A rural country home, where you’re surrounded by towering trees instead of buildings, is truly the perfect antidote for the hectic city life. For the modern day individual, a space of refuge provides the solace needed to maintain balance and even a level of sanity. Even on a quiet street, a country style home can calm the soul.
Being inspired by European styles, North America took their cue on architecture from them as well. It is believed that architectural designs should be both functional and beautiful. The space should be an expression of beauty, but the design should never neglect the usefulness of the design. Country residences should fit into the surrounding landscape and blend with its natural habitat. Since its rise on the design scene, Country styles have been reflecting this ideal.
The origins of Country design traces back to the picturesque cottages described by Andrew Jackson Downing in his books “Cottage Residences”, of 1842, and “The Architecture of Country Houses”, of 1850. Country style house plans overlap with Cottage and Farmhouse style house plans, though Country style homes tend to be larger than cottages and make more expressive use of wood for porch posts, siding, and trim. Today’s Country style house designs emphasize a woodsy simplicity that includes evenly spaced windows, a porch or wrap-around veranda, a gabled roof, with perhaps a few brick or stone accents. With modern materials, this style is easily accessible to anyone through manufactured stones, wood siding and laminated timber.
CHARACTERISTICS OF COUNTRY STYLE
Country style has existed for centuries in one form or another. Styles such as French Country, English Country, and Tuscan all arose as a result of rural life in the respective territories. French country style is characterized by deep and bright colours, and they are usually floral and animal patterned. The furniture is robust and basic. The English country is relaxed and comfortable. Natural light wood, such as oak, is used throughout the English country styles. An open space is not considered important in this style as large furniture pieces often dominate the space. Lastly, the Tuscan style is warm and rustic and incorporates warm colours. The flooring and fireplaces are made of timber and natural stone, and pieces tend to be unfinished to accentuate the rustic feel. Even in its variety, Country style is easily recognizable and features similar elements.
The kitchen: Country style refers to an aesthetic that represents rural farmhouse-like design. The colour palette of a country style kitchen will incorporate pastels and bright colours with the addition of design elements like stencilling or vintage signage. Depending on your taste, there are a variety of details that can be incorporated into the kitchen to add a country feel. The inclusion of a hearth, wood-burning potbelly stove and an apron front sink are all elements that express this aesthetic. More conventional approaches may include grained wood cabinetry, floral patterns and tile.
The exterior: The exterior decor of a Country style home is just as important as the interior. Defining elements of a farmhouse stands out the moment you get close to the house. A wraparound porch is the best way to achieve the classic and timeless farmhouse look. This is one element that really sets the tone for the remainder of the house. If you are short on space, then a simple front yard, porch, balcony or patio will get the job done as well. Country style is less about size and more about getting the decor right.
The interior: In the decorating world, “Country” is a broad term. The various country styles share a casual vibe in common that is relatively easy to replicate. An emphasis on natural materials that are frequently in an unfinished or weathered state, natural colours, and most of all welcoming, give that cozy and warm feel. Country often includes rustic or primitive furnishings. The earth tones and muted shades mixed with quite a bit of oak streamlines the ‘look’ for a Country home.
Living/dining: One of the keys to creating the perfect country living/dining space is finding the right furniture. Casual and comfortable couches, rough-hewn barn-wood coffee tables, and natural decor elements tie the look together. Since purchasing new country furniture may not always be possible, making use of organically coloured cotton or linen slipcovers, a few French country-inspired pillows can create a cozy country farmhouse feel. Adding a few rustic antiques pieces completes the look.
To recap, the main characteristics of the Country interior design style are cozy and comfortable, traditional, natural and floral patterns, robust bulky furniture and unfinished materials. Although these characteristics are often thought of as dated, the trick is to preserve the elements that made the style popular; a sense of welcome, a relaxed air, and a collected approach while combining them with today’s cleaner, less overdone aesthetic.
COUNTRY STYLE IN CANADA
In rural areas and among the urban poor, simpler styles were more fancied. For the first settlers in Ontario the log cabin was the standard first house. Logs were a byproduct of the need the clear the land, and log cabins were cheap and easy to build. After a few years of farming it was typical to build a more elegant farmhouse. The most common design was the Ontario Style House. In recent times, the informality and charm of a country home is still a favourite for rural and suburban families alike. The main draw of these designs is the flexibility to be exactly as elaborate or rustic as you choose.
BUILDING OR RENOVATING YOUR COUNTRY HOME
Many people dream about owning a country cottage. However, be cognizant of how you choose the elements for your home. The biggest maintenance is most times the wood features of the space. The “natural” look comes with demands and maintenance. For low maintenance consider composites made from recycled wood.
If you want to renovate your existing home into a more country feel, it can be done with the right combination of stone veneers and half timber. With the popularity of manufactured stones, the country style is easily adaptable to your unique needs. To replicate the authentic look and feel of Country stone, you might consider the warmth of ThinCut™ Ashler or Machine Cut natural stone veneers.