Make it

Country Sampler's Prairie Style - - Pioneers -


IN­SPI­RA­TION: Sal­vage pieces and any­thing that can be re­worked and given a new pur­pose.

BEST-LOVED EL­E­MENTS: Fam­ily heir­looms, vin­tage tex­tiles, French items, util­i­tar­ian pieces and red ac­cents.

BIG­GEST CHAL­LENGE: Find­ing ways to make fur­nish­ings steady on un­even floors and fit­ting large pieces in lim­ited space.

PROUD­EST DIY: The rus­tic en­try bench Karl fash­ioned from an old barn beam.

DREAM SOURCES: Sal­vage yards, flea mar­kets, sec­ond­hand and an­tiques stores.

two-story farm­house of her own. When she and Karl mar­ried, they moved into a rental cot­tage un­til the right home came along. “I knew when I saw this house that we had found the home to make our fam­ily life to­gether,” Maria re­mem­bers. “It was built around 1900, and it sits on the top of a hill and the views are spec­tac­u­lar. I am drawn to wide-open spa­ces. There is noth­ing like look­ing out of our tall win­dows at the fields that sur­round us.” Maria and Karl quickly dis­cov­ered that the house has just the right bal­ance of charm and char­ac­ter. “That means the floors aren’t straight, and when climb­ing the steep nar­row stairs, we have to be care­ful not to bump our heads,” Maria ex­plains. “That’s the char­ac­ter of the house. And there is al­ways some­thing to fix and a project to start. Our old home has many quirks that might merit com­plaint, but the odd things about it add up to its spe­cial charm.” Maria’s calls “vin­tage farm­house” is a com­bi­na­tion of in­her­ited trea­sures, wed­ding gifts, and ac­ces­sories that she and Karl have found and re­claimed. “I love all things vin­tage,” she says. “If it speaks to me, I take it home and make it work.” She is par­tic­u­larly fond of weath­ered pieces, architectural sal­vage, mono­grammed linens, and grain sacks. “We find most of our fur­ni­ture at an­tique stores, flea mar­kets and even some on­line sources,” she ex­plains. The cou­ple chose an­tique white for walls. “It sets the back­drop and makes col­ors pop,” Maria says. “And, I want the open and airy feel­ing that white brings to the rooms.” Cur­tains are kept sim­ple and fur­ni­ture topped with blan­kets and quilts to in­crease com­fort and add splashes of red. Each room is a wel­com­ing mix of el­e­gant and pe­ri­ods stretch­ing from the 19th through the 21st cen­turies, united by dis­tressed fin­ishes and vin­tage tex­tiles. Though Maria loves the feel of her home, she is quite happy mov­ing things around and in­cor­po­rat­ing new items. “I’m al­ways re­ar­rang­ing and re­dec­o­rat­ing, but I think the best ar­range­ments and the pret­ti­est vi­gnettes are those that tell a story,” she says.

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