Photo Gallery: Grace Castaneda’s Tips For Country Spaces
How to create quiet, soulful spaces.
Grace sticks to whites, muddy greys, taupes and black as the backdrop to every room. “Warm whites and earthy neutrals are passive colours and have a soothing effect. And in the country where you are surrounded by fields and forests, you don’t want your palette to compete with the outdoors.”
“I don’t like making dramatic changes in colour or style from room to room, so your eye and your senses aren’t challenged as you move through the house,” says Grace. “Consistency creates a sense of balance and unity. It can also make a smaller home feel larger.” Grace chose a combination of whites, taupes, black, reclaimed wood, and aged brass accents for every room in her farmhouse.
“I look for quality pieces that really show their wear. And I tend not to paint, retouch or refinish antiques. I’ve been known to drag furniture inside from the fields and leave it dirty and unpolished because I love how time and the elements have added character. Nothing – not even reproduction ‘old’ – can bring soul and character into a space like an authentic well worn antique.” A beaten up antique silver smith’s dresser houses a primitive bread bowl in Grace’s mudroom. An antique bench is in the background.
“You can’t achieve a soothing environment if there is clutter,” says Grace. “I resist the temptation to fill every empty spot with something. Sometimes people are uncomfortable with this approach because it can look like the room is unfinished. The key is to get the balance right. Darryl Carter is a master at putting just enough pieces in a room. The effect is a quiet, more modern take on traditional.”
“The country is definitely not a place for fussy, formal materials like silks and satins,” says Grace. “I use lots of linen. I also like mixing in really heavy, open weave knit blankets, burlap tablecloths, woven baskets and natural fibre rugs. Together with antiques, it creates a tactile experience and makes you feel like it’s okay to kick back.”
“I remember reading about Darryl Carter’s farmhouse five years ago, and how he asked his contractor to be less than perfect when constructing doors, walls and cabinets,” recalls Grace. “The country is a place where embracing imperfection helps us to realize that it’s all okay.”
“Something as simple as using only black lampshades, black picture frames or black curtains throughout the house grounds the rooms and allows the eye to find a place to rest,” says Grace. This space by Darryl Carter would look ethereal without those grounding elements.
“The country is about simplicity. Choosing one really standout piece with a beautiful shape – whether it’s a chair, a vase or a light fixture – is often enough to create a strong and sometimes unexpected focal point,” says designer Grace Castaneda.
“Country retreats are wonderful places to entertain friends and family,” says designer Grace Castaneda. “When you’re planning your home, think about how to get the most out of the space, especially when it comes to sleeping capacity. Eliminate closets to gain more space, and opt for hooks, shelves or dressers. Building in beds and shelves can also achieve incredible efficiencies when space is limited.”