Rustic Furnishings

Today I received some emails from European vendors who are showcasing their 2012 introductions at the Mason & Objet Home Furnishings show next week in Paris.  One European company I really admire is Bleu Nature.  Their new pieces are always cutting edge and show the ground-breaking styling and materials we'll all be well familiar with in a few years.  Everyone knocks them off.

Above, Outline Outdoor furniture from Bleu Nature.   Furnishings are made from half wood--half steel, Bleu Nature calls this driftwood transformation resulting in the creation of hybrid organics.  Stunning...and perfect for mountain decks and porches. 

Above, Dolce Vita by Bleu Nature.  Edgy cocoon-like shapes in driftwood and black anondized steel.  Wow.

And finally, their statement-making driftwood and steel chandelier.  Get one now.  Nobody else will have anything like it!


We've had some calls and raves about the La Lune beds I posted a few weeks ago so I thought I'd put up some examples of La Lune seating. 

The La Lune line is really deep with lots of styles and shapes to choose from in every category.  These are a few of my favorites.  Just keep in mind that if you don't see it here, it doesn't mean they don't make it!

I love this big chunky chair and matching ottoman.  They are just great for the great room.  Try a pair on either side of the fireplace.  Keep in mind that you can send La Lune your own fabric for the upholstery.  Pricing for the chairs starts at $1099 and $599 for the ottoman. 

La Lune makes some very handsome sofas.   I adore the Chippendale-inspired stick-work on these, above.  With their traditional roots, they work great in older cabins and lodges.  But there's also something about them that seems so 2012.  I could see them working beautifully in a modern mountain house.  And don't even get me started on how perfect they are on a covered porch!  This style also comes in a club chair, love seat and ottoman.  The sofa starts at $3099.

By the way, La Lune furniture can be used outside.  However, a peeled bark finish is recommended if the furniture will not be under a roof.  And, of course, you'll want to use outdoor fabrics. 

Aren't these bar stools wonderful?  They start at $599 each.  As usual, there are lot's of other styles to choose from.

And lastly, every porch needs one of these...

Love it!!  $2299

One of the best things about La Lune is that they have painted finish colors available.  That and their sophisticated styling set them apart from other bent wood and hickory furniture companies, in my mind.

Above top row bark finishes starting at left: Antique White, Desert, Sage, Red, Ebony.  Bottom row left: Peeled Pine Pecan, Peeled Pine Kahlua and Natural.


All the La Lune furnishings are available through Dragonfly Designs.  Just call (530) 583-6076 for help with styling and pricing options.  Or visit our online store to view selected La Lune pieces. 


Contemporary Rustic is the term I've been using to describe today's most popular mountain building style.  Spaces are large with big ceiling volume.  In fact, almost all new mountain construction features a Great Room configuration.  The emphasis is on the views and windows are stacked to the rafters.  Materials are rustic and include lots of wood, stone and metals. There are lots of references to the Arts and Crafts movement.  Hand crafting is important.   Reclaimed materials are popular, especially in wood floors. 

How do you decorate a Contemporary Rustic style house? 

Of course, I like to fill these rooms with luxurious comfortable large-scale sofas, lounges and sectionals, but it's a little tricky finding just the right tables and case goods to use in these large rustic interiors.  I'm a big fan of some of the Artifacts International line of furnishings for contemporary Mountain Houses. Their pieces have the weight and size to anchor big volume rooms.  And importantly, they feature natural woods and materials which are hand-crafted, highly distressed, and rustic in design.

Artifacts makes a Mill Valley line that I especially appreciate.  Here are some of the pieces in this line.

Mill Valley Chest  50"wide x 33 high   You usually think of a chest as a piece of furniture best used in the bedroom.  In this case, however, bring the piece out into the main rooms and show it off!  I love this in the entry way, or for under the big screen TV as well as a substitute for a sofa console table.  In all cases the drawers provide extra storage for games, DVD's, winter throws and other Great Room paraphernalia.


Mill Valley Cocktail Table  Huge.  Stunning.  Not too delicate to put your feet on!

Canyon Mirror   Huge at 66" high x 48" wide. Some rooms just need this kind of scale.

