artSparx.com - American Country Style. Interior design knowledge for the creative lifestyle.

It takes a while to get there, up a winding road that seems to take you back in time as well as up the mountain. When you stop at a filling station, even the gas pumps are vintage red and yellow cylinders.

Along the road, barns and water towers lean at crazy angles, and you have the sense that life in these mist-shrouded mountains hasn’t changed much for two hundred years.

American country style still lingers on small farms and in backwoods retreats. It’s in the spartan grace of a Great Smokies town, or the luxurious rusticity of a hundred year-old American Country resort.

But whether you picture yourself putting up preserves on a cast-iron stove or sipping a highball in a knotty-pine lodge, down-home American design means unpretentious comfort and natural beauty.


Woodwork is a good place to begin. Walls and floors of warm, plain pine boards, unfinished for a true pioneer look or stained for a more refined feeling, provide a backdrop for whatever homespun furnishings and accessories catch your fancy.

Practical items like old-fashioned cookware, rag rugs and antique quilts are both beautiful and useful. Old farm and household implements have a unique beauty, like the horse-drawn plow. A butter churn, a grain mill, an antique meat grinder, and, of course, a copper kettle are all good accent choices. Restored vintage ranges and refrigerators have become more easily available in recent years, and nothing says country like a cast-iron potbelly heating stove.


If you’re looking more for a turn-of-the-century “Great Camp” and less for a pioneer homestead, try antlers above a stone fireplace, knotty pine paneling, and (for the unsqueamish) hunting trophies and motifs.

A generous portion of luxury is appropriate: exquisite lace curtains, a beautifully restored old upright piano for evening sing-along. Don’t forget cozy nooks with leather armchairs in which to curl up with a book, and, if space permits, multiple fireplaces. And bearskin rugs may have fallen out of favor, but plush carpets scattered across wood or stone floors will keep out the chill mountain air.


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