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A Michigan Vintage Fall Farmhouse

A Michigan Vintage Fall Farmhouse


DIY projects, natural elements and old treasures bring a neutral, vintage-inspired fall look to this 1880s farmhouse in Michigan.

front door of Michigan farmhouse vintage fall

Old homes have a way of capturing our hearts and transporting us back to a simple life. Vintage furniture and décor can do the same, which is why Instagrammer Corine Mapes of @junk_gems prefers old treasures to new items. “I don’t really buy anything new,” she says. “And if I do like something new, my husband, Phil, and I will just make it.”

Since they now live in an 1889 farmhouse in Carson City, Michigan, Corine decorates her home seasonally in a way that honors its age, using vintage treasures, plenty of texture and natural accents to evoke the feeling of fall.

This picturesque farmhouse has a brand new dark green roof with white siding and cedar shingles and shutters. “There was a huge tree at the front of the house that the raccoons used as a ladder, so we cut that down,” says Corine.

History Reimagined

Corine and her family were going through a tough time when they happened upon this property. “We sold our house in two days, and this one fell into our hands,” she says.

Though the home wasn’t in the best condition when they bought it, they saw it as an opportunity to get their hands dirty and turn this property back into the charming farmhouse of its time. “My husband is a builder, so we were able to do a lot of the work ourselves,” Corine says. “When we bought it, the house had been abandoned for years. It was dark, dreary and raccoon infested. But it just felt like home for some reason.”

To make the garage more functional, Corine and Phil removed one of the two garage doors and covered it with wood. “That’s our shop area where my husband works on his signs, and I refinish furniture,” says Corine. They made the bench out of an old headboard, and the Porch sign is an example of what they sell in local brick and mortar shops. Their mini horse, Tucker, is just one of the many animals on their property, including a rabbit, chickens, barn cats and a dog.
To make the garage more functional, Corine and Phil removed one of the two garage doors and covered it with wood. “That’s our shop area where my husband works on his signs, and I refinish furniture,” says Corine. They made the bench out of an old headboard, and the Porch sign is an example of what they sell in local brick and mortar shops. Their mini horse, Tucker, is just one of the many animals on their property, including a rabbit, chickens, barn cats and a dog.

Previous owners had increased the home’s footprint to make it livable. “When the house was built, it was just the bedroom,” says Corine. “Through the years, people built additions. The last addition was the living room in 1990.” Corine and Phil have worked for the last four years to bring back the home’s original character, including replacing the floors, gutting the kitchen and adding shiplap to the walls. 

Natural and Neutral in the Vintage Michigan Fall Farmhouse

Corine has furnished the home with vintage décor, in keeping with the home’s history. For fall, she prefers a neutral palette and a natural aesthetic to complement her vintage style. “I like to go neutral on my walls and with my furniture and add in pops of color with accessories like planters, pillows and vases,” she says. “It changes for every season, but for fall, I like white, brown and beige.”

vintage style fireplace, jeweled ceiling fan in farmhouse living room
A pellet stove is an effective heating source in the home, and Corine appreciates its black color, as it works with the rest of her décor. Phil made the cubby hanging on the wall, and Corine decorated it with dried flowers, leaves, mini pumpkins and an Autumn Blessings sign. A vintage garden bench sits under the window for extra seating and charm.

The foundation of Corine’s décor is built upon repurposed items, such as architectural salvage and wood scraps, as well as thrift store and flea market finds. Corine decorates with natural elements on top of that. “We have a large garden every year and grow all our pumpkins,” she says. “I also cut hydrangeas and leaves from our yard.”

Mixing in these elements with her vintage finds is an effective and budget-friendly way to make their home cozy for the season. She places dried flowers in vintage baskets, displays pumpkins in cubby holes and drapes garlands along her mantel or hangs them from the ladder in her kitchen. The overall look is simple, yet effective in bringing a vintage-inspired fall look to the old farmhouse. 

