Even a neighbor's curbside refuse didn't escape the notice of Deb Casey. The white leather bench wasn't exactly gleaming (in fact, it was caked with dirt) and its wooden legs were a bit crooked, but she knew that with a little elbow grease it would be just right.
"I had been looking for something like it," says Deb of the bench situated in front of the window seat in her McKinney, Texas, foyer. When she spotted it on the street, she slammed on the brakes, threw her SUV into reverse, and hauled off the piece before the sanitation department could. "I'm a professional organizer. I help people throw away stuff. I don't bring it into my house! But this bench was too perfect to pass up," says Deb.
All the vignettes surrounding the now-polished bench in Deb's foyer give the space a full, collected--not cluttered--look. The soft, concise color palette of white, cream, and silver means arrangements don't compete for attention. The displays are artful and pretty but just imperfect enough so that nothing looks too fragile in her 1886 home. "This is an old house, and everything in it has issues," Deb says. "Everything is a little bit off."
Treasures From All Over
Happy people equal happy homes. Or is it happy homes equal happy people? Either way for Deb and her charming cottage. They are two of a kind: fun, cheerful, and bubbling with personality.
She scoured flea markets, salvage stores, antiques shops, and yard sales to find the vases, bowls, jars, furnishings, and metal pieces she favors. And she didn't worry about whether an item was in perfect condition. "The white sideboard was already puckered when I bought it, and I can't tell you how many felt pads I've used to even things out," she says.
Worked into the arrangements are flickering votive candles and bouquets that Deb puts together herself. "I love fresh flowers in the house," she confesses. "They are my weakness."
Mix But Don't Match
You don't have to choose between metal, glass, or silver; just group what you love.
There's no need to spend a ton of money. "I just buy whatever I like," says Deb. "It doesn't matter if it's $6 or $40."
Scratches and dents lend character to this look, too, so don't fret over tiny flaws such as chipped paint or foggy glass. Every knickknack in Deb's foyer looks like it has a story to tell.
"Flea Market Fabulous" is from the March 2008 issue of Southern Living.