A Lay­ered Look

Dress up your rus­tic home with a care­fully cu­rated mix of cus­tom pieces, an­tiques and col­lectibles just like these handy home­own­ers did in their In­di­ana cabin.

Country Sampler - - Contents -

Cre­ate a rus­tic look with a mix of cus­tom pieces, an­tiques and col­lectibles just like a pair of handy Hoosiers did in their cabin.

Pared-down prim with a lit­tle Colo­nial thrown in for good mea­sure is how Deb­bie Blink de­scribes the style she likes in her Cedar Lake, In­di­ana, home. “I al­ways say I wanted it to look like the farmer got some money,” she says with a laugh. “I like prim, but I like it a lit­tle cleaned up and dressed up.”

That means the 3,000-square-foot, three-bed­room home Deb­bie and her hus­band, Tom, built more than 30 years ago is a sim­pli­fied mix of old and new. “I don’t have all old things, but there are a lot mixed in,” she ex­plains. In­stead, she opts for newer, cus­tom-made and highly func­tional stor­age and fur­ni­ture pieces in the kitchen and bed­rooms, adding vin­tage ac­cents through­out the rest of her home for both per­son­al­ity and old-fash­ioned fla­vor.

Sit­u­ated on 7 acres less than an hour from Chicago, the house was in­spired by log cab­ins the cou­ple had ad­mired in In­di­ana’s pic­turesque Brown County. The avid do-it-your­selfers de­signed and built the house and the ad­ja­cent “lit­tle cabin” and raised their fam­ily—three now-grown chil­dren—there. Since then, they’ve hap­pily added six grand­chil­dren to the mix.

“We had a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old at the time we built the house,” Deb­bie re­mem­bers, adding that it was less than com­plete when they moved in. “It was crazy. We had built a home be­fore, but this was a whole dif­fer­ent ball game.”

The cou­ple knew they wanted it to be their for­ever house, so they took their time get­ting the cabin just right, pay­ing at­ten­tion to ev­ery de­tail and do­ing all the work them­selves. “There isn’t one part of the house we didn’t touch,” Deb­bie says. She cred­its Tom with be­ing a tal­ented car­pen­ter and builder, the ev­i­dence of which is ap­par­ent in the house it­self as well as many of the fur­nish­ings in­side.

In fact, Deb­bie still has the first piece Tom made her—a small can­dle box— in their bed­room. Items filled with per­sonal mean­ing, and with trea­sured sto­ries be­hind them, can be found through­out the house, and Deb­bie says they are what make her house a home.

“I can tell you the day we bought most of the an­tiques,” she re­calls, adding that she doesn’t con­sciously col­lect any­thing but ad­mits to hav­ing a soft spot for pewter. The cou­ple en­joy trav­el­ing to New Eng­land on buy­ing trips, and they cite the Brim­field an­tiques show and Walker Home­stead as fa­vorite pil­grim­ages. The old­est item they have, a 1700s-era rocker, was bought in Mas­sachusetts.

The Blinks have passed their love of the heir­loom, hand­crafted and home­made down to their chil­dren. Tom taught the boys to dove­tail wood, and two of the cou­ple’s three chil­dren have switched to a sim­i­lar dec­o­rat­ing style. Deb­bie’s sig­na­ture lay­ered look has been fea­tured on an area home tour and dur­ing the craft shows the cou­ple once held on their prop­erty.

It all comes down to one piece of dec­o­rat­ing ad­vice: “New or old, buy what you love,” she ad­vises. “For us, it’s all about the mix. It just feels right.”

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