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Photo: Rick Hammer
Today’s modern-rustic look is coveted by throngs of people living in everything from country manors to big-city condos. Fortunately for us, log and timber homes have a distinct advantage over the average stick-framed house: Oodles of exposed wood automatically instill them with warmth and comfort.
However, depending on the area in which you live, this coveted style can take a variety of forms. New England cottages, for example, will have vastly different color palettes and architectural details than Texas farmhouses. But despite vernacular variations, we’ve got 21 universal ideas to give your log or timber home even more rural relish.
1. First things first — use what you’ve got. Log and timber great rooms naturally have trusses, braces and corbels built into the structure. In areas that may not boast these architectural necessities, like a bedroom or bath, add them in with decorative beams and accents to keep the rustic ambiance running throughout your home.
Photo: Rocky Mountain Log Homes
2. Pick your palette. When it comes to color, there are two overarching schemes from which to choose: soft and muted (think pale grays, whitewashes, sage greens, powder blues) or vibrant and bold (barn reds, sunflower yellows, cobalt blues). Fortunately, log and timber homes lend themselves perfectly to each approach, so it’s purely a matter of personal taste.
3. Adopt reclaimed wood. Chances are, your home will have some drywall, either in the form of interior walls or the ceiling. Keep the farmhouse feel flowing by incorporating textural treatments like barnwood or mushroom board as accents.
4. Go with a farm/apron-front sink. Farmhouse sinks have been growing in popularity for over a decade. Not only do they look good, the deep basin and wide design they sport are practical, too. White is the most common choice, but it’s not the only one. Spice up your sink by opting for copper, colored enamel and embossed-front models.
5. Be open-minded. Open shelving, especially in the kitchen, not only adds the perception of space and enables you to display your everyday items in a decorative way, it can save you thousands of dollars on cabinetry.
6 Be a little two-faced. Whether you keep your upper cabinets or ditch them, add a dash of spice to your kitchen with two-toned cabinetry — wall cabinets in one shade and an island or unfitted pantry in a contrasting color. For even more farm flair (and an open, airy feeling), add seeded-glass or chicken wire fronts in lieu of solid panels in select banks.
7 Try texture and pattern. A tufted-wool area rug or a collection of woven baskets beg to be touched and will give your log or timber home the feeling of kick-your-feet-up comfort. Or interject an accent wall with removable patterned wallpaper, which will allow you to easily change your home’s decor as your style evolves.
Photo: Rick Hammer; Lands End Development
8 Run a tight ship. Shiplap, beadboard and wainscoting are ideal accents for timber frame homes and even log home spaces that don’t boast full-log walls. Whitewashing is traditional, but many homeowners opt for dramatic dark gray, deep blue or sage green for a pop of color.
9 Follow your guiding light. Adequate lighting is essential for safety but it also sets a mood. Keep your home’s rustic spirit bright with genre-appropriate fixtures. Copper lanterns, metal pendants, painted table lamps and wood chandeliers are all top picks.
Get the look! Rustic Barn Warehouse Pendant, homedepot.com
10 Pick a patina. Whether it’s a rusted metal pendant light or a worn-paint treatment on cabinetry, in a rustic home, finishes should not look pristine.
11 Opt for cement/patterned tile. Sure white subway tile is the standard — and a safe bet — but it’s not your only option. From subtle tone-on-tone patterns to bright bold colors, a patterned tile can take a space from wallflower to life of the party.
12 Slide on over. Sliding barn-style doors are having a definite moment. But they’re not just attractive — the design has a clear advantage over traditional doors, namely, they don’t swing, allowing you to reclaim several feet of usable square footage in a room. You just need an unobstructed wall and an inch or two of furniture clearance to operate them.
13 Chalk it up. Chalkboard paint in a kitchen, kid’s room or game room allows you to create customized messages, make grocery lists and let the kiddos get artistic. It also is a classic-farmhouse fundamental.
Photo: James Ray Spahn
14 Soak in the splendor. Clawfoot-slipper or old-fashioned soaking tubs add instant time-tested appeal to any bathroom. Modern models offer sound construction with loads of old-fashioned charisma.
15 Plan a big front porch. Modern or traditional — what rustic home is complete without a wide, welcoming front porch complete with rockers and a swing? It’s almost as essential as a roof.
16 Go wide with window trim. Certain details add to a successful farmhouse feeling in subtle — almost subliminal — ways. Window trim is one of them. When you widen your window trim to 4 inches or more, add a deep sill and paint it in a bold, contrasting color, your windows will pop and the effect will be modern-rustic chic.
17 Go crazy for cupolas. Is there any architectural adornment that’s more instantly recognizable as a farmhouse flag than a cupola? We think not. They can be small and purely decorative or large and functional (they make great viewing towers). Don’t forget to top it off with a weather vane.
18 Pull out the stops. Talk about a low-cost way to add a whole lot of charm! Something as simple as the knobs and pulls that adorn your kitchen and bathroom cabinets can give your log or timber home some latent rustic character. Want a real cabin feel? Consider antler-inspired pulls in bone, resin or metal. For more sophisticated farmhouse flavor, look to colored glass or hand-hammered copper knobs or barn-door drawer pulls in matte wrought iron.
19 Don’t get overly “thematic.” It’s okay to have collectibles around a central theme, but take care not to overdo it or your home will look artificial or, worse, cluttered. Make sure your collections look as though they are curated over time and are meaningful to you, and select your pieces with care.
20 Don’t forget greenery. Plants breathe life into any abode, but in a modern-rustic log or timber home, they’re essential. Your climate and home’s solar orientation will dictate species, but scatter them generously around your home — even consider a living wall filled with herbs you can use in your country kitchen — for that all-natural feeling.
Photo: Fall Creek Timber Frames
21 Top it off with metal. Whether its barn red, azure blue or rugged rust, a metal roof gives any home a touch of farmhouse flair (plus it sounds so soothing during a springtime rain). If a full-metal roof isn’t in your budget, consider adding a metallic topper to your porch or dormers, giving you the same relaxed vibe for far less cost.
See also: A Tennessee Log Home With Southern Grace