Modern Country: A Style Evolution

47 comments:
There's nothing like looking at old photos of yourself to remind you, that you never want your hair to look like it did in 1980, at least mine ; ))

And walking down a photographic memory lane on a blog can be torture or telling.
Recently some of my favorite bloggers have shown some really great "before and after"
houses showing how quickly trends can end.  
Check out Joni's @CDT


It is pretty clear that most design trends have a shelf life of about 5 to 6 years.  Some last a bit longer.
Take subway tile and Carrera marble for instance....still looks pretty great  right? 

But when we see brown granite or beige marble
 it just looks really tired.


I recently posted this room on my Instagram and many commented how much they liked this room.
I do too and the only thing I would probably do different here is the head board. 
More on that later!

So let's take a peek at some photos and see if the"look I loved" just 7 years ago can still hold up today. 
Is it all out of style already? 
Do I still love it?  
And more importantly would I do any of this again today 
or would I do something completely different?

I have embraced a relaxed, collected, somewhat modern country look in almost all of my homes.  
The truth is, I really love elements of this look, just not the whole package anymore.
In the photo above I was collecting Roseville pottery.  I sold the hutch (bummer) and most of the pottery.  I don't collect the pottery anymore but I would probably buy that hutch again for sure!
The appeal of well loved painted pieces never seems to fade.

photo: John Ellis   styling: Sunday Hendrickson

This kitchen was re-worked in 2008 and photographed a few times for some magazines. 
 I showed it a lot on this blog because it was very bright and fun to style with the open shelves.

 Open shelving is still going strong and here to stay for a while, don't you think?

I added the big oversized pendants but today I'm not sure.  Still current? 
Today I would probably use a large clear pendant and use accents of brass.

Ok.... so I think I count 4 vintage signs all relating to eggs...which I wouldn't do again 
and way to many green collectibles. 
 By the way, all of the stuff in this photo I owned!

This is another view.  This looks more current to me. 
I love the black honed granite and the cool parsons table from Room and Board
All of the modern black details work together: 
the stone, the table base, the frame around the art, the small floor lamp and the iron drapery rods.

Sunday Hendrickson styled this cupboard with the Roseville and some wicker pieces 
but I used it for dish storage.  
I really do love this photo but...
it's very country and not so modern
This huge armoire housed a microwave and bar fridge 
but the stacks of firkins are the icing.
I don't collect them and most have sold. 
Would they have an appeal in a modern room today?
Cupboard...?
Firkins ....?
I feel like the original green paint is just too much for me 
so I doubt I would buy this again. 

 The room above is circa 1998.  A little beach house.
 I like this room.  White slipcovers, a little Ralph Lauren fabric and some warm leather.  
Mostly I like the simplicity of it and that it's not over done.
Not trendy but not really all that dated
 How about framed botanicals?  
21 here in this collection.  
Perfect for this room but I don't collect them anymore, however 
they probably won't really ever look dated because they are so unique.
What I find interesting is that today often art is chosen because of color and not for the love of the medium or artist. 

same room professionally styled and photographed

I do like the slips on the chairs and the Asian side board
 This is an interesting mix.  The lamps are crated jugs which I repurposed into lights.  
And the art is a reproduction by modernist Franz Klein 
I could do this again.  
 Ok....now we've hit the mother load.  My dreaded grain sack hoarding.
Seriously I put sacks and ticking on anything that didn't wear shoes.
Which means I never sewed a dress for myself out of a grain sack but I probably thought about it!




This chair is fun.  I think the fabric is used in a way that still feels current.
Here they are again
Photo: Victoria Pearson Styling: Heather Bullard
This room feels modern to me.  
Today I would add a very minimal floor lamp to the mix and use a different rug.


This combo of fabric just screams old school country. 
 It's pretty but feels almost heavy.

Need I say more?  Totally out of control with the grain sacks !
Are we sick of it yet?
Apparently I'm not because 
I did my last grain sack project on these chairs about 6 months ago!

  I think this is the end...these sacks were all patched and faded and are more subtle
 so they seem more current


OK....Moving right along
 This was a fun room with a mix of styles but my question here is the rug!?
I know you're gonna scream and throw tomatoes but I just don't like the animal patterned rugs anymore.

