Sally Gross has always had a love affair with early American history. She loves the time period, the furniture, the style and the stories. “So many wonderful things were happening in our country at that time,” she says. “We are a nation of immigrants.”
Sally is proud of the story of her own grandmother, who as a young mother brought her four small children, including Sally’s mother, from Norway on a ship to America. Sally said her grandmother tied a rope to each child to keep track of them during the journey. The family eventually made their way out west and settled on a homestead in South Dakota.
When Sally became an adult she found herself decorating her home in that Early American style. She and her husband John moved around a lot because of his career as an Aeronautics Engineer for NASA.
Sally was always able to incorporate the early American style that she loved using the pieces she had collected: spare furnishings, primitive accents, and plain, classic furniture. Rustic tables, trunks, and Windsor or ladderback chairs and simple accessories: a handful of wildflowers in a crockery pitcher, a pierced-tin lantern or two, a linen runner, a basket filled with balls of yarn and lots of primitive dolls. She painted the homes in natural colors using the classic colonial palette: mustard and golden yellows, deep wine reds, grayish blues, warm and somber linen whites with undertones of brown or black.
The Gross family eventually settled in a circa-1740 old stone farmhouse in Chester County, Pennsylvania –Sally’s dream home. But after 30 years, Sally and John began to contemplate downsizing – and they wanted to do that without sacrificing her unique style. Sally explains what she did next: “I made a list of what I had to have. I knew I still would want to entertain my family, play my piano, have a formal and informal place to spend time, use my antiques, cook and re-create the atmosphere of my old home in my new home.”
Sally and John also wanted to move to a place that offered world-class amenities, stability, security and the freedom to concentrate on the things that bring them joy. After an extensive search, they eventually settled on an apartment in Spring Run at Willow Valley Communities. In addition to their lovely apartment and all the amenities Willow Valley has to offer, the have the added peace of mind of Lifecare. Lifecare includes short- and long-term care at no additional cost, should it ever be needed. This element was very important to the Grosses in their search.
Sally went to work as soon as she moved in and was thrilled that she was supported by Willow Valley Communities to make her apartment her own with her paint choices and décor. “I was able to make it what I wanted it to be.”
More from our “Making it Your Own” series: Sandy and Bruce Sahler’s Shaker style apartment.