“Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home they say is dead decorum and routine, while outside is adventure and variety. The truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on Earth where a man can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure, it is the one wild place in a world of rules and set tasks.”
When we’re young the dreams of what we’re going to achieve, what we’re going to do, where we’re going to live, they are grand and elaborate and filled with endless possibilities. Slowly we become adults faced with harsh realities and many of us realise that it doesn’t come quite as easy as expected to live in a palace and be married to a prince, to be or do whatever it was you thought you would do. “And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking. Racing around, to come up behind you again.”
Faced with this realisation will separate those who can find happiness in the little things, and those who are continually holding onto the childhood idea that the more expensive your material possessions the better your life will be. The most beautiful and greatest quality of country farmhouse to me is no matter where your home is located, whether it be a 1 bedroom flat in a city or a manor house in the country, the furniture will exude and evoke the same sentiments you want from it because it perfectly captures a vibe. It suggests a place to you from how it feels; a little rough and rugged, from how it looks; rustic and charming, and it will take you on a journey every time you walk into your kitchen. It’s available to anybody because it doesn’t have to be costly, and those real rewards are tenfold to those who appreciate meaningful experience and not how expensive something may be.
Before the days of high-speed worldwide internet and text messages fired to a satellite in space and back down to another location on the Earth, word of mouth and trends were a much slower process. In 1666 when the Great Fire of London engulfed over 13,000 homes the following years ‘Rebuilding Act’ encouraged tradesmen into the area to help, bringing new skills and talents. These new styles slowly found their way around the country into the houses of rural England where local craftsmen would catch a glimpse and find their own inspiration.
With a little less skill and tools available the simplified furniture crafted by the country furniture makers became more refined and slender and introduced the cabriole leg into the mix. Mostly made from oak or pine and painted, the styles were subtle and varied to each particular region but gradually much less wealthy homes were enjoying the likes of a bent back chair and ‘S’ scrolls. In recent time many of these pieces have in fact been stripped and polished revealing their antique pine look, a very popular and copied style in modern reproduction.
The popularity and variation of the country farmhouse style occurs throughout the world, when something is a product of genuine feeling or purpose it will always find an audience. The United States of America holds a similar story with their origins of cottage furniture, a different style to country farmhouse but only a slight variation on the sentiments evoked and stylistic choices used; flowers, painted finish, and carved natural wood.
Around the years 1830 to 1890 when the American Civil War was coming to an end, luxury items were in demand once again and cottage furniture began to appear amongst the upper class. Just like the events of the English rural country craftsmen the same would occur with cottage furniture and soon simple but equally elegant pieces were appearing amongst the less wealthy.
This ability country farmhouse has to transcend the restrictions of price tag and social class and throughout the world continue to inspire and create warmth and elegance within any home is something truly unique and special. It shows proof that a style or an idea or even happiness is never and will never be limited to those that have the most money. The origins of the style came straight from the hands of working class craftsmen inspired by what they saw around them, they created rural designs and changed the world with nothing more than a few tools. No matter your circumstance there is always potential to make change, to create and be inspired and to transform your home or any home if you so desire into the palace you once dreamed for as a child.