The functional is the decorative. Slender wooden spoons, enamel pots, ceramic jugs and creamers, hand painted plates, hand scraped pine flooring, slate stone floors, rock, timber, hand woven rugs, wicker baskets and chairs, wooden benches, hand painted tiles, beaten metal, found objects. The human hand is every where. Life is everywhere.
Objects follow a person’s life. In the old days, you could plot a man or a woman’s day through the things that made his home, from milking stool in the morning to the earned relaxation of a rocking chair in the evening, on a porch made for the purpose of sitting and being soothed by a waning day.
Country style, the most soulful of all decor is not decor. It is the heart and soul of life. It is us fashioning our homes with the materials given to us by nature. Utility is at its core. Every little detail has a purpose. Designs are straightforward and intelligent. Take the jug, humble, everyday and oh so lovely. Such a basic design. Handle, neck, lips and commodious centre. The receptacle of choice for milk, water, juice, beer and sometimes wild flowers.
Hand made, utilitarian, integrity and honesty of purpose, the characterize the country style. Things are woven, stitched, carved, beaten, hammered, polished, engraved – with painstaking care and respect. The hand is the main tool. Mind and material meet and become one.
Decoration and ornamentation are inspired by the beauty found everywhere the natural world or day to day life. Flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, leaves, curling vine, fruit, animals all lend their forms to the painter’s eye and hand. Every view from an open window is a still life – a small pumpkin hanging, yellow gold, from a vine surpasses any art work in a Dutch museum.
Country style seamlessly connects outside and inside. In the past, the pine from the forest was the pine that made your table. The flowers in the meadow were the flowers livening up the dinner table. The home echoed the outdoors. Objects you found became your little objets d’arts – quartz picked up by the river side, pebbles, a flamboyant feather perhaps.
Decoration is a by product of functionality. Storage requirements offer a plethora of design delights. Baskets will contain vegetables while their genteel weaves charm the spirit. Branded tins, wooden crates, pickle jars, jam jars, enamel drums and basins are just some of the common objects of a country home – both charming and used all the time.
Today much of the equipment of a country home is modern – the fat, squat Agar stove is gone to be replaced by a latest Italian job. The kitchen features up to the minute technology. But the ethos of nature made still survives. Majestic wooden rafters, wooden floors, stone walls, much of the furniture and furnishings all display the irreplaceable beauty of natural weaves and handmade processes.
Can a city flat go country? Yes say the abundance of handmade products fashioned out of natural materials that are available for you to play with. If you love the wide open outdoors, the magic that takes place in open meadows, the feeling of big sky – you can bring that flavor in. Wallcoverings in various grasscloth weaves abound as do collections that capture the look of an endless range of harder surfaces from simple and evocative packing crate slats to sophisticated marble.
So bring home a little country flair and as they say – live like it’s spring.