 I'm also not crazy about the tiger/cheetah/gazelle fabric either....which is why I'm only showing photos of my rooms so I can criticize myself all day long.
It's not that this is bad, the rug just looks dated to me and out of place.
 The "animal" fabric on the pillows is Barclay Buttera
A bit more subtle but I would not choose this again for this room.
I decorated this room in 2008 and I still like the lime green velvet.

Here is another version styled by Sunday
I like this a lot but today I would add a patterned Indigo rug 
or something bright and overdyed.
The coffee table is still a favorite but something with glass and brass would look great in here today

 How about signs?
This one was a favorite of mine but I don't use them at all now.
 When I go to Homegoods or similar stores there are reproductions everywhere.
For me, it takes all the uniqueness out of the "folk art as art" concept.
I feel the same way about chalkboards...fun idea but the over saturation is downright painful
In this room I would change out all of the art, pillows, lighting and the rug.  The coffee table is antique wicker but again clear glass or something more minimal would be wonderful.

I was obviously really into buckets too.  
buckets as lamps 
buckets as planters
buckets as props
I love buckets....just not as much ;) and haven't purchased one in years.

 And lets not forget industrial.
  This is a great laundry space and the little hits of industrial metal are still current.
The shelves are really modern and the work sink is really fun.
 I would use all these elements again today.
On to lighting....
 for what ever reason I felt compelled to re-envision
just about every light fixture I purchased, apparently to make it more unique
New shades, new paint, you name it!  
But recently, I have rediscovered the beauty of  simple and modern country
and do not feel the need to tweet what is already a pretty great thing.
It's the over saturation that seems dated.  
As I said..I love all of the elements, just not all at the same time!

My style has evolved from this
to this

So...lets just say my modern country style has leaned out or perhaps matured.
I am a devotee of modern country in a
maybe, not exactly, definitely, should I?, 90%, 10 %, just the right way
sort of a way

































47 comments:
  1. Be still my heart...did I just see not one but two Jean Jack paintings? Love her work!!!

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  2. Love your new posting and ideas. When can we see a reveal of the new home you are working on? I hope soon.

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    1. hello Marjorie! I would love to share more but its all pretty boring on the inside. We will be remodeling soon so that will be fun(sort of) to see. Hang in there with me xo

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    1. Oh my gosh Stacey...if you only knew the serious "dogs" that have followed me from house to house. xo

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    2. I just revisited this post and I literally had my nose pressed to the screen. I have so loved each of your homes and style and with a few rooms 'done' in our remodel and so much more to go....my style has evolved also. Farmhouse minimal-I'm calling it. Indigo or navy has crept back into my life, though blue ticking never left! I can't part with a stack of old feed sacks and so want to upholster a chair, (and yes, I have a few chairs in storage just perfect for it). I thank you again for always sharing your homes and inspiring me! All the best, Stacey

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  4. It was so good to see your post. I think your homes were always spot on. I do like your current simpler style.

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  5. omgosh i've been reading a long time b/c i remember all of these rooms. what i love about your style is that it's so colorful but still has a airy look to it. looking forward to seeing your new place too. xo

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    1. Janet! I think you were one of my very first few followers...love that! : ))))
      Congrats on your CL spread. I loved it. Only wish the editors would quit adding so much silly text to the photos and let the beauty of the spaces stand on their own. xoxo

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  6. Ahh, this post spoke to me on so many levels! I told my husband just this morning that I kind of want to bulldoze everything and start over! I do still love my kitchen, and I finally have a backsplash after *gulp* 5 years!!!...but everything else could pretty much go except for a few sentimental pieces. And we gave our son our living room sofa about 18 months ago and I have yet to replace it! My daughter says our living room looks like a Swedish museum of minimalism with only a few chairs in there...hah, I love it! I am feeling like I want calm in my life, and less means calm at my age I guess. I told a dear friend yesterday that I am feeling tones of soft grey/lavender in my future...not sure how or where, but I will wait until I know what I want before I start "decorating" again.

    xoxo Kat

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    1. OMG Kat! So nice to hear from you. Lavender and grey sounds perfect. Go for it and start blogging again ; )))))

