Sec­ond­hand Charm

Country Sampler - Home Tours - - Contents -

Take a cue from a Pa­cific North­west “picker” who knows how to trans­form thrift-store finds into af­ford­able and at­trac­tive home decor.

Serendip­ity led Mary Brun­ton to her for­ever home in Puyallup, Wash­ing­ton, just 20 min­utes af­ter the “for sale” sign was put in the yard. At­tracted to its low-slung 1950s ram­bler style, Mary called her hus­band, Dave, and they viewed the house that night and pur­chased it on the spot.

“It was in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion,” says Mary, who en­listed Dave, a tal­ented car­pen­ter, to give it a few ex­tra flour­ishes that would make it feel like the home she’d been dream­ing of since child­hood va­ca­tions at her aunt Ly­dia’s cozy house in a Yakima ap­ple or­chard. For a warmer look, Dave lined the home’s en­try with pine boards and fin­ished rooms by craft­ing crown mold­ing from the same boards. In the kitchen, the cou­ple in­stalled wood floor­ing, bright­ened up the birch cab­i­nets with white paint, and cre­ated the look of an old­fash­ioned cup­board by re­mov­ing the top doors on sev­eral cab­i­nets and adding a chunky wood counter be­low. Mary opted for neu­tral beige-painted walls in most rooms to en­sure her vin­tage and an­tique fur­nish­ings stand out.

Adopt penny-wise ideas from

a Wash­ing­ton-state “picker”

whose in­ge­nu­ity and keen

eye for bar­gains help her

trans­form amaz­ing thrift-store

trea­sures and road­side finds

into dec­o­rat­ing de­lights.

Mary, who calls her home her “cabin in town,” en­joys dec­o­rat­ing with an as­sem­blage of unique items that fit her early at­tic style rather than re­ly­ing on a few sin­gu­lar col­lec­tions. She comes by many of her finds rather in­ex­pen­sively, pre­fer­ring to shop sec­ond­hand stores and even the curb on trash col­lec­tion day. “When we first got mar­ried, we didn’t have two nick­els to rub to­gether,” Mary re­calls, “so thrift stores were an easy way to dec­o­rate our home and ful­fill my heart’s de­sire.”

In ad­di­tion to mak­ing the most of thrift-store finds, Mary also has a knack for re­vamp­ing other peo­ple’s dis­cards into at­trac­tive vi­gnettes. In her kitchen, a vin­tage cup­board torn out of a neigh­bor’s home fits space for­merly oc­cu­pied by a dish­washer. Boxes be­come show­cases for old school­books, primers, or a child’s shoe filled with flow­ers. And a col­lec­tion of weath­ered doors, found at al­most no cost, trans­form into tex­ture-rich back­drops for dis­tinc­tive items.

Her ad­ven­tur­ous spirit in­spires Mary to think cre­atively if she spots some­thing ap­peal­ing lan­guish­ing in a junk pile or, as was the case with an early-1900s pine set­tle, sit­ting on a flatbed parked along the high­way. “I couldn’t af­ford to buy it,” she says of her ini­tial in­quiry about the piece, “but these fel­lows dressed in over­alls agreed to barter. So, I tore home and got a cou­ple of braided rugs, crocks and a kid’s chair, and it was mine.”

Though Mary’s vi­sion and pas­sion for re­pur­pos­ing im­bue her home with per­son­al­ized style, she is quick to credit Dave for help­ing make her dream home a re­al­ity. “He’s a man of many tal­ents, who is al­ways agree­able,” Mary says. “Luck­ily, we march to the beat of the same drum.” With their dec­o­rat­ing skills hap­pily in tune, their home is sure to be har­mo­nious for years to come.

Black­ Pizzi

Bill Mathews/glo­ria Gale

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