From petite framed photographs to full-size furniture, every room of Jenny and Jeff Risch’s St. Charles, Illinois, home features flea-market treasures and hand-me-down heirlooms with cherished memories attached. The master bedroom and its adjacent sitting area, especially, showcase pieces that have a lot of familial meaning for the Risches. “Our bedroom is filled with important things,” Jenny notes, adding that she loves to include pictures of the couple and their two children, Luke and Aubrey. “This room is about the four of us, and everything in it has meaning to me.”
For a spring pick-me-up, Jenny invited Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker into her master suite to help her reimagine the space to suit the season. “We wanted to keep up that spirit of family togetherness that is so important to the Risches,” Sally-Jo says. With that in mind, the stylists highlighted Jenny’s most prized possessions with spring-themed accessories, such as red tulips that brighten her grandmother’s dresser and paperwhites below a shelf that showcases her dad’s childhood cap. “Spring is about reawakening your look,” Catherine says, “whether it’s with new pieces or just by moving around the old.”
Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker
Photographed by Brian Nightengale
Produced by Dennis Morgan
On the Bright Side
1. Patch things up. As a springtime replacement for Jenny’s everyday rust-and-mustard bedding, the stylists draped the bed in a patchwork quilt set featuring a bed skirt that ties in with the valances they used to dress the room’s windows.
2. Bring the outside in. One of Jenny’s many flea-market pieces, a garden trellis provides interest to the head of the bed without feeling too heavy. “You can get a similar look with a piece of garden fencing or an old gate,” Catherine says. “Just hunt around and see what you can come up with.”
3. Find prints charming. To enhance the outdoorsy feel of the trellis headboard, the stylists hung two blossom-inspired prints on the wall. “Artwork is a great way to bring more life to a room,” Sally-Jo notes. “Change out wood signs, framed prints and even family photos to go with the season.”
4. Top it off.In the corner, a pretty framed stitchery nestled between the sitting room entryway and the wall adds vertical heft to a white bookcase display.
5. Picture this. Examples from Jenny’s collection of vintage cameras, including one perched on a red cake plate that matches the bedding, pack the shelves with personality.
6. Keep memories close. Jenny took her $18 flea-market nightstand with a pedestal base from trash to true treasure by showcasing a piece of her grandmother’s crocheted lace under a panel of glass cut to fit inside the top of the table. A black-and-white photograph of the couple’s daughter as a newborn gives the piece multigenerational appeal.
Board to Tiers
7.Strike while the ironing board is hot. A vintage ironing board with eye-catching green legs fits perfectly under the window in the bedroom corner and provides a surface for a sweet springtime vignette that’s long on style.
8. Feel around. Despite each being quite different, the tricycle-inspired planter, the department-store lamp and the old open-weave dress form decked out with pearls and a straw hat still feel like a good fit. “Sometimes you just have to go with your gut when you build a grouping,” Sally-Jo says.
9. Make an initial offer. One of Jenny’s favorite creations, framed letters bearing her kids’ initials are perched beneath miniature cloches set atop red candle pedestals. The stands are cleverly arranged to visually lead the eye down to a petite accent pillow.
10. Suit(case) yourself. Making a suitable match for the ironing board’s painted legs, a pair of green traveling trunks offer space for stashing linens and a display platform for an electric candle, a few books and some texture-adding seashells. “I love storage that can also be beautiful,” Jenny says. Stacked boxes offer added small-scale storage on the wall shelf, as well.
11. Hues it or lose it. For an extra punch of pattern and color, fold up spare blankets and place them on a footstool to fill space beneath a table.
12. Frame out a plan. Because family photos are so essential to the bedroom’s atmosphere, the stylists saw it as a great avenue for playing with different textures and profiles. “In a room with a mix-and-match motif, pick a variety of painted and wood frames for your pictures,” Catherine advises. Interesting photo holders, including a wall frame with a sentimental saying and a door knob with picture holders wired in, boost interest in this scene.
13. Try relocating. Usually found elsewhere in the house functioning as a toy chest for Luke and Aubrey’s playthings, a custom-crafted trunk with ceiling-tin panels and gold medallion adornments serves as a focal point for the revamped sitting area.
14. Come out on top. To dress up the relocated chest without distracting from its beauty, Sally-Jo and Catherine chose stand-alone spring-themed accents, such as a weathered-finish bunny, a bird’s nest perched atop a wood spool, and a potted plant wrapped in newspaper and tied with twine.
15. Make a nest. “Jenny’s vintage birdcage is such a fun piece,” Catherine says. “We wanted to give it extra emphasis, so we propped it up on a green cake plate and put the pedestal inside a nest-like berry wreath for extra texture.” Serving platters are one of Jenny’s favorite decorating tools. “We never have cake,” the homeowner says, “but I certainly have a lot of cake stands!”
16. Emphasize heirlooms. One of only two pieces of stained-wood furniture in a house full of painted and upholstered furnishings, Jenny’s grandmother’s dresser holds court in the corner of the room. “If you have a cherished hand-me-down, draw attention to it,” Sally-Jo encourages. “Hang a mirror above it to attract light, or set some stacking boxes on the floor to visually point upward to its details.”
17. Be a repeat customer. Not only does the pitcher of red tulips on top of the dresser continue the accent color of the pillows and the valances, but it also mimics the framed drawing Luke made for Jenny as a get-well gift.
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ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: Abermarle Patch quilt, Allyson’s Place; White Stowes bookcase, The Old Country Cupboard; “Dogwood Trails” and “Zebra Swallowtail” prints, George Boutwell’s Texas Collection; Families Are Like Quilts stitchery, Country Collectibles
BOARD TO TIERS: Prim bunny stacking boxes, Gainers Creek Crafts; “All Because Two People Fell in Love” photo frame, Auntie Em’s; Electric primitive candle stand with wax shade, Heart-N-Hand; Wood footstool, Merrywood Lane Country Store; A Daughter pillow, Simply Country; Trike with basket, Timeless Charm Gifts
TRUNK SHOW: White bunny with egg, Olde Farm Creek; Berry wreath, Heart-N-Hand; Bunny Treats stacking boxes, Plum Nellie Primitives; Federal mirror, Saltbox Primitives