Mill Valley Amoire  Here's the answer to the question of what to put on that really tall wall. 

Mill Valley Console  A great piece to fill up an empty wall space. Just put a pair of large lamps on either end and a fabulous piece of artwork on the wall behind it. 

Pieces from the Artifacts International Mill Valley line are available in the Dragonfly Designs online store.  Click below to shop! 



One of my favorite rustic furnishing companies has long been Genesee River Trading Co.  I really like their use of happy paint colors (so perfect for casual cabin living) and their old-fashioned linoleum table tops just make me feel good.  If you like a vintage or antique-inspired cabin look, then you're sure to like the Genesee River Trading Co. style.  Around here, we call this look "Old Tahoe". 

Genesee River Trading Co is well known for the fantastic display they put together for the High Point markets, which are held twice a year for the furnishing and design trade.  The folks at Genesee bring along many pieces from their current line, but they also scour the local countryside for rustic signs and collectibles which are sold in their display booth.  It's always a madhouse at the start of the show as dealers and shop owners scramble to get their names on their favorite pieces. 

Here are a few photos of some of their recent High Point booths. 


Colorful and playful camp-style to the max!

They collect a lot of vintage signs.  You can see a number of them propped up here against their truck as they unload.

Genesee River trading company is located in Amish country and their line is influence by local bentwood craftsmanship.  Bentwood rockers are some of their most popular items.

Below is an example of the linoleum table tops I love. 


And this one, below, is actually hand-painted in a checkerboard pattern.  These both make great sofa side tables or night tables for cabins. 

This wonderful desk, below, shows their trademark combination of hickory, birch bark and bright paint colors.

The pieces look great in a charming, whimsical camp-inspired environment, but many pieces, like this impressive display hutch below, can also work in more serious lodge homes. 

Genessee River Trading Co makes some fabulous beds.  Below is the Rustic Revival.

They have a great finish palette.  Yes, the red looks fabulous, but their pieces look great in all the colors, below. 


And sometimes less color is more.  Here, camp furnishings get a calming white-washed look.

Bentwood rockers are perfect for a casual enclosed porch.

Fun, funky and fabulous!



Genesee River furnishings are available to order at Dragonfly Designs, just email or shop online:


So often, my clients ask me to include Native American motifs in the rooms I design for them.  I'm happy to do it--there are some fabulous Indian inspired fabrics out there right now.  In fact, Ralph Lauren makes some of the best of them. 

I've used Native American motifs in tile work, on lamp shades, in wrought iron.  I also love to pick up old Pendleton and Indian Blankets and have my workroom make them into curtains and toss pillows. 

It seems that Western style has been a part of lodge decorating for most of this century.  But there's one Western designer from the 1930's that really did it best. In fact, no one has come close since, Thomas Molesworth.

Molesworth and his colony of artists at the Shoshone Furniture Company in Cody, Wyoming made Western inspired furniture, decorative ironwork, lighting, floor treatments, Navajo inspired carpets, oil paintings and Indian artifacts.  Molesworth, who studied at the Chicago Institute of Art, is best known for his use of bright colors, silhouettes, "pole" detailing, burls, large brass tacks, leather fringe and Native American motifs.

Molesworth's style was definitely influenced by the popular Arts and Crafts, Stickley and Mission style furniture movements of the day.  However, he brought his own love of horses and all things Western to make his furniture his own.

Original Molesworth furnishings are highly collectable today. The chair above is an original Molesworth.  Auctioned in 2007, it brought in an estimated $10-20,000.

If you love Molesworth style but can't afford to buy the originals, there are knock-offs available from several rustic furniture companies today.  Above, a burl style pedestal table, silhouette chairs in Molesworth style available through the Santos Furniture Company of Cody, Wyoming.

Above and below, more Molesworth pieces currently in production at the Santos Furniture Company.

Perhaps, however, the most talented of the current Molesworth influenced artisans is Marc Taggart.  Taggart's Molesworth inspired pieces move forward in a way that Thomas Molesworth himself would heartily approve of if he were alive today.


Above, Marc Taggart's Cowboy Entertainment Center.

A Molesworth inspired chair from the Marc Taggart studio.

