The Rustic Artisanal design style has a mellow warmth strongly rooted in a sense of history; a throwback to gentler, simpler times that instantly creates an irresistible pull of nostalgia laced charm. With its emphasis on organic textures, free form shapes and the art of repurposing, this style has a rugged beauty blended with a sense of practicality. Much like the houses designed by Richard Norman Shaw, one of the dominating architectural influencers of this style, Rustic Artisanal homes are spaces that are meant to be lived in and enjoyed. Weathered woods, distressed metals and hand stitched fabrics in cozy patterns bear the hallmarks of the style, creating a bucolic appeal; the make-do spirit that gives new inspiration to found objects brings in a touch of whimsy. Honest and unpretentious, Rustic Artisanal is a style for those who like it to keep it real.
Rustic Artisanal: There's no place like home...
When Jane Austen famously said "There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort", she may well have been penning the Rustic Artisanal design philosophy. This is a style that is all about open, natural charm and comfort; a home that embraces you with its warmth while celebrating a strong connection to the past. With its organic shapes, natural textures and innovative spirit, this design style takes you back to simpler times and makes you feel instantly at home.
The Rustic Artisanal home has a strong sense of rootedness and a rugged, real feel that draws heavily from the country style made famous by renowned architect Richard Norman Shaw. The mossy roofed, red brick Old Sussex houses that often awaken a pang of nostalgia while browsing through an issue of Country Life, were Shaw's creations, as well known for their hanging tiles and half timber as for their tall chimneys and inglenooks for warm seating. In the home that Shaw built for himself at Hampstead, the fireplace is contained in an inglenook from which a little stair climbs to a concealed cubby-hole where Shaw often hid away to work on his drawings. It is here that he conceptualized the tall red-brick New Scotland Yard built in the 1890s, with its striped stone courses and rounded turrets at the corners.
Inspired by the far reaching Arts and Crafts Movement that began in Britain in 1880, this is a style that places a great deal of value on the quality of material and on well crafted, handmade products. Designer, writer and activist William Morris, one of the influential figures of this movement, focused strongly on the joy of craftsmanship and the natural beauty of materials used. Morris's strong belief about only having things in the house that one truly believes to be beautiful or useful, reflects in the Rustic Artisanal home with its sense of practicality and purpose, that emphasizes form as much as function. Morris's own home, Red House, that he co-designed in 1860 reflects his ethos on craftsmanship. Almost all of the interiors, barring a few exceptions, were designed and created by Morris himself along with family and friends, right down to the latches on the windows!
With its laid back, cheerful appeal this is a style best suited for those who like to celebrate everyday living, warts and all! With sturdy, forgiving fabrics; furniture that is meant to be lounged in; and a showcasing of personal treasures, this relaxed, informal style infuses the home with a warm cheer that cannot help but tug at the heartstrings.
Making it Your Own
The word rustic is sometimes misconceived as connoting a style that is clunky and outdated, but that couldn't be further from what the Rustic Artisanal look is truly about. On the contrary, this is a style that focuses on organic shapes and materials and showcases a remarkable spirit of ingenuity. Cozy, cheery and with a touch of quirk, Rustic Artisanal as a design sensibility offers a lot of room for individual expression, making it an incredibility attractive decor style.
Organic forms and natural materials combine to lend the Rustic Artisanal home a distinct rough hewn charm. Gently weathered woods with the glorious allure of patina bring in a rugged appeal, in sturdy notes of oak, hickory, beech or pine. There's no place for faux bois here, on the contrary you may well find a chair or a stool still wearing its bark! Distressed metals with a touch of rust, in oil rubbed bronze or copper, add an earthy layer to the textured appeal of the space. Recreate a cosy mountain living feel in your dining area with sloping, rugged beams; pepper the kitchen with handmade wooden spoons or an antique bread trough in hand carved maple. A vintage wooden French dough bowl is a wonderful throwback to gentler times when kitchens glowed in the dulcet warmth of a hearth fire. Traditionally, a good dough bowl was handed down over generations from mother to daughter, passing along memories and the accompanying wealth of experiences. Each descendant carved her own mark into the family history, until she in turn bequeathed her bowl to her children.
