Decorate with Crafts

Summer Kind of Wonderful

An antiques-loving Illinois collector with a house full of flea-market treasures invites the Country Sampler stylists to give her primitive porch some patriotic punch.

0711wDWC00As far as Genoa, Illinois, homeowner and antiques aficionado Debby Karl is concerned, the funds that she and her husband, Hoss, used to construct their 18-foot by 20-foot screened porch was the best money they ever spent. "If the weather is nice, we are out there," she says. "I love the old-fashioned screened porch feel." To create a casual space, Debby outfitted the porch with vintage finds -- such as old-fashioned signs suspended from the rafters -- and pieces handcrafted by Hoss and Debby's father, Bob Glendenning. A favorite furnishing is the bench Bob constructed of two-by-fours salvaged from a 100-year-old local home.

The bench now cozies up to a table in the room's dining spot; the space also features a cozy seating area as well as a great view of the Karls' beloved shed, which they built together. "I love my shed," Debby says of the outbuilding, which serves as both a place to store lawn equipment and a spot for display. "I could live in it if it was on a lake somewhere."

To beautify the view inside her home, Debby welcomed advice for her porch from some familiar faces: Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker, who previously showed her some decorating tricks for her sitting room in our January 2011 issue. "Debby has a whole house full of great primitives and antiques, so it's always fun to see what we can bring into a different room and mix with newer pieces for a new look," Sally-Jo says. "Anyone can change up a room by bringing elements in from elsewhere in the house." In addition to relocating Debby's decor, the stylists also showed her how to incorporate reproductions and fun seasonal pieces for a festive summer scene on the porch. Keep reading for 18 more bright ideas!

0711wDWC01 Go Fourth
1. Meet in the middle.
  Debby's screened porch offers the best of both indoor and outdoor living, so the stylists chose a combination of garden-themed and interior elements to play up the space's duality.
2. Entertain new ideas.  "If you're having a barbecue, make your array of utensils and napkins part of your tablescape," Catherine recommends. "Use a wood trench as a base, and then create a display of galvanized buckets and ceramic pots holding serving necessities."
3. Shine on.
Repeat the sheen on galvanized pails with some pewter salt and pepper shakers or candlesticks.
4. Tuck and cover.  Highlight summer's fresh attitude on your table with outdoorsy add-ons. Call up the appeal of a fresh-cut lawn with wheatgrass grown in a bright red planter; insert a few pinwheels or a flag stake amid the blades for some patriotic pizzazz. Or, serve up just-picked strawberries in a yellow saucer boosted on a wood stand and topped with a mesh food screen cover.
5. Earn your stripes. 
Hint at summery imagery with a striped table runner. "Choose red and yellow or blue and white for a beachy cabana feel," Sally-Jo says. "Or, go with classic red and white for a more Americana motif."
6. Beam with pride.  When it comes to accessorizing a room, don't forget all the underappreciated display spots. To perk up a support post behind the table, the stylists hung a season-appropriate wood sign that fits perfectly.
7. Consider relocating.  Sally-Jo and Catherine "shopped" throughout Debby's home to find more pieces that suited the porch's fun new look. Relocated treasures include a green-framed antique chalkboard bearing an inviting message and a child-size wheelbarrow filled with a watermelon and some vibrant geraniums.

0711wDWC02 Before and Rafter
8. Keep looking up.
  The Karls' porch has an airy atmosphere thanks in large part to the vaulted ceiling, where Debby showcases her antique signs, vintage birdcages and lots of texture-rich baskets.
9. Spread the cheer.  The stylists brought the country charm from up high down to the wall below with splashes of color in a blue-and-buttermilk checkerboard and a wreath bedecked with firecracker stakes. "Instead of one big statement piece, it can be fun to choose two medium-size items featuring different shapes or materials," Catherine says.
10. Take it to cart. 
Envision new possibilities for your furnishings or unusual pieces you see at yard sales or antiques shops. Previously equipped with wire baskets, Debby's vintage green shopping cart now serves as a beverage stand, where a yellow firkin boosts a star-studded drink dispenser and a blue shoe-shine caddy handily holds dinner plates.
11. Stay posted. 
Hoss transformed a salvaged porch post into a fitting showpiece for the room by installing a three-leg stand on the bottom and adding hooks near the top. Debby displays some of her notable collectibles on it, including a handcarved crow she scored for a song and an Americana-fabric parasol she says would have been handed out at a parade circa 1920.
12. Go soft.
  Picking up on the parasol's patriotic punch, Sally-Jo and Catherine introduced decorative pillows, an appliqued table runner and some red-white-and-blue braided rugs for extra texture.
13. Marker your territory. 
Write lively sentiments on plant markers and insert them into glass jars filled with marbles and daisies; place the jars on a tray with some reindeer moss for an attractive and easy-to-relocate summer centerpiece.

0711wDWC03 Sparks and Recreation
14. Get fired up. 
Give a dash of Independence Day whimsy to a sideboard with a set of metal firework accents boosted on picnic tins. On Debby's bookshelf, a similar tin also props up a primitive crow-and-watermelon accent.
15. Have a banner year. 
Instead of traditional treatments (or none at all), tack some red-white-and-blue bunting above your window. "Debby's porch has three walls of really large windows, so we were able to use an oversize fabric fan made for a railing," Catherine notes. "If you have smaller or fewer windows, gather the bunting at the center or put up a more compact version." A hooked pillow on the wicker chair repeats the fan's star motif.
16. Work hard. 
Icons of outdoor chores, including a pitchfork, a shovel and a rake, populate the porch's walls, infusing the relaxation space with reminders of jobs done and yet to do. "Primitive tools make a real statement when grouped together," Sally-Jo says. "You can also dress them up with accessories or florals, like the geraniums in the hanging scale."
17. Play hard. 
Recreational items, such as magazines tucked into a tote basket and a grouping of colorful croquet balls, balance out the workaday character of the garden tools. Incorporate other fun figures to reinforce summer's playful spirit.
18. Be childish. 
Set off by a braided rug, a country-red child's chair provides a pint-size spot to rest a planter. Also, a vintage tin buggy hosts more summery and garden-fresh fare, a fitting display for a room that heralds both Debby's love of primitive style and all of the season's favorite themes.

Visit our Craft Fair online for more information.

"Summer" stencil on sign, Scrappin' Along Craft Stencils
Flag stakes, Home Decor For Your Style
Pewter salt and pepper shakers, Farmhouse Primitives
Reproduction wood trench, Olde Farm Creek
Shoo-fly screen cover, Fine Country Living Primitives

Blue and buttermilk checkerboard, Black Water Primitives
Celebration firecracker stakes on wreath, Home Decor For Your Style
Print Patch braided rug in doorway and braided rug under table, The Braided Rug Place
Summer Thyme Basket pillow and blue Primitive Star pillow, The Painted Shelf
Americana runner, Timeless Charm Gifts

Flag fan, Farmhouse Primitives
Leather-handled tote basket, Joanna's Collections
Crow on watermelon, Pine Cone Gift Shoppe
Metal firecrackers, Timeless Charm Gifts
Red Primitive Star pillow, The Painted Shelf
Braided rug, The Braided Rug Place

Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker
Photographed by Brian Nightengale
Produced by Dennis Morgan