Rustic Mountain Design

Designing and Decorating the Perfect Mountain Country House

I'm crazy for this wave bed for lake-front bedrooms. Does everything have to be brown in the mountains?  Why not brighten cabin life up with a little color. Blue is a wonderful color for mountain houses, and often overlooked.  I can't get enough of it!

Somerset Bay Northshore Bed

There are some other great items in the Somerset Bay line.  Here's another one of their beds which I've used in the past:

Somerset Bay Catalina Poster

Here's a photo of the same bed in one of my client's houses:

I also like this Somerset Bay coffee table:

Somerset Bay Catskill Coffee Table

And finally, the Bald Head Console Table would be very charming in a funky cabin, don't you think?

Somerset Bay Bald Head Console Table

All Somerset Bay furnishings can be custom ordered through Dragonfly Designs.  For information call (530) 583-6076 or email


My friend Pam Wilson has a gorgeous house and a real knack for decorating. If you know Tahoe City, you may have met her. She was the original owner of Tippy Canoe. Anyway, I snapped these photos of a couple of pieces in her downstairs basement. A couple of pieces like this will make any cabin sing!

This is such a charming piece from Genessee Rivers Trading Co.  Leave it to Pam to style it perfectly with a Black Forest carved squirrel made into a lamp and a charming log cabin model. 

The piece below is one of my favorites.  I was with her when she bought it at the Round Top Texas Antique Fair.

It's an old wing chair that has been reupholstered in navy flannel woolen with vintage college insignias covering the entire chair.  I just love it.  It's so welcoming and camp.  Again, the perfect cabin chair.

Here's a picture of the basement I think is so charming, with its old Pickwick pine walls and Maine Cottage rattan furniture. 


Pam is staging weddings and parties these days with her sister Jan. Their company is California Vintage Rentals, . They both have the same knack for whimsy and charm.  Jan worked for years searching out antiques and vintage cabin pieces for Camps and Cottages, a wonderful resource for camp style in Southern California.  Here are a few photos of parties they've been staging:

Their style is rustic, simple and whimsical. 

This is just so lovely!

Like everything they do, this place setting, above, is perfectly rustic and perfectly stylish.

Pam and Jan have assembled collections of all kinds of vintage objects and furnishings that would make any event, unique and chic.  They have a large collection of antique hickory, old camp blankets, unusual serving pieces and charming vintage items. 

I'm hoping to use them someday for weddings for my girls.  Fingers crossed!!




A lot of mountain cabin owners enjoy bent willow furniture.  I see it in many of the cabins I'm in and out of.  We used to have a big old dusty truck that would drive around Lake Tahoe, all summer long, packed to the high heavens with every form of willow furnishings imaginable.  It would pull to the side of the road and folks would buy the stuff right off the truck. 

I think willow furniture can be very charming, expecially when the cushions are comfortable and carefully attended to, such as in the chaise below:

Chaise from Willows at Home


But I like it even more when willow furniture is painted a bright color like this adorable red willow settee:

Aren't the vine and leaf details on the front boards of the settee winning?  There's something so lovely about the rustic furnishings, flooring and wood trim in this room contrasting with the finished details of the wallpaper, trimmed out curtains and bench cushions and toss pillows.  I love this rustic vs. refined cabin look. 

Nothing like a can of red paint in the perfect shade!


Not everybody has the budget for this, but lucky you if you do!  Mimi London's line of modern rustic mountain furniture is a flat-out knock-out.  The scale is large (perfect for today's mountain great-rooms).  The materials are both plush and rustic.  The lines and colors are sophisticated, contemporary and yet manage to be natural and rugged, too. 

This beautiful chair is stream-lined in shape but heavy, solid and large in scale. I love the mohair seat cushions.  By the way, this chair is very comfortable! 


Mimi's Favorite Bar Stool

This may be the best looking mountain bar stool I know of!

This coffee table is the epidemy of modern mountain style.  Sooooo gorgeous but rugged enough to work in the most rustic of mountain lodges. 

Mimi London's pieces work beautifully in rustic environments but are also  stunning in clean contemporary spaces.


Logan Night or Side Table

Love this!

