I have been both blessed and cursed by my home.

Don’t get me wrong:  I love my home.  But, as with all great relationships, we have our moments…

You see, my home was my grandmother’s home.  The matriarch of our family, the woman for whom I was named, my archetype for ‘Grandmother’.  And she loved her home.  As it was.  As she made it.

Two Virginias, circa 1966

The 2 Virginias: my Grandmother (Virginia Brosius Thomas) and me (Virginia Thomas Crum). I love this picture. It’s EXACTLY the way I feel about my grandmother. (Notice the polished silver, spotless crystal, crisp linen table cloth, fresh flowers, and homemade pickles. This was no special occassion. This is what Grandmother’s table looked like every Sunday. And she always made it look and feel that effortless.)

So nearly a decade after her death, when Chip, the girls, and I moved in, it was like coming home.  I was immediately welcomed by each room and knew exactly where each piece should go:  the Sheraton sideboard on that wall; the bull’s eye mirror opposite it, over the mantel.

Our move, as moves always are, had been unsettling to us all, so the warmth of our new-old home’s embrace was calming, even necessary.

Perfect, right?

Well . . . you see, even as a child, I didn’t like the dark-stained woodwork throughout.  And the wallpaper – in EVERY room – not a fan.  Chip and the girls have never cared for the 1940s-era curtains throughout the main floor, but I love them, and they were grandmother’s (And, truth be told, I get weak in the knees over vintage fabric – so . . .)

As I said, we have our moments.

Over the years (we moved here in 2001) we’ve changed little pieces here and there:  soapstone counters and new cabinets in the kitchen, paint here and there.  In fact, several Christmases ago, the girls painted and completely decorated my grandmother’s study, turning it into my perfect, private space.  You see, I am blessed.

But still, much as I love my home, its history, its embrace, it is time to re-think it and make it my own.

So I’ve decided, as part of this catharsis, to take you on a tour of our home, Clifton-on-the-Monocacy (yes, every self-respecting farm has a name, and that is ours.).

I’ll share with you the spaces and contents that make my house my home, and then, online, you’ll have the opportunity to buy some of these one-of-a-kind items, one room at a time.  And, yes, each of the main floor rooms has a name:  The Long Room, the Square Room, the Dining Room, The Glass Room, and the Kitchen.  We’ll be visiting them in that order.

Just as Chartreuse & co is the expression of my ideal shopping experience, so I want this house tour to be the ultimate tour:  I always want those just-right pieces I see in blog posts and magazines.  This way, you’ll get to have your pick of the great stuff you see!

So here’s a few vintage pictures to tease you – showing the house over the years.  Enjoy!

(And stay tuned to see what it’s like today.)

The Long Room stairs with Grandmother.

Circa 1967. The Long Room is essentially the front hall. But with dimensions of 26′ x 17′,  it’s really more than just a hall.  You’re looking at the landing of the front stairs in the room, where we played games, spun tops, and put on plays for the adults to enjoy. Here my younger sister, Victoria, and I watch a top my grandmother has set spinning for us. (The infamous 1940s curtains are in the background.)

homelife sixties, vintage photos

Circa 1966. Here’s a better shot of the steps. I love that they are curved. Not too long after this, new floors and a custom Oriental rug were put down (it’s still here). That’s me with my doll and stylish purse.

homelife sixities, granddaddy

Circa 1967. The Square Room. So-called because of it’s shape. It flows directly off the Long Room through a massive pair of pocket doors. The television was always in this, the smallest room downstairs (15’x15′). That’s me kissing my grandfather goodnight.

Grandmother's House, square room, circa 1980.

Circa 1978. The Square Room. The most distinctive feature of this room is the carved, tiled, columned, and mirrored mantel. Granddaddy’s chair has been reupholstered in blue. The wallpaper freshened, and I’ve grown a little older (and kinda creepy, too. Sorry about the weird eyes in this one.)

The Dining Room, before the addition

Circa 1968. The Dining Room. I noticed going through the pictures that not only is the Dining Room at the physical center of the house, it’s also the heart of the house. Most of my pictures were taken in this room. Here you can see the house before the bay window was opened up onto the Glass Room in the large, modern addition. If you look out the windows, you can see the brick supports are already in place for the addition. Pictured here, from the left, facing the camera are my older sister, Margaret, my Grandmother, my Grandfather, and my Great-Grandfather, who was ailing at that time and had come to live with my grandparents. That’s me, all alone on the other side of the table.

Dining room at grandmothers

Circa May 1968. Cutting my favorite cake: my grandmother’s Lemon Pound Cake with lemon drizzle. You can see how excited I am! That’s my beautiful mother helping me cut my birthday cake. By the way, that round, convex mirror above the mantel is still there. We put it right back when we moved in.

My 4th birthday party at grandmother's

Circa May 1969. Just to give you a glimpse of the constancy of life at my grandmother’s house when I was a little girl. My 5th birthday. My mother, elegant as always, looking on.  There are many more photos like this, just wanted you to have a sense of it.


Circa 1976.  The Dining Room with its ‘new’ wallpaper (I actually love this paper).  My parents and my sisters, Victoria in the hat, and Margaret on the right.  (I’m the blonde in the middle).  We’re all standing in front of the table on the opposite side of the room from the bay window and entrance to the Glass Room addition.  Today, only the piece of furniture behind us has changed and the curtains are gone.

I’ll try to gather some more historic photos as I go through.  This has already been a great pleasure to me.  Hope you have fun with it, too!

Thanks for reading,