Stuck With A Dark Rustic Home And I Hate It!

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

If I had to write a headline for a blog post, it would be An Anglophile In Texas.

The Anglophile is me and the home I’m moving to is so not me, it’s not funny.

 

It’s actually a log cabin of sorts, but bigger. A dark rustic home.

 

And I hate it!

So, why am I going to be living in a home that I hate?

Thank you. That’s a very good question, Laurel!

Well, I’m going to get married to the love of my life. This time I’m quite sure that I’ve got it right.

Oh, please don’t harangue me, about the fact that he can’t be all that great if he’s making me live in a house that I hate. It’s just that he built the house with his uncle 15 years ago and it’s his pride and joy. It would be awfully selfish of me to make him give up his dream.

But, there HAS to be some middle ground where we can both be happy. No?

So far, we have a Persian rug for the living room. It’s similar to the one below.

a rich Persian Heriz would be wonderful for a dark rustic home. Antique Heriz from Herat Rugs on Overstock

 

I have to say that I do love this, But, Oh geez… Now what?

Maybe you could do a blog post about those of us with a rustic home or a log cabin? Ya know, a house with a lot of wood and stone and then more wood and stone…

Thank you so much,

Woody Lovettenot

 

 

Woody is not a real person. But she’s made up from a lovely comment I received yesterday and a few others who’ve written. In fact, one I recall is from Texas. She’s the Anglophile. Forgive me if I don’t use your name. It’s not personal, in the slightest; but it’s difficult to find comments and who wrote them.

The first one is Annette and I told her that I didn’t think it would work out to talk about a log cabin because how many of us actually live in one?

But then, I got to thinking that while we may not have a log cabin, many of us do have a rustic home that’s very wood-y and husbands who would sooner lay down in heavy traffic than paint it!

The great thing is that you don’t have to paint it in order to get a lighter, brighter room.

 

I discovered that it is not all that easy to find great examples of rustic homes that have a lot of wood that are also beautifully decorated. AND— beautifully photographed.

 

However, there are enough that I found for our purposes.  And if you already love rusticity, you might be in love.

Let’s jump in. When we talk about a rustic home or a log cabin, paneled room or any room that’s predominantly wood is that we’re talking about stained wood. And unless it’s cerused, which makes it grayish, it’s usually some shade of golden brown.

And I think, if we think of all of this wood as a color on regular walls, it’s going to help a lot in selecting furnishings and other colors that are going to make the room, not just bearable but really gorgeous.

 

The problem is that too often what I see in these rustic log homes, Adirondack “shacks” and the like, is more brown– brown leather…

 

Add to it the de rigueur brown cow-hide. Brown antlers. Brown moose head mounted high up on a brown and gray stone fireplace.

Can you picture it?

Instead of posting images, this link to many rooms, clearly spells out what I’m talking about.

 

Well, one doesn’t have to live in a sea of muddy brown, if this is not your taste.

 

This is not a log home, of course, but this wonderful room by Mark D Sikes has colors that look fabulous with the wood of the cabinetry. And this could be transferred to a more rustic log cabin and the like.

 

All shades of blue look fabulous with stained wood tones.

 

When using red, I prefer the warmer tones like below.

 


This home designed by Shope Reno Wharton and interiors by Victorian Hagan shows an elegant scheme of red and gray, along with the orange-y brown. Please notice the English roll-arm sofas.

Interestingly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Victoria Hagan do red in a room. She has always favored blue and white.

But also notice the black and white paintings and neutral accents. Without the black and white, the room would fall a little flat, I think.

These are more typical Victoria Hagan colors in this beautiful bedroom in the same rustic home.

She just ignored all of the wood and did what she normally does; light and lovely and it looks great. Okay. I’m sure that she didn’t ignore the wood and stone, but she didn’t give into the hackneyed heavy brown-on-brown look.

