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Contemporary materials and cutting-edge furnishings have transformed this 15th Century farmhouse into a thoroughly modern home. First featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. Photography: Monica Spezia/Living Inside. Production: Marzia Nicolini.

That green and pleasant feeling

 

The dream of living in the countryside, whether in a little thatched cottage or a rambling pile deep in the Scottish Highlands, is often cited as a peculiarly British fantasy. For Brits, I believe it connotes escape, freedom from the urban toil, clean air and a life lived with authenticity. Sadly it’s likely to stay a dream for the majority of us, but we can still flee the metropolis vicariously through the pages of magazines and indeed add the essence of what we believe to be ‘Country’ style to our town-centre homes to give us a good sense of a life lived elsewhere.

If we surround ourselves with nature and objects that have been hand-crafted, and combine it within an envelope of corresponding decor, a real sense of another world can develop. It is possible to create a sense of the rural in the midst of the city. But how do you steer clear of pastiche? What works, and what doesn’t? What key pieces could be added to lend that requisite rustic feel, but still retain an overall sense of the ELLE Decoration ethos of modernity and contemporary comfort. Herewith my quick guide…

 

Bedroom with foxed-glass tiled headboard in an elegant Italian villa, first featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. Photographer Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside. Styling: Francesca Davoli

Bedroom with foxed-glass tiled headboard in an elegant Italian villa, first featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10, see link at end of post. Photographer Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside. Styling: Francesca Davoli

 

How to add a touch of the country to your home, wherever you live

 

1 Keep window treatments simple, or leave them completely clear. Obviously if you live overlooking fields then neighbours catching you in your PJs is not really a problem. In rather denser packed communities it might be. But natural light is the thing: the must have for healthy homes. Being intimately aware of the passing of the seasons rather than shrouding yourself from them enables connection to the world at large. My solution? Explore the possiblity of using translucent screening films on lower panes, or install blinds made with a thin gauzy material that provide privacy but still let light through. Never ever contemplate net curtains! They are an aberration. IMHO. Just saying.

 

The Triangular Villa

The Triangular Villa Architect Leo Qvarsebo’s beautiful summerhouse in the woodlands of Dalarna in central Sweden had a simple brief: make the most of the picturesque setting. Thus, large windows frame stunning views and birch plywood was chosen for the interior as its light colour looks perfect in the summer sun. It is complemented by touches of green and blue, which bring to mind the surrounding fields and skies. Photography: Åke E:son Lindman

 

2 Country style doesn’t have to mean rustic. In the Italian villa shown below, concrete floors and grey plaster walls strike a completely contemporary note. But surrounding the table with a mis-matched array of mix of seats, stools and an upholstered bench replete with cushions lends this space a wonderful sense of informality. The built-in storage nooks also keep everything very Zen and seamless. Great to do if you’re ever lucky enough to be re-building walls or starting from scratch.

An elegant Italian villa first featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10 (see link at end of post). Photographer: Fabrizio Cicconi. Styling: Francesca Davoli

An elegant Italian villa first featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10 (see link at end of post). Photographer: Fabrizio Cicconi. Styling: Francesca Davoli

 

3 A big wooden dining table. This is kind of a must in my book. As a fulcrum around which your home can revolve, the bigger you can accommodate, the better, but it’s the tactility of it being crafted in wood that will make it become akin to a family friend. Something that will weather beautifully and can be used without fear of “ruining it”. Here it works perfectly as a counterpoint to the sleek surroundings (note no skirting boards even though this is a 15th Century farmhouse!). It’s all about balance.

Contemporary materials and cutting-edge furnishings have transformed this 15th Century farmhouse into a thoroughly modern home. First featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. Photography: Monica Spezia/Living Inside. Production: Marzia Nicolini.

Contemporary materials and cutting-edge furnishings have transformed this 15th Century farmhouse into a thoroughly modern home. First featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. Photography: Monica Spezia/Living Inside. Production: Marzia Nicolini.

