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Antiques and Children's Rooms
THE INFANT IS NOT INTERESTED in his surroundings as far as interior decoration goes. As long as he is warm, fed, and dry, a comfortable cradle is all he will need by way of furniture. Therefore, it is up to Mother to fix up the room as she likes. You may choose traditional pink and blue, or any other color scheme you prefer. Now is a good time to try your hand at quilting, and make a tiny, but washably practical patchwork quilt.
Although a simple cradle will suffice the baby, Mother will require considerably more furniture. Any style furniture can be chosen for the nursery but it would be wise to purchase items with an eye to the future by buying furniture which can be used by the child in later years.
Small-scale chairs are a must; but do not forget to have at least one standard-sized chair, possibly a slat-back rocker or a Boston rocker, for your comfort or for Daddy or Grandmother to pass the time while you fuss over the latest addition.
High chairs are a part of baby's furniture, but they are kept in the kitchen or dining room so are not included here.
Roomy chests of drawers for little clothes are of utmost importance, and a low blanket chest provides storage now and acts as a toy chest later.
A marble top commode or chest of drawers is a good place to keep diapers, talcum and baby oil, while the marble top is a convenient height for dressing or changing the baby without having to worry about damaging the finish. A soapy cloth will clean up any accidents and occasional waxings with a paste wax will help protect it. The coolness of the marble will be welcome in summer, and during the winter months a folded bath towel can be placed under the baby.
As the child grows up it will serve other purposes for him. Marble top furniture and children go together like ham and eggs. With the addition of a tall stool (an old bar stool or the kitchen stepping-stool will do) to bring him up to a convenient height, he can have extra play area with the effect similar to the high desks used by architects and draftsmen. The marble top is nearly impervious to finger paints spilled by the budding artist; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will not harm it, nor will library paste, or even the fishing worms for next Saturday's picnic. It also provides a wonderful place to dump out and assort all manner of treasured "junk" which children are so prone to collect.
There was much small-scale furniture made especially for children. These include chairs, rocking chairs, desks, tables and just about the same kinds of furniture you would find in any modern store.
Make sure you buy only sturdy, durable articles as they will receive a lot of hard use.
When finished in the natural wood color, this small furniture is darling against the bright colors that children love. Add a Pennsylvania Dutch chest-or one painted in the same gay, colorful style-and you will have a roomy storage space which the child can use as additional seating area or as a table and play surface. An old rocking horse will be nice for the toddler.
Consider adding a climbing pole painted in bold stripes a la barber shop. This is accomplished by use of a fireman's pole from a dismantled old firehouse, if you are lucky, or just a smooth metal pipe which is fastened securely at the ceiling and floor and with a round rubber mat around the base. This will fill those rainy days with safe, muscle-building exercise while providing a starting place far imaginative play.
Finish the room with easy- to-care-for linoleum flooring in a stenciled or a spatter pattern, and you will have a room that is as practical as it is attractive.
Even though there was so much furniture made for children, with some imagination and paint you can extend this amount indefinitely.
The investment in small furniture should be modest as the child is growing rapidly and will need adult size furniture almost before you know it. Therefore, when you buy furniture for junior, keep an eye open for future use, and buy items that will either grow with the child or can be converted to another use when he outgrows them.
There need be no hesitation in painting antique furniture in gay colors for your child. Many of the new paints are so easy to use and are washable; then later you can remove the paint with no harm done the furniture.
A good many really ugly Victorian and Empire articles will be actually improved by a coat of bright paint. Use semi-gloss paint with a latex base-this can be cleaned up with soap and water, yet dries to a washable finish.
A fussy Gothic Victorian chest of drawers, for example, might be painted a delicate baby pink with white knobs and a thin white line striped around the edges of each drawer. (Striping is easily done with a special kind of brush and is no more difficult than applying nail polish.) Curtains can be made in nylon tulle of the same pastel color chosen for the furniture, resulting in a charming room for a girl. For a boy, the same ungainly furniture might be painted a darker color; maybe a deep, rich blue for all the furniture with curtains and bedspread made of candy striped bed sheets in yellow and white.