Transferware Heaven: Old House Love

Hello all!  Before I say another thing, I have a confession to make …


A few weeks ago, my friend Debbie at Words on Wheels yakked a bit (her word, not mine!) about “early birds” … people who arrive really early to events like thrift sales so they can get “the good stuff” for themselves.  Debbie said that’s rude, and Yours Truly agreed — and left a comment saying so.  “Early birds are r-u-d-e!”  Um, Debbie, I hate to tell you, but last weekend I was an Early Bird, albeit an ignorant one.  I’ll explain, but will you please just go ahead and forgive me since I was really an Early Bird didn’t-mean-to-be … and since I just linked to your blog?  (BIG smile!)

After getting up really early and taking Renaissance Man to the airport, I headed to the auction of an historic Victorian house.  It was built in 1865 and is the oldest house in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee.  It was also on my way home from the airport, so when I’d left my house, I had camera in hand and a book to read.  I knew I had to kill an hour before the preview began at 9:00.  And therein was my mistake.  (Check out the sign: Open House 1 hour prior to auction)

Promptly at 9 AM I pulled up to the beautiful old gal and proceeded to check her out … camera definitely in hand!


I was surprised I was the only one besides auction personnel who was there.  They all smiled and introduced themselves … and left me alone to take pictures.  Thank goodness!


I like to be quiet the first time I meet an old house. To experience it … feeling the years of history that emanate almost tangibly from its walls. Some of you understand. You have “old house love,” too.  Almost always (old house or new), I prefer to enter by the front door.  This one certainly called to me …


But it seemed that the side door was where the action was … what little “action” there was.  So strange.  I was still the only one there to view the house. Quite frankly, I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for whoever was selling it … because I knew I wasn’t going to be bidding! (I told the auctioneer that up front when I asked permission to walk around outside and take pictures. (See … I’m really not a r-u-d-e person.)

I walked around to the side door, preparing to check out the inside … and expecting to see a mostly empty old house.


But that was BEFORE I stepped through the door into the Sunroom …



Not only was this house furnished, but it was furnished with dishes!  I felt like the little orphan in Annie who couldn’t stop saying, “Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness!”  The couple who owned this house has spent the last year restoring another old one. Now they’re ready to move, but the housing market isn’t cooperating; thus, the auction.  Bet you’d never guess that the wife is an interior designer, would you?


I’ll just go ahead and apologize now for the quality of some of these interior pics. When I was told it was okay to take pictures inside, believe me I was “on the move” … trying to get as many shots as possible before the house got (hopefully) crowded with potential bidders. SO they are what they are …

I’ve never thought of decorating with cute little butter pats!  Here they are flanking the mirror.


This room was amazing!  It was an add-on … built “new” to look “old.”  I love that!  The blue door is the one we just came in.  The dark opening toward the right is the kitchen. I’ll take you there in a minute, but right now, let’s peek into the door that’s open on the right …


It’s a pink toile bathroom! Even the ceiling was wallpapered.


More dishes here, too …

Now let’s head to the kitchen … where we get our first hint that this house might just be a glimpse into Transferware Heaven!


The family who owned this house has two young daughters. In some of the pics you’ll see that this is actually a kid-friendly house.  Of course it’s been “staged” for the auction (No, contents don’t stay with the house!) but I love that they left the little girls’ things just where they usually are.  Somehow it made this house a little more “real.”


Between the kitchen and the dining room, there’s a little alcove that functions like a Butler’s Pantry …


I LOVE that single red teacup!

I’m pretty fond of this dining room, too!


Be sure to notice how pictures are integrated throughout the house in “unusual” places — like directly on this door …

One step through a doorway, and we’re now in the living room …

… with transferware everywhere you look.

I’ll admit it.  When I took this picture, my focus was NOT on the dishes (This was an OH MY GOSH gorgeous piece of furniture!) … but if you look closely, they’re there.

They’re everywhere!



For those of you who like to know where you’ve been (or where you’re going), so far we’ve worked our way from the back left corner of the house to the front left corner.  Now, let’s step into the entry …


… and across to that open door.

We’re headed into the Library …

It was the only dark room in the house.  I think that’s what amazed me most about this old Victorian.  Most old houses are very dark, but not this gal.  The light in most rooms was absolutely gorgeous!