Everything she does is gorgeous which is why she’s one of the 20 designers I would hire.

rustic home of Bunny Williams and John Rosselli - image - Loi Thai - Tone on Tone

Bunny Williams and John Rosselli’s converted barn in Connecticut. That reminds me. I MUST book for their annual spring tour of their amazing house and gardens. It’s about time. Don’t you think? photo by Phyllis Higgerson of Henhurst who did a guest post for Loi Thai of Tone on Tone.

This is a colorful, eclectic room by Samantha Knapp via Lonny. (photo: Melanie Alcevedo) No heaviness whatsoever. And I love the tiger rug!

 

Next up is the lovely rustic home in Oxfordshire, England belonging to Amanda Brooks. While not sa log cabin, we could imagine that it is and this would still work! It’s definitely old and rustic.

 

Here’s her cool kitchen. Very unkitchen, isn’t it!

 

And she has orange-y floors, so I shouldn’t stress.

 

And here’s the kitchen again! It would appear to be a later iteration; more finished. I believe the top one is an Ilve convection that she replaced with a La Canche. Maybe, she didn’t like the convection range? But notice, no hood on the gas range!

Gorgeous room by the immensely talented, young designer, Tammy Connor via Traditional Home.

 

The rest of the home is quite spectacular, (which you can see by clicking the link) although not as much wood as we see here.

 

This is an example for Annette, although it doesn’t show much. But the sofa could be a pale beige or off-white. I could see more of the blue greens and maybe a little of the coral. Love the contemporary lamps on the desk which are what’s keeping this room completely fresh.

And always, try to put some a little black and white into the mix.

It’s those details, that I think make the difference, between the tired same-old and a room that’s chic and uplifting.

 

And now, more Tammy Connor from her portfolio. The next five images.

 

Tammy, is one who I think totally gets it. Her use of color, furnishings and fabrics, is exquisite, IMO. Oh, I love that Napoleon III English club chair. This is reminding me of my trip to England.

Seee??? We CAN do English furnishings in a rustic home! And this one is very wood-y. Although the wood is more gray which I prefer, over-all. But even if it were the more orange-y color, this palette would still be beautiful.

To My UK friends. Are there wood cabins in the UK?

 

Or are they only an American thing because we have so many trees! Or did, back in the day.

 

Tammy Connor Rustic home vignette

It’s absolutely fine and desirable, I think to mix the cerused wood with typical orange-y brown wood.

LOVE the kitchen! The sage green looks perfect!

An incredibly charming bedroom.

This bedroom feels Swedish and works beautiful with the rustic wood.

 

For a more contemporary and exceedingly handsome bedroom, nobody beats Bobby McAlpine and Greg Tankersly, et al for sophisticated designs in a rustic home. Much more Bobby here!

 

Another more classic contemporary and minimalist living room by Timothy Johnson

And the fabulous light gray kitchen in the same rustic home by Timothy Johnson with marble! Hey, why not? It’s gorgeous!

 

I love the blue cabinets in this rustic log cabin kitchen. Photo by Helen Norman

 

And then there are still places or rooms in some rustic homes that can be painted. And the effect is wonderful!

 

Before shot by Celia Becker who pens After Orange County.

Please go to her blog to see the after. It’s quite lovely!

 

Country Living

This is a before shot. duh

Please check out the rest of this beautiful reno. They did a fabulous job! With before and after of every room.


And then, there’s always the option to just paint it out. This amazing space is actually a venue in Dallas, TEXAS called The White Sparrow Barn. As you can imagine, it’s very popular for weddings.

 

Rustic home - Rue Mag log cabin painted whitevia Rue Mag

 

And Yes, even a log cabin can be painted.

 

It might be a tough sell, but it’s worth a try?

But, I wouldn’t hope for too much.

But… on second thought. I would make the best chocolate cake in the world to butter (cream icing) him up. ;]

It’s the chocolate cake that will make you plotz and get you anything your heart desires– usually. ;]

Serve it at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream BEFORE showing him the awesome photos of walls painted white.

I hope that for all who have a rustic home, that this post is helpful.

xo,

PS: Thank you to everyone for your sweet supportive comments after Sunday’s post about my bedroom. And guess what? I ordered a rug– from Overstock! It’s a beautiful hand-knotted 8 x 10 pale beauty and it was only $1,800 and free shipping! That’s a great price! And no, I’m not going to show it to you— yet. ;] I do love my current rug, but it really is too small for my bedroom. I guess that I’ll give it to my son.