Sitting area with white chair, fall decor and dried hydrangeas for fall farmhouse style
Working with old pieces is one of Corine’s passions. She repurposed a $5 architectural salvage piece into a shelf, refinished an old coffee table from Goodwill and made a floor lamp out of a vintage spindle. “I just attached a lightbulb and lampshade to it,” she says. Updates to the foundation of the living room include faux wood wallpaper and wainscoting on the wall, as well as new floors.
sitting room with tufted armchair and ceiling fan

3 Tips for A Vintage-Inspired Fall Aesthetic

Need help pairing fall décor with your favorite vintage finds?
Here are a few tips to keep your home looking cohesive and cozy for the season.

Bring out fall-specific vintage. Your year-round vintage pieces are the foundation on which to build fall décor. But think about which vintage treasures are fall specific. “When fall is arriving, I bring out my amber bottles to decorate my fireplace mantel,” says Corine. “I add vintage baskets for texture, bring out my collected copper pieces, switch out my summer art for fall art and light candles for extra cozy spaces.”

Keep it natural. Another great way to add a fall feel to your home is to think outside the box—literally. Go outside and gather what you can from your backyard or garden. “Keeping your fall décor natural complements your vintage items,” says Corine. She grows orange and white pumpkins every year to include in her décor. She’ll also gather and dry hydrangeas, leaves, corn stalks and wheat to put in vases and baskets or hang from lighting.

Add fabric for soft texture. Not every piece in your home has to be vintage. Add textured blankets and pillows with fall colors for a cozy look. “I bring out my green velvet throw pillows and mix them with sweater pillows,” says Corine.

See Also
Outdoor garden space with swinging seating area

farmhouse kitchen door simple chandelier
The coffee bar consists of a vintage ice chest and a handmade wood shelving piece. “We store our coffee and more coffee cups in the ice chest,” says Corine. Phil carved the scalloped edges on the shelves with a scroll saw to mimic the vintage hutch details in the next room. The light sage green door leads to the entryway from the kitchen and adds a soft pop of color in the otherwise neutral home.
The kitchen is full of warm fall charm, from the amber bottles and dried hydrangeas to pumpkins in baskets and fruit and vegetables on the island. Corine makes use of all the wall space to display her kitchen-related collections.
farmhouse dining room
The dining room is the only space in the house where the original flooring was salvageable. They painted it white instead of staining it. Corine furnished the space with the dining set she and Phil got when they were married, and a bench from a yard sale. She also made a shelf using spare architectural pieces and decorated it with vases of wheat. “I painted the sign underneath to look like an old chalkboard,” she says.
farmhouse kitchen
After removing the upper cabinets, Corine and Phil found genuine shiplap on the walls, but unfortunately, it wasn’t salvageable. “It had been destroyed, so we covered it with our own DIY shiplap,” Corine says. They decided to install open shelving they made with local wood to keep the kitchen open. It also allows Corine to decorate with her treasured vintage fInds. She enjoys hanging faux garlands from her decorative ladder for every season, and for fall, it’s faux leaves. The island underneath was another DIY project, where they topped a basic stock cabinet with butcherblock and added beadboard.
farmhouse kitchen with white cabinets, exposed shelves and island
Homeowners Corine and Phil Mapes enjoy the kitchen they worked so hard to update. “The curtains are just folded over napkins, and I put them up with curtain clips,” she says. They enjoy doing DIY projects together and making personal updates to their farmhouse.
hutch with copper pitchers in farmhouse kitchen
Because they removed the upper cabinets, they needed to make up the storage space with cabinets and a hutch on the other side of the kitchen. “We took out a window and replaced it with a wall for more useable space,” Corine says. The vintage hutch belonged to her mother, and Corine uses it to house some of her appliances and copper serveware. They built the adjacent pantry themselves.
An advantage of owning your own sign shop is that you have leftover pieces of wood to work with. Corine and Phil used some of their scraps to make this faux mantel, and she filled it with wood pieces. A collection of vintage and antique mirrors hangs above it. “I waited patiently for this collection,” she says. “I found them all at thrift stores.” A handmade pumpkins sign and amber bottles with leaves help create a fall atmosphere.
hallway in vintage farmhouse
The green door in the kitchen leads to the entryway/mudroom area that guests first step into when they enter the home. Corine keeps it festive for each season with garlands, as well as practical with places to store shoes.
hutch with potted plants
Little Cloie is standing guard in the living room, keeping watch over Corine’s special hutch. “It was my mother-in-law’s, and I painted it,” she says. “The spindle is an old porch post with a bird feeder and candle attached. I made the wreath hanging from it.”
staircase with pattern in vintage farmhouse
A vintage door separates the staircase from the dining room. “There was another door there when we moved in, but we replaced it with a $10 vintage door I stripped,” says Corine. “We think the builders put a door here to regulate the temperature.” She added a design to the stair risers using a stencil to give it more interest.
farmhouse laundry room floral wallpaper
It’s always best to salvage original pieces of an old home, and Corine was able to keep the original hanger in the laundry room. “I feel like it represents the old house,” she says. Plus, it still functions as a space to dry clothing. The wire laundry basket is another fun piece that alludes to the age of the home.
hutch with vintage blue jars
Corine displays two of her prized collections in this vintage hutch Phil gifted her for their anniversary. The top and bottom shelves hold her blue Atlas canning jars, and the middle shelf showcases a variety of milk glass vases. “The knobby ones are my favorite,” she says.

