Last week, on a quest for a new hiking adventure, I had my boys in the truck scouting out old trails where we stumbled across an abandoned farm. It wasn’t safe to investigate, but I stared at it long enough for my son to ask me, “Mom, what are you looking at?”

I wasn’t seeing anything different than he was, but my mind’s eye was seeing a treasure trove of antiquated rustic delights awaiting me in that attic; pearls of the past that had weathered the ages and had been weathered by time. I could imagine antique mirrors with little silvering left for reflection, old furniture with a scarce amount of paint clinging to the buckled wood, and the old sparkle of mercury glass.

And I can’t overlook the barn. Barns are like small industrial warehouses full of scraps. Maybe I could find some old gears from a repaired tractor or lathe, old burlap feed sacks or woolen riding blankets. In my mind, I was redecorating my living room with imaginary objects from the past; items that over the years had shed their adornments and were left with their original texture and color. There is a beauty in this kind of Neutral Palette. The interest comes from layers of varied textures and mixed metals, and above all simplicity.

How is this look created in a livable, modern space?

  1. Start with linen upholstery dyed in natural tones. Add pillows with stenciling or ikat.
  2. Bring in modern collections of industrial-style tables with finishes that are deceptively rustic but still maintain a smooth finish.
  3. Antique mirrors can be used in place of art. Any kind of typography hanging on the wall instantly reflects the past.
  4. Flat weave wool rugs with simple, repeating patterns lay a great foundation to build the room around.
  5. For backdrops use industrial lighting, laid brick, and over-sized clocks.


While individually these layers may seem harsh, together they create a very comfortable sense of antiquity that is very easy to live in and loaded with interest and texture!


Channan Warrell

Interior Designer Allied Member ASID

Related Articles:

IKAT is where it’s at! by Channan Warrell

Fifteen Fun and Fabulous Pillows by Jennifer Chandos

Hung Up: Perfect Wall Art Every Time by Michelle Djurovic

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