And Please check out the hot sales. They should be up-to-date. (I hope).

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Barb Roberts - March 20, 2018 - 8:26 PM

    People who have chosen live in rustic, primitive, log or non-traditional homes have souls and tastes that gravitate to a warmth and homespun feeling that envelopes one in comfort and soothing tones. A connection with another time and place. I am one of those souls. I too find that it is easy to become too vanilla or bland with earthtones, but through some experimentation, find that is it easier than one would think to incorporate bright and vibrante colors with the warm and earthy tones of wood. In my office, I painted the traditional dry-walls in a soothing blue/green that blends beautifully with the honey colored logs and trim. Brightly colored quilts lay folded on top of an antique armoire, and bright, artwork picks up the colors from the quilts. Violets and greenery bloom under the windows, and family photos perch on top of the antique dresser. The loft is a favorite for my grandchildren and they can pull out quilts, pillows and blankets to lay on the floor while playing games or watching movies. It’s a no frills home that welcomes all who enter!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 20, 2018 - 8:32 PM

      Hi Barb,

      It sounds absolutely charming and I’m sure a place that your grandchildren will hold dear in their hearts for the rest of their lives!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy - March 5, 2018 - 3:21 PM

    Hi Laurel!
    We’ve just had some of the chocolate cake. It’s definitely plotz-worthy!
    It’s soft and moist, and absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 5, 2018 - 11:46 PM

      Haha! Too funny. I had dinner with a friend tonight and was telling her about the chocolate cake! Please save a piece for me!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy - March 4, 2018 - 8:55 PM

    Whew! Ok! My eggs had a half inch of big bubble foam floating on a deep yellow liquid. I added the sugar, and immediately it became lighter, then thickened right up after a couple of minutes into a dense foamy pale yellow thick liquid! The other ingredients mixed up nicely and the cake is now in the oven. I can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 5, 2018 - 12:37 AM

      It’s a lot of steps, but hard to mess up. But it’s better if it’s not over-baked. yummiest cake ever! and even better the next day!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy - March 4, 2018 - 8:20 PM

    Hi Laurel!
    Because you reminded us about your amazing chocolate cake again, I thought that I’d try it. Your instructions say to beat the eggs until fluffy, then add the sugar. My eggs are not getting fluffy. They’ve been sitting at room temperature for hours. I’m using a KitchenAid stand mixer with the paddle. I’ve tried medium speed, then higher (8). Any approximation on time? Might it get fluffy once I add the sugar? Any suggestions? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 5, 2018 - 12:31 AM

      Well, they won’t be like a meringue, but just nicely mixed is fine, but I presume the cake is finished now. :] Enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • Kiera - March 1, 2018 - 10:10 PM

    Oh man, I could have used this post right up until we bought a house because the last place we lived in for 8 years was so full of dark heavy wood (mostly oak) I sometimes joked I was living in a lodge. And to make matters worse, I painted the downstairs walls yellow. I had dreams of whitewashing everything. The images of these houses are so beautiful, it almost makes me wish I could go back in time so I could fix the design mistakes I lived with for so long. What I love most about these images is that they aren’t trying to fight the wood or act as if it isn’t there; the interiors feel like a real embrace of the wood itself and they use the darkness to add sophistication. The juxtaposition of dark and light makes them feel updated and modern, or French country home, instead of “country.”ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 1, 2018 - 11:57 PM

      Hi Kiera,

      Well, there are a lot of things I wish I could change too, but then again, I learned more from the mistakes than the things that went well. xoReplyCancel

  • Lynn - March 1, 2018 - 3:27 PM

    Laurel, I love all of your posts, but this one touched my heart. I moved from a beautiful, sunlight-filled beach house in North Carolina to Upstate New York and into a dark, log cabin (with low ceilings) on 36 acres. I needed to move closer to grandkids and siblings. I’m still reeling, but happy! Thank you so much for this post….I will be changing the kitchen, bathrooms, living room and hopefully adding a library off the master bedroom if I can pull it off. Bless you for thinking of log cabin people!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 1, 2018 - 11:54 PM

