Story: Stephanie Maxwell | Photography: Ret Peek | Styling: Chip Jones |
Vintage decor sprinkled seamlessly throughout a modern farmhouse speaks to this blogger’s love of stories
As a blogger, Alicia Armstrong is a natural storyteller. Her home design blog, “Our Vintage Nest,” not only showcases her own home, but also illustrates why she’s drawn to decor with a previous life: she loves the stories behind those pieces. “The chippiness and wear and tear they have had over the years tell a beautiful story,” she says. “I love to imagine where it came from and who owned them.” By styling her vintage finds alongside traditional furnishings and modern appliances, Alicia has created a home that feels classic and cohesive.
RECIPE FOR STYLE
Alicia was lucky enough to find her home in the framing stage of its construction, allowing her a say in many of the design details—including the inset cabinetry, backsplash tile, farmhouse sink, and contrasting paint colors in the kitchen. The neutral palette is consistent with the rest of the house and accented with a light layer of seasonal wreaths and Christmas décor, which ties the kitchen to the living areas.
SET THE TABLE
The kitchen is also home to a breakfast nook with place settings for four around a pedestal table, which Alicia found at Somewhere In Time Antique Mall in Rogers. Like so many of Alicia’s favorite pieces, this one has a story: The owner who sold the table to Alicia told her that its lineage dates back to the home of Louise Thaden, a pioneering aviator from Bentonville. “I met the [previous owner] and she shared stories with me of her and her children sharing breakfast together when they were young,” Alicia says. Now, she carries on the table’s tradition by gathering here with her husband, Chris, and their two children, Ava, 12, and Tyler, 9.
Armchairs at either end of the table bring a cozy feel to the formal dining room. The faint blue walls hint at the vintage decor seen throughout the rest of the house, while modern wainscoting streamlines the room, giving it an air of simple elegance—a direction Alicia admits is different from her last dining room. “I used to be drawn to a French country and ornate look, and I didn’t want that anymore,” she says. “Now I look for more classic pieces. I want something I could keep for years to come that won’t seem dated.”
MAKE A STATEMENT
In addition to seeking out hidden gems at antique malls and estate sales, Alicia is an advocate for supporting small businesses. One of her favorites is Cottonwood Shanty, an Ohio-based online business, whose “Oh Holy Night” scroll hangs in a hallway across from the dining room. The antique German sled is another one of Alicia’s favorite wintry finds.
Tufted-back, upholstered chairs flank the tree and offer prime real estate come Christmas morning, while the tree’s trimmings reflect the creamy wall color, muted rug, and earthy tones of the fireplace and furniture. Holiday accent pillows on the chairs are an easy way to add simple, seasonal flair.
TICKLE THE IVORIES
In the office, a 1917 Story & Clark piano—which Alicia points out is 100 this year—serves as the display for a collection of Christmas signs, spools of twine, and mismatched decorative topiaries. “I found [the piano] on Craigslist several years ago and fell in love with the gold lettering and gorgeous wood grain,” she says.
THE PERFECT PIECE
A small wall in the entryway serves as the home for an ever-changing gallery wall of Alicia’s collections. “For me, the biggest challenge I face in decorating is wall space,” she admits. “Oftentimes, I will use something I already have until I can find the perfect piece for that room or wall. I have learned to be patient when finding décor for large spaces.”
Alicia’s Advice: Stumped on how to style your shelves for the season? Read a dedicated post on Alicia’s blog “Our Vintage Nest” for tips and pointers from a pro.
Christmas décor and interior design Alicia Armstrong
Contractor Rob Morgan, Morgan Millworks
Appliances Metro Appliances & More
Cabinetry—kitchen, fireplace, and millwork Morgan Millworks
Countertops—kitchen Verona Marble Company
Flooring, lighting, and tile Encore Flooring & Building Products
Furniture Somewhere in Time
Hardware Hearth & Home