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The owner of this newly built home made it feel old by adding an iron daybed,
worn painted-wood pieces, and other countryish elements.
What is it about looking at a book full of photos of big old farmhouses filled with iron bed frames, chipped painted dressers, and white-linen-draped sofas that makes you want to quit your job, move out to the country, and take up butter churning?
“People are interested in returning to a simpler, healthier lifestyle,” says Fifi O’Neill, whose new book, Romantic Prairie Style, includes four homes in Illinois (shown on these pages), some just outside of Chicago.
Patinaed garden furniture, a primitive ladder holding vintage grain sacks, and other
rustic pieces lend character to the same new-construction house shown above.
O’Neill is a journalist, blogger, and photo stylist who was born in Paris and raised her children on the prairie in Manitoba, Canada. She decided to write about this homey, authentic style of life last summer while converting the garage of her home in Florida into a guesthouse that would channel her previous life (it, too, is featured in the book). On her blog, Chez Fifi (fabulousfifi.typepad.com), she asked readers to submit photos of their homes.
The chandelier in this suburban Chicago dining room shows that
a little glitter can have a place in prairie style.
In the same house as above, the owner sees the tarnishing of her silver as an advantage.
“I have always favored some imperfections,” she says.
She received hundreds of submissions, which she winnowed down to 12 homes from across the country. All of the families represented in the book live year-round in their homes and many farm their land or raise livestock, proving that prairie style has no geographical boundaries.
ROMANTIC PRAIRIE STYLE BY FIFI O’NEILL (Ryland Peters & Small, $29.95) rylandpeters.com
Photography: Mark Lohman
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