      Hi Lynn,

      Well, apparently, there are more log cabin people than I realized! So glad I did this post!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Ohrtman - March 1, 2018 - 2:09 PM

    I love, love, love this post. I pinned almost everything. My house isn’t all rustic, but one room is and I’ve struggled with it for a while. Thanks so much for these pictures.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 1, 2018 - 11:53 PM

      So glad Amy! A lot of people do have at least one wooden room. Thanks for pinning too!ReplyCancel

  • Sandy Fisher - March 1, 2018 - 10:27 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    I own your wonderful color info and studied the whites repeatedly. My problem in this house are BLACK!!! tile floors in EVERY room. Granted it holds up under English Golden puppy claws very well (but the hair! EVERYWHERE) Sorry I just HATE black tile floors. Anyway, after this beautiful post I saw the “blue” kitchen idea. After studying your whites I ended up painting every wall except bedrooms & baths Chantilly white. I wanted the whitest white I could find to brighten up THE BLACK floors. I do love the white, but now I’m thinking of redoing the kitchen and perhaps a SAGE GREEN is the answer to living with these floors?
    I love the look of living in a “green house” look which these floors do provide. But I really don’t know how to go about it other than plants everywhere????? I highly doubt that you are old enough to remember but as a girl I studied in labs with black soap stone counter tops. That’s the only thing I think of with these floors. I even bought test tubes and beakers to use for vases for my summer flower harvests. I could never afford a decorator so I study and LOVE your humor & posts.
    Love from the Ole Plymuth Rock, MA
    SandyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 1, 2018 - 11:52 PM

      Hi Sandy,

      Indeed I remember labs with soapstone counters. I think they still exist, however. Thank you so much for such a sweet comment!ReplyCancel

  • lori - March 1, 2018 - 9:29 AM

    When faced with a regional challenge I always think “what would Ralph Lauren do?”ReplyCancel

  • Genie Harris - February 28, 2018 - 9:45 PM

    Hi Laurel, I am one of the poor pathetic souls who send you an email regarding my Tudor revival home and the heaviness of it all. I was so delightedly to see this post! Your ideas as usual are fantastic! Thank you!!!!!

    I also hired a designer to help and mentioned that I was obsessed with your website and then she told me she met you and that she loves your work. Well, I was just jumping for joy!!! There were not a lot of other questions….as soon as she said she knew who you were and loved your work I signed on. Will be sending this post to her ASAP.

    Good luck on your new bedroom redo! I bet it will turn out beautifully. On another note, did you know Canopy Designs is no more?? I nearly croaked but then I cried a little because I was so wanting their whimsical lighting. So sad!!! You’ve been so generous on sharing who you use and what you do and how you think with so much humor. I love it. Great post and your blog is the only one that I subscribe to. I know that’s a little corny, but very true. Thank you for all your help. Maybe you should write a book??? Or perhaps that’s already in the works. 😃👍🏻ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 1, 2018 - 12:07 AM

      Oh wow! what a lovely comment and I’m wondering who you’re working with. Well, whoever; everyone I meet at conferences, blog tours and the fab cruise (once things settled down) is lovely!

      And yes, I do know about Canopy Designs. So sad. My favorite Sara Chandelier is no more. I am hopeful that some other vendor will create their own version of the design.ReplyCancel

  • Therese - February 28, 2018 - 7:18 PM

    Hold the phone, Laurel! Bunny does tours of her home?!? For reals?!? I’ve got to book my ticket to Connecticut

    Lovely post by the way. I actually love the tension between the refined furnishings and the rustic architectural features. Reminds me of when Sharon Stone wore a beautiful Vera Wang full length skirt with a plain white button down from the Gap. Oh to pull that off!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 1, 2018 - 12:04 AM

