if I’m up to the challenge, but I’m sure you could do it. Thanks for giving us a little glimpse into one of the prettiest homes I’ve seen in years!

    • Thanks so much, Courtney, appreciate those sweet words so much! If you find a house with good bones and a floor plan/space that you like, I know you can turn it into your dream home. It just takes a little time to make it look and feel like the place you’ve envisioned, but I know you’ll make it happen! Don’t rush yourself though, wait until the right house comes along and you’ll know it’s the right one as soon as you step inside! XO

  72. That room would have gotten me too. And the Someday Library. I love that type of paneling, so homey and cozy. But if you see this, would you tell me how you plug in the lamp on the heart shaped table? I always want a lamp in the middle of the room, but have no plugs in the floors and don’t want to create a tripping hazard (I don’t even need anything to actually trip ‘over.’ Haha.) So I wondered if you were lucky enough to have a floor plug or if you’d devised some clever, Susan-ish way to plug it into the wall and hide the cord.

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