Last week, on a quest for a new hiking adventure, I had my boys in the truck scouting out old trails where we stumbled across an abandoned farm. It wasn’t safe to investigate, but I stared at it long enough for my son to ask me, “Mom, what are you looking at?”
I wasn’t seeing anything different than he was, but my mind’s eye was seeing a treasure trove of antiquated rustic delights awaiting me in that attic; pearls of the past that had weathered the ages and had been weathered by time. I could imagine antique mirrors with little silvering left for reflection, old furniture with a scarce amount of paint clinging to the buckled wood, and the old sparkle of mercury glass.
And I can’t overlook the barn. Barns are like small industrial warehouses full of scraps. Maybe I could find some old gears from a repaired tractor or lathe, old burlap feed sacks or woolen riding blankets. In my mind, I was redecorating my living room with imaginary objects from the past; items that over the years had shed their adornments and were left with their original texture and color. There is a beauty in this kind of Neutral Palette. The interest comes from layers of varied textures and mixed metals, and above all simplicity.
How is this look created in a livable, modern space?
- Start with linen upholstery dyed in natural tones. Add pillows with stenciling or ikat.
- Bring in modern collections of industrial-style tables with finishes that are deceptively rustic but still maintain a smooth finish.
- Antique mirrors can be used in place of art. Any kind of typography hanging on the wall instantly reflects the past.
- Flat weave wool rugs with simple, repeating patterns lay a great foundation to build the room around.
- For backdrops use industrial lighting, laid brick, and over-sized clocks.
While individually these layers may seem harsh, together they create a very comfortable sense of antiquity that is very easy to live in and loaded with interest and texture!
Interior Designer Allied Member ASID