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Illinois Farmhouse

An Illinois couple transforms an outdated country house into a welcoming home designed with a 1950s, down-on-the-farm feel.

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    The Marminos' home, which they <br>believe was built in 1892 because <br>of a date found painted under the <br>steps, was once a farm where a nearby<br> church held sausage dinners.
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    For this house, Kathy swapped out <br>her more primitive pieces for white <br>painted furniture, which she finds <br>more refreshing and cheerful.
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    Once a display piece in a Houston <br>Ralph Lauren store, the antique dining <br>room hutch holds Kathy's dinnerware.
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    The guest bedroom, once a furnace <br>room, feels like a cozy attic with its <br>faux fireplace, white-painted potbellied<br> stove and doll bed that serves as a <br>breakfast-in-bed tray.

Using Salvaged Materials and Antiques

Under her direction, the sunporch became a living room and the basement steps moved to make way for a pantry with a screen door. The front of the house sprouted a porch 25 feet wide, and the TV room morphed into a light-filled bathroom and hallway. With every transformation, Kathy insisted on using salvaged materials and authentic antiques, including weathered tin ceilings, old-time faucets and rustic light fixtures like those in the kitchen. She also held firmly to her red-and-white color palette, ensuring each area would flow seamlessly into the next. "If you stick with primary colors, everything's cheerful and it all works together," she says. "Just think of kindergarten!"

It's a simple rule, perfect for the pace the Marminos finally found when Kathy stepped into the yard of the big house outside of town and saw what it could be.

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