By Lynn Byrne. Right now the hottest decorating style leans towards a “preppy look”, with brightly colored fabrics, classic furniture forms, and the odd bit of something mid-century (50’s, 60’s or 70’s) to add some sass. Often called traditional with a twist, the look is commonly associated with Domino magazine.
I don’t think this look is going anywhere soon.
Still, there is always something new around the bend. Last June, I first wrote about the increasing popularity of a new country style. My trip to High Point Market reinforced my view of this trend. Evidence of a new country style was EVERYWHERE at High Point.
So what do I mean by a “new” country style? Well, I don’t think anyone wants to return to dried flowers, hanging baskets, ducks, hearts and such.
Rather, the new country look is more pared down. Country decorating, like the “trad-with-twist” camp, involves a mix of furniture periods–don’t expect an entire room in antiques. Plus the look often includes a graphic punch, sometimes, but not always, using black and white.
So what makes it country, instead of a “trad-with-a-twist” look? Let me count the ways:
1. Elements of nature abound. Expect the outside to be brought inside, in a big way. Art often has a nature theme.
2. There is a focus on using repurposed materials in the furniture and lighting. Mechanical parts, industrial lighting and old barn wood anyone?
3. While contemporary styles are mixed with antiques, comfort reigns supreme. Any gloss or shine is going to be tempered by other furnishings with a more distressed or painted finish, or fabrics with a handmade look like linen, ticking or ikats. Still, expect to see modern lighting, art and furniture.
Of course, pictures are worth a thousand words, so here are some examples recently published by Country Living, to illustrate what I mean.
The designer in the next 3 photos is the very chic Sara Story (she plays elephant polo – ’nuff said), who just had a spread in the magazine. While she might be best known as a ‘trad-with-a-twist” gal, when it came time to do up her sister’s home, she gave it the new country look that I am talking about.
Get the picture? So check out the products and vignettes that were all over the High Point Market, from the smallest vendor to the largest showroom supporting this look.
Take this vignette that I spotted while wandering Interhall. It has all the elements: nature, industrial looking chairs, a table with an old wood top and a mix of periods with that traditional landscape.
Typically, the smaller vendors at Market offered individual pieces that would work into this look. I have already shown you the furnishings by Van Collier Designs–they fit the “new country look” perfectly. Click here. Also check out the pieces from Europe2You. Everything they offer is vintage or repurposed.
But it is not just the smaller vendors. At the larger showrooms, I spotted a number of room displays styled in the new country look.
For example, when I got my tour of the Baker showroom, the biggest news there was their revamped Milling Road line. My tour guide explained that the concept behind Milling Road was affordable, sophisticated comfort. The entire line was displayed in rooms decorated in the new country manner.
At Hickory Chair, a country style display was in the lobby, making it the first thing visitors saw. Note the painted furniture, ikat chair fabric and updated botanical art prints.
My High Point sponsor, Hooker Furniture Company also offered a number of pieces that would work with this new country look, including items from their Gabby suite of furniture, Primrose Hill line and Melange.
I spotted this next vignette on my tour of their showroom. The painted and wood distressed finish on the Melange chest coupled with its star shaped hardware are traditional country elements. Kicking up the style factor are the industrial light fixtures and iron base clock.
This next photo from Hooker Furniture showcases their Primrose Hill cane bed. Take note of all of the textures and finishes in the room. The gallery wall with its images from nature and large mats adds zip.
Even the uber-glam Oly Studio got into the act. Check out their tree trunk based lamp.
Does this trend appeal to you? It is a bit cozier than the glossy trad-with-a-twist look.
I love it and I live with it. Both my home in Westchester NY and my beach house in Montauk NY can best be described as having an updated country style.
Given all of the offerings at High Point’s Fall Market that work with this look, I am certain we are going to see more of it.
Except where noted, photos are by me.