Design & Style
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Rustic Design: Expert Tips & Ideas for Your Cabin

Anne Coburn reveals her secrets about designing a reclaimed fishing ranch in Colorado
By Kristin Sutter
Published: October 1, 2012
For design maven Annie Coburn, each project starts with asking what the space is going to be used for, who’s going to be using it, and how they’re going to feel most comfortable there. When the project specifically involves decorating in rustic style (as it did in this reclaimed fishing ranch), Annie’s offers these expert insights.

To see more photos and learn more about the transformation of this Colorado retreat that was featured in the October 2012 issue, click here.
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Photo by Tim Murphy,
Living Room
After she nails down a space's purpose, Annie’s next step is picking out the perfect rug. She loves sumptuous, boldly patterned rugs that give a rough space an immediate sense of warmth and comfort. Vivid colors in the rugs inspire the palette in the rest of the room. She says it’s important to think beyond using brown to achieve a rustic look. “I really like rooms with lots of reds and blues and greens,” she says, because they help balance spaces where wood is a predominant design element.
    Annie chose the couch to fit her vision of the guesthouse as a “gentleman rancher’s retreat.” The piece’s warm leather captures a sense of masculinity and the Old West, but its lines are soft – an important consideration, since the guesthouse is used by both men and women. “I wanted women to feel like this was an elegant place, not just an uncomfortable fisherman’s hangout,” she says.
    The trestle-style dining table offers a more vintage look than a four-legged table would, says Annie. She intentionally chose a set of dining chairs that weren’t made for the table. “They don’t really match, which I think is the best, because it helps that sort of collected look,” she says. The “collected look” is one of Annie’s key techniques for achieving rustic style. When pieces look as though they’ve been gathered over the years, it lends a sense of historic authenticity. Because of this, she avoids using furniture sets or other items that are intended to match.
    Several reclaimed pieces in the great room evoke that sense of history: the rusted metal partition wall between the dining and kitchen areas, the solid coffee table made of vintage wood, and the standing lamp made of a retrofitted surveyor’s tripod.
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