      I think when one looks like Sharon Stone, they can pull anything off!ReplyCancel

  • Christine Goepp - February 28, 2018 - 4:02 PM

    What really helped me in dealing with wood-intensive situations is to learn to think of wood as basically orange, which you also mention. Then it becomes much easier to understand why, say, blues and greens pair so well with it, and yellows and reds are a little trickier.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 1, 2018 - 12:01 AM

      That’s such a great point and one I’ve always said too. Wood tones are part of the color scheme!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Mortenson - February 28, 2018 - 2:31 PM

    Laurel, I couldn’t agree more with the other posters; these rooms are gracious and inviting. Loved reading your blog this morning. And I’m envious that you may be going on a tour of Bunny Williams’ house and gardens! True story: Years ago we lived in the same small Connecticut town where Bunny Williams now lives. At the time I wasn’t aware of this wonderful designer—nor the house she would eventually come to own. However, after reading her book An Affair with a House, I had the distinct feeling that the town I lived in and the one she was referring to were one and the same. Returning to the area one day, we were driving down a road, and I recognized the house. I always refer to it as my Miracle on 34th Street moment. Remember that last house scene from the movie? Well, I, too, was urgently saying, “Stop! Stop!” It was indeed her house, and we did stop to admire the house and beautiful grounds.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - March 1, 2018 - 12:00 AM

      That kind of gave me chills Barbara! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy Lemak - February 28, 2018 - 1:52 PM

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE ALL OF THESE PHOTOS!! I could live in any one of those houses. I hope I become such a great designer, one day. (I’m about to graduate from an interior design course.) Thank you for all the lovely ideas.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:59 PM

      So glad that you enjoyed the post Kathy! And all the best post graduation!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - February 28, 2018 - 1:45 PM

    Laurel, thanks again for this wonderful post. I did want to ask a question- I was excited to see you liked that room with the lovely orangey-red, as that is close to the terra-cotta color I had picked (it’s one of the brightest tones in the 2-story rock fireplace, lol). I thought a mossy green would be nice with that. Do you have a favorite green? I’ve looked at your “green” posts and have some good leads, but is there one in particular? As you also astutely noted, there’s often orangey wood in the house, in our case huge fir beams.

    Thank you so much. I think I’ve found an excellent designer to work with but I love your writing, color and design sense, please post more for us Westerners if you can!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:58 PM

      Hi Danielle,

      I like all of the greens I post and of course, the numerous greens in the Laurel Home paint collection. :]

      And terrific that you found some great to work with!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Dennison - February 28, 2018 - 12:57 PM

    Laurel,
    Just like your writerI I, too, have a husband who loves WOOD/STONE/CABIN-Y and I adore all the images you’ve shared with us. These are the ONLY ACCEPTABLE ways to furnish/decorate a cozy cabin, in my humble opinion! No “theme-y” cabin stuff….no bears and no huge leather sofas! 🙁 I love all of these elegant photos!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:54 PM

      Thanks so much Amy! I agree. Not that we can’t have a little leather, but it’s good to know these other options.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - February 28, 2018 - 12:54 PM

    Thank you ten thousand times from the bottom of my heart which beats 6500 ft. up in the mountains! 9 of 10 designers will offer exactly what you describe and I’ve been struggling against the brown avalanche of leather, stone & wood for 25 years. Although lately there’s been a little gray thrown in for variety, hah. Like many native Montanans, my husband does have the obligate elk shoulder mount on the wall, but we laugh about it- there’s that moment in Beauty & The Beat when Gaston proclaims his manliness by singing, “I use antlers in all of my de-co-rating!” Yep… there are a lot of Gastons here. Some of them are interior designers.

    Then there’s Mountain Modern which is popular with the jet-set second-homeowners at the ski resorts. It can be very beautiful, but the clean lines, glass and metal is just too cold for me. It’s stark enough half the year here, I need to feel warm.

    In particular, I struggle to incorporate some family heirlooms, which do not blend with the brown contemporary avalanche of indistinct design. Not one bit. I have developed my own style which might be considered a westernized Great Camp or English Hunting Lodge, using locally famous designs such as those of Thomas Molesworth. I only half-jokingly refer to it as Legends of the Fall style- the main residence in that movie was a Montana log home decorated with Eastern refinement.

