Decorate with Crafts

15 Fresh Fixes for Your Kitchen

With a little help from the Country Sampler stylists, a recently remodeled kitchen cooks up vintage style and country spice.

C509DWC00Being a mother of two on-the-go kids, 6-year-old Luke and 3-year-old Aubrey, Jenny Risch knew that she needed to transform her St. Charles, Illinois, kitchen from cramped quarters to the hub of the home. By replacing a south-facing sunroom with a space-boosting addition, Jenny and her husband, Jeff, created a room where their entire family could cook and congregate comfortably. "Before the remodel, the kitchen was tiny, especially for the size of the house," Jenny says. "Now we have space for everyone!"

Against a backdrop of classic white cabinets and virtually indestructible soapstone countertops, Jenny also has plenty of places to showcase her collections of vintage goods. "Before, I had my collections out on the counter," she says. "With the new design, I knew I wanted them out but not near the sink. I had some rust issues in the old kitchen." For even more old-fashioned charm, Jenny installed a tin tile backsplash that adds a touch of shine to the kitchen and coordinates perfectly with the cabinet hardware she chose.

To help Jenny complete the kitchen's makeover with an extra dash of cheerful, charming style,Country Samplerstylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker offered a few hints for enhancing the room's livable vintage vibe. Read on for their favorite ways to boost your own kitchen's family-friendly appeal!

C509DWC01a A Fine Vintage
1. Make it count-er. 
When Jenny redesigned her kitchen, she made sure that there was plenty of counter space to show off her beloved retro-themed collectibles. Here, a cheery bread box minus its lid supports a red reproduction telephone and echoes the hues of a radio and a tray. Country-fresh accents, including a milk-bottle carrier and a gardener figurine, set a spring tone in the space.
2. Take a shine to it.
  Jenny chose a tin tile backsplash that fits her vintage theme and provides a unique departure from the subway tile backsplash that Jenny says she could have put in instead. "The great thing about a metal backsplash is that you can use it to display photos, grocery lists and more with magnets," Sally-Jo says. "We hung a metal sign on the wall, too, to coordinate with the tile and the drawer hardware."

C509DWC01bStove and Go
3. Get cooking.
  Instead of an ordinary side table, Jenny uses an out-of-work woodstove for displaying more collectibles. A sheep weather vane adds a dash of farmhouse style to the retro scheme; above, a framed stitchery matches a smaller square version atop the radio on the counter.
4. Stay organized.
  Instead of stashing kitchen odds and ends in a drawer, organize them in various decorative canisters or vintage bread boxes that have farmhouse flair.

C509wDWC03 Just White
5. Gather up the goods.
  "Jenny has this great, colorful collection of vintage Thermoses, so we arranged them on a tray to set them apart and to protect them from water splashes," Catherine says. "We picked up their red color with an enamelware bowl and a cute corkboard decorated with red geraniums on the counter next to the stove."
6. Be practical.
  Working pieces, such as a woven shopping tote or a retro-style dish cloth, lend functional style and interesting texture to any kitchen.
7. Give a subtle hint. 
"Jenny has a lot of pops of red in her kitchen, and they look awesome against the white cabinets and the tin backsplash," Sally-Jo says. "But you don't always have to go bold to make a statement. Try accents that are just a shade or two darker than the walls, such as mustard-hued canisters."

8. Get set.
With black furniture as a backdrop, set the table with bright-hued dishes that pick up the color of the surrounding accents; place dishes on round chargers or place mats to contrast the hard lines of the table.
9. Plant some style.
For more punch, add in a centerpiece that pops, such as a box of faux grass dotted with daisies.
10. Chalk it up. 
Jenny loves the rehabbed Hoosier cabinet in the corner of the dining area. New molding and a coat of chalkboard paint make the hutch a stylish spot to write daily messages and display accessories, including a cute cow and a bowl of star-adorned faux apples.
11. Try some texture.  "You can display white furniture in a room with white walls without it looking stark," Catherine says. "Pick a piece with texture, such as a wicker chair, and punch it up with a patterned pillow for more graphic appeal."
12. Go out on a whim. 
Flavor your kitchen with cute-as-can-be decor, like dainty butterflies dotting your tablescape, that is sure to bring a smile to all who enter.

C509wDWC02b Wired Up
13. Red all about it.
  To brighten a white-walled dining area, bring in bold-colored furnishings and window treatments. "We tacked pairs of rooster-themed place mats to the windows in lieu of traditional valances," Sally-Jo says. "They bring out the color of the red trash bin holding the stacking boxes, and they repeat the motif of the rooster floor finial."
14. Fence it in.
  An avid flea-market visitor, Jenny searched high and low for the perfect architectural piece to hold her kids' artwork in the kitchen. She found what she was looking for on a visit to her hometown, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and now she proudly hangs Luke and Aubrey's masterpieces as well as a photo frame on a piece of salvaged fencing.
15. Read the signs.
  Fill any empty spot with a sentimental sign to give your room a lived-in, loved-in feel. Sally-Jo and Catherine added a metal sign to the space above the fencing; the piece's decorative scrolls complement the subtle curves of the chandelier.

Visit our Craft Fair online for more information.

Framed stitcheries, Simply Gianna
Sheep weather vane, The Primitive Corner
Enjoy the Little Things sign, Huckleberry Hollow Designs
Vintage milk bottles with carrier, Hoppie Creations
My Pear Lady figurine, Old Mill Originals

Shopper's tote, Joanna's Collections
Decorative corkboard, Timeless Charm Gifts
Enamel-coated basin, Cox Country Gifts
Country canister set,
Double-sided striped towel, Yesterdays Memories

Families Are Forever plaque, Huckleberry Hollow Designs
Trash bin, Cramer Custom Creations
Madison chandelier, Country Store of Geneva
Green apples in bowl, Cute as Country
Trespassers Will Be Goosed figurine, Old Mill Originals
Grass in wood case, The 13th Colony
Persimmon-colored dinnerware, Abigail's in the Country
Faith, Family, Friends box set, Klages Kollectibles
Rooster floor finial, Country Creations
Picture frame, With Knots of Love

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