Cozy meets today's version of mountain Arts and Crafts.  I love that they upholstered this whole sofa in sheep skin.

Don't you just love the contrast of the natural wood slabs with the polished and blackened steel?  I do. 

I can just picture Franklin Rosevelt sitting in this chair on a fabulous lodge porch wearing linen slacks, a Panama hat,and, of course, smoking a cigarette. 


My husband and I are members at the Squaw Valley Locker Room which I always think is not only a convenience but a necessary luxury.  We keep our skis, boots and poles in our locker and it is only a few feet from the Locker Room door to shuffle on over to the Funitel.  Having a locker means we avoid clumping around in uncomfortable boots through a large icy parking lot carrying heavy skis (and skis are heavier these days!) 

Lately though, I've seen another version of luxury ski lockers.  These are in private houses.  It makes perfect sense to put ski lockers into a mudroom off the garage entrance.  And, if you've got the space, why not give each family member their own locker?

The locker room in this beautiful house is kitted out with reclaimed lumber and limestone floors.  It's nice to have the built-in bench to sit down and change one's shoes, don't you think?

The grills with drip pans below make perfect sense for stowing snowy winter boots. 

Take a closer look at the detailing inside each cubby.  The upper shelf is a safe place to store goggles, gloves and smaller items easily lost.  Hooks on all three walls make it easy to hang coats and sweaters.

This family stores their skis in the garage, but it would be just as easy to have included a taller locker for ski equipment, as in the house below:

I love the way each locker is a different color.  Great rustic bench, too.

Above, these charming hand-painted lockers were installed into the back hallway in a house I worked on some years ago.  There are four of them, two on either side of the hall. 

And, below, storage lockers in a tiny lakefront cottage I am currently working on:

And, below a close up of the painted detail:


This is the second installment in a series chronicling my summer tile adventures.

The photos below are from a brand-new Arts and Crafts style house. It's such a charming little house and as the project progresses I'm really falling in love with all the custom woodwork and one-of-a-kind detailing that is going into it.

I have to say that this is the most enjoyment I have ever seen a client get from tile.  This client collected authentic Arts and Craft decos as well as modern reproductions from many sources.  They are tucked into the tile and flooring throughout the house.  She had a wonderful time tracking down each and every deco tile. After all, the fun is in the hunt, right?

Let's start with the fireplace. This was the first tile we purchased and it set the tone for the house.  We found this tile in an antique mall in Sonoma County.  The 4 x 4 Monterey Pottery tile as well as the decos are all original Arts and Crafts tiles that had never been used before.  We were so excited to find the whole cache that we scooped it right up, though we knew we would be a little shy of the total needed for the fireplace. 

We solved the quantity problem by topping the hearth off in brand new 2 x 2's that we had custom made in colors to match the older tile. 

There is a lot of woodwork in this house and the floor will be wood, too.  I'm really glad we added this colorful fireplace because I find that in houses with wood walls and floors, color tends to disappear making it easy to end up with dark, bland rooms.  As the antiqued wood floors and antique Arts and Crafts furnishings go in (primarily dark stained wood and leather), this tile will tone down and become one of the few color pops in the room. 

By the way, the other bit of color planned for the room will be curtains in this fabulous large-scale Mulberry Flying Ducks fabric.

Isn't it beautiful!

Although many authentic antique Arts and Crafts furnishings and fittings will be used in the house, the client did not wish to sacrifice modern function and practicality, so the house is becoming what we like to call an "updated mountain version of Arts and Crafts".  This is especially true in the kitchen where we used modern appliances and granite countertops which can easily be wiped clean. 

The photo above shows the kitchen tile above the cooktop.  Unfortunately, I don't have a finished photo with the tile grouted.  Here, we mixed modern and old.  The ginko tiles are current but are made from old patterns.  We mixed them with slate, Pratt and Larson 4 x 4's in an Arts and Crafts glaze and a fabulous Art and Craft inspired mosaic from Syzygy Tileworks.

In the master bathroom, we used custom Syzgy tile again in an Arts and Crafts inspired deco panel. 

