Virtually everything in the century-old Illinois farmhouse Pat King shares with her husband shows her expert hand — at sewing, painting, restoring, and reinventing.
"I like old things and figuring out how to make them work," says Pat King. "Then everyone pitches in." "Everyone" means her husband, Ike, four children, their spouses, three stepchildren, and eight grandchildren, all of whom live within 10 minutes of the couple in New Berlin, Ill. When Pat, a talented seamstress and resourceful do-it-yourselves, and Ike, a farmer, purchased this century-old two-bedroom farmhouse four years ago, everyone in the family came over on weekends to help with the remodelling and refurbishing. Last year, two sons added a master bedroom and bath. Meanwhile, Pat never stops sewing, painting, restoring, and caring for a home that is truly a labor of love.
In the living room, Pat experimented with a golden oak wood stain on the rough stucco walls to give them the look of old plaster.
In the dining room, Pat replaced the shag carpet with peel-and-stick vinyl tiles. The chairs came from Annie Brahler; Pat often sews projects for Annie and her business. Pat dressed down the chairs' gilded appearance with white paint and burlaplike fabric, then added stencilled monograms.
Pat wanted a washer and dryer in her new bedroom, so she created this cabinet. The base is made from two old doors that Annie painted to match the top, adding blackboard paint on the insets.
Pat and Ike's farmhouse once had a second story, but it blew off in a 1950s tornado; they widened the front steps to make a more welcoming entry.
Light flows into the master-bedroom addition on the first floor. Pat made the upholstered headboard and duvet cover; the column in the corner was ripped off her daughter's front porch last spring by a tornado.
In Pat's studio (formerly the garage), an old feed bin holds fabrics.
The grandkids love having towels stencilled with their names.
Pat collects Syracuse china, where her dad once worked.
Vintage-looking containers scooped up at T.J. Maxx hold laundry supplies.
Spools of thread and balls of string that once belonged to Ike's grandmother, also a seamstress, get pride of place in the dining room.
A new master bath looks original thanks to its apron-front sink with toile skirt; old record cabinets provide storage.
Pat livened up the porch by painting a pattern onto its wood floor with an opaque wood stain.
Text: Sarah Marshallphoto credit: Zara Bennett