(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: JULY/AUGUST 2005)
IS IT THE LINENS snapping on the clothesline in the backyard? Or is it the old washboard that serves as a fountain? Maybe it's the school desk with its legs cut short that now doubles as a coffee table in the living room, or perhaps it's simply the timeless scent of sticky buns wafting in from the kitchen.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact elements in Kathy and Randy Marmino's southern Illinois farmhouse that create the unmistakable feeling that the busy modern world stops at the picket fence out front. The country style is so welcoming, so convincing, so effortless, that guests hardly realize how quickly they've slowed down—and warmed up to—a nearly bygone lifestyle where gathering eggs was a daily chore and mass-produced housing was in the distant future.
"All I want is a house that makes people feel joyful and comfortable," Kathy says with a smile. "By the time they leave, I really hope their spirits are lifted."