Blue Ridge Highlander Trimble Kelly Studios on the Highlander

“One’s home is their personal sanctuary providing security, happiness and a renewed sense of spirit.” A professional member of ASID, Cindy has practiced as a certified interior designer for 25 years. Based in Blue Ridge, Georgia her focus is mountain and country home design and decoration.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Updating Vintage Furnishings for your Mountain or Country Home


A desire to live in a nostalgic environment has attracted many homeowners to the log and timber design styles. Living in a world where change is constant, the design direction for retirement and vacation homes is leaning more towards “the way things use to be.” Log home living is a wonderful way to experience older times, but furnishing in that genre can be a challenge. Vintage furnishings are charming and add to the historical flavor. But they can also create interior design challenges in terms of fitting in with newer furnishings and supporting modern creature comforts. Antiques come to us from many sources and many of us bring vintage pieces with us that have been in our families for years.


We have fond memories from our childhood of being at our grandparents where we were surrounded by vintage pieces. The styles may vary, but vintage pieces add so much interest to a home’s interior and can help bring back cherished memories. They make great focal points and conversation pieces. My father passed a delightful Victorian Settee down to me several years ago that has been in our family for at least 4 generations, if not more. It came from my great grand-parents home in Hamilton, Georgia where dad remembered at one point the settee was moved to their front porch where everyone would gather and visit. He laughed when he remembered his granny throwing a fit when she discovered the pet coon-hounds had discovered and were napping on her Victorian Settee. A cherished family memory that I will pass to my children and grandchildren along with the settee!


Victorian décor has never been part of my personal design style, but I could never let go of this family treasure. When I moved from Atlanta to the North Georgia Mountains and opened Trimble Kelly Studios, this settee came with me and had to fit in! Victorian settees were traditionally upholstered in either a dark green or dark red mohair or velvet. The fabric upholstery on my settee when I got it was solid, olive green cotton velvet that was not the original, but changed by my grandmother. My guess is that when the original wore out, she replaced it with as close of a fabric as she could find. It worked ok in my first space, but when we moved to Strauss Village it needed an updated look. So I went through my fabric library and found a faux suede brown and white cowhide pattern. It was a big hit. All of my clients who visited my studio would comment on the settee and how cute it looked with a non-traditional fabric. This fabric was from Designtex, but is no longer available. However, there are many other similar fabrics available today including animal prints, great multi-colored textures and a huge variety of prints and wovens.

Other concerns with using antiques or vintage pieces relates to their size and construction methods. Most 18th century furniture was designed for people who were smaller and “proper.” Many antiques, especially Victorian pieces were not designed to hold larger people or sit sideways in with your legs over the arms like we sit today. When reworking a vintage piece, you will need to check the “bones” of each piece to make sure it will be safe for use. You may need to add additional or restructure the internal supports and framing. When we reupholstered my settee, I was told by my upholsterer that it had been reupholstered at least 8 or 10 times. The wood had been weakened greatly by so many nail holes that it required substantial restructuring so it could be used. homes.

Tips for buying Vintage Pieces:
· Not all vintage pieces should be altered from their original state. If you find or inherit a piece that has great value, you may dramatically reduce the value by changing it.
· Consider the scale and ergonomics of the piece if you are intending to use it. As mentioned above, pieces from the 18th century were smaller for the smaller physiques of the day and will not be comfortable for most people today.
· There are so many resources available for finding unique vintage pieces and the search can also be very entertaining and exciting. When I moved to the North Georgia Mountain area, I made a map of all the flea markets and antique shows in the surrounding towns and states. When it is market time, it is a lot of fun going on field trips across the countryside, hopping from town to town and shop to market in search of treasures for special places. You can establish a network of valuable contacts from these markets and shows that are glad to help you find that special piece. It is amazing how many of these vendors travel the countryside from market to market and can be great resources for finding unique pieces.
· Last but not least, don’t be afraid to have some fun with mixing the old with new.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rustic and Natural Décor is NOT just for Mountain or Country Homes

Natural Elements for your Powder RoomMagazines today are filled with the new look of raw materials and rustic décor that is really not new at all. With the turmoil in the world today, so many are craving the feeling and environments of the way it use to be. Unfortunately, the world will never be the way it was. With technology advancing so quickly, air travel being what cars use to be and the world-wide crisis of terrorism requiring such rigid security measures – we are being pushed farther and farther away from the environments we grew up knowing so well.
We have developed a huge hunger for nostalgia. We are searching for the natural elements from the farm lands and forests including tree trunks, natural dried and preserved materials and hand made products. The “green” movement of eco-friendly products has developed alongside this craving which has stimulated an entire new design trend and a huge array of home furnishings.

It is ok to use a raw tree trunk in your urban loft. And also ok to have a chandelier in a formal dining room made from woven Briarwood-Chandelierhickory sticks, and called a “Branchelier!” Found wood pieces in the forests and on river banks are used to create a huge assortment of furniture, mirror frames and handrails. Raw, natural fibers are used to create rugs, linens and window treatments. Natural stone is being integrated in its raw state, yes even with the moss and lichens left on! Our team searches constantly for these new products and are thrilled to find artists tucked away in the hills that create wonderful, natural, hand-made items for homes.

The new trend has told us that these natural, hand-made (or nature made) products are ok in just about any environment from a mountain or country home to an urban loft, a corporate office in a high-rise office building or a suburban home. Blending natural and rustic elements is a reference back to the way things use to be. They add warmth to an interior space and can become focal points or art pieces in rooms.

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