Outside the early American farmhouse, a wooden sign,
carved in the shape of a pointing hand, sternly
admonishes: "America: Love It or Leave It."
And judging from the contents of the Americana-inspired
home, the inhabitants choose to love it.
|The house itself, built in 1783, testifies to
200 years of American ideals: simple, forthright
lines, welcoming but plain spoken color, only
the barest ornament in the form of a weathervane
or whitewashed trim. Inside, though, a
wealth of treasured Americana provides a
touching testimony to a love of home -- and
The basic furnishings of an Americana house are
unpretentious, even homespun. Wide planked oak or
pine floors and historic color tones such as muted
greens, slate blues and red or coral tones provide a
rich historical backdrop. But it is in the details
that the space is truly defined.
||Decorative arts both naive and accomplished
display patriotic colors and themes. Stars
and stripes abound, in classic as well as quirky
forms. In formal spaces, prized folk art
like a beautifully crafted flag quilt can add
historical heft to the decor. In less-traveled
areas of the house, Old Glory can be put to more
|A flag bedspread and pillows perk up a simple
white bedroom set. A comfortable
upholstered sofa is adorned with
stars-and-stripes throw pillows, making for
equal parts Betsy Ross and Edith Bunker.
The Americana home must be neither a museum exhibit nor
a kitsch palace. A combination of antique
utilitarian artifacts with patriotic crafts can make for
an intriguing blend of national history and postmodern
junk shop wit.
In one inspired corner, pictured above, austere early
American paintings hang beneath a ceiling exuberantly
decorated with red and white stripes.
||Inside and outside the house, loosely painted
commonplace objects in red, white and blue --
like a flag-themed section of picket fence --
add a funky, down-home tone. And for
decorators unafraid of the junkyard aesthetic,
even old farm machinery, tools, and auto parts
can take on a patriotic air.
The most treasured finds of all for the
Americana enthusiast may be the commonplace
objects -- toys, whatnots, household wares -- of
the past, particularly if they have a
|An Abe Lincoln dancing wooden doll
reminds us that patriots past also had a sense
of fun. When coupled with more substantial
pieces of Americana like an antique pie chest or
simple country furniture in Shaker or
Pennsylvania Dutch style, these whimsical items
can take on a touching reverence.
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