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From the Editor: Rustic’s New Look

Rugged meets refined in Sun Valley, Idaho [Photo: Heidi A. Long]

Once upon a time the word “rustic” may have conjured an image of a dark log cabin in the woods, but those times have changed. “Rustic is in the eye of the beholder,” a designer told me recently as we contemplated rustic style. What he said resonated. No single definition easily fits the gamut of elements that might be described as “rustic”; to some, the word clearly conjures rough and rugged—furniture made from weathered barnwood. To others it can be hard to define, falling into the “I’ll know it when I see it” category—typically rustic materials transformed into clean lines and modern shapes.

“Constructed or made in a plain and simple fashion” and “made of rough wood” are a few of Merriam Webster’s definitions. At Utah-based Rustica Hardware, the company demonstrates rustic by combining iconic barn doors and the hardware to hang them, but with the surprise of sleek polished wood in intricate geometric patterns or leather with an undeniably modern curve. And at Mimi London in L.A., giant slabs of walnut are set atop Lucite bases to give them the appearance of floating in air—a
stunning piece of wood “made in a simple fashion.”

A Jackson Hole log cabin artfully transformed. [Photo: Audrey Hall]

In the Rustic issue of Mountain Living (September/October 2016), we introduced you to many forms of rustic: From this Sun Valley, Idaho, residence where the homeowner carefully edited furniture and fittings, creating a “rustic modern” appeal that relies on rigorous attention to detail, to this Jackson Hole cabin lovingly transformed into a showplace for a couple’s collection of artwork by respecting every crack, crevice and imperfection of the home’s original logs, but reimagined with a light application of alabaster-white lacquer. 

A stag from an 1892 Kaiser Wilhelm II royal hunt pairs with clean-lined Bolier sofa and chaise, Verellen side tables and handwoven Moroccan carpet from the Beni Ourain tribe the new WRJ Showroom. [Photo: courtesy of WRJ Design]

Rush Jenkins of WRJ Design told me, “We interpret rustic as having clean lines, and not restricted to the styles of the American West. Our take is more global with both European and American mountain influences—and then incorporating the unique and textural rustic pieces into the contemporary clean design.”

For me, I love rustic’s new look, with the juxtaposition of traditional style and fresh, modern forms creating a whole new definition. SaveSave

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