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    2. Kat, If you want to be inspired by lovely combinations of gray and lavender, take a look at John Saladino's work. He uses that combo often to perfection.
      Victoria

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  7. It's so interesting to read what you would keep/replace today. I loved this house and spent many hours pouring over the pictures! I still like many of the elements in these rooms. I'm a bit design challenged, so I learned a lot from these rooms. The power of white and pops of color. I don't think that will ever go out of style. Also, the power of pillows to change the look up from time to time. I now have a pillow addiction :) So glad you posted again! Looking forward to more. P.S. I'm glad you still like the pigeon cage coffee table. I purchased one from you awhile back. My 20 mth old likes to put her stuffed animals in it a push it around the house. She loves those little doors on the side ;)

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    1. How cool! Did you buy it from my eBay store? I honestly can't remember where I sold it. I think it had little red wheels which I just loved. Thank you : ))

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    2. Yes, I bought it on your ebay store. We love it! Maybe someday it will make it back to a full time coffee table. For now it is stuffed animal transportation :)

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  8. This is such a relevant post. I think about it all the time. What to choose in fabrics for upholstered pieces, paint color and such, to make sure I will love it 10 years from...I've decided that is almost impossible. Still, I'm determined to go somewhat neutral on larger, more expensive re-dos and keep my "trend" buying to small items. The biggest item I'm now completely tired of is my granite counter tops...they are the "trend" of khaki with lots of brown, black and garnet pattern is so dated. My designer friend suggested I have it honed to update it a bit.
    I really like your style and even the rooms you've tired of hold interest!
    Karen

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    1. Hi Karen....counters are so expensive. I really like the new composite counter tops actually. The colors are really pure and clean. Not sure I would spend the money and mess honing. I would hold out for what you really want....IMHO : ))))) xo

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  9. Love that green cabinet with those friken firkens!! LOL I want my house to blow up and redo...

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    1. Somedays "blowing up" seems like the only option....I know !!!! Only have a few firkins left and I use them for fresh flowers. They look great in those freekin firkins

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  10. Fun post....nice to walk down "yesterday lane" with you. I am ready to get rid of everything in one fell swoop. I HAVE those granite (brown) counters...cost prohibitive to re-do, but I really want stuff *I* want. NOT trends. Hard to balance the what is a trend and Or do I really just like it.

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    1. I know Linda. Trends are a big pull and hard to ignore. Spot on regarding your observation as to whether we like it because it seems current or if it is just plain wonderful. Still love soap stone. I put it in a house back in 2004 when it was hard to find (12 years ago) and I still love it today. So not all that trendy xo

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  11. That was a fun tour. I love Jean Jack as well. I live in the Deep South so I have never seen an original but I remember when I think it was Counrtry Home magazine did an article on her art in her home. I kept that for a long time. So when I first saw your blog years ago I was thrilled to find you. I also love the house with the two facing sofas in the living room. And omg the garden in your last place to die for. I do design as well and my advice to my clients is if you like trendy do it with fabric on pillows or something that is not major expense. Never pick trendy fixed foundation pieces like floors or countertops. The quote "Boring equals classic" is so true. Just use accessories to add a pop of color or that pizzazz so when you are transferred in a few years you are not stuck with a dated house because the fixed surfaces are too expensive to replace. And I am looking forward to seeing your latest reno.

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    1. thanks Victoria...I agree about the pillows ; )

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  12. I love this posting and agree on your judgements. It is amazing how much little changes make such big improvements. I would like to follow you and pick up your discards! Biut then Ilook at the pottery and think, 'it is too much'. The grain sacks , the buckets....of course here you were highlighting them in great numbers.

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  13. I have learned, the hard way, NOT to follow trends. I firmly believe we all should decorate our homes with what WE love and not what is "in"!!! I feel very fortunate that I have inherited many beautiful things from my in-laws that I love! I have also collected blue and white porcelains for 30 years and African pieces. I still love them all. If you ever decide to sell those 2 plant stands that are on each side of the hutch PLEASE let me know!!! I am IN LOVE with them!!!

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  14. Lord. where is the picture with the eames chair? I LOVE LOVE LOVE that room? and I love the signs, still, there were so YOU!!! i could write a book about this. i miss the old you, but you are getting older and editing. i have a garage filled with SH*T. At least you sell everything every five years. that always shocked me - how you could sell a house, furnished. i couldn't do that. but that's just because i hate to lose all the money i spent on things.

