Decorate with Crafts
The country life had long held appeal for Deb and Joel Mishler, and the couple once considered constructing a log home on the 2-acre Decatur, Indiana, property gifted them by a family member. Instead, they ended up disassembling a dilapidated barn on a nearby property and using the materials to construct their one-of-a-kind barn-style home.
Deb, who has a degree in architectural technology and grew up learning how to build and fix things from her contractor father, and Joel, a contractor himself, were more than capable of the arduous task, but it took them a full year to complete the project. Their finished home boasts three stories, plus a finished basement, totaling some 7,000 square feet of living area. The first floor, where they spend most of their time, is one large space, with the exception of a bathroom.
Initially, Deb found it a bit overwhelming to work with the open floor plan, but she soon found ways to divvy it up into different zones with creatively placed furnishings and leaded- and stained-glass pieces. “It really was a challenge, and I didn’t like the openness at first, but now I love it,” she says, noting that the vast room is perfect for hosting large gatherings of friends and family. For example, it easily accommodated 112 guests at her father’s 80th birthday celebration.
Several of the zones, particularly those near the kitchen, offer ample opportunity for seasonal decor, which Country Sampler stylist René Haines put to good use. “There were plenty of places to add garden-inspired goods,” she explains. Keep reading to find out how you can incorporate some of her creative ideas into your own home!
Looking ahead to a bountiful crop of just-picked berries, René gathered a centerpiece grouping that brims with visual appeal, thanks to its balanced shape and cheerful colors.
To anchor the display, René started with a blueberry vine table runner. She then positioned a ceramic vase filled with red berries in the center, tying a bright blue gingham bow around it to complement the runner.
Next, René filled in the sides of the arrangement, using a woven pedestal to lend prominence to a whimsical gardener incense burner on one side. Opposite that, she stacked a trio of whitewashed square wooden boxes accented with small knobs to give them the look of tiny drawers. One box brims with faux blueberries, picking up on the blue theme.
As a nod to the fruit and garden motifs, René painted small stones to resemble strawberries and ladybugs, using acrylic craft paints and artist’s paintbrushes for the detailing. Tucked here and there and piled on a garden trowel, they contribute a playful touch.
One of the few walls on the Mishlers’ first floor hosts a large handmade chalkboard that backs an old hardware-store scale. When Deb first discovered the piece at a salvage yard, it was black with dirt and grease; a good scrubbing revealed its original blue paint. René used it as the focal point in this springtime setup.
CHALKED UP. The chalkboard was created by framing a section of wall coated with chalkboard paint; the remainder of the wall gets its shiplap look from lines drawn with a paint marker. René mounted a Farmer’s Market sign at the center top of the chalkboard and framed it with hand-drawn strawberries. Deb also enjoys embellishing the board and keeps chalk handy in one of the adjacent chicken feeders. A garland across the top and prettily potted faux spring daffodils brighten the scene.
AT YOUR SERVICE. The bottom of an antique cupboard, complete with flour bin, serves as a sideboard. René chose to use the antique scale to serve up a fool-the-eye faux cake. (See page 63 for instructions.) To further the illusion, the vignette also includes star-studded ceramic dishware. Napkins and other textiles, including a coordinating braided oval place mat beneath the dishes, lend softness to the scene.
Throughout the main floor of the Mishlers’ barn-style residence, Deb positions furniture and leaded-glass pieces between open support beams to serve as dividers in a space that has few interior walls. René assembled a charming spring grouping in one such spot, building it around a dry sink stationed near the kitchen. She took inspiration from a hardwood hare print that she affixed atop the hanging glass window.
Adding a distressed gray five-drawer cabinet further fills out the open space and provides a pedestal for a charming handmade primitive rabbit. The blue gingham trim on a basket filled with cherries coordinates with the rabbit’s attire, while a seed packet and rake propped in an open drawer continue the garden theme. René utilized various items, including an overturned wood container and a round lidded cheese box, to boost the profile of a handmade candle sconce (see instructions on opposite page) and a berry tray outfitted with a primitive jar candle and a small carton of faux eggs. She brought in outdoorsy elements via trailing artificial greens in a matching wall-mounted candle sconce and a small terra-cotta plant pot dangling from a knob with a hanger fashioned from jute cord.
COUNTRY MARKETPLACE PRODUCTS
Fresh from the Garden smoker, Cowboy Creek Gifts
Blueberry Vine oval table runner, The Braided Rug Place
Farmer’s Market sign, Allyson’s Place
Faux spring daffodils, The 13th Colony, LLC
Black and Tan Star braided jute oval place mat and Country Star salad plates, cereal bowl and mug, Primitive Home Decors
Hare hardwood print, Impressions on Market
Nibs handmade spring primitive rabbit, Nana’s Farmhouse
Five-drawer wood cabinet, The 13th Colony, LLC
Garden Thyme primitive candle, Black Crow Candle Co.
Photographed by Shane Pequignot
Styled by René Haines