There is a gorgeous copper sunflower tile featured in the center of this.  The strip of glass up the right side of the back shower wall is also trimmed with Syzygy mosaics.  Here is a close up of the deco panel:

And below, the vanity back splash has just been installed:

Finally, here is a photo of one of the guest baths:

And a detail of one of the flower decos:

This house isn't finished yet.  We are still busy tracking down just the right antique Arts and Crafts furnishings.  Someday when it is finished I'll be sure to publish more photos.






I love to cook and I love being in my kitchen.  Even if you don't love to cook, your kitchen is probably an important part of your life. And because today's mountain homes tend to use a great room concept, many of us are either in or able to view our kitchens during much of the time spent in our homes.

Here are some inspiring photos of beautiful mountain kitchens. 

Rustic Sophistication...


This kitchen is absolutely stunning.  I love that it is all white with just a few pops of red.  Most people are afraid to stain or whitewash wood ceilings, but as you can see here, white-stained tongue and groove ceilings are not only beautiful, but they reflect back light, create a bright clean look and remain rustic.  Of course, this kitchen has the added advantage of high ceilings, great trusses and tall cabinetry.

I love this rustic but modern kitchen.  The clean white cabinets contrast beautifully with wonderful wrecked old beams, floors and the stone.  Plus, you gotta love that alcove they created for the stove!



The windows are the star of the show here. The reclaimed wood cabinets are the perfect choice for this kitchen in the woods.

Above, this is the way I like my modern.  Clean and simple but with traditional references. 

Emphasis on the Wood...

Gorgeous antique floors and rustic cabinets, above.  Photo House Beautiful 2007.

Emphasis on Stone...

Walls of stone and huge unpeeled log beams are the heroes in this beautiful kitchen. 

Adirondack Style...

Above, notice the twig work on the cabinetry on the left upper cabinet and island.  Antlers are used as door pulls. 

More twig trim work in a bright turquoise kitchen in a modern log cabin. Love the copper hood and the rock is a great choice on the wall behind the stove (I used rock for the backsplashes in my kitchen, too.) 

And below, more from the same kitchen.  There are some charming details here--brown transfer-ware collection in the cabinets, peeled log beams, Old Hickory chairs and Black Forest bears on counter top.


Lake House Style...

I adore the blue painted floors and the crisp white cabinets with the dark antiques and rustic ceiling.  This kitchen is a beautiful study in contrasts.  Photo House Beautiful 2008.

Paint and Imagination...

If I had a funky Old Tahoe cabin, I'd probably do something like this to it.  A little paint, some flea market linens, cement floors, a great Oriental carpet, mismatched china...just add red and white and stir!

I love the way that virtually no money has been spent to upgrade anything in the kitchen below and it still looks marvelous.  It just goes to show that it is not necessary to have a big budget to have style.


What a great kitchen for a cabin on a lake.

Cabinets with Color...

Above, When you've got a lot of wood and stone, bright colors work beautifully.  In fact, I haven't seen a mountain cabin with too much color yet.  I love the old  barn wood look of these cabinets and the way only a few are painted.  (And notice the yellow painted bin pulls!)  The random slate floor gives the room a solid base and keeps everything from getting overly flea market-y.  Great beams, great sink...some overall great choices here.

Rustic Meets Industrial...

A charming mix of old white painted bar wood with industrial lighting and bar stools.  The mix works beautifully.  Again, the stone floors give the funky elements an element of quality.

Most Popular Cabin Kitchen on Pinterest

Not really my cup of tea, but this kitchen sure has been liked and repinned on Pinterest a lot so I included it. 

If you would like to see more photos of great mountain kitchens, I invite you to visit my Pinterest kitchen page at


Just some photos of some of our favorite Pierre Frey fabrics.  But Pierre Frey makes so many more great fabrics for mountain houses.  To see them all, take a look at our online store at


If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed that I have been developing an online store.  You may have even clicked over to check it out.  Our old online store URL was a little long so we have changed it to  We hope this will make it easier for you to find us. 

By the way, the store is steadily growing.  I hope to eventually have all my favorite mountain fabrics and furniture lines included.  This will make it another wonderful place to find inspiration and ideas for anybody out there who is trying to decorate a mountain house on their own.  If you haven't been there yet, I invite you now to take a look.

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