And above, The Marc Taggart Plains Indians Credenza...stunning!

If you're interested in learning more about Thomas Molesworth, there's a gorgeous coffee table book out, and honestly, if you love Western design, you've gotta have this!  It's called "Molesworth The Pioneer of Western Design" by Terry Winchell.  Perfect afternoon reading for a snowy day--just throw a log on the fire and snuggle up in an antique Pendleton blanket, of course!

A mountain house should be a little bit playful, don't you think?  After all, we come to the mountains to find joy.  Cabins, lodges, chalets and log homes are all places where we can express ourselves and take pleasure in a bit of whimsey.  Not too much, though.  A little bit of design fun is sophisticated, too much is just ordinary.

If you're a bird lover, here are a few fun ways you can express your fondness for birds in your decorating.

Isn't this Design Legacy chair utterly charming? 

The Audobon Floor Lamp from Arteriors is elegant but modern with it's silk moss green drum shade.

These 19th Century English Tea Tins are stunning.  I like them just as they are, but they would also make beautiful lamps.

This is one of two 18th century historical naturalist bird studies by Capriara that has been blown up to 18" x 48" and produced for sale by Natural Curiosities.  The two prints would be stunning side by side hung over an entry table in any mountain house.


This 1930's trade blanket made into a long cushy pillow would be great on a distressed brown leather sofa.

Aren't you insane over this Shawn Lovell Metalworks bed?  I certainly am.

Of course, it's gotta have this pillow:

Perfect!  Tweet.


Rustic Meets Contemporary--I am really loving the beautiful modern furniture from Clayton Oxford.  Some of the lines are clean and sleek.  Other pieces are beautifully natural and rustic, but sophisticated.  Best of all, almost everything in the line is eco-friendly with an emphasis on reclaimed and sustainable materials.

Yes, several of these pieces scream out for a clean sophisticated contemporary mountain interior, but others can easily switch hit into a more traditional rustic style.  See for yourself...

This is just one of many stunning beds in the line. It's called the Old Stream Platform Bed.

Isn't this coffee table of sliced Acacia wood gorgeous?  There are also many other fabulous tables.

I really can't think of a single mountain house that I wouldn't use this stunning reclaimed teak and wood branch occasional table in.  Yes, it's modern, but it also looks a bit like traditional Adirondack stick style.  I love it!

This is their Acacia Wood Chair.  It's just great, isn't it?

Penshell Inlay Island Light.  Wow!

This is a bar stool?!!  A group of these Carved Monkey Wood Bar Stools lined up at the kitchen island in a modern mountain house would make a tremendous style statement. 

This is a recycled teak deer head mount.  Again, this would be stunning in a sleek contemporary mountain interior but works equally well in a lodge-style great room.

These are vines from Monkey Wood Trees.  They have been cut down and mounted together so that they can be used as a large-scale floor screen. 

There are plenty more beautiful and intriguing items at the Clayton Oxford website. 

In my previous posting called "Have a Seat", we looked at four great lounge chairs that would work in a lodge great room.  In this posting, I'm presenting four more.  These chairs all have something wonderful and unusual enough about them that they could flank a fireplace and be the focal point of a room.  But looks aren't all they having going for always with good design, comfort is paramount!

This is the Artifacts Palo Alto Occasional Chair.  It has a rustic look, but with a certain softness and curve appeal that will work for those who prefer round curvy shapes to square and straight.  It's big and comfortable and says clearly "flop down here and rest awhile"!

And now for the opposite--the Palecek Franklin is the perfect rustic chair if you're looking for straight lines and masculine materials.  It's scale is large which is a quality essential in many lodge rooms to balance out soaring ceilings.  I like the fact that it is handsome but sophisticatedly modern.

This is the Lattice Wingback Chair from Mainly Baskets.  Frankly, it's very best feature is it's price, which is extremely affordable.  Personally, though, I love a lodge look that gives the impression that the things in the room were gathered over time and might have been in the family for years.  I like to mix up old mountain themed antiques, big comfortable upholstered seating, natural collections such as old botanical engravings and framed butterflies with lots of contrasting elements and textures.  A little wicker works perfectly in a room like this. 

