Decorating with Log Furniture
Where was your last vacation? At the beach or in the mountains? If you chose mountains, this look is for you.
No matter the weather or locale, we are drawn to trees. They provide shade, awe, our kids climb on them, birds live in their branches, and we eat their fruit and syrup. We decorate them for Christmas. If you chose a beach as your last vacation, chances are you took a sunburned breath beneath a palm tree. Infinite variety, different personality, yet there is nothing as lovely as a tree.
For hundreds of years we have also used them for shelter, eventually utilizing wood for furniture in many forms: from the crude three legged milking stool to the exquisite fine furnishings of Versailles.
It comes in many woods, many styles — but the one that takes your mind back to the homey Colorado cabin with the river rock fireplace and the sense of calm is aspen. If harvested properly by an artisan who cares, the grain pattern is worth a million words. The simplicity of the furniture is balanced by the original trees’ thumbprint. You can get lost in looking at a dining room tabletop; colors change, the grain flirts with direction, it pulls you closer to touch it. This was after all a living breathing citizen of nature.
Log Furniture’s Many Uses
We can mix rustic furniture in just about any setting. Mercifully gone are the bad old days when everything had to match: end tables, bedroom suites, and dining room furniture. It brings interest and adds storage to mix in an aspen cedar-lined chest, with a carving of a rising full moon over mountains, with oak Arts and Crafts pieces surrounding a Chesterfield sofa. Or the Country French cherry dining room could use some whimsy and a great place to serve from on a carved sideboard that was born in an American mountain forest.
The plain powder room that is a source of zero-personality could be an oasis with evergreen hued paint on the walls, crisp fluffy white towels and a lodge pole shelf supported by corbels featuring pinecones. Mix in some really pretty rocks your kids brought to you and there lies a small slice of nature.
From a contemporary loft to traditional Cape Cod, adding a rustic piece in the right spot can bring an accent. By playing with contrast, the rustic can highlight other typical furniture styles. Use one piece or all in a room.
Offering the beauty of nature, a look that is not ordinary, a feel of homespun, no other furniture so completely captures the essence of the Rocky Mountains West. A recent client wanted a “Colorado Lodge” look in her small condo. I was open to the idea, but a little reluctant to use rustic furniture. After I had roamed several thousand square feet of furniture showrooms that featured lots and lots of great furniture, I had still not found the look we were after. So I researched a local rustic furniture and accessory store, and after the initial blast of frolicking moose, wandering deer, lots of gnarled wood, I settled in to really look and consider each piece of furniture. And it worked.
In the condo we had installed a rock wall and wood floors, stirred in a leather sleeper sofa and wool Navajo print recliners, an oil painting of free spirited horses. Wall color of late fall leaves and the rustic furniture fit in securely and perfectly as a jigsaw puzzle piece.
Typically light gold in color, the wood grain has whorls of green, charcoal gray, streaks of white. Legs are carved chunky, no frilly prima donna fragile turnings here. This is a kick your shoes off and relax state, not a sit up straight with hands clasped in your lap environment.
Back to my client; she loves her new space. It does not require a four-wheel drive to get to her mountain dream home. Warmth, comfort and serenity are words she uses to describe her living environment.
Small wonder as she is surrounded by forest, rock, wool and light.
Designed by Mother Nature.
In a niche of its’ own is rustic log furniture.
About the Author
Mary Campbell Stewart is a freelance interior designer based in Fort Collins, Colorado. She has been enhancing home and office environments for over twenty-five years. A sense of humor, listening skills and a large paint color selection are her weapons of choice. Formerly a furniture snob she has embraced the use of rustic log furniture in small and large installations, her husband now sits at an aspen rustic desk.
Several articles by her have been published in the Rocky Mountain News.
She is a great believer in surrounding yourself in beauty. If home is where your heart is, it might as well be pretty.