Michelle Tacker's redone Illinois ranch is proof that you don't have to own an actual farmhouse to enjoy a house filled with down-on-the-farm charm. She offers the following tips for introducing cozy country character to your own home, whatever its age or architectural design.
• Salvaged Style: Weathered corbels, columns, balusters and other architectural goods can often be found at salvage yards, antiques shops and flea markets. Michelle mounted reclaimed rusty tin ceiling tiles on a wall in her eating area, giving it a vintage vibe. Even if they're not classic built-ins, a few older furniture pieces placed against a prominent wall in a living or dining room will add an element of the old to more contemporary building styles.
• Country Colors: Art-deco homes and 1950s ranches would have been painted in the popular colors of the day, including turquoise, aqua, peach and violet. Go beyond that outmoded palette and even contemporary neutrals: Opt for more rustic hues to immediately make farmhouse antiques feel right at home. "When people enter my house, I believe it's the warmth of the walls that they notice first," says Michelle, who punctuates her mustard and aged-treatment walls with plenty of red furnishings.
• Artful Additions: Looking to expand? Do your history homework if you're trying to bring in an old-fashioned atmosphere. Most farmhouses had spacious country kitchens, something Michelle and Brad emulated when they built on their 550-square-foot kitchen and family room addition. It's now the heart of their home.
• Down-Home Displays: Your residence may have a modern birthdate, but it, too, can have an old soul, Michelle asserts. Country cupboards filled with farm implements, artwork with a livestock theme, or old cooking implements displayed near a fireplace help re-create the past.
Written by Khristi Zimmeth
Photographed by Bill Mathews
Styled by Kristin Sims