From a basic barn reimagined as a swank paneled library to a storybook stone cottage where suppers are held by candlelight, a rural Illinois estate brims with diminutive delights, thanks to Annie Brahler-Smith.
To revamp her clients' horse barn in the Illinois countryside, St. Louis, Missouri, designer Annie Brahler-Smith took a hands-on approach. She did much of the work herself, including sanding and staining the tack room's plywood paneling. The tufted leather settee is Belgian, and the mahogany table was found in France.
Brahler-Smith, who flanked an antique Dutch table with a pair of vintage distressed-leather wing chairs, doesn't worry about wear and tear. "If something gets stained or broken, that's a scar from life, and it's beautiful," she says.
Tucked beneath the windowsill, stacked leather trunks hold brass polish and leather conditioner for cleaning tack.
The tack room door is made from reclaimed tongue-and-groove floor planks and finished with a brass pull from an old mail slot.
Tosk, the family's Arabian, grazes in front of the limestone entertaining cottage. To remove old varnish from the salvaged doors, Brahler-Smith sprayed on a mixture of lye and water, then sealed the raw wood with clear paste wax.
The custom dining table is built from 700-year-old Syrian oak beams that look "almost petrified," the designer says.
The husband, a retired professional baseball player, gave his wife the Hermès jumping saddle as a gift.
The Belgian drinking horn can be removed from its base for a toast.
A leather-trimmed Louis Vuitton canvas trunk from a French flea market serves as a side table. Read more about Brahler Smith's inspiration for this space here.
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This story originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of CQ.