Courtney Barnes of Style Court posted a while back on repurposing a piece of your grandmother's needlepoint to add a soulful touch to modern digs. While going through the House & Gardens I ran across this charming vignette from Annie Selke from July 2006. The hooked fan pillow is particularly charming. While not your grandmother's, it gives a new room additional vintage charm. It appears the pillow is still part of Selke's collection through Dash and Albert.
There were several other elements of this home that would be inexpensive ways to freshen up. Lusterware plates like these can be found at several of the antique malls here in Kansas City.
In addition, there are currently framed, pressed botanicals at Pear Tree, Curious Sofa and Christopher Filley's. While not quite as inexpensive as the plates, Selke does a nice job with this arrangement by using just one. One might be in the budget.
The same could be said of the butterfly print on the table, above. A framed print on an easel might just brighten up a tired tablescape.
And, while slightly more ambitious, the craftiest among you could reproduce the bamboo below the chair rail from Selke's dining room.
The bathtub, sadly, may cost more than my car, but that glimpse of white wicker? The vintage mirror? These as well as the light fixture and portrait can easily be found in one trip River Market Antiques or something similar in your town. Keep the backgrounds clean and fresh, as Selke has done here, and these inexpensive, vintage pieces will shine like treasures.
Dash and Albert available in town at Stuff in Brookside. By the way, I have not torn one page from the stack of House & Gardens. I just keep pulling them out and saying, "Oh! Oh, yes, I loved this one," and then putting them back on the shelf. Photography on the images above Andrew Bordwin.