Tuesday, December 29, 2015

From chambre to salon - Before

Octave Valere Dargeles born 24 June 1867 in Montegut sur Arros, Gers, Midi-Pyrenees, France

Octave and wife Victorine Gabrielle Bonnabel pose with nephew, Cesar Raymond Dargeles and sons  Ernest Octave Dargeles and Henry Jules Dargeles.

The Dargeles photo was taken around the turn of the century. A copy was sent to family in Montegut and has hung in the same room since 1900. In 2002 cousin Therese points out the prominent placement of the photograph.

This upstairs bedroom or chambre has long been referred to as the Grandparents Room. Generations of Dazet, Dargeles and then Darees babies entered the world in this room. Not much has changed, aside from redecorating sometime during the late 1960's.  Vinyl wallpaper, heavy damask drapes, ceiling medallion and a brass-like chandelier were part of that upgrade!

The furniture is centuries old and still in lovely condition. A heavy sleigh bed slightly smaller than a double bed, a commode next to the 9 foot tall walnut armoire and the marble topped washstand are the original furnishings. At a later date an oak table and 4 chairs were placed in the center of the room.

 When the bedroom fireplace was no longer in use a removable cover was used to restrict drafts. Unfortunately it also created a perfect spot for wasps to build a very large nest.

 This photo was taken from the doorway to the room.  The room is large at approximately 16 x 18 feet with local oak plank flooring. The walls are adobe with plaster finish on the interior. The ceiling as well as the massive beams were plastered and painted as part of the redecorating.

All of the "before" photos were taken during a trip in 2008 to measure/photograph and evaluate the interior as well as the exterior to create our list of renovation priorities.

The armoire is enormous and at approximately 5 feet wide and  9 feet tall it demands immediate attention upon entering the room. The silky smooth finish has been preserved beautifully. Inside two small drawers held small family memorabilia. Several shelves held hand-made and delicately embroidered linens. Among the stacks of fine linen sheets and napkins were small lavander sachets and ribbon wrapped sprigs of herbs from the kitchen garden used efficiently to discourage insects.

A simple storage closet unit was built in between the wall and fireplace. Vinyl wallpaper covered the closet doors as well as the door into a small bedroom. If you look closely you can see the door latch and edges of the closet doors.

All of the wallpaper was removed as was the 1 x 5 inch rough cut oak used as base boards. We also removed the storage closet.

Heavy gold colored draperies covered both windows. The draperies were hung inside the recessed window area making it quite difficult to open the windows which in turn made it a challenge to open the shutters.

Since this room was no longer used it was always dim and a bit foreboding.

And if you have, thanks for reading.
Au revior,

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