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.

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  • 1 of 10

    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.

  • 2 of 10

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

  • 6 of 10

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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    Mini Makeovers to Add Farmhouse Style

    Use rural references, weathered finishes, vintage farm implements, and barnyard imagery to introduce farmhouse rhythms to your home. Here's a look at 16 welcoming spaces that creatively put homespun harmonies into play.
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