House Tour: Natural Patina

See how a combination of family hand-me-downs, savvy purchases, and elbow grease transformed this dilapidated 1820s house into a charming retreat filled with flea market finds.

Simple and Clean

To showcase the home's architecture and a growing collection of French- and Swedish-style furnishings, the homeowner opted for a basic and neutral color palette. Nearly every room is painted with a different shade of gray, which helps the white trim look even more crisp and clean. In the living room, a rustic 6-foot-long table is ideal for casual dinner-and-movie nights. A plaster bust and other vintage-inspired decor blend with the home's chic flea market look.

Personal Touches

The home’s spacious dining room provides the perfect place to host dinner parties and other gatherings. The long zinc-top table was a castoff collected from a flea market. To ensure there’s always space for a crowd, the homeowners lined each side of the table with white-painted benches. The basic benches were embellished on each side with a monogram for a custom look.

Balancing Act

A crisp white storage cabinet in the dining room gets a boost of character from a collection of pretty mercury glass vases and mirrors. The combination of weathered and shiny elements creates eye-catching juxtaposition in the neutral room.

History Lesson

A pale blue-painted storage cabinet in the dining room adds a subtle splash of color without interfering with the room’s calming aesthetic. The cabinet’s painted surface features characteristic nicks and gashes, which celebrates, rather than masks, the age of the piece.

Decorative Showcase

Old apothecary and candy jars display a collection of seashells and river rocks. Placing a trio of mirrors behind the display amplifies its impact.

Making an Entrance

Entryways are often overlooked as merely utilitarian spots. Here, a cast-off chair provides a convenient spot to hang a coat or sit and put on shoes. Placed next to an antique column and crowned by a landscape painting, this chair issues a warm welcome just inside the home’s front door.

Rustic Touches

In a nook off the living room, an antique cabinet offers plenty of storage space to keep office supplies neat and organized. The stressed white finish of this cabinet is original. A similar look can be achieved using chalky milk paint—just make sure to sand off any existing finish before painting a new one on top. To make the rustic table runners used in this room and in the dining room, the homeowner sewed together old linen towels and burlap grain sacks.

Optical Illusions

In the sitting room, the upper portion of the walls was painted soft gray while the lower portion was painted white to keep the baseboard heating units virtually invisible. Simple white slipcovers ensure the love seats look timeless against antique decorative elements. A tall Swedish-style clock in one corner of the room helps bring the lofty ceilings down to a more comfortable level.

Budget Smarts

To freshen the kitchen without breaking the bank, the homeowners painted the cabinets and counters, replaced the hardware, and added an antique Hungarian hutch in one corner for added charm and storage. Along the range wall, a length of dentil molding topped with a wooden ledge becomes a handy shelf for displaying pitchers and artwork.

Pretty Pantry

An antique jadeite bowl inspired the color palette for the pantry. A French wine bottle holder provides a decorative spot to store glasses. The antique table not only provides storage space, but it also adds undeniable flea market character in an unexpected place.

Sweet Sleep

In the master bedroom, the soaring ceiling is brought to a cozy level with an antique mantel, which takes the place of a traditional headboard. Four-inch screws secure the hefty piece firmly into the wall studs. White linens coordinate with the finish of the headboard while a blue coverlet and throw pillows add in contrast.

Natural Beauty

An antique dresser provides storage space for some of the homeowners’ clothing in the master bedroom. To prevent the home’s antique furnishings from looking outdated, the homeowners sprinkle in plenty of fresh, natural touches such as mosses and plants placed in weathered urns.

Store More

With slanted ceilings, attic bedrooms often present storage challenges. But in this master bedroom, a low table along an empty wall provides display space for decorative objects on top while the open shelf below can be filled with large storage baskets to stow away blankets and bulky clothing items.

Can-Do Updates

Even newly purchased pieces can be made to look like antiques with the right paint treatments. Here, a simple sleigh bed was whitewashed to give it an aged look. The room’s soft gray walls are an interesting alternative to plain white but don’t overwhelm the small space.

Outdoor Getaway

A chicken-coop-turned-teahouse became a sheltered retreat for enjoying garden views and fresh breezes, thanks to an old daybed covered with outdoor ticking fabric. An electric chandelier adds romance and allows the space to function after dark.

Entertaining Ideas

The homeowners installed a simple pea-gravel patio in a single weekend to create an area that's perfect for alfresco dining. To mimic the contrast of surfaces found inside the house, the homeowners paired a painted farm table with shiny metal bistro chairs.

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