In the past few years, "modern" has appealed to me: simple shapes, blocks of solid colour, few to no accessories. (Certainly I don't want accessories for "accessories" sake. Vignettes like this, though well put together, just leave me shaking my head):
For a while, I thought I would embrace vintage: afghans, old fabrics and dishes, oil paintings picked up in thrift shops, that sort of thing. And, while I still like to ferret out old things, I could not figure it out as a style.
Neither of these is enough, for example, to help me decide how to paint the front entry way. Neither is enough to help me figure out how to decorate the living room for the summer. Neither one, nor both taken together, are robust enough to provide any direction.
I was blog surfing the other night and came across this picture from The Lettered Cottage.
Layla Palmer, who created this image from a reader's submission, pronounced it a kitchen where the "classic cottage meets farmhouse." And I thought, perfect! That's it (at least as Palmer visually defines it!).
"Cottage" has long been my "default" style. It is easy to pull off on a budget, it is cozy and it doesn't suffer from too much pretentiousness.
"Farmhouse" as a style is new to me. I have, however, been in enough genuine farmhouses to recognize that, like the "cottage style" it is defined by the qualities of thrift, simplicity and sturdiness.
"Country," of course comes in lots of different permutations:
source: Miss Mustard Seed
(an offshoot is American County which can come extremely close to Federal which morphs pretty quickly into Traditional)
source: Cottage and Vine
Swedish (or Scandinavian, or Nordic.)
and Cottage (which itself has many manifestations):
source: the Austalian blog A beach Cottage
(this example is a sort of a Belgian/French Shabby chic--not the faded roses of the originator Rachel Ashwell's California style--and no wonder--this is the kitchen table of a blogger from Padova, Italy. Home Shabby Home
source: A Canadian blog actually, Funky Junk Interiors
Not a "cottage" style, per se, Farmhouse is supposed to have a vernacular all its own.
source: For the Love of a House
When I started this post, I had thought that "farmhouse" would be it: that would be my "new" defining style. After hours of looking at images on-line, I find that I cannot embrace it unreservedly. In many ways it embodies the worst of the "country" decorating style: stuff piled on stuff for the sake of display. Ugh. But in the right hands, an artful combination of its elements mixed with a touch of sophistication can result in something wonderful. The trick is, of course, have I the hands to pull it that off with the resources I have?
More of that in part 2.