Back out to the foyer … and up the stairs.  LOVE that window at the top of the stairway!
The stairs empty out onto a nice-sized landing.  To our left is the Master Suite … with more dishes!

Walk through the door in the picture, but be sure to watch your step!  Look left, and prepare to relax. I think this is where I’d want to stay all day long … reading and journaling and blogging.  But you’ll want to peek into the Master Bath, so keep walking through that next door …


Pretty plates … even in the bathroom!

Let’s back track a bit through the Master Suite and go back to the landing.  Now we have to choose which of the little girls’ rooms to visit first.  Hmmm …  Why don’t we check out the room of Daughter #1?

Didn’t her Mommy do an job hand-stenciling these walls?

My girls’ rooms sure didn’t look like this one … but the hair bows hanging on the back of the door brought back some sweet memories!

Straight across the landing to little sister’s room …

Uh huh.  Definitely a “staged” house … but it sure is pretty!

On the front of the house (between the two girls’ rooms) was the old Sleeping Porch.  It was enclosed and turned into a bathroom for the two bedrooms to share.

Have you enjoyed the tour?  Let’s head back downstairs … but don’t miss the decorative plates as you go by!

In case you’re wondering …

After about 20 minutes of having the house to myself, people began to arrive.  And then it dawned on me.  I WAS AN EARLY BIRD!  I made a beeline for the home owners to apologize.  The husband just laughed and said, “no problem.”  The wife said SHE thought it started at 9:00, too, and when no one was there, she was beginning to get a little worried.  Even though I didn’t plan to bid, she was really glad to see me.  Whew!

The house sold at auction for only $247,500 (plus a 10% buyer’s premium). To my knowledge, the person who bought it wasn’t physically present at the auction. I don’t know if it’s going to continue to be a private residence … or perhaps a B&B … or … ?

So what do you think?

Do you like the look of decorating with this many dishes?
Are you a fan of wallpaper?  (This old house used LOTS of wallpaper!)
What was your favorite room?
Pick a question … any question … and tell us what you think! 

I’m linking to Mosaic Monday at Little Red House and Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.

By the way … How are your Sally List projects coming along?  Click on Sally’s picture on my sidebar and let me know!


  1. Did you say that beautiful house sold for $247,500.????
    Can that be true. If I would’ve know that, I might have come!!!! Now that is a HOUSE!!!. I love every nook and corner. I loved the kitchen and always wanted a butler’s pantry!! My mouth is drooling!

  2. What a beautiful home! Beautifully decorated and staged, but still looks livable – warm and inviting. Sigh …

    Was that price (247.50?) per sq foot?

    Thanks for the beautiful eye candy!


  3. What a gorgeous house! Love every nook and corner. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  4. What a beautiful home! $247.50??????????????? Wow and they weren’t even there. Beautifully decorated. Thanks for sharing this. xo

  5. What a gorgeous house! I’d love to live there.

    I do like all the plates – although maybe not in so many of the rooms. But the decorating is so well done. Really inviting.

  6. What a beautiful house! Thanks for taking us with you!
    Have a nice week,

  7. What a heavenly house!
    I like the decorating with plates. It’s something I started doing because we moves so often with the military and plates were easy to put up, take down and to pack. I love the homeowners use of colour!

  8. I can’t believe that the house went that cheap. It was so gorgeous. I could have moved right in. V

  9. You’re forgiven!! You get the early bird pass! You can venture forth early any time you want as long as you come back with photo goodies like that.

    I was imagining the owners watching you delight in room after room. Tell me, did you squeal? I would have had to squeal.

    It’s awesome. I loved every single room that you showed because that’s my house.

    Yep. It’s mine. It lives in my head. When I think of old houses, I think of so much of that type of decor.

    I actually read this last night, but my demon possessed laptop wouldn’t let me comment. I’m glad I got the second tour this morning.

  10. Susan —
    This is a PERFECT example of how fresh and yet authentic an old house can be. I am a huge fan of dishes on the wall but that might have been a tad overdone, even for me. However, if I had all of those beauties, I’d want to see them daily, too. The use of all of those beautiful toiles is perfectly enchanting. Of course, I’m a toile girl, ya know!
    Linda @ A Toile Tale

  11. Gorgeous house. No kidding transferware heaven! I’m like you, I like to “feel” and old house. Some give hugs and some do not. This one certainly seemed to give huge hugs! Thanks so much for the tour.

