Friday, April 30, 2010

Can Leather be Country?

While I have always loved comfortable, slightly shabby decor, I am more in love with it because I have a toddler. He crashes and bashes into everything, often with a baseball bat or tinker toys. Sometimes he just everything on a surface onto the floor. Charming. But hey, what's a little more weathering?

We lived in San Francisco when we got our leather couch. We had a beautiful library room that we painted dark red and showed our collection of antique bamboo furniture. I appreciate leather all the more now because our son loves to take a purple marker to things, or dump his sippy cup full of juice. Leather is eminently durable, wipeable - you get the picture.

But our house here is so light... it has very few walls on the first floor and every room works together to be light and bright. The leather couch, at home in our "library" (aka TV room) looks dark. The antique oriental rug looks dreary. So I got to thinking... can leather be part of a country farmhouse?

I have scoured magazines and websites and have come up with a collection of images that say "yes you can!" By combining leather with light counterpoints, the leather adds warmth much like a hardwood floor.

It seems the most popular route is with leather armchairs... a pair nestled close to a light-colored couch and resting on a light colored rug. And some vibrant, country-style throw pillows.

But I have a couch... and so does this homeowner. I like the combination of the leather couch with the industrial coffee table. The white rug and light throw pillows, combined with the fresh green of her topiaries lifts the look up from dark to cozy.

And if the doyenne of Shabby Chic, Rachel Ashwell, can figure it out... well there it is. I am not a huge fan of this couch - it seems overwrought - but I love her idea of upholstering the seat cushions in a different fabric.

So what do you think? Can I use leather and still get the look?