    So I treasure seeing pictures such as yours, above, and have NEVER read how to actually accomplish the look before. Thank you so much and please post some more on this topic. From New Mexico to Alberta, there are actually quite a few of us living in timber frame, log, or homes at least clad in natural materials, in order to blend in with the beautiful surroundings. I just don’t want to drag all of that in through the front door!ReplyCancel

    • downraspberrylane - March 1, 2018 - 7:39 AM

      Danielle, I almost referenced the Legends of the Fall house in my earlier comment to this post. I so loved the “Eastern refinement” against the ruggedness of the building itself. I have watched that movie maybe 7 times, and it was largely to see the house. And Brad is ok too.ReplyCancel

      • Danielle - March 1, 2018 - 10:26 AM

        Oh my goodness, so glad someone else shares my secret decorating thoughts! The movie is too sad for tender-hearted me to watch very many times, so I’ve searched the internet for stills. But the frames are almost always filled with pictures of Brad & Aidan (lets not forget him), I’m thinking “get those beautiful people out of the way, I need to see the furniture!”ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:53 PM

      G: We’ll have six or seven.

      B: Dogs?

      G: No Belle, (hehe) big strapping boys, like me!

      B: Imagine that.

      Do you know how many times I’ve seen B & the B? It’s been a while, but I reckon several hundred– at least. Son one loved that movie so much and then four years later it was revived for son 2.

      The older one (when he was two or three) use to run through the house with a plastic sword proclaiming.

      I SAY WE TILL THE BEAST!

      Yes, “till.” lol ReplyCancel

  • Jean - February 28, 2018 - 12:06 PM

    Thank you so much for addressing this issue. Being fortunate enough to own a mountain cabin I have struggled with loving spending too much time at ours and look forward to getting back to the sunnier look of our home in Phoenix. The cabin is in a heavily wooded area making it light deprived no matter how many windows there are. The “orange-y” stained pine walls, ceiling and floor add to the problem and has had me challenged trying to lighten it up any way I can. I was able to pin a lot from this post. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:45 PM

      So glad that it’s helpful for you Jean. And it always thrills me when I get so many people who have a similar situations, respond so favorably!ReplyCancel

  • Tess - February 28, 2018 - 11:50 AM

    HA, this post totally describes my house!!! I wish I could send pics. Rock, rock, rock, and wood-wood-wood. We are planning to redo the kitchen this year or the next, and I’m actually keeping the maple cabinetry unpainted. But I’m struggling whether to remove the rock facing from the island. Everybody seems to love it so! … Fortunately my husband seems to agree that the carvings of howling wolves and the antler doorhandles all have to go. … And I’ve used a lot of tips from you Laurel, to emphasize calming whites, consistent colors, some black, etc. people compliment the house although all I can see is what still needs changing!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:43 PM

      Sounds great Tess. Sometimes it’s difficult to be objective about our own spaces. I’m sure that it’s already quite lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Therese - February 28, 2018 - 11:41 AM

    Hi, Laurel, What a surprise to see your post and find that you answered a question I had wanted to ask! I have a real log cabin, it’s hand-built and quirky. I love the coziness, but not how dark it is: small windows, low ceilings and round brown logs I don’t (yet) have the nerve to paint white.

    You’ve given me ideas (like adding the black and white elements) that I’m excited about. I look forward to your posts. I haven’t been subscribing to your blog for long, but have learned so much. So just wanted to say thank you and I’m a fan!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:40 PM

      Oh, I’m so glad Therese. When Annette first approached me, I was thinking very narrowly, but am quite heartened that this has spoken to many and feel encouraged.

