Design Hints

Something to Salvage

Tap into your creative side and discover new ways to display salvaged finds!

Jackie Rittenberg, whose home is featured in our Home Tours 2010, loves to go hunting for antiques and salvaged items with her sister, Dee Powell (whose similarly sunny house appeared in our March 2010 issue) -- but they both agree that the real fun begins when they get home and start decorating. Here, they share tips on how to style up a home with your favorite finds.

Open and Shutter: Whether they are hung vertically alongside a large window or horizontally across a wall display, shutters make versatile decorating fare. They add ballast, dimension and color to most of Jackie's rooms, including the living room, where a green shutter tops a wall shelf, and the master bedroom, where multiple examples showcase antique clothing and accessories.

Boxed Up: Although they are great for tabletop and shelf vignettes, wood boxes, like shutters, can be hung in any direction and adorned with any manner of decor: china, wreaths, photographs, collectibles -- you name it. Jackie puts this trick to use in her entryway, where a partitioned red box becomes a pasture for her collection of chalkware sheep.

Branching Out: Take a cue from an appliqued decoration mounted over a doorway near Jackie's staircase and cleverly display a terrific textile on a curved branch picked up from your yard or a nearby park. Simply stitch a rug or an embroidered cloth to the branch in a few spots and hang the whole perfectly primitive accent on a nail or a hook.

Sigh of the Times:
Vintage signs are a great way to fill space, make a statement, provide graphic interest, add color -- or all of the above! For a dash of cottage-primitive pizzazz, Jackie hangs well-weathered signage in her kitchen, near her stairs and in the dining area. If you can't find one that's just right for the spot you want to fill, take an old board and try your hand at calligraphy with a little acrylic paint.

It all Hinges on This:
Spend time at the salvage yard looking for old sets of already-attached closet doors or other hollow-core doors that can be hinged together to form a screen. Paint them, wallpaper them, or just sand down the original paint for a primitive look. Hang old photos, straw hats, wreaths or dried flowers on the doors to enhance your decor, as Jackie did in her living room.

Written and Styled by Donna Pizzi
Photographed by