Do-it-yourselfers Rob and Ginger Withers remodel a tiny ranch home to suit their country cottage decorating preferences.

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Chalkboard paint converts a plywood panel mounted on a shed into a bulletin board heralding the rustic treasures displayed inside Rob’s and Ginger’s home.

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Having lived as townsfolk for some 14 years, Rob and Ginger Withers longed for greener pastures that accommodated their country-living dreams and Ginger’s collections. Their dreams came true a few years ago when they purchased a down-but-not-out 900-square-foot home nestled on 5 acres outside Rogersville, Missouri. The couple created a new front entryway that ties into the wood detailing seen inside and provides ample space for exhibiting fall-harvest arrangements.

“I’ve always been drawn to primitives and love cool old things so I wanted a home with charm that wasn’t a cookie-cutter house,” says Ginger. “This home had potential and character. Luckily, Rob is a builder and knows how to do everything. I show him pictures of things I like, and he builds them.”

Before Rob built a single thing, the couple ripped out too-low ceilings, gutted the bathroom, and razed walls to join two small bedrooms into one large bedroom. They moved the front door to create a wall long enough to house their living room sofa. Ginger finds that opting for fewer but bigger items creates a more streamlined country look that in turn makes each room feel larger than its dimensions.

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Visitors to the Withers’ home gladly kick back and take in ever-evolving displays of Ginger’s flea market treasures. Old milk stools add interest atop a living room wall cabinet; upside-down galvanized buckets prop up table lamps; cutting boards fashion rustic pedestals; dough boards hang as kitchen artworks; and mismatched wooden drawers convert to countertop spice racks. Propping lamps atop boards and buckets allows more light to shine into adjacent spaces; simple window treatments invite in natural light.

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Autumnal shades appear in their comfy living room warmed by a wood-burning stove set in front of a backsplash of sorts that Rob created using a corrugated tin panel. Straw- and green-painted walls, neutral flooring, and stained wood furnishings move harvest-hued fabrics, orange accessories, and primitive profiles to center stage. Though newly rehabbed, the home’s interiors perfectly showcase Ginger’s quaint and quirky collections.

With the bones of the house in place, Rob and Ginger set about amplifying the home’s period appeal. They painted some paneled walls while dressing others in horizontally applied boards, a treatment they carried to the ceilings. In the bedroom, an electric-fan-cover wreath caps a color-bright shutter displayed above a vividly dressed bed. “I never know how I’m going to use something until I get it home and move it here and there,” Ginger says.

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The couple laid brick paver floors in the kitchen, hallway, and bathroom and installed rough-sawn pine floors finished with Briwax in the living room. A glass-front cabinet holds necessities in the small bath; the clawfoot tub was pink until Ginger painted it black.

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In the kitchen, the existing oak cabinets were given an antiqued paint finish and new glass door panels. Rusty relics, like tin moldings, are called into creative service as window valances.

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Topped with wooden countertops the cabinets display vintage-style canisters and old wood drawers converted to spice racks.

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A hay fork dresses a window; pitchfork tines hold dinner plates. Rural references, from barn prints and country landscapes to pitchforks and sap buckets, abound throughout the home.

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Earth tones and brilliant oranges show up in Ginger’s decor year round. Come fall she fans the flames with fiery bittersweet wreaths and branches, blazing mums, and pumpkins galore. Rob installed this barn door in the doorway separating public and private quarters. The sliding door highlights a bittersweet wreath and a wingback chair displaying Ginger’s favorite hue.

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“There is something on every wall and in every corner,” laughs Ginger. “Sometimes Rob says ‘Can’t we just have one wall with nothing on it?’ But, because the house has only one closet, I need furniture pieces for storage. And, I love to display my things and create different looks for every season.” Here, the laundry room’s dry sink provides storage for linens and a surface for showcasing a vintage gate.

“I’m not sure I really have a specific style,” says Ginger with a smile.” I use things that I like. I love primitive wood pieces and anything that is rusty and cobwebby. The look is eclectic, but inviting and comfortable. I want people to want to come here and stay awhile.”

Ginger takes care to create well-edited displays that don’t overwhelm her tiny abode. Happily, she has a knack for arranging her collections in ways that create calming country-cozy quarters that suit her to a T.

photos by Chris Hennessey
styling by Ginny Randall

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