Design Hints

Flights of Fancy

Infuse a bit of whimsy into formal spaces with small delights and splashes of color.

Sometimes Early American style can be quite formal, but California collector Jerilyn Satterfield Jones balances the stately elegance of her furnishings with touches of whimsy. Here's how she does it:

Add tiny delights: Little details that are big on charm can bring a sense of humor into a space filled with more austere furnishings. In Jerilyn's home, silhouettes of scampering mice are stenciled on the stairway, a parade of pottery piglets cross a kitchen countertop, and doll-size chairs hang on the family room wall.

Break the mold: Choose compatible accents of different styles. For example, a trio of chalkware hens offers a kitschy counterpoint to the sleek decoys in Jerilyn's family room breakfast area, but the fact that they are fellow fowl ties them together. 

Make it personal: Favorite items with sentimental attachment or personal meaning, including family photographs and cherished heirlooms, are great ways to add your own flair to a classic style. Jerilyn's grandmother's floral paintings fit right in with the antique quilts in the guest room, where an iron-and-brass bed that once belonged to Jerilyn's daughter rubs elbows with a much-older dresser and nightstand.

Punctuate with color: Bright touches stand out against the deep tones of Jerilyn's wood furniture and enliven her rooms. Whether it's a pitcher full of flowers on the living room mantel, a handcrafted birdhouse above the kitchen sink, a vivid quilt over a chair back, or a bowl of realistic-looking stone fruit on the dining table, full-spectrum fare sets a cheery tone.

This home was featured in the March 2012 issue.

Written by Lisa Sloan
Photographed by Mark Lohman
Styled by Sunday Hendrickson