La Lune's club chair and ottoman fit the bill perfectly if you are going for that rugged masculine outdoorsman look.  These chairs are comfortable, handsome, durable and very good looking. Go ahead, throw on another log and put your feet up...

It's all in the mix, folks!  And Ralph Lauren's Indian Cove Lodge Collection has mastered the mix perfectly. 

First of all, I have always loved black and red together.  These colors are stunning partnered with deep rich woods, sea grass carpeting, carefully selected lodge-style antiques, guilded wood, wicker, Black Forest carving, tramp art, antlers.  But, see for yourself...

Doesn't the black and red color scheme look great with the old shellacked pine walls?  I love the contrast of the guilded faux bamboo table with the sea grass and funky old bird engravings and fish paintings.

Notice the twig detail on the leg of this table.  Yummy distressed black leather!

Whoever would have thought that you could pair "aged" velvet, leopard print and a Navajo inspired fabric on a French bergere, stick it in a mountain cabin,  and have it look so right?

Over-scale wicker chairs, red tartan woolen fabrics, vintage skis, snow shoes and a wood pile mix it up together for the most elegant rustic outdoor cocktail spot!

More Navajo prints mixed with leather and nail heads.  Don't you just love the way the carpets on the floor are tossed together so that they are all askew and over-lapping?

Old Indian baskets, a rustic wicker lampshade and an elaborately carved Chippendale style chair.  The intention is for each item to appear as if it was casually handed down and donated to this cabin over years.  Of course, every item just happens to be marvelous and is perfectly placed for maximum impact. 

Cozy, romantic and elegant--what more can you ask from a mountain bedroom?  I just want to leap in.  One reason this is all working so beautifully is that there is shine and pops of white everywhere and that keeps the look from being dusty, musty and dark.  The picture frames are guilded.  There are shiny silver nail heads on the side chair.  The woods are highly polished and gleaming.  Also, the crisp white sheets and similar white mats keep the black, grey and red colors from getting too dark and gloomy.

I am in love with "aged" velvet!

The contrast of taking the most traditional furnishing shapes and upholstering them in Navajo prints is sensational!  Love it.  The tiger print and feather pillows are just icing on the cake.

Tartans and monograms.

Gotta have the perfect dog, of course.

Guilding and highly polished traditional furniture shapes contrasted with an old tramp art box, an Indian basket and a pine cone.  Just perfect.

Let's face it, most mountain houses are used for family vacationing and that involves kids, casual living and fun. 

Friends of ours used to rent a mountain house that had a huge rumpus room downstairs and a door that would close between the upstairs and the downstairs.  It was a great party house, especially as the kids got old enough to entertain themselves.  The adults would party upstairs and the kids would party downstairs.  All that was required for a peaceful adult evening was the tossing down the stairwell of pepperoni pizzas at regular intervals.

Many mountain houses have rumpus rooms, downstairs dens or second dens.  If you have a kid zone room, and you've been wondering how to decorate it, take a look at these fabulous pebble pillows from Livingstones.


Kids of all ages love these.  Just throw a big pile of them on them floor and let them talk, play games, watch TV or play Guitar Hero.  Livingstones pillows would be great for sleep-overs, too--just add sleeping bags!

Below are some fabulous murals, very inexpensive, that can be wallpapered up on the walls to complete the look.

A few hundred dollars buys you a great big wall mural at!

Lastly, how about a couple of these fabulous bubble swings from Plush Pod?


All of this grey stuff needs a shot of energetic color to set it off.  Why don't we paint the walls this bright yellow green from Benjamin Moore called "Feel the Energy", of course.



Just add grey carpet and stir!

Final step:  call out for pizza.

Your assignment:  select a pair of  comfortable lounge chairs to go in front of or at either side of your dream Great Room fireplace. 

This is not as easy a task as it sounds.  You're going to want chairs that are big enough in scale to counterpoint a heavy mountain stone fireplace and high ceilings.  You'll want chairs that are comfortable enough that they can be sat in for hours of fire gazing. And, finally, you'll want chairs that are ruggedly handsome but also durable enough for mountain living. 

