From FAD to Fab­u­lous

Country Sampler - Home Tours - - From Fad To Fabulous -

Take away tips from a re­source­ful Iowa dec­o­ra­tor as she mixes fam­ily heir­looms amid re­pur­posed pieces and re­pro­duc­tions to trans­form her 1960s home into a Colo­nial haven.

Re­use, re­pur­pose and re­cy­cle is a com­mon catch­phrase prac­ticed by many de­sign­ers to­day—and coun­try dec­o­ra­tors are no ex­cep­tion to that move­ment. But, some pieces have such spe­cial sen­ti­men­tal value that they are meant to hold onto their her­itage rather than un­dergo an up­cy­cle.

A mu­si­cal me­mento in Mary Lou and Gary Flack’s Ne­vada, Iowa, home is one such trea­sure that re­tained its au­then­tic ap­peal. If the Flacks’ vi­o­lin could talk, it would surely express grat­i­tude for its cur­rent “liv­ing” sit­u­a­tion, nes­tled in its orig­i­nal red-vel­vet-lined case and dis­played with pride next to an an­tique writ­ing desk. The in­stru­ment, which once be­longed to Mary Lou’s grand­fa­ther, could very well have ended up as part of a nov­elty dis­play—in fact, Mary Lou re­calls her mother be­ing cau­tioned not to use it as a planter, which was a trend in the 1960s! For­tu­nately, the vi­o­lin es­caped that fate and was passed down to Mary Lou, who ob­serves that she has moved past the “cutesy coun­try” look she fa­vored in the 1980s to em­brace the more time­less Colo­nial and prim­i­tive styles. She feels es­pe­cially for­tu­nate that she has many pieces, in­clud­ing fur­nish­ings and pho­to­graphs, with a con­nec­tion to her fam­ily’s past. “I love be­ing sur­rounded by my fam­ily his­tory,” she notes. “I have a lot of things that have been passed down through four gen­er­a­tions.”

Although she con­sid­ers it lucky she has many fam­ily heir­looms to trea­sure, Mary Lou, a re­tired nurse, also en­joys hav­ing more time to travel with her hus­band to search for ad­di­tional items to add to her col­lec­tions. “He’s good about tak­ing me places I want to go,” she says of Gary’s pa­tience for her pas­sion. “He’ll come in and look around … and then he goes back to the car to lounge!”

Mary Lou’s shop­ping strat­egy is not all about an­tiques, though. With in­spi­ra­tion gleaned from pe­rus­ing home decor mag­a­zines and par­tic­i­pat­ing in on­line dec­o­rat­ing groups, Mary Lou has de­vel­oped a flair for mix­ing re­pro­duc­tions and re­pur­posed goods into her rooms, which al­lows her to get the look she loves at a bar­gain price. For ex­am­ple, she snagged her four-poster bed for a mere $10 at an auc­tion, and then sanded and re­fin­ished it to give it an aged ap­pear­ance. The liv­ing room man­tel is a re­pro­duc­tion picked up in Mis­souri, but propped with pewter, sam­plers, old books, a photo of Mary Lou’s great-great-grand­mother and other col­lectibles, it’s hard to dis­tin­guish from an au­then­tic piece.

Mary Lou loves a good road trip, but she some­times finds ob­jects much closer to home—next door, for ex­am­ple. When she and Gary re­mod­eled their kitchen a few years ago, a neigh­bor who was mov­ing of­fered her a fold-down desk and an older-look­ing “dry sink” on wheels that she now uses as an is­land. If she can’t find just the right item to suit her style, she will adapt some­thing to fit the sit­u­a­tion; for ex­am­ple, up­dat­ing ac­cent fur­ni­ture with black paint to com­ple­ment other fur­nish­ings in her fam­ily room.

As Mary Lou’s col­lec­tions con­tinue to grow and re­flect her evolv­ing style, one thing is sure to re­main con­stant—her abil­ity to skill­fully weave the old and new to­gether to cre­ate a warm, wel­com­ing home that pays homage to her fam­ily’s past.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.