There’s a place for those relics |

There’s a place for those relics

Shauna Farnell
Photo special to the Daily

Something just seems off when you walk into a Rocky Mountain home or condo and it’s adorned like a Manhattan suite.But Vail Valley real estate tycoons buying second homes aren’t the only ones who might take an interest in a new book by town of Vail Public Information Officer Suzanne Silverthorn and her mother, Dian Zillner.You don’t have to have a cabin or a log home to put “Cabin Style” to use. The book is a resource guide for rustic and Western decorating. It also shows readers how old collectibles and vintage outdoors and sports items can highlight any home, in any setting.

“The book starts out and talks about the old camps in The Adirondacks and how they are established in the 1880s,” Silverthorn said. “That movement was an appreciation of the outdoor lifestyle interest. Now that we have a second-home explosion in Colorado and in the resorts, they’re not unlike those camps in New York State 100 years ago. The book is about trying to integrate a decor in the home that mirrors what you see out your window.”The book covers everything from pottery to vintage-style fishing bobbers. Collectible pennants representing national parks, old tennis racket decor, every possible home accessory featuring a picture of an elk and ideas for outdoor/garden accessories such as using old logs for flower beds can all be found in the book.One whole chapter is dedicated to pinecone design. The book displays ornately painted pinecone designs on glass carafe sets or on rustic wooden canisters, and how much each item is likely to cost.

“It’s for someone who’s looking to build that retirement home and dreaming of that next phase in your life,” Silverthorn said. “It’s for starting that collection when the building process begins – imagining what that living room might look like, what you might envision being on that porch. There are examples in the book for a wall display, or something to go in a corner or shelf. It provides an idea for parts of the house, large or small, and ideas of how you might organize family relics. One of the things my mother did was create a collage of fishing licenses that her father had collected through the years.”Better paths for the pack ratBoth Silverthorn and Zillner emphasized their book’s usefulness as a guide on how to display personal and family relics – those items which most people cherish but which typically collect cobwebs while boxed up in a garage or a storage space.

Silverthorn struck up an interest in rustic decorating about 40 years ago, and her home in Gypsum as well as her second home in Grand Lake features everything which she and her mother spent two years researching, photographing and displaying in “Cabin Style.””She has a hallway that’s two stories high when you walk in, like a lot of people do up here – it’s a perfect place to put skis or fishing poles or a bear hide,” said Zillner, who is a former librarian and who did all of the research for the book. “It’s suprising there are so many different cabin areas in the country – back in Maine, in New York … my son had a place down in Arkansas, and some of his stuff is in (the book). I’ve got a friend in Kansas City and his home is in the Western chapter. He grew up around horses, and he enjoyed the memorabilia, so he has a lot of his dad’s things on display. More and more people are having a second home or a cabin somewhere. They want it to be a little less formal, or something where they can do fun things with decorating.”The market for such ideas is verified by the existence of several contemporary magazines on log homes and mountain-style, Old West decorating. But Zillner and Silverthorn prefer authenticity over contemporary flare.

“Every time those magazines come out, we’d look through them,” Zillner said. “But everything was new. We like old stuff. We couldn’t find any coffee table books with things like old fishing lures and real stuff for decoration and this is what you pay for them.”In addition to their personal collections and those of their friends and families, Zillner and Silverthorn also showcase examples from Avalanche Ranch in Redstone and Little Bear’s Antique Mall in Glenwood Springs. Silverthorn also pointed out that Ebay is a great resource for rustics collectors. “This book, more so than anything we’ve seen, begins to document the patterns and the companies which produce these collections,” Silverthorn said. “What I enjoy as a collector is to go to an antique shop or a garage sale and find that pottery piece or that particular item that you’re looking for. It can be kind of a magical experience. A lot of it’s by luck. And it’s a lot of fun.”

“Cabin Style” is a guide for individuals wanting to put collectibles and family relics to practical use as well as resource for those interested in rustic and Western-style home decorating. The book is $29.95 at Verbatim Booksellers in Vail and is also available at or at, Colorado

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