A traditional mountain lodge was the ultimate in self-sufficiency and comfort, developed by the need to spend long winter nights working by firelight and no access to “store-bought” goods.
Today, that lodge might be a log home, a tiny vacation house nestled in the woods, or even a family room or boy’s bedroom, but the basic components are the same.
Start with the premise that “wood is good” and go from there, preferably using wood native to your area.
Furnishings should be sturdy, usable, and easy-care, but as whimsical as you please. Elaborately carved gizmos, elk-antler lamps, and found objects converted to other uses are right at home.
• Walls and ceilings. Panel the walls, and even the ceilings, with wooden planks. If you prefer to paint instead, choose rich shades of garnet red or dark-pine green with ample wood-tone moldings. Top the wainscoting with half-rounds of tree limb, complete with bark, or perch hunting decoys on ceiling beams.
• Floors. Choose wood or stone flooring, and add the thickest Native American-motif area rugs you can find. Or, go for another traditional look with woven or crocheted rag rugs, or hooked rugs in primitive patterns.
• Surfaces. Choose satin-finish varnish over glossy, and honed or natural stone over polished. Mix dark and light woods for more depth. Don’t hesitate to paint kitchen cabinets or closet doors in saturated colors; or, paint only the inside of cabinets to create surprise and depth. A fireplace in native fieldstone adds an authentic note.
• Furniture. A mountain lodge calls for sturdy, oversize furniture with comfort paramount-no spindly chairs or frou-frou trimmings allowed. Choose upholstered pieces in neutral shades with colorful pillows. Multipurpose pieces like ottomans that open for storage, or deep baskets that hold firewood or rolled-up blankets, make the most of limited space. Include at least one leather or woven-willow piece, and heap on the pillows and quilts. Hide the television, if you must, in a cabinet that closes.
• Fabrics. Select an assortment of homespun fabrics in solids, checks, and plaids. Add prints in retro scenics or natural motifs. Line the curtains and plump the pillows-in short, everything should look as if you’ll be snowed in for the winter. Small touches of bright red add visual warmth.
• Accessories. Wildlife and natural motifs are the choices, along with anything handmade or quirky. Antler chandeliers, Native American blankets, family portraits in antique frames, displays of fishing lures, brass candlesticks, and various pinecone creations add flavor to the mix.
• Details. Create a one-of-a-kind curtain rod from a straight birch twig or other slender branch that rests on angled brackets. Hang brightly colored curtains from loops slipped over the “rod.”