Milk Glass Collecting 101

Among Corine’s many vintage collections, one of her favorites is milk glass. Learn where she collects them and how she uses them.

The History

Some people discover a love of vintage items at a young age, and that was certainly the case for Corine. She remembers admiring items like milk glass at her grandpa’s home as a child. “He would find things in dumpsters and sell them at flea markets,” she says. Eventually, she began looking for special treasures of her own.

The Hunt

Corine finds milk glass in several places, such as Goodwill, flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales, and she always looks for a deal. “I have to find them at a reasonable price,” she says. “Usually, I find them for around $3, but sometimes I can get them for 25 and 50 cents at yard sales.” Her favorite brand is Fenton Hobnail, as she loves their signature texture. “I look for unusually shaped vases or containers, such as the little boot I found at a yard sale for 25 cents,” she says.

Due to the rising number of newer reproductions, Corine has a trick to determine whether or not a piece of milk glass is genuinely vintage. “You should hold it up to the light and see a rainbow of colors if it’s vintage,” she says.

The Use

Because Corine chooses fun textures and shapes, her milk glass collection serves its purpose as a display. However, she also likes to use certain pieces as vases or transform them into something new. “Sometimes I’ll make pieces into a cake plate,” she says. If you’re thinking of starting your own collection, remember to buy what you love.

farmhouse bedroom with curved chandelier and herringbone pattern
The second story contains a craft/hobby room that Corine uses for many of her projects, as well as a place for her grandkids to play when they visit.
farmhouse powder room with floral painting
With old homes comes lots of charm and occasionally the inconveniences of an older layout. “This is the only bathroom in the house,” says Corine. To make it work for them, they added a beadboard wall with a shelf and hooks to keep functional items within reach and display décor such as baskets and paintings. They also purchased a vanity with storage and added a Carrara marble top.
vintage farmhouse desk area with white throw
With old homes comes lots of charm and occasionally the inconveniences of an older layout. “This is the only bathroom in the house,” says Corine. To make it work for them, they added a beadboard wall with a shelf and hooks to keep functional items within reach and display décor such as baskets and paintings. They also purchased a vanity with storage and added a Carrara marble top.
white farmhouse bedroom with exposed wooden beams
The original 1889 farmhouse only consisted of this bedroom. Over the years, different homeowners built additions, so the home became bigger with time. “This is the original drop ceiling,” says Corine. “We exposed the ceiling and decided to leave it and paint it white.” The previous pink carpet wasn’t in good shape, so they replaced it and added wainscoting and wallpaper to the walls.

Feeling inspired by fall? Check out A Farm-Cottage Fall, 10 Hot Fall Cocktails to Try, and Rustic Country Fall Tablescape. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration!

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