Decorate with Crafts

Nature-Made Makeover

A cozy kitchen goes green for the harvest with fresh-picked decorating ideas from the Country Sampler stylists.

0908WDWC01aWith its honey-hued cabinets, leather-like wall treatments and natural wood trim, Kelly Johnson's customized Geneva, Illinois, kitchen provides a warm, welcoming space for cooking and entertaining. These earthy, rustic features combine to form a wonderful backdrop for environmentally friendly accents recommended by Country Sampler stylists Catherine Parker and Sally-Jo Enstad, who offered Kelly and her kitchen their autumn decorating expertise.

Kelly and her family -- husband Mike and college-age kids Kyle and Kailin -- already have several go-green habits, such as lighting their home with compact fluorescent bulbs, recycling shopping bags and using a front-load washing machine to conserve water. However, Kelly was eager to hear the stylists' advice on how to work earth-conscious accessories into her kitchen's decor. "Even the smallest things can make a big difference to the planet and to your budget," Sally-Jo says. "We wanted to show how little actions, such as growing your own flowers and burning soy candles, are simple ways to treat the earth better."

Not only did Sally-Jo and Catherine share environmentally friendly ideas, they also gave Kelly tips on how to play up her modern-yet-earthy style. "Kelly has granite countertops, bamboo blinds and wood floors, which all coordinate perfectly with an autumn palette," Catherine says. "The warm hues found in pumpkins, sunflowers, wheat stalks and other harvest fare really do wonders to make a space feel inviting."

0908WDWC02In Sink
With autumn accents that range from a decorative plate atop a cubby and a vintage-tin lamp to a painted sign and a pair of petite pumpkins, Sally-Jo and Catherine help Kelly get her sink area set for the harvest season. The stylists also recommended a few earth-friendly items, including soot-free soy and flameless candles, and a windowsill herb garden. "When you grow your own herbs from seeds on up, you know they're pesticide-free," Catherine says. "And, of course, everything tastes better when you grow it yourself!" An array of natural hand soaps adds a boutique-y feel to the area when arranged in a wood bowl with a ticking-stripe towel.

0908WDWC03Natural Nook
To create the kitchen's warm, texturized walls, local faux painter Fatima Figueiredo used a trowel to apply three or four layers of burgundy and gold marble plaster (a creamy substance that contains marble dust); she finished the one-of-a-kind effect with a wax topcoat. With the walls' leathery luster as a backdrop, Sally-Jo and Catherine arranged fall-themed accents in a bright tabletop vignette. A quilted table runner dotted with homegrown peppers, a jar candle and a decorated pumpkin spill from a basket, creating a cornucopia effect. An electric candle and a spray of grasses add height to the vignette. Nearby, a pitcher surrounded by potpourri extends the display.
The clean-lined black hutch also underwent a seasonal makeover. On the top shelf, Sally-Jo and Catherine replaced Kelly's standard accents with a flowering plant in a wood bucket, a vine-decorated tray and a willow-themed plate on an easel. Inside the cupboard, painted boxes and a trio of light-colored canisters pop against the black interior. On top, a black basket rests below a sign that greets the season.

0908WDWC04Good Enough to Eat
While Airedale Terrier Simba kept a close eye on their progress (and their edible accents), Sally-Jo and Catherine arranged a breakfast-bar display that pops against Kelly's black granite counters. "We added some bright spots to Kelly's more earth-toned, neutral palette with a wood bowl filled with colorful peppers, corn, squash and berries," Sally-Jo says. "We rested the bowl on a striped towel to bring a bit of fabric and pattern to the mix." The stylists also got creative with a leftover red bell pepper, transforming it into a tealight candleholder that rests on a small dish. A bouquet of sunflowers bursting out of a hollowed pumpkin match the blooms in a nearby primitive print, and a ball-jar wax warmer stylishly fills the space with a delightful aroma.

Written by Elizabeth Preston
Photographed by Maurice Victoria
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad & Catherine Parker
Produced by Dennis Morgan