The Rustic Artisanal palette brings forth warm, woodsy colours in subtle notes. Shades of khaki blend with leafy browns, dusky lavenders and rusty shades of red. Bring in a few clear tones with traditional denim blue, butter yellow or forest green if you'd like a touch of brightness.
Sturdy, hand stitched fabrics in cotton, linen and wool drape the space in a familiar comfort. Traditional patterns in calico, plaid and patchwork add to the textural warmth. Trendier patterns like ikat blend well into the Rustic Artisanal home; bring in a handwoven wall hanging in faded turquoise Uzbek ikat or add a signature touch with a patchwork quilt repurposed from those vintage cashmere sweaters you've inherited from your great-aunt and simply can't bear to give away!
Classic, comfortable furnishings are the hallmark of this home; familiar silhouettes that feel warm and welcoming. Windsor chairs and slipcovered settees in delicate floral prints invite you to put your feet up and relax; the cluster of Staffordshire creamware pottery on the mantelpiece lovingly amassed over generations infuses nostalgia; a bunch of fresh wildflowers brings in a feel of soft cheer.
One of the most endearing characteristics of the Rustic Artisanal home is its resilient, make-do spirit that finds great joy in the art of repurposing. Historically associated with inventions created out of necessity, the style is now all about remodelling one-of-a-kind objects in delightful ways. From erstwhile barn doors sliding dramatically across your kitchen as dividers; wooden crates reimagined as a daybed; empty bottles fashioned into quaint lamps, the Rustic Artisanal style has an ingenuous vibe that's all its own. That vintage clawfoot tub that's been in your family for generations? Refurbish it into a unique garden seat and keep soaking in the memories. Or create some new memories, not unlike the ones made in the famous Victorian clawfoot bathtub at the Portobello Hotel in London, which is awash with tales ranging from celebrity champagne baths to boa constrictors being let loose in it! A soak in the tub will never quite be the same again.
The Rustic Artisanal Side of You
Lovers of the Rustic Artisanal style unite over their love for the art of repurposing; that delightful occupation that has created so many ingenious objets d'art for the home, from shipping pallets reimagined as book shelves (perfect for your collection of classics, from Vanity Fair to Rebecca!) to quaint teapot roosters. And when you're not thinking up your next DIY project, you can be found scouring the local flea markets or the travelling indie crafts fair - who knows what hidden treasures hide within? Like that vintage Peruvian folk art tapestry or the oil reproduction of Alfred Wallis's Two Boats painted on a tea chest that you've found in the past.
It's no wonder then, that one of your all time favourite movies, Under The Tuscan Sun, features a house much in need of an overhaul! You watch it almost as much for the gorgeous Italian villa it features as for the charming Tuscan countryside, something you can't quite get enough of during those idyllic cottage retreats to Val d'Orcia. Amidst the sunflower kissed hills in Chianti as you explore the vineyards in a horse drawn wagon, stopping for the occasional wine tasting and Merenda, you cannot help but think for the umpteenth time that there really is no artist quite as remarkable as nature.
Your love for the country draws you each summer to Glyndebourne where you enjoy picnicking on the gorgeous, rose dappled gardens almost as much as you enjoy listening to the London Philharmonic. The summer also sees you enjoying many of the traditional English folk dances on the quick weekend getaways you adore, with Morris Dancing at the Rochester Sweeps Festival being a personal favourite! And for those late summer evenings in the countryside, nothing quite compares to a convivial evening at the local country pub to wash the day down with a pint of bitter ale and good ol' pie and mash, and accompanied by a round or two of shove ha'penny. Unlike King Henry VIII though, who lost large sums of money to dubious drinking mates over the game, you prefer to restrict your pub evenings to your inner circle, relationships that have stood the test of time.
Much like the company of your close friends and family, home is where you can truly let your hair down and be yourself. In a world overrun with slick superficiality and where so many interactions are in the realm of the virtual, your home keeps you rooted and real.