A Blogger's Cottage Dream Home

A mom of three taps her creative side to get a vintage look on a tight budget.

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For the past three years, Rachel Pereira has been adding romantic character bit by bit to the small suburban 1960s ranch in Ellisville, Missouri, that she shares with her husband and three kids—and documenting it all on her blog, Shades of Blue Interiors. Her first choice is to do it with authentic flea finds. But when she can't find, afford, or fit the real thing, she builds it herself. 

Rachel assembled her entry based on a pew she scored from a local parish. She built a shelf with a peg rack and hung it above the bench to carve out a mudroom while creating a place to display her ironstone china collection.

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Mix and Match

Before she begins any project, Rachel runs a circuit through her local thrift stores (they know her by name) and searches Craigslist for pieces that match her vision and budget. For example, she found the 1920s-era piano in her living room on Craigslist for $15 and repainted it with gray chalk-style paint. She paired the piece with new upholstered seating and a coffee table she made from scratch.

To add architectural interest to dull drywall in the living room, Rachel trimmed out one wall with picture molding. Arranged in elongated rectangles above an existing chair rail, the moldings add dimension—and they draw the eye upward, helping the small room feel loftier than its actual dimensions.

Custom Cabinet

After failing to find a piece that fit her desired specs, Rachel built this slim console for her living room by partnering premade turned legs and bun feet with pine boards. A worn finish makes the console table look like a vintage piece.

Country Classics

Rachel nods to the vintage style of a new farmhouse sink in her kitchen by using blue Ball jars to hold food supplies. She crafted leather plant holders from old belts, securing the loops with rivets. Industrial light fixtures and cottage-style kitchen cabinets continue the country vintage look. 

Light Moves

With its drab cabinets, the small kitchen is typical of homes of its era. Rachel painted the cabinets white, added a marble herringbone-pattern backsplash, and replaced old laminate countertops with butcher-block to quickly (and inexpensively) update the space to reflect a welcoming farmhouse vibe. She designed and built the island to double her prep and storage space.

How To Create Butcher Block Kitchen Countertops

Dine-In Highlights

The kitchen table was one of Rachel's first Craigslist finds. She has repainted it too many times to count, most recently refinishing the top with a warm honey oak-color stain. The chandelier was rescued from a resale shop for $50. It was missing a few crystals so she tracked down replacements online.

Clean Slate

For comfort and easy cleanability, Rachel outfitted the family room with white slipcovered sofas from IKEA. The neutral backdrops are ideal when you like to swap out accent pillows frequently. Caster wheels found on Craigslist give a chicken crate a lift, making it the right height for a coffee table. A timeworn ladder hosts throw blankets.

Wood Works

The family room's built-in bookshelves are actually stand-alone cases that Rachel trimmed into the wall. The wood-plank surround is crafted from recycled barnwood and stained pine. The bench below the television houses speakers; painted metal grates allow sound to filter out.

Mini Moments

Rachel gave an old sideboard a pick-me-up with brilliant blue paint—a color that matches the collection of blue-and-white import pottery she has peppered throughout the house. She created a gallery of prints by layering frames on top of each other for a 3-D effect. Rachel likes to rotate the art within her frames for a quick decor refresh, showcasing personal family notes, her own artwork, vintage cards, and art from Etsy's digital download inventory. 

Space Smart

The master bedroom is tight on space, so Rachel added cozy charm with shiplap paneling. In lieu of a full bed frame, she installed an antique headboard. Wallmounted plug-in sconces shed light on reading materials, leaving space on bedside tables crafted by Rachel for books and other odds and ends. A vanity with built-in storage for makeup and jewelry doubles as a desk when needed.

Big Little Fixes

Her master bath may be small, but Rachel packed personality into the space with shiplap walls, open shelves, a DIY vanity project, an old mirror, and a brass light fixture. A weathered door found on Craigslist and hung on a sliding barn-door track serves as a space-savvy and character-rich way to separate the bath from the bedroom.

How to Make a Shiplap Wall

Texture Play

Rachel heightened visual interest in her daughter's bedroom with a wainscot treatment; the walls above are crowned with a lacy stenciled pattern. For a shot of color, Rachel sprayed a vintage daybed with turquoise paint. She fashioned homemade art from found sticks, which she dipped in shades of pink paint.

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