Whole House Style: Collectible Charm

Full of feminine charm and irresistible playfulness, this home manages to be traditional yet comfortable, and all because of a serious collection of cast-offs.

Hearth Setting

At the center of this living room is an elegant fireplace with architectural details made more prominent by a coat of glossy white paint. The mantel is an ever-changing display, currently featuring a 1930s portrait that reflects the relaxed femininity of the space.

Ideas from This Room
-- A playfully upholstered piece of furniture can (and should) become a focal point for the room.
-- Place a large tray over an ottoman to create a flat surface for display.

Living Room

This home showcases a masterful mixing of various periods and styles of furniture. In the living room two white sofas play on the symmetry of the home's traditional architecture.

Ideas from This Room
-- Neutral-color furnishings allow for lots of give and take on an eclectic color scheme.
-- Put in a bit of traditional style with soft patterns found on pillows and draperies.

Seating Area

Little vignettes add charm to larger rooms. Packed with personality, the corner also highlights a pink chair that was a rummage sale rescue before it was recovered.

Ideas from This Room
-- Think of rugs as little paintings on the floor. Coordinate colors and shapes like you would standout artwork.
-- Don't be afraid to mix upscale with discount store -- this table skirt is made from an inexpensive bedsheet and the vintage ribbon tiebacks dress up catalog curtains.
-- Hang artwork low on the wall; just above the table looks great.

Dining Room Mix

Layering is the key to the softened traditional look. A large round table and oversize pendent light anchor the dining room. Antique French chairs sport striped seat covers that complement the wallpaper.

Ideas from This Room
-- Start with wallpaper, thinking of it more as a paint color than as the room's focal point.
-- Freely mixes styles -- French Regency chairs, Chinoiserie (painted with Chinese nature motifs) chests, Victorian furniture -- with modern sofas and lamps.
-- Add framed prints, old books, children's artwork, and sentimental treasures to round out the mix.

Artsy Den

In the small den, the dark matte wall finish is a rich backdrop for graphic white furniture. The painting is part of a collection of portraits, which add a bit of soulfulness to the place.

Ideas from This Room
-- Dark walls feel just right with a bright white ceiling and furniture, plus lots of natural light.
-- Layering rugs is okay; here, a worn Oriental rug sits over a thin floorcloth.

Tall Stairwell

Audubon prints, all purchased at garage sales, add life to the stairwell. Beneath the stairs is a well-composed still-life moment, but without the museum-like feel of untouchables.

Ideas from This Room
-- Crowd your walls with artwork, keeping the look clean by using matching frames.
-- Don't overlook often-forgotten spots to decorate, such as the bit of wall beneath the stairs.

Eat-In Kitchen

To pull a soft traditional style together, rely on symmetry and repeating colors. Pink is a design thread that runs from the front door -- painted a soft peony color -- to subtle touches throughout the house, such as the pink seat cushions in the kitchen eating area.

Ideas from This Room
-- Shuffle your furnishings. This iron-and-marble table had a previous life as a kitchen island and could just as easily make its way outdoors.

Kitchen Work Area

The kitchen floor is painted a check pattern of dark and muted gray to mask the inevitable dirt and scuffs from an active family.

Ideas from This Room
-- Go ahead, paint hardwood floors (gasp!) especially if they're in bad condition.
-- Move "regular" furniture into the kitchen, such as the armchair near the hutch.
-- Use tension-rod curtains to cover open cabinets.


In the bathroom, the red toile wallpaper, black-and-white floor, and old Oriental rug form a rich mix.

Ideas from This Room
-- Mix patterns at will as long as they have simple color palettes.
-- Add personality to an impersonal room with a sweet antique chair.

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