The moment you walk into Tracey Leber’s home, you’re immediately impressed by her innate sense of style. She has the ability to mix furniture from a wide variety of time periods, making them look as if they’ve always belonged together.
Surprisingly, this owner of French Larkspur—a popular online shop that specializes in one-of-a-kind European flea market finds—didn’t always love vintage furniture. In fact, as a young girl, she hated it when her mother would drag her to thrift stores and garage sales. It wasn’t until later, when she had her own home, that Tracey discovered her own decorating style. “Initially, my style was modern,” she admits, “but I quickly learned that I wasn’t satisfied with that. I found myself drawn to more feminine things and more to the whole Scandinavian look, where the lines are clean but the furniture is painted. That’s when I started liking vintage pieces. I started going to flea markets.” This was a turning point in Tracey’s design philosophy, one that helped her create both a stunning home and a successful online business, and garnered her more than 6,000 faithful blog followers.
Tracey Leber’s unique talent for combining architectural elements, found items and treasured heirlooms is best seen when she creates vignettes. One such combination can be found in her daughter’s bedroom, where Tracey created a special place to hang her little girl’s christening gown. Here, a combination of soft tones and varying textures work together to establish visual interest. Her signature use of varying shades of white, combined with the strong contrast of deep chocolate brown make this a focal point in the room.
It’s easy to employ the same technique in your home. A variety of items can be highlighted: a collection of necklaces, a favorite vintage dress, a lace parasol, a small quilt, an embroidered shawl or a wide-brimmed straw hat. Just follow these simple instructions.
1. Start with an old window frame. Make sure all the glass has been removed. You may want to paint the window frame if the color doesn’t coordinate with your décor. If you’re using a vintage frame with cracked and peeling paint, Tracey recommends that you seal it with a matte finish, water-based polyurethane, purchased at a local home improvement center.
2. Place a hook at the center top of the frame.
3. Hang the window frame on the wall.
4. Above the frame, stencil a meaningful phrase or inspirational quote. Make sure the painted stencil is centered above the window frame. If stenciling isn’t your thing, apply premade vinyl lettering to the wall. Companies such as Wall Words (wallwords.com) offer a wide selection of ready-to-use phrases and images.
5. Hang the item that you want to highlight from the hook.
by Merrie Destefano