Friday, February 18, 2011

Style Inspiration: Farmhouse/Cottage

For years and years I have struggled to "define" my style. Of course, as I've struggled, my style has been changing. I am now of an age when it really doesn't matter what my style is called. But defining it would be convenient, if only to have a handy search term for google images to oogle.

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):

source unknown.

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 unknown

(an offshoot is American County which can come extremely close to Federal which morphs pretty quickly into Traditional)

Swedish (or Scandinavian, or Nordic.)

and Cottage (which itself has many manifestations):


source unknown


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

and Rustic:

source: A Canadian blog actually, Funky Junk Interiors

Not a "cottage" style, per se, Farmhouse is supposed to have a vernacular all its own.

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.


LOJO said...

I have always liked swedish farmhouse...

Mella DP said...

Perhaps something like, "Farmhouse-Contemporary"?

Alicia ~ time worn style said...

oh I hear you on this one. For myself I have decided that because I like bits and pieces of lots of styles, I am going to create my own version of what I like. Its my home, and its my style, label or no label, no right or wrong :0)

Jodie said...

These are such beautiful spaces!

Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a sweet comment!

Warm weekend wishes,

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