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My husband and I escaped to a ranch in Moab, Ut., over the holiday weekend, and while we paid for the whole “ranch” experience, I don’t think we were prepared for how much this theme would take over every aspect of decor in the room, from the knotty pine of the walls to the horse-themed paintings. I was enjoying it, and giving it the benefit of the doubt, until I saw the toilet paper holder.


And I thought, they really mean it.

But that’s what we paid for, right? We didn’t want to come back from riding horses in the desert and be afraid we were going to stain the white marble floors with our boots.

It made me think, though, about how to bring that ranch feeling to a more urban environment without it feeling like a room based on a theme. Because ranch can get out of hand very easily, and next thing you know you’ve got two horse heads handing you toilet paper.

My mother does a very good job of handling this style, something I like to call contemporary country, by focusing on textures and fabrics rather than on horses or plows. She’s got fantastic collections of antique quilts and custom wood furniture my stepfather has built in his shop. And almost all of her furniture is covered in something incredibly durable, something that can withstand the constant beating of more than a dozen grandchildren.

She also likes to drop subtle hints of Americana into the room, and sometimes not so subtle. Like the one room in her cabin that looks like the founding fathers walked in and exploded all over the walls.

I thought I’d take some of my mother’s direction and put together a mood board of furniture and accessories that would bring some contemporary to country, with not a horse head in sight.


Hopefully this can spark some inspiration, whether your thinking of going a little bit country, or even just blending two very different styles. And if you’re looking for even more inspiration, check out the country-style rooms at Designers’ Portfolio.

Editor’s Note: Welcome back, Heather, we missed you while you were recapping HGTV Design Star. Glad you’re back and posting with us again every Thursday!


Design Inspiration

11 Responses

  1. Pixie Wiseman says:

    I love this motif…..the only thing better might have been 2 lizards holding the paper for ya.

  2. Laura R says:

    I love a mood board- don't get me wrong, but if you're going to continue doing them, maybe give us more of YOUR personality! Ignore the Dooce haters and give your fans a little more substance! What about….a mood board designed by Leta (not literally, but one you imagine she would do) or one showcasing items you and Jon would have purchased if you lived a rock and roll life in LA? While I do not doubt your style, I do wonder what else you will be bringing to the table at HGTV. Give us all you got! :)

  3. No Likey says:

    Wow, there isn't one thing on that mood board that I find even remotely appealing. The sofa has nothing whatsoever to do with country, or ranch or rustic style. It's just a plain, beige couch. That's all. Add to that all the unrelated other items that would be a sensory overload if they all ended up in the same room, and this is pretty much my nightmare.

  4. LGB says:

    Ugh More Beige (who I suspect is also True horse person and No Likey)– I think HGTV is paying her to make the veins on confrontation-seeking, misanthropic people's foreheads pop out. I can see YOUR's from my house!

    On a sane note. Love the horse TP holder. Last night there was a repeat episode of Extreme Home Makeover on, and the house they built had a ranch-themed master bedroom. I loved it– but I'm high up on the east coast, so I think it would be hard to incorporate those kinds of elements into my house.

    • Ugh More Beige says:

      LGB, I think you missed Heather's point. She hates the horse TP holder and is making fun of it. The other things she posted are what she considers more tasteful, while still capturing the same theme (on that point, I disagree).

      Also, I take responsibility for my own opinion of this long-awaited entry, and no one elses. I'm not sure why you find it impossible that someone other than myself could dislike what Heather has been bringing to the table here. HGTV has touted her so heavily that I would think something original would be expected from her. I wasn't seeking confrontation, I was voicing my opinion. I think that's why this forum is here. You said you liked the TP holder, so should I assume you stated that to be confrontational? To spark a fiery debate?

      I hope Heather's next installment involves something that has to do with her design talent. Choosing a bunch of things to go into a room isn't as inspiring as showing us a room with those things in it, arranged in an inspiring way. If all it took to design a room was to look at online catalogs and choose things we like, then we would all be designers.

  5. Allie says:

    I love everything in this mood board!

    I like the rug with the couch and table, and I really dig the skull and Washington portrait too. I picked up three small aloe vera plants and some slate looking pots from IKEA recently – I think they'd look cool here.

    I've been to Moab and I can totally see how you were inspired by it.

  6. Andrea says:

    I like it – creative and achieves the objective.

  7. Guest lady says:

    Is Heather no longer blogging for HGTV? What happened?

  8. guest says:

    Whatever happened to Heather?

  9. guineovalas says:


  10. Ooh, Pick me. I want to use it on my Super Defacto eModulator (otherwise know as my phone).

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