The ‘Iona’ dining table in solid pine, £599, Made.com And for more beautiful Country-style buys, click Best Buys: Essential Country Kit

'Iona' dining table in solid pine, £599, Made.com

‘Iona’ dining table in solid pine, £599, Made.com

 

3 Every home needs a touch of the hand-made. And I personally love woven baskets for that. Just gorgeous for their deliberate imperfections and tactility. I use a wicker basket at home for all my recycling, one for paper and one for glass (I just pop a paper carrier inside each for ease of disposal) and then there’s a few more for all my son’s Lego! They can make storage into something beautiful, or as below, if you have the room, can be displayed simply for their intrinsic beauty.

Elegant Italian villa, first featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. Photographer Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside. Styling: Francesca Davoli

Elegant Italian villa, first featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. Photographer Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside. Styling: Francesca Davoli

Basket love: ZaraHome has large range of affordable, and wonderful baskets. ZaraHome

Baskets: Plaited oval baskets, from £25.99 each, Zara Home (zarahome.com)

Plaited oval baskets, from £25.99 each, Zara Home (zarahome.com)

 

4 I also think vintage, and African, stools are wonderful in any home, but particularly as a contrast to slick sofas.

Elegant Italian villa, first featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. Photographer Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside. Styling: Francesca Davoli

Elegant Italian villa, first featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. Photographer Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside. Styling: Francesca Davoli

Vintage Elm stool, £150, Oggetto. And for more beautiful Country-style buys, click Best Buys: Essential Country Kit

Vintage Elm stool, £150, Oggetto

Vintage Elm stool, £150, Oggetto

 

4 It’s all about loose draping, big throws, a bit of sheepskin and tons of cushions. The point is the creation of an atmosphere that feels relaxed and where comfort is clearly the priority. It doesn’t have to mean messy though, see below. Contain the colours, keep the quality, mix the materials and get ready to lounge, Country-style.

This Danish summer cottage is an architectural triumph, designed by architect Flemming Skude. First featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. See link at end of post. Photographer: Mikkel Adsbol/House of Pictures; Production/Styling: Hanne Vind.

This Danish summer cottage is an architectural triumph, designed by architect Flemming Skude. First featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. See link at end of post. Photographer: Mikkel Adsbol/House of Pictures; Production/Styling: Hanne Vind.

This Georgian Manor house in Surrey is a study in the best use of a pared-back palette and natural materials. First featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. See link at end of post. Photographer: Sandra Van Aalst; styling Guylaine Durufle; production, Jane Morris.

This Georgian Manor house in Surrey is a study in the best use of a pared-back palette and natural materials. First featured in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10. See link at end of post. Photographer: Sandra Van Aalst; styling Guylaine Durufle; production, Jane Morris.

‘Athens’ checked lambswool throw in grey (other colours available), £89.95, Bronte by Moon. For more beautiful Country-style buys, click Best Buys: Essential Country Kit

'Athens' checked lambswool throw in grey, £89.95, Bronte by Moon

‘Athens’ checked lambswool throw in grey, £89.95, Bronte by Moon

 

5 Finally, add some character. Many homes go wrong in their pursuit of interiors perfection by keeping everything, well, all a little bit too perfect. I think a love of countryside homes stems also from their intrinsic acceptance of patina, or to put it another way, that feeling of them being a teeny bit knocked about. This is what makes us comfortable. Alongside sofas you feel you can really sink into, rather than perch on, it’s about surrounding yourself with things that are designed to be used, and enjoyed, not just looked at.

A rugged cottage in Cape Town with interiors inspired by the owners travels in Italy. First featured in ELLE Decoration Volume 10. Photography: Alexander van Berge/Frank Features; Production: Genneth Lyn

A rugged cottage in Cape Town with interiors inspired by the owners travels in Italy. First featured in ELLE Decoration Volume 10. Photography: Alexander van Berge/Frank Features; Production: Genneth Lyn

 

For a further selection of beautiful Country-style buys, including throws and cushions, see Best Buys: Essential Country kit

But for the ELLE Decoration Top 50 essential, timeless and useful buys, plus more homes absolutely bursting with character and inspiration (and the full tour of those featured in this post), see inside ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10

ELLE Decoration Country Volume 10

 

And don’t forget to check out our ever expanding moodboard of ELLE Decoration Country style images on Pinterest here.

 

Text by Michelle Ogundehin, Editor in Chief ELLE Decoration

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Twitter @ELLEDecoMO   Instagram @michelleogundehin

See also michelleogundehin.com

 

Ends

 

 

 



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