Decorate with Crafts
A Grand Entrance
Showing love for the land of the free and the home of the brave inspires displays of Americana decor year-round, but the summer season really brings this festive stars-and-stripes style to the forefront.
Country Sampler stylists René Haines and Tammy Shupenia worked alongside homeowner Lori Smith to add a patriotic pop to the entry of her Portland, Indiana, home while incorporating some of her favorite presidential-themed collectibles.
Lori, who grew up in Portland, had always admired the well-maintained ranch home, which sits on a 6-acre lot. She jumped at the chance to purchase it two years ago when she was ready to downsize from her previous home, a lovely but much larger Colonial.
In addition to her career in nursing, Lori also once owned a country primitive shop. "People would say, ‘Your house looks like a store -- you should just put price tags on things,' " she explains of her decision to start that business, which she later sold to a friend.
Lori still relishes collecting and decorating, and counts old books, flow-blue china and cameras among her favorites. She also has an affinity for items related to past presidents, especially Washington and Lincoln, who welcome guests in the foyer. Alongside Lori, René and Tammy helped devise novel ways to showcase her spirited collections. Read on to discover their 18 great ideas to enliven an entryway with seasonal flair!
STARS AND STRIPES
1. Stand at attention. Convert a candleholder into a multilevel pedestal for a trio of stand-up stars by placing wood-slice coasters on each arm of the holder. Complement the grouping with a large folk-art piece, such as this Uncle Sam figure atop a drum, and pull everything together with a red-striped runner.
2. Dressed to impress. Refashion a men's blue pin-striped shirt, turning the shirt's back into a throw pillow and part of the sleeve and cuff into a bouquet holder.
3. Buttons and glows. Shed some light on the centerpiece with a mason-jar candleholder. Fill the jar with ivory buttons and fit the top with a tealight lid insert.
4. Hoop scheme. Recast a simple wood embroidery hoop as an asymmetrical wreath by gluing faux and dried eucalyptus around the top and along one side.
5. Pocket full of posies. Make a custom wall pocket by stitching a simple pouch from star-studded fabric and using fabric stiffener or spray starch to slightly harden the fabric. Accent with a wired-ribbon bow and fill with dried or faux blooms before hanging it on the wall. Accompany it with patriotic wall art, such as prints or painted metal stars (right).
6. Thrift wrap. Write "1776" or another Independence Day–related word on a scrap of wide burlap ribbon and glue it around a small tin canister or an old paint can to craft a patriotic vase.
7. Blueberry thrill. Position a small red pillar candle in an old sifter and twine blue berry garland around the outside to create an accent that ties the side table in with other elements in the vignette. Here, the accessories complement the blue chair, which is lightened up for summer with the addition of a blue-and-white afghan and accent pillow. Colorful candies arrayed in the base of a lamp also brighten the scene.
8. Perfectly plated. Enhance a display of a favorite collection, such as the flow-blue china plates in this wall cabinet, with seasonal items, including candles with star and flag motifs and a presidential redware plate. "Mixing in a few different pieces makes for a more dynamic presentation," Tammy notes.
VARIATION ON A THEME
9. Rocker of ages. Suit up a rocking chair for the season with a coverlet or throw and a starry lumbar pillow, and hang a vintage military cap (this Navy cap belonged to Lori's grandfather) from one of the back posts.
10. Upstanding artwork. Go vertical to fill narrow spaces with color and pattern, selecting wall art designed with an upright orientation. This canvas pennant and stenciled sign both bear phrases and motifs that fit perfectly with a patriotic presentation.
11. Color code. Assemble a grouping of items featuring similar style and coloration for an effective monochromatic display. This gathering of sepia-toned prints and photos, old books and a rustic lamp anchored by a braided mat are appealing tabletop partners.
12. Presidential cabinet. Showcase a collection in one area for maximum impact. "It will attract more attention together than if it was spread through several rooms," René explains. Pair varied pieces to heighten interest. For example, a Lincoln-labeled wine bottle cozies up to a framed presidential portrait on the lower shelf of the wall cabinet, and a Lincoln biography sits alongside a Lincoln-themed wood box on the top shelf. A flower-filled pitcher and a horse figure counter the abundance of linear shapes in the display, and a small primitive cubby provides additional storage.
13. Honorable mention. Weave together red, white and blue award ribbons (these were old track ribbons) to create a statement-making table runner. Hold them in place temporarily with double-sided tape, or stitch together for a permanent piece.
14. Clean-slate club. Use a former school slate as a frame for a decorative flag, and prop an old book decoupaged with a presidential portrait in front of it.
15. Perfect pairings. Let one decorative item inspire another -- for example, frame a print of the Declaration of Independence document to place near a print of the famed John Trumbull painting that depicts its signing. Add in accents such as boxes, baskets and blocks bearing words and images with related symbolism and meaning.
16. Flag funnel. Upend a vintage metal funnel and use it as a holder for old stick flags saved from parades of the past.
17. Political pinups. Highlight vintage political campaign pins by attaching them to award ribbons layered atop vintage postcards. Insert the cards into a standing photo holder with a figural base.
18. Storage corps. Utilize stacking boxes to elevate an element on an entry table, such as a lamp, but also consider enlisting one to contain a bundle of books. Small jars and bowls round out the display as well as hold odds and ends, including buttons or antique keys.
For more information, visit our Country Marketplace online.
STARS AND STRIPES
Set of three pedestal stars, DMZ Designs
Uncle Sam figure on drum, Pine Cone Gift Shoppe
Red grain-sack stripe table runner, Glory Days Mercantile
Farmhouse Grain Sack afghan and throw pillow cover, The 13th Colony, LLC
John Adams redware plate, Farmhouse Primitives
Summer Watermelon and American Saltbox wood prints, Impressions on Market Barn Star candle sleeve, burnt ivory flag timer pillar and barn stars, Primitive Home Decors
VARIATION ON A THEME
God Bless America stencil, Scrappin' Along Craft Stencils
Cyrus light, The 13th Colony, LLC
Little Red and White Stars on Blue hooked pillow, Williamsburg House, WI
Key box, Allyson's Place
"Declaration of Independence Signing" framed print and Chesapeake light, The 13th Colony, LLC
Liberty Stars & Stripes set of three oval stacking boxes and Americana Flag set of two stacker blocks, Gainers Creek Crafts
Medium-size flag utility basket, The Braided Rug Place
Photographed by Shane Pequignot
Styled by René Haines and Tammy Shupenia