Vail Design at Altitude column: Animal accents create inspired living
Design at Altitude
When a mama moose and her baby wander by or a herd of elk makes its presence known in the valley, it’s easy to remember we’re in rural Colorado, far from city life. Then we get to visit Vail and we are part of a quaint European village in the heart of one of the most stylish towns in the country.
We live in a winter wonderland with nature and wildlife all around; it’s a welcome part of our daily lives. We celebrate animals and nature by using accents in home design and decor. It can be done outlandishly or subtly, but it should reflect your personal style.
ANIMAL HIDES AND PRINTS
I like adding a little animal print to a room … sparingly. It adds a bit of the unexpected and a touch of glam to a room. There are a plethora of hides, in all shapes, colors and textures, to choose from, and there are just as many ways to work them into a room. One of our absolute favorite hides that we recently put in a client’s home is a beautiful chevron-print hide rug in a deep, luxurious port red. Try a neutral abstract animal-inspired print, which allows for future updates when designing. Not just for the floor, hides can be unique and intricate wall coverings, too.
Beyond the hide, we love working with unique and unexpected stag heads, which are an easy way to update your home with a modern sensibility and a historical perspective. Try playful interpretations of the huge antlers often found in mountain cabins. We’ve used stag heads made from fabric, hand-carved from wood or even crafted from papier-mache. These types of artisan techniques exemplify the coming together of the arts-and-crafts movement in such a jovial way, and the 3D aspect definitely sparks conversation.
They don’t only belong in the living room — a neutral-colored felted stag head is simply adorable over baby’s crib. They can be paired with animal silhouettes and create a room design that will last well past the toddler years … a bit of sophistication!
There are plenty of ways to gain a more natural look, too. Every year, people set out to find naturally shed horns and antlers in the valleys. Display them on a bookshelf or a coffee table. We’ve gone from large chandeliers to smaller antler pendant lights that set the room apart and gives it a little bit of edginess, a nod to the rustic and the contemporary.
We love finding modern interpretations of the tried and true, which is what we found with antlers dipped in brightly colored paint and adorned with metal tips. They become the perfect sculptural pieces that have a visual impact and feel very one of a kind.
Another option is to group various-sized metal animal pieces together on a sofa table or on the fireplace mantle with a bold, ornately framed print as the backdrop. Ease your way in and see what suits you and your style. You can slowly add or subtract to create the look you love.
Yvonne Jacobs is the president of Slifer Designs. She loves using unexpected design elements to tie a room together.
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