From a warm beige to a fireplace-based red, Monica Knigge found inspiration for her Wauconda, Illinois, home’s paint colors from sources as diverse as the palette itself. “My decorator friend recommended the beige entry color because she uses it a lot for decorating,” Monica says, adding that the dining room was another easy choice, as she liked the room’s existing green enough to keep it. “But, I went through 12 test quarts to find the right red for the family room. I ended up with a browner tone based on the fireplace brick. I didn’t pick it until the night before the painters came!”
Despite their differences, the home’s hues all have one thing in common: They provide a warm backdrop for the antiques that Monica and her husband, Mark, have collected together over the years and that Monica inherited from her mother and her grandmother. Apple-themed furnishings also dot the decor, paying homage to the house’s location on a 1-acre orchard. The Knigges moved to the scenic property 10 years ago when they retired and wanted to be closer to their daughter and grandkids, Karly and Kaden, who live nearby.
Already a pro at creating continuity between her different-hued rooms, Monica invited Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker to give her a fresh take on filling out her primitives-packed displays. Read on for their full spectrum of bright ideas!
Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad & Catherine Parker
Photographed by Maurice Victoria
Produced by Dennis Morgan
Red Between the Lines
1. White your own ticket. Crisp white on the mantel and trim contrasts the rusty walls in the Knigges’ family room. To tone down a bold color on a high wall, consider installing a picture rail or applying a stenciled motif. 2. Come together. A slightly distressed white cabinet paired with an even more timeworn base bridges the gap between the home’s refined and rustic attributes. To allow the cabinet’s contents to shine, Mark removed the glass doors and mounted them to the back of the piece, providing a frame for accents resting on the base. 3. Get crazy. Reinvent a raggedy crazy quilt as a bold window treatment. “I searched forever on eBay to find a quilt that was damaged enough not to feel bad about taking it apart to make the valance,” Monica says. Sally-Jo and Catherine paired the valance with some simple café curtains to filter sunlight. 4. Put it on repeat. On the mantel, a wood quilt block continues the theme of the valance’s origins. At base level, the stylists brought in a horse-motif pillow to play up the charm of Monica’s antique toy equine. 5. Find solid ground. “If you have a lot going on in a space, work in a few spots where the eye can rest,” Sally-Jo advises. “Try a stack of solid-colored boxes or a pitcher with a simple design.” 6. Bark up the right tree. Alongside a wreath-wrapped electric candle in a wood bowl, a pair of miniature trees in terra-cotta pots get a boost from slices of tree trunk on the coffee table. “You can make your own tiny trees by inserting sprigs of greenery into floral foam,” Catherine notes.
7. Check into it. Create continuity between different areas of the home with a common theme or motif, such as checkerboards. ”Monica’s beautiful old game boards look perfect all over her home,” Sally-Jo says. In the entry, one board makes an impact on the wall, and a smaller version is tucked into a tool caddy with texture-rich pinecones. 8. Horse around. Pair up unexpected items to make a conversation-starter art piece. Here, Monica propped a horse weather vane topper inside an old seat with its caning removed. 9. Add garnish. Choose accessories with personal meaning attached to maximize a display’s coziness. A petite apple garland wrapped around a child-size apple-picking ladder honors the 1-acre orchard on which the Knigges’ Victorian-style home rests. 10. Go down. Fill out a vignette’s base level with eye-catching accents, such as a basket of coverlets perched on a red footstool or an old coal bucket filled with branches. 11. Light up your life. Few things set a room’s overall mood like accent lighting, and a soft glow can bring out a rainbow of different shades from a single wall color. Try a lamp with a lot of visual interest, or go with a grouping; the stylists gathered a diverse array of glass-and-metal lanterns to set the entry table aglow.
Bluish-Green with Envy
12. Stick with what you know. Instead of searching far and wide for a new hue to dress the dining room walls, Monica simply kept the subtle bluish-green shade that already existed when she and Mark bought the house 10 years ago. To make the room their own, they removed a wallpaper border and had the wall color custom matched so they could touch up a few spots. 13. Pay a complement. For an overall mellow scene, choose furnishings that complement a wall color (or vice versa), picking pieces that have a similar tone if not color—not too much lighter or darker. The Knigges’ honey-hued dining room furniture features a medium tone that works beautifully with their wall hue. 14. Stack the deck. Fill the space between a cabinet and a dry sink with decor that really stacks up, such as Monica’s antique pie cooler or a punched-tin lamp boosted on a timeworn footstool. 15. Go around and around. Instead of a traditional treatment, adorn the upper section of a window with a berried wreath tied on a piece of jute or ribbon. “Monica and Mark have a bit of land, so they don’t need a ton of privacy,” Catherine says. “The wreath adds some texture without blocking the beautiful natural light from coming in.” 16. Cuddle up. Translate a wintertime desire for warmth into a cozy window treatment; drape a wool blanket over a tension rod, pin it in place, and pull back the side with the same type of string used to hang the wreath above. 17. Play by ear. Continuing the game board theme set in the family room and the entry, Sally-Jo and Catherine turned the off-duty dining table into a game station with a drawered checkerboard. 18. Milk it for all it’s worth. A supplement to the fun-and-games theme, a milk caddy provides a spot for bottles and jars filled with game pieces, including chess pieces, dominoes and marbles. “It’s always good to have a bit of fun with your decorating,” Sally-Jo says. “You want guests to see a room and want to sit and stay awhile.”
For more information, visit our Craft Fair online.
Red Between the Lines
Seine panel curtain, Olde Farm Creek
Stoneware pitcher, Maple City Pottery
Wood wall quilt, Country Prim & Folksy
Colonial pantry nesting boxes, BJ’s Country Charm
Horseshoe Inn hooked pillow, Williamsburg House, WI
Primitive bowl, Manchester candle ring and battery-operated candle, Allyson’s Place
Grid #3 blanket and Tennessee Trouble runner, Olde Farm Creek
Country bench, From the Woodshop of Harold Roe
Cupboard lantern, barn lantern and garden lantern, Country Village Shoppe
Three star lamp, Allyson’s Place
Bluish-Green with Envy
Cranberry/cream twig wreath, Country Village Shoppe
Flat dish lamp with metal shade, Cardinal’s Farmhouse Sampler
Checkerboard with drawers, Copeland’s General Store
Mayflower Red (HC-49) wall paint in family room and Chestertown Buff (HC-9) wall paint in entry, Benjamin Moore, 888-236-6667, www.benjaminmoore.com .