Home­spun and Hand­made

A Ge­or­gia cou­ple mix heir­looms with hand­crafted decor to put a dash of hol­i­day spice into their re­habbed South­ern home.

Country Sampler - - Contents - Writ­ten by CH­ERYL HACKETT Pho­tographed and Styled by GRIDLEY + GRAVES

A thrifty and cre­ative Ge­or­gia home­owner in­cor­po­rates heir­looms, hand­i­crafts and yard­sale finds to fashion Yule­tide decor that com­ple­ments her prim­i­tive-style tastes.

Hol­i­days stir mem­o­ries,

and, as adults, we of­ten seek to repli­cate fa­vorite tra­di­tions. April La­je­vardi of Cov­ing­ton, Ge­or­gia, is no ex­cep­tion. The mo­ment her chil­dren’s Hal­loween cos­tumes are packed away, her cre­ative drive shifts into high gear. Us­ing fam­ily heir­looms, home­made crafts and bud­get-friendly finds, she fash­ions dec­o­ra­tions that cap­ture cher­ished mem­o­ries of her child­hood and com­ple­ment her fond­ness for prim­i­tive-style dec­o­rat­ing.

Dur­ing April’s teenage years, her mother worked at a his­toric house mu­seum, which April en­joyed vis­it­ing, es­pe­cially at Christ­mas­time when dec­o­ra­tors adorned the halls with ex­quis­ite dec­o­ra­tions and green­ery. April was so taken by the fes­tive at­mo­sphere that she recre­ated the fin­ery in her child­hood home. “I loved be­ing around the dec­o­ra­tors. I al­ways wanted to be a dec­o­ra­tor and, ever since I was 16, I dreamed of hav­ing my home fea­tured in a mag­a­zine,” she ex­plains.

If April’s mother helped in­flu­ence her dec­o­rat­ing style, then her fa­ther cul­ti­vated her thrifti­ness. Packed into a Volk­swa­gen van, the fam­ily trav­eled to 46 states dur­ing April’s child­hood, and they fre­quented thrift stores and yard sales dur­ing those va­ca­tions. “I’ll never for­get when we drove around with a grand­fa­ther clock strapped to the top of the van,” she re­calls.

April drew from these ex­pe­ri­ences to dec­o­rate the home she bought with her hus­band, Amir, in 2008. The cou­ple trans­formed a dark maze of dated rooms by paint­ing walls serene col­ors, swap­ping clunky light fix­tures for more el­e­gant de­signs, re­plac­ing kitchen coun­ters with gran­ite, and adding a bath­tub to the mas­ter bath­room. With a grow­ing house­hold that in­cluded three young sons, the cou­ple tack­led many home-im­prove­ment projects while the boys were asleep.

Af­ter the dust set­tled, April ap­pointed the home with an in­spir­ing col­lec­tion of re­pur­posed items. She de­scribes her dec­o­rat­ing style as a modern adap­ta­tion of prim­i­tive: “I love prim­i­tive styles, but I also love pieces that speak to me.”

April has a knack for spot­ting bargains and or­phaned furnishings with po­ten­tial, es­pe­cially at yard sales and thrift stores, and prefers old goods to new ones. “They all have some type of story to be told, and when I get them home, I like to rein­vent them into some­thing new,” she says, not­ing that their in­ex­pen­sive cost gives her more free­dom to ex­per­i­ment. “You don’t have to worry if you make a mis­take when re­do­ing an item.”

Ex­am­ples of April’s unique artistry can be found in the kitchen, where she re­fined a drop-leaf ta­ble with shades of mus­tard yel­low and ivory paint, and in the liv­ing room, where she trans­formed a wheeled box into an ot­toman with a toile slip­cover and fringe. In the mas­ter bed­room, she cre­ated a fo­cal point us­ing a man­tel and sec­ond­hand fire­place ac­ces­sories.

To know April is to un­der­stand that her dec­o­rat­ing magic re­ally hap­pens dur­ing the hol­i­days. She says, “I make al­most all my items for the hol­i­days or pur­chase them from yard sales and thrift stores. We are very much into reusing.” For ex­am­ple, she clipped branches from old ar­ti­fi­cial Christ­mas trees to make prim­i­tive feather-style trees to dis­play through­out her home, gath­ered pinecones to dec­o­rate chan­de­liers and table­tops, and used brown craft paint to an­tique new Santa Claus dec­o­ra­tions.

April sums up her love for hol­i­day dec­o­rat­ing by say­ing, “Prim­i­tive style is my fa­vorite for each hol­i­day. Even if the item was just cre­ated, it still gives an old-fash­ioned feel, mak­ing the hol­i­days feel warm and rem­i­nis­cent [of the past].”

April en­hanced a pair of old ice skates with fur trim and then fas­tened them to the newel post in the en­try with red rib­bon.

Op­po­site: April turned an over­size stock­ing sal­vaged from a house fire into a Santa coat to ac­cent the liv­ing room fire­place. She says, “The soot-dam­aged fab­ric was per­fect.” She also re­pur­posed or­phaned desk draw­ers into an end ta­ble.

50 NOVEM­BER 2017 An en­try shelf fash­ioned from a white­washed fence and pegs res­onates with old-fash­ioned charm and cre­ates a spot to show­case sea­sonal dec­o­ra­tions such as or­na­ments and green­ery.

Left: The clock above the front door marks the time the La­je­vardis were mar­ried. Gar­land and lights adorn the ban­is­ter. A wreath, red bow and Santa Claus door hanger ring in the hol­i­days.

Above: The large nat­u­ral tree in the liv­ing room is decked in tra­di­tional tin­sel and fa­vorite fam­ily or­na­ments. Co­or­di­nat­ing wrapped gifts, chil­dren’s books and toys on a shelf above the win­dow, and a sled propped next to the tree sug­gest Santa has al­ready stopped here.

Above: The liv­ing room ren­o­va­tion en­tailed paint­ing the walls, mold­ings and brick fire­place in shades of ivory. April dec­o­rates the space with an out­door win­ter sports theme that in­cludes vintage skis and bam­boo poles, snow­shoes, sleds and ice skates pur­chased at thrift shops and yard sales.

Right: A mar­ble-topped an­tique side­board in the liv­ing room ranks among April’s fa­vorite pieces; she added a flag to a new Santa Claus for a vintage look. 53

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