  12. SPEECHLESS… SPEECHLESS… SPEECHLESS… this house is amazing and your pictures give the MOST WONDERFUL tour… thanks for sharing this treasure… xxooxx

  13. I’ve died and gone to heaven. That’s it, no other words for this beauty. Sigh………I am so glad you were an early bird and took all those gorgeous pics.
    Now, tell me about that $247,500. What?!?

  14. Oh, and may you and your loved ones have a very blessed Thanksgiving, Susan.

  15. I had so much fun in our tour…and to think, we can go back and explore over and over again. Thanks! Cherry Kay

  16. I am so glad you were early…and had the nerve to ask to go in and take pictures..I need to remember that.

    This is just wonderful…thanks so much for sharing, I enjoyed every little corner of it…even the smocked dresses hanging up, oh my, I use to make those.

    It was a just a wonderful tour…beautiful home!

  17. This is a gorgeous home. I love transferware and wallpaper, so for me.. it’s just right.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Ladybug Creek

  18. Oh Susan, this house is just beautiful. Soooo many great decorating ideas, too. Now I know what to do with my growing collection of butter pats!! I’m a big fan of plates on the walls, have them in my dining, family room and master bedroom! Thanks so much for sharing this with us! Btw, how much did the house sell for? Is that per sq. ft or total sales price?!?

    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  19. Thinking of you, Susan. Wanted to stop by earlier to let you know you are in my thoughts but couldn’t make it sooner. Blessings and prayers your way.

  20. Thank you so much for the invite to see this post. What a gorgeous home! So sad to see it went up for auction but I just can’t imagine it did not sell well! It is so gorgeous! I love everything about it, from the wallpaper to the dishes all around everywhere. Thank you so much for posting this. I am sure I will be back to visit it often for more inspiration. It is beautifully staged!

  21. What a wonderful old home. I have bookmarked this so I can read this post over and over again I called it “the most beautiful house ever”! I love all the rooms – and even the stairway landings. Especially love the Master Bedroom and the Sleeping porch turned bathroom. I love old houses and every room in this one is so beautiful. So many gorgeous dishes. Yea, maybe a little overdone but, why put these treasures in storage? I bet each piece has a story to tell.
    And, if I could afford wallpaper like that in my home, I would love it. I’m thinking I just might start with a small room. Such an enchanting home. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  22. Wow! What a house! You really were blessed to be there “alone” to take photos in peace. Now this home looks beautiful and beautifully decorated, but here they’d say that the house is overdecorated because not everyone enjoys that style. I’m thinking it might be a big mistake, but here they’d require the walls to be nearly empty with just a hint of “life.” This house is projecting a lot of living. I love it.

  23. That house is the most wonderful thing, do you think you would ever get tired of sitting in each of those rooms and just looking around at the magnificient tranferware dishes, wow those are so beautiful and the designer did such a beautiful job of making it look so comfortable but not dated…thanks for the show

  24. That house is the most wonderful thing, do you think you would ever get tired of sitting in each of those rooms and just looking around at the magnificient tranferware dishes, wow those are so beautiful and the designer did such a beautiful job of making it look so comfortable but not dated…thanks for the show

  25. Beautiful home! Glad you arrived early so you could take all these great shots. I like decorating with plates, and I’m a fan of wallpaper. I don’t think I’d use wallpaper in every room. I like it more as an accent. Same with the plates. I mostly like them on shelves and hutches. A few on the wall in the right room for me. That said, this home owner certainly has a gorgeous collection.

  26. Claudia Cann says:

    After viewing this home, through your eyes/camera lens “thank you” I have fallen in love with transferware!!!

  27. omg…pure heaven!!!! i wonder how long it took to collect all those plates!

  28. I’m here from the Houzz post on using (or not using) vintage china. I love the use of china, ALL the china, in the house, and would totally decorate my own home this way had my husband not asked me to maybe use fewer plates. So……many are now boxed. What can I say? It’s his home too. Thanks for sharing this home.