JGStyles Root Chair

Above, this is one of my favorite chairs for mountain cabins and lodges.  It is rustic, great looking, comfortable and affordable, everything you could ask of a chair for your favorite Great Room.  Here, I've used a pair of them opposite a fireplace in a client's living room (the same fireplace is shown in the top photo above).  The chair is from G.J. Styles.

Natiopnal Upholstery

A client and I were shopping at the Design Center when we ran across these amazing chairs from National Upholstery.  Again, rugged, handsome and ultra-comfortable, but I would not call these affordable!  The client loved them and we had to have them!   They are suede, of course, and notice the Western style suede fringe used as a skirt and the whip stitch details on all the seams. Teal!

This beautiful chair is the Ironies Caribou Chair.  I love the height for mountain houses.  And talk about romance...can't you just see a pair on either side of a fireplace!  Just add cashmere throws, sheepskin slippers and champagne.  What's great about this chair is that it switch hits.  It can work easily in an elegant mountain interior like Charlotte Moss' (see posting below) just as easily as in any rustic lodge.


This chair from Lexington's Kingstown Collection is called the St. Maarten.  The antique bobbin leg style is popular these days and makes such a beautiful silhouette.  I've seen bobbin chairs in interiors as varying as contemporary to beach cottage.  Somehow, in my mind, it also has enough presence to work in the mountains.  I'd use these on either side of a fireplace in a room full of soft comfortable fabric upholstered furnishings.  It's job is to provide a little contrast and tension in the room. 

What do you think about my chair choices, so far?  If you haven't yet seem the perfect chairs for your dream fireplace, check back in tomorrow.  There are more chairs to come!


If you love hand-crafted one-of-a-kind rustic pieces as I do, you're sure to love the work from Hawkins Unique Rustic Furniture.  Hawkins began making his pieces as a hobby after being inspired by a trip to the Adirondacks in 1994.  He has since become an expert at constructing twig embellished furnishings and, in fact, has written two books on the subject. 


This beautiful birch bark covered cabinet (above)would be fantastic in a wide tall hallway where it could perform the practical function of storing linens. But first, it needs a fabulous collection of Indian woven baskets to perch on its top.



I'd stuff it full of fresh clean linens and towels like these from Pottery Barn which are "inspired by 19th century sketches in a naturalists diary". 


I love the fat curvy shape of this piece, below.  And how about those wonderful vine wrapped legs!


Just imagine surrounding this charmer with a whimsical collection of prints from Natural Curiosities, below.  The prints are from the Fernando Boher collection and are inspired by his concept of "images of a traveled mind".  Their funky charm is a perfect partnering for the cabinet.  The fact that their frames and sizes are all mismatched only adds to the effect, in my mind.  I'd put two rows of four prints on top of the cabinet and two prints on each side, one stacked above the other.  Which ones are your favorites?

Don't you just adore all the wonderful twig and birch bark detailing on this spectacular hutch?

Of course, a piece like this stands perfectly well on it's own.  I can't resist giving it a little dressing up, though.  What if we use it to display a collection of elegant woodland inspired Gien china?  I love contrast, so I'd mix the Gien up with a grouping of chunky casual family dinnerware in white ironstone, like these pieces from Burleigh, and some antler-handled flatware.


Now, let's tie the hutch and china together with this hand-knotted area rug from Feizy Carpets.  Scrumptious!


How fun is this amazing hallway entry says "party house" right off the bat, doesn't it? 

I'd like to jazz it up a bit more, even, by hanging a Tyrolean walking hat from one of the moose antlers, placing a pack basket full of walking sticks on the floor beside it and displaying a wonderful old pheasant painting on the wall above the walking sticks. 

Meet Larry Hawkins, below, the creator of all these amazing pieces.  Hey, what do you suppose he has in mind for that hammer?

Larry Hawkins

Hawkins Unique Rustic Furniture has a fan page on facebook where you can see more of their hand-made furniture.  You can also go to

Photo courtesy of Lake Placid Lodge, Nancy Battaglia photographer.


To order either of Larry Hawkin's books for making rustic furniture, click here.


Privacy/Terms & Conditions | Copyright © 2006 | POWERED BY MAILCENTRO | Contact/Feedback | RSS Feed