I was looking through some old photographs at my mum’s house today and came across this picture of the dining room at St. John’s, the house where I was raised. I loved this room so much. It was classic and elegant and it held so many happy memories of huge Christmas parties, small birthday parties, regular dinners with silver and linen and lots and lots of lively conversation. But there were also some unhappy memories of sitting at the table for hours while refusing with all of my might and main to eat Brussels sprouts, which I do eat nowadays!There were three large windows in this room – the two that you can see, and one to your right. There were large pocket doors, which we rarely closed because they stuck. The paneling around the room was about five feet high and there were channels on the top to hold plates. At Christmas, we lined up all of the cards along the rail.
The wallpaper in the dining room was handprinted,and the curtains had been printed to match, but in a different colourway. The top picture is about 10+ years earlier than the lower picture, and you can see that the dining room table has changed, and a rug has been added. Undoubtedly, the flowers on the table in the top image came from our garden. We had hundreds of daffodils and jonquils on the hills in front of our house and throughout our gardens.
There was a contact sheet of some other pictures of our house and one is the only picture we have of the full fireplace in the living room. The chimney breast was made of mahogany panels, which have since been painted. You can also see a little of the beamed ceiling in this picture. We never found out the story of the carved heads, as the man who built the house disappeared before the house was finished, and was never found. The door to the left of the fireplace leads to the library. It was mahogany on one side, and oak on the other! The final image is looking from the dining room across the hall into the living room. The fireplace shown above would have been to the right. This room was filled with light, as you can see, and a window seat spanned the length of the windows. There was nothing better than curling up with a book there, or taking a little catnap in the sunshine during the winter. Originally, there were valances that matched the beams on the ceiling, but the previous owners took them. Our family lived at St. John’s for nearly 30 years and it was just the most amazing house to spend a good portion of my life in.