Sleek decor meets rustic style of the country

April 13, 2011 

Dear Debbie: We recently moved from the city to a farm, and I am struggling to fit my addiction for clean modern decor into a home that has a great deal of wood and country decorating. The kitchen is my first priority, and will be a complete renovation. Have you any suggestions other than pine cabinets and terra-cotta tiles? - Ben

Dear Ben: That’s quite a lifestyle move for you, and I believe you will discover that after some time living in the beautiful countryside, your tastes will soften. However, there is no need to despair. Sleek, minimal design was originally positioned in urban chic, contemporary spaces. But the overall effect was quite sterile. Too many hard edges, not enough contrast in shape and texture to create a comfortable mood. Now, you will see it alongside brick and wood, and the flat clean surfaces work well with a more rustic style. There is a counterbalance between the two that is very complementary.

I recently designed the interior of an amazing new home design built by Concept PolygHome, Using bioclimatic architecture, the structure is mainly engineered wood and aluminum, soy-based insulation and glass, set on a concrete foundation. The architecture of the building is futuristic, and I wanted to make the spaces inside feel homey and comfortable without taking away from the natural conditions. The kitchen was designed with the help of my colleagues at Kitchen Craft,, who offer a comprehensive line of cabinetry. We chose cabinet doors that are sleek, flat and white, very modern, as are the stainless-steel appliances. Perfect straight lines mimic the large window frames; counters are also straight-edge with no trim or detail. I then installed old wood shelves flanking the stove, and the floor and fat window trim are also wood. The color and texture of wood adds a dimension that brightens up and humanizes the room. Add some colorful cookbooks and a big bowl of fresh apples (or produce from your farm), and you have a stylish kitchen that could sit anywhere.

So Ben, I hope you can see how effectively modern taste mixes with your new surroundings. It’s a great look.

Dear Debbie: I am redoing my small bedroom and really like the idea of having one indigo wall, such as the one you showed in a column awhile back. I’m wondering if you have any ideas for the other three walls? I have problems with insomnia and must create a respite for sleep and rejuvenation. – Anita

Dear Anita: Indigo is the color of a night sky, and very conducive to relaxation and sleep. Choose a stone shade for a sophisticated effect on the other walls. Think about hanging some artwork that you love; it can simply be scenes that capture your imagination – a tropical beach or a clear lake with mountain peaks in the background and a waterfall. Some people find a lush plant to be calming and healthful. More important is the comfort and support of a good mattress, and good quality bed linens that are soft and soothing. When you get into bed your muscles (and nerves) will relax. Also experiment with some aromatherapy – lavender works wonders. Pleasant dreams.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at Please email your questions to

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service