Home decor: Modern country is homespun with a twist
As spring starts to peek around winter's corner, there's an array of new home decor that gives a fresh, modern vibe to the farmhouse or cottage look.
Textiles, furniture, tabletop and kitchenware are maintaining their traditional, homespun roots while getting an update. It's a look that taps what's going on elsewhere in the culture, says Lorna Aragon, editor of Martha Stewart Living.
"I think that just as with the artisanal, farm-to-table food movement, people are looking for home goods that are handcrafted and will last," she says. "It's nice to see the hand of the maker in items and to see that someone made them with care. The look also gives your home a sense of history and rootedness."
Combine that with the modern emphasis on simplicity and clean lines.
Aragon's especially fond of some new modern quilts, which look good as wall hangings as well as on beds. She mentions Denise Schmidt in Bridgeport, Conn., who puts her own spin on traditional quilt patterns, and Meg Callahan, who uses her Oklahoma roots as inspiration. (www.dsquilts.com ; www.megcallahan.com )
Aragon also likes Louise Gray, some of whose designs are being carried by West Elm. The serene, stylish quilts bring the age-old craft firmly into the 21st century with crisp and spare graphics and colors. (www.westelm.com )
O&G Studio in Warren, R.I., crafts sleek new interpretations of traditional furniture like colonial settees and Windsor chairs. (www.oandgstudio.com )
"Farmhouse style is centered on rustic woods and functional accents that foster a cozy, welcoming environment," says Kirstin Hoffman, merchandising director for San Francisco-based Dot & Bo, a retailer that is offering some photographic prints of barns and goats on simple white backgrounds. Here too, a low-profile, reclaimed-fir dresser on brushed steel legs. (www.dotandbo.com )
Zoe and James Zilian were inspired by the countryside around their home in Woodstock, Vt., to craft a collection of pottery that includes dog bowls, kitchenware and lamps. (www.farmhousepottery.com)
Maxwell Ryan, founder of interior design site Apartment Therapy, recently collaborated with home goods retailer Canvas Home to create Tableware, his debut collection of glasses, plates, bowls and cups. The crockery references 18th century creamware, in warm hues of vanilla and gray. Each piece was given a subtle gray tab embellishment that adds a modern touch. Simple French linen napery in salmon and wine round out the collection. (www.canvashome.com )
Updated cottage textile prints can be found at Minted, where artist Miriam Tribe of Springville, Utah, pares a floral motif down to its geometric essence. The fabric, called Tribal Rose, graces pillows and table runners in sunny yellow, lichen, rose gold and pink.
Also at Minted is Oscar & Emma's red and white Links lampshade, evoking a traditional quilt pattern in a modern way. (www.minted.com )
Homegoods has floral-printed ceramic plates and ceramic desk accessories accented with vintage lace patterns. A settee with a distressed wood frame looks antique, but trim, linen-weave upholstery keeps it young. (www.homegoods.com )
Vintage wine crates have been repurposed as drawers for a smart-looking storage island with hand-forged steel frame at Houzz. A rectangular, weathered-bronze pendant fixture from Quoizel, with Edison bulbs, is reminiscent of old tavern lighting, and would look hip over a modern marble or quartz island.
Potter Rae Dunn of Berkeley, Calif., crafts gingham-patterned plates, and playful ramekins with farmhouse animals and tea-towel border prints. (www.houzz.com )
Macy's spring decor includes a gingham bedding collection from Charter Club offered in a fresh-as-summer aqua and white. (www.macys.com )
The classic Aurora steel stool, an industrial and kitchen staple since the 1930s, is now offered in colors like honey, tomato and thunder blue. (www.rejuvenation.com )
Aragon says the key to this modern country style is in the editing, with lots of white to lighten the look and a bit of black to ground things. Balance clean lines and forms with texture from reclaimed wood, baskets, beadboard or sisal rugs.
"Keep fabrics simple and patterns to a minimum — linen, canvas, ticking stripes and gingham," she advises.
"As for collections, grouping them and keeping them monochromatic or all one material will make them feel more modern."
A display of ironstone, glass, pewter or pottery in a single color looks contemporary, even if there's a mix of old and new pieces.
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