Wood provides a wonderful ambience

April 30, 2005|by ROSE BENNETT GILBERT/Copley News Service

Q: We are renovating a wonderful old cabin in the woods. We think it was built about 75 years ago by a group of hunters, but it stood empty for so long the roof is gone and several ceilings had to be replaced. The log walls survived - which is why we HAD to buy the cabin in the first place. Now we're at the point when we could put in new floors and a kitchen, and would appreciate advice on both. With all this wood, should we put down tile or stone floors instead of more wood? And what about the kitchen? More wood on the cabinets?

A: Sometimes, it's just not possible to have too much of a good thing. Warm, natural, wood has been part of the human experience since time began. True, other natural flooring materials, such as slate, brick or stone would dovetail nicely with the woodsy ambience. But can you imagine the pioneers giving up their comfortable wood floors for fear of over-using the material?


Neither would designer Larry Frasier, who created the kitchen in the rustic retreat we show here. It's all-wood, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling, the perfect backdrop for a getaway on a north woods lake. In the kitchen, which is defined by a quartet of large - and immovable - log supports, Frasier orchestrated a medley of different finishes, mixing natural pine with maple cabinets painted a deep-woods green. The cabinets are from Wood-Mode -

In the midst of all those wood tones, the painted cabinets are an inspired stroke that gives the space its own personality. This way, you can have your woods, as befits a rustic log cabin, and enjoy a stand-out kitchen, too.

News from High Point

The huge International Home Furnishings Market recently wrapped up in High Point, N.C. Here's what caught our eye:

Designers designing. After a spate of furniture lines "designed" by celebrities far afield from home furnishings (Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart, Bob Mackie and John Elway, the football star, spring to mind), we saw sensible, attractive collections by honest-to-goodness interior designers. Interior Design Hall of Famer Barbara Barry gave the classics an elegant modern twist at Henredon ( Alexa Hampton, vivacious and talented daughter of the late, very great designer Mark Hampton, reinterpreted architectural details like the Greek key in a playful collection for Hickory Chair (, that included Moorish-style stretchers and six-legged tables (all named for the designer's friends). London designer Kelly Hoppen laid out some way cool ideas in her Zen-friendly furniture for Century ( And Michael Payne of HGTV's "Designing for the Sexes" fame, made hip design both functional and affordable for Powell furniture (

Contemporary coming on strong. Sleek but sensuous, in beautiful, sometimes exotic woods, accented with metals and leathers, more modern styling popped up than we've seen in this market for many moons. One standout was Stanley Collections' new "Midnight Sun" collection in architectural white oak, with pieces like the tiered "Waterfall" cocktail table and stepped TV chest, sized to suit the new video technology.

History to live with. By George, we were pleased to see the handsome new furniture that's not only inspired by Washington's Mount Vernon, Va., estate, its sales will also help restore and maintain the house and educational programs. An irony? It's made in a country that fought on the other side, Durham of Ontario, Canada ( Appropriately for the first president, who seems to have slept all over the East Coast, this first collection is all about the bedroom.

Preserving America. The National Trust has also jumped on the reproductions bandwagon, too, debuting the "Design in America" collection that draws inspiration from some of the historic sites and places the National Trust has helped preserve. First three offerings celebrate Prairie Style, with its Mission overtones, the Art Deco of Miami's South Beach, and American Traditional, as expressed in classic motifs at "Shadows-On-the-Teche," the Trust's antebellum plantation in New Iberia, La. The collection is being manufactured by Hammary Furniture (

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Hampton Style" and associate editor of Country Decorating Ideas. Please send your questions to her at Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 92112-0190, or online at

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