Step inside this farmhouse, decorated through and through by owner, designer and photographer Natalie Kolter and several clear themes emerge. Kolter, who has a master's touch with vintage charms, is extremely fond of chalkboards with pearls of wisdom stenciled in place, antique brick-a-bac, Christmas trees of diminutive size and her omnipresent dog Chester, who finds his way into many of her photographs.
If you were transported inside the house you might assume you were deep in rural New England or in Midwest farm country. But then you would be startled to look out the window and see big, bristling cacti dominating the landscape. Kolter's home is not nestled in farm country so much as it is perched on the high-country mesa of the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona "at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountain range," she says on her website.
Duly noted: This is a territory that values the great outdoors and Kolter done honor to that by decorating inside and out, evidenced her very welcoming front porch. Evidently, she gave this more than a passing thought, for she has named her antique and decorating business Vintage Porch. Let's have a look at the treasures she has collected.
Simple, simple, simple. At this small breakfast table -- perfect for a quick game of Black Jack or Crazy Eights, Kolter hints at her color of choice, which happens to be white.
Have you ever purchased a pair of pre-scuffed blue jeans or pants already patched or cut off shorts? Well, here's the homeowner's equivalent. The in-need-of-fresh-paint look is cozy and kooky. And, truthfully, some antiques loose their value of you slap a fresh coat of paint on them.
You'll see, there's no need to stop at one Christmas tree in the house or even one per room. This room has eight, plus twin wreaths on the wall and a very snowy overall look. Meanwhile, Chester -- keenly focused on something -- makes his first appearance.
The pillow says it all: "Home sweet farmhouse." Meanwhile, Chester almost missed the cut here in a space balanced by unpainted items, including the bench and the two shelves above it.
This eating spot has just the right checkered pattern to balance out the dominant themes of white and unpainted wood, which is accented by the baskets and bowls on the table.
Another farmhouse Christmas scene -- and hi to Chester, of course.
Even when you're living in a world of antiques, you have to live in the real world. The plumbing has to work. The flecked pattern on the counters works well with the white decor.
Here's another room where modern meets old-time. A few simple decorative items on the shelves suggests that you don't need to over-clutter a home to make a fashion statement.
The opposite view of the same room. The difference (do you remember those "find the difference in the two pictures" game?) is that here some pieces are on the chess board.
A plethora of pillows. And while the bed is striking, the unique feature here is the chandelier. Every bedroom ought to have one.
Just in case you forgot where you were, look out the window and see what's there, cows playing hide and seek behind the prickly arms of a cactus.