      And I’m so happy to have found the designers who’ve created such gorgeous examples!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - February 28, 2018 - 10:48 AM

    Hear,hear! I, a Laura, too, second Laura’s comment, except for the part about building a farmhouse! Excellent post! Thank you for the helpful cake idea.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:38 PM

      You’re welcome. I used to make that cake much more often, but I’ve made it dozens of times over the last 24 years and it’s always a treat!ReplyCancel

  • Merri - February 28, 2018 - 9:47 AM

    I love the fact that you present practical solutions and ideas for folks that have homes that they might not be crazy about. Just crazy for the folks that come with them. 😉
    Very very pretty!ReplyCancel

  • susie - February 28, 2018 - 9:31 AM

    brings back bad memories again of the ex-mother-in-law where every surface had to be brown and everything in the house had to be brown. Do have some friends with a large log home down on the state line and we go there for a party during the Christmas holiday season. It looks lovely with all the blue stoneware crockery and red accents for Christmas. I would be able to live in a log home if it wasn’t all green and brown with bear or moose motifs. I would infuse a log home with whites, yellows, greens, reds, blues. Lots of suzani prints and quilts. I love American flags as an accent. It would have to be a log home décor Ralph Lauren would be proud of…ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Lambert - February 28, 2018 - 9:03 AM

    Laurel, Trade Secrets tickets don’t go on sale until April 1, with the tour being on May 20. If you are going to go, let me know. We could gawk together 😉ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:35 PM

      Oh thank you for that info Cynthia! Yes, I would love to go with you!ReplyCancel

  • Christine - February 28, 2018 - 9:03 AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! We’ve been in our our new home on a lake for over a year now and I’ve been a bit stumped as to what to do with the hard finishes (that I can not change at this time) that are from the Tuscan/brown era. But the blues speak to me – as does our water views – and now I see why and how this can work. Keep up the great work.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:35 PM

      Hi Christine,

      I’m so glad that I wrote this post too. I realized that the issue wasn’t just for log cabins, but for all homes with lots of wood, wood trim, or even one room with wood paneling. And that applies to a lot of us.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - February 28, 2018 - 8:51 AM

    Laurel, my husband and I once owned a log cabin with pine flooring. The predominant colors I ended up using there were various shades of blue and a pretty salmon pink, accented with black here and there, not unlike some of these photos. Worked like a charm, and I loved it. Reading your post this morning, I feel as if the choices I made years ago have been validated. ReplyCancel

  • Annette Holbrook - February 28, 2018 - 8:40 AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am so thrilled you found the time to write this post. I’m on my third reading as there is so much wonderful information I’m having to take my time. So funny that your fictional person is Anglophile as I’m trying to incorporate some of my parents things into the space, dad was from UK, mom was a kiwi. I will let you know how it turns out, hopefully you’ll be proud!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:33 PM

      Hi Annette,

      So glad that you’re getting some good inspiration. Actually, there is an Anglophile in Texas. (wouldn’t that be a great name for a book?) But I can’t remember her name or when/where she wrote me.ReplyCancel

  • Lilia - February 28, 2018 - 8:36 AM

    Dear Laurel:),
    Thank you so much for yet another informative post. I’ve been obsessively reading your blog since I discovered it a few weeks ago while looking for a sofa. I have a 110 Victorian in Queens, NY with lots of wood moldings. While we decidedly left the wood untouched while we did a complete tear-down of everything else I am now questioning our decisions as it turned out very difficult to decorate around the wood. I purchased 2 large traditional rugs for the 2 parlors but I feel that the colors are too bright and the pattern is too much for 2 adjoining rooms (they are blue and red carpets). I still see the traditional rugs used in the pictures above. How do designers do it so that the room seem to be put together even when there is print and bright colors? Is it about the color combination? Or smaller rug over seagrass rug? Or they should be “toned down” by the bland curtains? And bte I purchased an English roll arm sofa on OKL:)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:31 PM

      Hi Lilia,

      It’s difficult to advise when I can’t see, but I would pick up some of that stronger color and use it elsewhere. It might even be the wall color. But it could also be the art and/or drapes, or even a trim.

      Making the drapes dull will only make the rug look brighter and the drapes look tired.