    OK - what about clients? I decorated houses years ago and go back and they haven't changed a thing and its so embarrassing! God, that is the worst!!!!!

    loved this so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. So here's what you do with your garage full of S*it Joni....which by the way is about as common as a cold! You inventory it all. You price it all (down and dirty is really the only way to get rid of things) and then you call a consignment house and negotiate the whole shebang. Or if you have tons of collectible and antiques you load up a Uhaul and do a show for a weekend. I did Remnants of the Past a few years ago. I sold quite a bit but could have sold much more because my prices were too high. The fact of re-sale unfortunately is a chair is really only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, even if its a awesome chair.

      When you sell a home furnished it is much easier to get your money out of things. It's all in place, styled and curated. Most people have a really hard time visualizing things in their homes which is why working with a decorator is so helpful. And selling a home beautiful ly staged and decorated is a really excellent way to go, you just can't get too attached to things.

      And yes clients sometimes can't move a vase. It's all gonna be there for ever and ever : ))
      Oh and yes I am very old now For reals : ))) LOL

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  15. I love your style...even though your simplifying its still you!

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  16. Great post!
    I too am trying to achieve a modern country look. I would love to hire you to critique my space!

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  17. Your post makes me laugh, you always have such a hilarious spin on things. I think everything you have done, when it was done, was stunning, unique and beautiful. So I think looking back you (we) are always a bit hard on ourselves. Times change, art progresses but I think you stated it clearly, it seems the common denominator is the over saturation. When a design/look/product gets done and re-done it's tiring and looks common place. And unless it still makes your heart sing, it has to move on. I personally look back on all your body of work and see a wonderful evolution. You should be proud of everything you have done and be proud that you have the ability to grow and change. (I say all of that and realized in my own life, after coming home from a large commercial design project I want to torch my whole house... lol) But, that's me....you're amazing. :)

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  18. I think all in all you have collected some true classics along the way ! I adore botanicals still and touches of grain sack. Editing always makes us feel revived but honestly your design style was great the way it was too you just made it even better !!

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  19. Wow, I sure loved the journey through your changing style!
    And, I'm so in love with your recent simple, warm style!
    Thank you for the tour!

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  21. This article was wonderful. Since we have somewhat similar styles I have been there and done some of the same things you have. I kind of overdid the grainsack thing as well. Chalkboards thank you for bringing that up! If I see another piece of chalboard "art" I think I might...well you know! I still have a stack of firkins, a cupboard filled with pewter, another with redware...but I honestly can't think of anything I really "collect" anymore, except maybe art. Great post!

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    1. cindy! I have just about collected every other thing that you haven't Between the two of us we have covered about every category on Ebay ; ))

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  22. This was a fun post. Notice how you gravitate towards more white now? I do too. I love how you use real vintage and antique items in fresh ways...your style will always be current!

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    1. Hi Mary Ann!!!! Thanks so much and yes I like white. I actually have always love white but can't help to to include the bright stuff too. xo

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  23. Just found your blog through Roug Luxe and I am glad that I did. Enjoyed this post and will be checking out more of your posts. Come by to see mine forever decorating.blogspot.com

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  24. It's true, your style will ALWAYS be current! I love the way you have evolved. Totally makes me want to dig and find some old photos. Although I never took as many when we all still shot in film.
    xo
    annie

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  26. I am just popping over to your blog from my friend Cindy Hattersley's blog, and I have to say, I LOVED this post! I have been doing the same thing (not the moving and selling everything, just the paring down!) over the last year. Cleaning out the clutter, making things simpler. And it feels so good! And like Joni, I have had a garage full of s**t for years! But I finally had a big garage sale and everything that didn't sell, I donated. It's hard, because you think of all the money you've spent, but I have to say, having finally done it, that it's SO much better to get rid of it! It literally sat in my garage for years. I'm still working on my living and family rooms (just wrote a post last week on the LR) but am hoping to be done sometime this summer.

    Thanks for a wonderful post! It was great reading and I'm glad I found your blog:)

    Best,
    Sheila Irwin

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