Over the years Blue Raccoon has gotten some amazing press. Our house and the store were featured in Country Living magazine in 1997 and on E! television the following year. The editor of Country Living at the time was a wonderfully talented woman named Nancy Soriano. We collaborated with her and editor-at-large extraordinaire, Jane Dagmi, on several pieces for the magazine. We were very lucky to be able to have many exhilarating conversations about design. We often pondered one question: what is country style? Nancy and I were at a restaurant having dinner one evening and she said something to me that I will never forget. She was describing what she called, new country. It was based in tradition, but embraces modern elements. It was her contribution to that amazing, now defunct, paper periodical. (I still miss it.) I looked at her, amazed, and said, “Wow! That’s Blue Raccoon!”
I thought about this as I was re-merchandising the store the other day. I was looking at some of the upholstery on the floor (and, later, at home) and thought, so many of these pieces are classics that have been updated somehow. Let me show you what I mean…
There’s nothing more traditional than a wing back chair. Here the style has been given a new look by squaring off the lines and adding a geometrically applied nail head trim. The fabric also affects the look. I love to re-upholster a vintage/antique frame with a modern fabric, giving the piece new life and bringing it up to date.
A detail of the nail head trim on the wing.
The London Settee has traditional lines. By upholstering the piece in an updated ticking stripe and adding the nail head trim, it has been given an updated look.
The English arm on the London Settee: tradition meets the modern world.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams’ Kennedy Sofa is a modern style. While it doesn’t have a deep button tufted back and seat, it hearkens back to the classic Chesterfield Sofa first produced in the 1700s.
Mix it up.
I have always believed that you can mix up styles when designing a space. Just because your house is a Victorian or English Tudor doesn’t mean you have to decorate and furnish the house strictly in that style. Relax! There’s nothing more beautiful and inviting than a home that is eclectic and expresses the owners’ personality. Let each piece have its place. Anchor the design with consistent color themes or textures. But remember that modern lines can work in any space. They can be as timeless as that vintage/antique table or chair you inherited.
The tulips in my garden have started to bloom!
Well, happy spring! I hope you got some ideas for decorating at home. Remember that, even if your house is old, you can mix it up and bring in some modern elements.