Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just Beyond the Farmhouse

In just a few minutes, I'll be returning to Teenyville--not a geographical location but a state of being, a place where I will make the final edits on the new book. It won't be an easy transition. For one week, I've enjoyed the cooking/house puttering mode. I've gained three pounds, cleaned the cook-top, and made headway into my overstuffed closet.

Today, it's damp and chilly. As I gaze out the back window, I see rolling hills just beyond the farmhouse. Many hundreds of years ago, our little patch of Tennessee earth was settled by dissidents, plucky folks who stood up for their beliefs and got kicked out of England.
Some were stripped of titles and land. Others wrangled land grants.

All these years later, the Celtic influence is still alive in our landscape, cooking, music, and spirit.

When I'm indoors, I spend most of my time beside a window.

Hands down, I prefer to be outside.
To my way of thinking, land has no design rules.
Five years ago, I was much more interested in the interior landscape. But you know what? It's a different world inside. And it has certain "rules." As in my-decor-is-dated. As in I-Need-To-Repaint (or Repent).
As inI-Just-Finished-Decorating-This-Room-And-I-Ain't-Changing-It.
As in Yep-The-Curtain-Rods-Are-Too-Low-But-I'm-Short-and-Can't-Reach-Higher-Even-With-a-Ladder.
Since Teeny Templeton is like me, a bit of a style dissident, our response is, Whatever makes you happy.
If you've got striped, puddled draperies, come sit by me and Teeny. If your walls are red and your trim is white, come sit by me and Teeny. If you love the idea of all white rooms but you also love dirt (and a love of dirt is totally Celtic-farmer, by the way), come sit with me.

I'll tell you that it makes me dizzy to see how fast interior trends change. When I read that this color or that color is "out," I wonder who makes up these rules. I wonder who, in this economy, has the time, money, or energy to prevent the dated look?

But it makes me happy to know one thing:
I might get dizzy, I might have the wrong wall colors, draperies, rugs, and trim, but guess what?
I don't give a damn.
I know what I like, and I'm keeping it.
My partner likes things on the formal side, and I like things a bit frayed at the edges. We've set the table with Waterford and, in the same room, we've had a baby goat running loose. Our farmhouse is a farm hospital; we've nursed chicks and lambs and baby donkeys, too.
It's a place where Yorkies come to tea.

I believe in comfort food and comfort decor. I like the sameness of things. I like the stability of sameness. At this farm, an all-white decor would last five minutes.
Don't get me wrong--I flat-out love all-white rooms and gray rooms. I might paint my wicker gray, but honestly? By the time I finish writing, gray will be so over.
I love the pared-down, simple, unfussy, all neutral look. I really, really love it.
But I'm also a realist. I know what will and will not work in my own interior landscape.
Also, I'm not getting rid of my out-of-style stuff.
My tassled pillows are comforting.
My junk is comforting.
My bright colors might cause instant blindness, but they are comforting to me and Dr. G.
(gollum's mom with Wink the kid.)

No interior designer can compete with Mother Nature.
She invented the color wheel, and she doesn't pay one bit of attention to trends or what's "in."
She goes with what she likes.She ignores food trends, too.
And when the going gets tough, she takes green apples and turns them into comfort food.

You can live in a condo or a subdivision and enjoy farmhouse style. Because it is a state of being.
It's an attitude.
Farmstyle is about comfort, however you define comfort. It's adaptable. You can dress it up or keep it simple. You invent the rules.
This is not to say that "style" is missing from farmstyle. It just eschews trends. 
It enjoys pretty rooms, and it knows that gray is the new beige and that bold wall colors and white trim might soon be dated.
It just doesn't care.

Farmstyle is about a good cup of coffee and homemade cake. The berries don't have to be homegrown, but it helps to have a homegrown attitude.
But mostly, it's important to take in the view just beyond the farmhouse, and beyond ourselves.

For me, style is all about the land and our beloved animals. It's that far tree in the background (right side). It's my English tree. The tree with Scotch-Irish roots. The tree that says, I may lose my leaves, I may be scraggly, but I'm still here.
And I'm smiling.
For a peek at Houzz'z 10 Wonderful Farmhouses, (in today's San Francisco Gate), visit: