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Open any shelter magazine these days and you’ll see buzzwords and phrases like ‘rustic,’ ‘vintage,’ ‘full of character’ and ‘timeless’ being used to describe almost every kind of space. A mixture of classic country and everything from mid-century modern to industrial design, the look is laid-back and highly personal. The experts at The Fall Home Show (who sponsored this blog and our fall home trends gallery) predict that this style, which they've dubbed "Urban Farmhouse", will be the hottest decorating trend of fall 2010.

“The Urban Farmhouse trend is a reaction to the glass towers and modernity of the buzzing, frenetic city,” say designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, best known for their HGTV show Colin and Justin’s Home Heist and weekly column in The Toronto Star. “Nowadays, we all crave elements of our cottage weekends for our time in the city, and that’s why this mix of styles has occurred. It adds warmth, character and a sense of familiarity.” In the example above, it's easy to see how simple cabinets, striped rugs, butcher-block countertops and muted colour schemes look equally at home in the cottage, at left, and a more urban environment on the right.

(Be sure to catch Colin and Justin at the Fall Home Show on Friday, October 1 and Saturday, October 2.) 

The epitome of Urban Farmhouse is executive editor Beth Hitchcock’s country-chic condo, featured in our Condos, Lofts & Apartments issue, on stands now. Using an antique kilim rug, traditional furniture upholstered in classic ticking stripes and plenty of personal touches, a cold, white box was transformed into a chic, cozy space with a distinctly country vibe. (Watch a video tour of her space with tips on getting the look from style editor Michael Penney.)

The use of colour is another way to bring country style to your home. “Benjamin Moore has pulled all the colours of the farm—the colour of the eggs, the hay, the soil, the blue sky and the green grass,” says interior decorator Jackie Morra of Home Decor Solutions. “There’s a whole sense of handcrafting and ‘back to nature.’” Be sure to stop by Jackie's decorating seminars each day at the Fall Home Show.

If you have the budget, follow the lead of designer Stephen Caldwell and install beadboard, a country staple, throughout your home. If installing beadboard seems too work intensive, you can easily incorporate other elements such as textured wood, nature-inspired hues and printed fabrics to get a similar, tactile feel.

And if all else fails, the easiest way to experience that laid-back country feeling in the city is to get off Twitter, email or Facebook and start meeting face to face: “[Social media] is connecting us in new ways, but I think they’re also whetting our appetite for real conversation and connection rather than a soundbite connection,” says Vicky Sanderson, home product specialist and columnist for The Toronto Star. (She'll be talking about beautiful style that doesn't break the bank at the Fall Home Show.) So, invite your best friends over for some scrumptious food and stay tuned for our next Home Show blog, in which we'll share the hottest trends in Home Entertaining!

The Fall Home Show is running from September 30 to October 3, 2010, at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto. See our gallery of hot fall home trends from The Fall Home Show, plus get discounts on tickets!

Photo credits:
1. House & Home August 2010 issue, photography by Michael Graydon (left); House & Home July 2010 issue, photography by Ted Yarwood (right)
2. Condos, Lofts & Apartments issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
3. House & Home July 2010 issue, photography by Ted Yarwood
4. House & Home September 2010 issue, photography by Kim Christie
5. House & Home July 2010 issue, photography by Ted Yarwood

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