What are the keys to the new coun­try look? Dis­cover how to mod­ern­ize time­less coun­try style with­out los­ing the charm.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Contents - BY MAX TROJA

This new book, Mod­ern Liv­ing—New Coun­try, of­fers tips on mod­ern­iz­ing coun­try style with­out los­ing any of its charm.

Anew era of coun­try style is in, and it fea­tures the im­ple­men­ta­tion of mod­ern fix­tures in tra­di­tional and clas­sic homes, as well as much, much more.

In Claire Bing­ham’s new book, Mod­ern Liv­ing—New Coun­try, she fea­tures eight beau­ti­ful homes that de­fine the new coun­try look, from an Ital­ian chateau to a Mediter­ranean villa.


Be­fore she could be­gin ex­plor­ing new coun­try, Bing­ham had to first con­sider sim­ple coun­try style. Clas­si­cally de­fined by quan­tity over qual­ity, coun­try homes fea­ture rooms packed with fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories. As Bing­ham de­scribes it, these rooms are “stacked to their wall­pa­per seams with stuff,” while still main­tain­ing a sim­ple feel. She also de­tails how coun­try homes have a re­spect for tra­di­tional craft tech­niques and nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, as well as orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­ture. Fea­tur­ing dis­tressed floors and walls that off­set the menagerie of pieces in the home, there are a mul­ti­tude of ac­ces­sories to be shown off. With hand­made qual­ity very present—whether that’s rugs, bas­kets, pot­tery, met­al­work or even carved wooden bowls—these clas­sic pieces are sta­ples of the coun­try look.

What’s im­por­tant is main­tain­ing a re­spect for tra­di­tional ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign.


As much as she ap­pre­ci­ates and re­spects coun­try style, Bing­ham much prefers the con­tem­po­rary look that is new coun­try. While quan­tity was pre­vi­ously a sem­i­nal as­pect of the coun­try look, Bing­ham says “long gone is the chintz,” as new coun­try is all about spe­cific pieces cho­sen for pre­cise looks and feels. The ta­bles have turned, and now qual­ity is prefer­able to quan­tity, ac­cord­ing to Bing­ham. In­stead of amass­ing large num­bers of trin­kets and fur­ni­ture from flea mar­kets and an­tiques sales, Bing­ham stresses mak­ing a few, care­ful se­lec­tions of art and fur­ni­ture to com­ple­ment the home.

Most no­tably, new coun­try is a mod­ern­iza­tion of the iconic coun­try look, com­bin­ing old and new seam­lessly. In Bing­ham’s words, “The most fash­ion­able homes in the coun­try­side know how to mix old and new with aplomb.”


For many, im­ple­ment­ing a new style in an old home can seem in­tim­i­dat­ing. Bing­ham ig­nores how daunt­ing it may seem, in­stead fea­tur­ing homes that have taken on the chal­lenge and suc­ceeded beau­ti­fully. To her, what’s im­por­tant is main­tain­ing a re­spect for tra­di­tional ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign, com­bined with mod­ern ameni­ties and stylis­tic touches. With mod­ern light tech­nol­ogy and fix­tures ad­ding a con­tem­po­rary touch, Bing­ham says, “To keep the style coun­try-like, the trick is to go dis­tressed with the floors and walls.”This com­bi­na­tion of new and old is sure to blend well for a new coun­try look. Also fea­tured in ev­ery home in her book, a fun­da­men­tal part of the new coun­try look is to have a healthy mix of an­tique and mod­ern ac­ces­sories. For the homes Bing­ham fea­tures, this means a med­ley of con­tem­po­rary tech­nol­ogy and heir­loom trea­sures.

Through­out the dif­fer­ent homes she fea­tures in her book, one thing is clear: All fea­ture a perfect mix­ture of tra­di­tional and mod­ern. Whether it’s the coastal cot­tage on the ocean or the Swedish coun­try home, these homes blur the lines be­tween new and old, and in the process, de­fine the new coun­try style for Claire Bing­ham.

|LEFT| Re­pur­pos­ing an old Per­sian rug as a cush­ion cover gave this newer chair a more tra­di­tional edge. New coun­try doesn’t have to be en­tirely mod­ern, and some­times a mix is bet­ter. |OP­PO­SITE| Stick­ing to a sin­gle-color pal­ette can help to make the...

Re­spect­ing tra­di­tional ar­chi­tec­ture, this kitchen is de­signed with stone floor­ing and wooden coun­ter­tops. The var­i­ous pieces of met­al­work through­out the room help to de­fine this new coun­try look. Mod­ern Liv­ing—New Coun­try by Claire Bing­ham, pub­lished...

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