      But, this is largely a guess except for the balance part. If you have one saturated area then there must be more of that– in general.ReplyCancel

  • Paula - February 28, 2018 - 8:34 AM

    One of my favorite posts too! You have given me so much hope! And now I understand a bit better WHY all these gorgeous rooms work. I’ve seen the lovely Mark Sikes pink and blue room before but didn’t quite understand the magic, until now. The blue! Nor had I noticed the black and white touches, like the matching framed photos in the Victoria Hagan room, until you pointed it out. I had another one of those “oh yes, of course!!!” moments. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:26 PM

      Hi Paula,

      I too, have learned much because writing this blog forces me to examine why something works or doesn’t work. Sometimes, it’s crystal clear, but other times are more subtle.ReplyCancel

  • Alisa Bovino - February 28, 2018 - 8:29 AM

    Laurel – I love your blog. I’ve been following it for a while and as an aspiring designer, I truly gain so much from reading your posts. This one in particular, is amazing because one day (many, many years from now) my husband and I would love to buy a log cabin in upstate NY and this post shows me that it CAN be beautiful, regardless of allll the wood (although I do like the dark, rustic look). Thank you for yet another informative and inspiring post!!
    -Alisa
    http://www.aglassofbovino.comReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 11:25 PM

      Thanks so much Alisa and all the best with your career!ReplyCancel

  • Candice - February 28, 2018 - 7:48 AM

    I love each and every one of your blog posts! I couldn’t relate more to this one. I recently purchased a home after falling in love with the woodwork. It’s not rustic like these, but more formal. After living in it for 2 months I’m overwhelmed by the heaviness of the rooms. Particularly the living room which is completely paneled and the dining room that has a wall of built ins and heavy trim work around the doors. It’s beautiful workmanship but it’s a bit heavy for my taste. I don’t want to paint it all white but rather lighten it up with the furnishings. This post provided me with a great deal of inspiration. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 12:42 PM

      I’m so glad to hear that Candice and it makes me happy that I decided to do this post!ReplyCancel

  • downraspberrylane - February 28, 2018 - 7:25 AM

    You’ve shown some beautiful examples of making rustic light and graceful, and I especially like the bedroom in the third photo. Maybe it’s from watching too much “Escape to the Country”, but when I see beams and dark bookcases, I think of English country homes. So maybe your Anglophiles can think of their homes that way.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 12:41 PM

      I like that bedroom too. This was a fun post to do. Thanks so much down!ReplyCancel

  • Jane - February 28, 2018 - 7:03 AM

    Laurel, you nailed it again. What great insight. You are always so gracious in your sharing of information. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Mi - February 28, 2018 - 6:49 AM

    Hi Laurel
    Another great post. Could you consider doing a post on framing art. Interested in a general post.
    In my case neutral furniture. Interesting one of a kind oriental rugs and art ( mostly oil paintings) trying to keep the rooms more contemporary and suspect the problem is I may be “over framing” the art.
    Thank you for your blog. Your insight and wickedly fun sense of humor are truly valued. Each post is like sitting down w a friend over coffee to catch upReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 12:39 PM

      Thank you for the ideas and kind words Mi. Can’t say that framing art is my forte. I know what I like and there are several posts about art and art walls which give a lot of ideas.ReplyCancel

  • Patricia - February 28, 2018 - 6:34 AM

    I’m curious to find out more about the Napoleon III English club chair. I love the shape of that chair and adore the fabric. How can I find that beautiful plaid?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 28, 2018 - 12:37 PM

      Hi Patricia,

      I guess you could contact the designer’s office. I don’t recognize it off-hand.ReplyCancel

  • Ann Wilkins - February 28, 2018 - 12:57 AM

    What a surprisingly beautiful post. You did a fabulous job finding beautiful pictures that really could help someone with a woody stone house! One of my favorite posts…maybe somewhere deep inside I yearn for a warm log cabin type of house.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - February 27, 2018 - 10:51 PM

    I have loved all of your posts, but this may be one of my favorites. I love the un-kitchen. These pictures just speak to me. They feel so real and homey. You’re great at making even a difficult decorating situation seem possible. We’re starting building our farmhouse and I’m feeling more and more confident.ReplyCancel