House of Style
Furnishing the log home of your dreams may feel like a big job, but with some pro advice, it can be a very enjoyable experience.
Buying or building a log home is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. But once you’ve made it through construction (or the buying process), now you need to focus on furnishing your new abode.
As an interior designer specializing in rustic interiors, specifically log homes, I’m often asked about the first steps in designing a new home. Creating a cohesive design plan takes thoughtful consideration and diligent planning. Sometimes it’s an overwhelming task, but try to remember it’s supposed to be enjoyable. Don’t treat it like a job; treat it like a hobby, and you’ll have much more fun with the process.
First, you’ll need to spend time considering what type of design motif you want for your space. Do you want a northern lodge or a western cabin? Is something with a Native American f lair more to your liking, or do you prefer the classic log cabin aesthetic? There are no “right” answers here; it’s important for you to decide what YOU want. Then you can start making decisions that will move you toward your goal: A log home that’s reflective of your style, taste and personality.
Once you’ve decided what direction your design will take, there are some universal truths to consider:
Scale. This is an important aspect of your design, regardless of the stylistic direction you choose. Sofas, chairs, tables and related accessory pieces need to be the proper size for your space. While something too large can overpower a smaller room, a piece that’s too small can be dwarfed by a larger space. Pick things that fit, and don’t make exceptions for any reason. A table that’s too big will always be too big, no matter how much of a bargain it was.
Leftovers. These are the pieces that are literally leftover from a redesign of your previous home, and they should be avoided if possible. It’s an interior design mistake to take your 20-year-old sofa from a city house and place it in your new log home. We all have budgets that we try to stay within, but please remember this: Just because you have leftover furniture doesn’t mean you should use it. If you absolutely have to re-use a piece that isn’t perfect, write yourself a note that it must be replaced in 12 months or less. Time and again, I see couples who take a not-so-perfect sofa to the cabin with every intention of replacing it. Instead, their eye becomes accustomed to the piece and it ends up living there forever. Don’t fall into this trap; it’s hard to crawl out of it!
Collections. In my opinion one of the hallmarks of good log home design is the presence of collections in the finished plan. Think of something you like, or have always wanted, and start collecting that thing. Whether its antique fishing reels, authentic Navajo rugs or vintage maps, almost any item is more impactful when displayed as a group. Keep your collection appropriate to the style of house. For example; if you have a log home on a lake in Colorado, a collection of vintage fly-fishing rods would be more
appropriate than an assortment of dolls. Also, be careful not to over-collect or you’ll end up with clutter. Three good things can constitute a collection. Remember; find something you like that fits with your style, and buy the best examples you can afford.
Timing. If you’ll be ordering furniture, you should allow 8 to 12 weeks lead time with better manufacturers. You can wait for your log home to be complete before ordering, but if you’re able to make some decisions earlier in the process, you’ll have better timing when you’re ready to move in.
Quality. This is an important aspect when designing an enduring interior space for your log home. I advise my clients to invest in pieces that will last a lifetime or longer. People often make the mistake of buying a lower-quality sofa to save money, only to replace it in three years with another inferior sofa, and another replacement three years after that. If they’d bought a good sofa to begin with, they’d have it for a minimum of 15 or 20 years and would never have had the headache and cost of replacement.
That said, it’s ok to pull back in some areas and splurge in others. A good way to think about quality is to separate furnishings into three categories: good, better and best. Your living room can have a good coffee table, better chairs and a best sofa. Your dining room can have a good rug, good table, better chairs and a best chandelier. Blending all three categories will help you stretch your budget and ensure you’re spending money in the most impactful places.
Layers. Don’t miss the opportunity to add dimension to your rooms by incorporating layers and textures. It can be as simple as putting a lamp on a stack of books instead of putting it directly on the table. Or, using a Navajo rug as wall art instead of a painting. What you’re doing is creating interest in your space and giving your eye another detail to absorb. Layers and textures are keys to designing a space with personality and depth. Designers. The cost of an interior designer should be weighed against the value they provide. Interior designers can give you access to discounts at retail stores you never knew existed and can gain entry to furniture showrooms that aren’t open to the public. Generally speaking, money spent on an interior designer is a good investment, and they can pay for themselves many times over. An interior designer will help you make decisions, clarify ideas and improve your personal style. But just as important, a good designer can help you avoid costly mistakes with furnishings and overall design.
Hopefully, these tips will get you ready to put together the home of your dreams. You better be; you have a log home to furnish!
With 20 years in retail and interior design, Jason Lenox has a keen eye for rare, refined rustic furnishings and silhouettes. He strives to keep the rustic lifestyle fresh and current. Visit his Texas showroom, Anteks Home Furnishings, in the Dallas Design District.
RIGHT: Stretch your budget by creating “good,” “better,” “best” categories. Splurge on high-quality pieces that will see extensive use, like a sofa, and save on accessories.
BELOW: The art of layering is key to creating a space that has dimension and depth. Use strategically placed pieces to infuse a room with personality.