I love autumn and all the sights and sounds it brings. The brightly colored leaves and the crunch they make when you step on them after they’ve fallen. The smell of smoke wafting from fireplaces and, of course, at the end of October, the sight of children in all their imaginative wonder. As soon as November 1st hits, though, I find myself focused on family and looking forward to the time we’ll soon be sharing over the holidays. Some of my most cherished room boxes depict those type of moments.
The Massachusetts Dining Room above is filled with the flavor of autumn. Even before you notice the Thanksgiving meal, your eyes are drawn to the seasonal nature of the scene. The harvest basket by Wilhelmina adds just the right amount of color to the muted blue palette anchored by Linda Young’s braided rug. The table, created by Nicole Walton Marble, paired with chairs by George Hoffman, establishes a welcoming focal point framed by other fine art pieces brilliantly placed throughout the room. To me, this William Bowen room box is perfection, from the stenciled floor and shingled facade outside the window to the drapery fabric and the furnishings, which include Roger Gutheil’s hutch and lowboys and William R. Robertson’s desk by the fireplace. It is a true glimpse into what a Thanksgiving from the past may have looked like.
Another of my favorite room boxes depicting the gathering of family and friends is the Chessington Plaza European Dining Room. It portrays that moment right before guests arrive when you can feel the excitement in the air. I imagine the hostess here stealing a sip a wine with her husband before the festivities begin. (Incidentally, the libations are real bottled wines by C&J Gallery.) The deeply hued wallpaper is magnificent in this setting, complimenting Ruth Nalven’s exquisite petit point rug. The dining room table, chairs, and china cabinet are by Patrick Puttock with china by Rachel Roet. And please take notice of the jade and gold items by Harry Smith resting on Michael Walton’s drop leaf table. Also quite special to me are the cut crystal hobnail claret jug and lamp by Jim Irish. The lamp is a replica of a Rosenthal lamp handed down through our family over the years.
As I stop to study these exhibits today, I cannot help but be reminded of my own family gatherings—when that crystal lamp glimmered brightly as generations shared laughter and memories awaiting the Thanksgiving meal. But I am also struck by the realization that the room boxes, themselves, are a representation of family to me—of the family of artisans whose work comes together to create such warmth and realness. I stand here truly blessed and thankful for it all. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
P.S. Our Fifties Kitchen room box appeared on the November cover of Miniature Collector. It’s very similar to what our family kitchen would look like as my mother prepared Thanksgiving dinner for all the relatives. I love the feeling of this scene. It may have flaws, but it just says “family” to me. And what family would be complete without a few larger-than-life characters?