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cabbages & roses: at home with country

by Grace Bonney

as i get older, i’ve noticed that i’ve found myself more and more attracted to homes that could be labeled as “country”. growing up, i think i pushed myself as far away from country as humanly possible, in exchange for something far colder and minimal, but as i settle into my own home life, i find i’m now being pulled back in the direction of something that feels comfortable, homey, and worn-in. so when i saw the new book at home with country from christina strutt i was instantly smitten.

a former stylist at vogue, christina now runs cabbages & roses, a fabric company specializing in historic rural printed fabrics for clothing and the home. her 5th book, at home with country, is out this month and features a stunning range of homes from england, and places closer to home, like sag harbor and cape cod. the book focuses on full home tours as much as beautiful little details, and i found myself saving too many pages to even bother with individual pages, i think i’ll just be bookmarking the entire thing. at a time of year when the warm weather is just about to hit and i can practically smell spring in the air, it’s wonderful to be inspired by sunny patios and light-filled homes that look more inviting than words can described. if you’re in the market for an inspiring new home book, i really suggest checking at home with country out- even if country isn’t your thing (believe me, i didn’t think it was mine either), there are bound to be design ideas in here to take away. i’m already scheming up ways to work more aged wooden crates into my home…

[all photography by edina van der wyck, from the book at home with country by christina strutt. cico books, $29.95; www.cicobooks.com]

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  • Oh my WORD. I just looooove this look! And I’m like you: I used to shun everything remotely country, but now it’s the only thing that I can feel settled in with! This is truly lovely and inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  • not so much stuffed with accessories but the decor is perfect creating an absolute ambiance. love the combination of red and white

  • I think when people say they hate country, they mean that mass-marketed-ducks-and-chickens crap they picked up at Wal-Mart years ago that was so overdone. And yet, so many of those same people claim to love Scandinavian, French, and Tuscan design, all of which are a more authentic expression of rural, country design. I also think that the “new country style” that is coming into vogue is an economic and environmental response to our current situation. True country design is about using what is available in creative, functional ways (ex: crates as storage). Modernism, in many ways, is about mass produced items for consumption. Eames chairs are not some rarified objects, they were EVERYWHERE, airports, schools, doctor’s waiting rooms.

  • thanks for highlighting this book. As someone who has grown up in the country, I have always been drawn to the cottage and craftsman styles. These photos are beautiful. Its got me wanting to see the whole book!

  • BTW, I agree with Tamisha (above). I, too, think that people have had a little bit of a mis-led opinion on “country” style.

  • Although I have never purposefully set out to purchase “country” type things, I find that is always what I end up with. And I’m not talking quilts and roosters, it’s always more rustic types of things. I love these photos, if I could have a complete home decorating re-do, this is what I want!

  • I’m with Tamisha — true country style is a making-do with what’s available, it’s a visible and tangible history that reflects endurance, lives of others. I think that’s why it’s so comforting…

  • I am totally with you on the drawn to “country” style as you make a home of your own. Why fight it, I figure, if its a place to feel at home, to rest, to recharge. My house is evolving towards things with history, age, and uniquely me. Its the essential country style I love, without the crazy cow prints, but I will admit I have a cast iron rooster. :)

  • I am all about country style when it’s authentic. It doesn’t have to look hokey at all — when it’s done more organically, piece by piece, find by find, it looks more homey and welcoming to me than any other style. (I grew up in the country though, so maybe I’m biased.)

    My husband and I put a whole set of aged apple crate bookshelves in our living room just 2 weeks ago, as I love how they look — especially for the price. I can’t wait to fill them with all my favorite books and flea market finds.

    If you are interested in taking a peek, here’s the link: http://thirtyeight20.blogspot.com/2010/03/diy-apple-crate-shelves-in-progress.html

  • I never considered myself a “country” enthusiast, but if this is country style, count me in! I’ve always loved older objects; they just seem to have a lot of character, unlike newer items.

    P.S. My favorite room is the bathroom- I love those paintings over the tub!

  • The book looks great!

    Thank god “Country” has evolved from roosters and chickens to time-worn fabrics and vintage items.

  • agreed completely; I was into super modern only a couple years ago and all of a sudden last week, I started fantasizing about buying farmhouses in the Virginia countryside.

  • Lovely photos. I also wanted to mention the Gin in the photo with the water pitcher is delicious. Instead of a lime, use a cucumber. Trust me, you will like it!

  • I’m with Jessica. Hendricks Gin is delicious…what a fabulous idea to have a bottle in the bath to relax with while you soak!

  • I’m totally feeling the same way lately — My new thing is “modern farmhouse” so not pure country but with lots of fun rustic elements mixed with modern pieces.

  • Jessica & Cheri, you’re so right! I figure any room that features a bottle of Hendricks gin has to have something going for it.

  • LOVE Christina Strutt. This book looks just as gorgeous as her others.

    I have to echo your sentiments, as well as those in some of the comments. As a girl in the 80’s, I hated “Country”, preferring the spare contemporary styles. Now, I’m all about the warmth, comfort & ease to be found in “New Country”, “Cottage”, etc.