And we don’t mean a gauchely cluttered ‘rustic’ midwestern hunting lodge with no discernable color palette and faux antler-everything. We’re talking luxurious and extravagant in the style of old world European hunting and ski lodges, where dazzling finishes in brass and oxblood or black leather complement stately vintage decor.
So, what exactly does it take to trade in in ultra-modern or midcentury chic for this timelessly luxe look?
Colors and Themes
Don’t confuse ‘hunting lodge’ with dark and dull, which doesn’t have to be the case! What’s important is to look for earthy colors. Walls, which are often artfully covered with stately pieces, can afford to give a pop of color, usually in richly pale yellows or terra cotta, which recall the architecture and walls of old world homes, which heavily relied on Venetian plaster. These often offer contrast to dark wood and metal finishes, in the walnut, cherry, and wrought-iron or red oak, mahogany, and brass range. Ideally your wall color should catch elements of your wood tones.
Again, you want to highlight old-world style! Look for classic furniture shapes: wingback or barelback chairs, camelback or tufted sofas, and richly upholstered ottomans. Consider either heavy Tudor, Tuscan, or unpainted French countryside furniture. Get your seating in leather where possible, or in plush but subtle scrollwork or jacquard patterns which beautifully contribute to your palette. Either leave hardwood floors bare or use one big statement rug; cowhide, painted or natural, can make a stunning impression, as can other ground-covering furs, but if you’re lower on budget or inspiration go for a fine traditional persian look-alike.
Exposed brass or iron pins and legs can make a nice impression of stateliness, but avoid going over the top: the trick is to showcase a timeless and handsome style, not to rub off as a moneyed eccentric. Stick to one statement piece of furniture, and make certain that every bit of seating is ridiculously comfortable. The idea is to be able to imagine walking in and feel like you’ve just come in from fox hunting and should pour yourself a nice finger (or two) of scotch.
Lighting and Windows
If you’re a big fan of the floor-to-ceiling wood paneling and heavy draperies over all the windows to muffle out any light so that you can hide your whiskey-and-cigar proclivities from the world, by all means go for it. But if you’re like most of us, you enjoy a well-lit room. Floor-length draperies are important to add a sense of scale, and should add to the sense of luxury by adding a little lustre. Avoid having an overabundance of patterns and opt to have them in a solid color which is brought out by some of the other furniture or accents. And for the ultimate old-world feel, you can add a window film which makes your windows seem leaded and antiqued.
The walls of any winter hunting lodge should act as the primary vehicle for displaying decor. You can mount cheaper reproduction historical rifles as a big statement, or go whole-hog and mount a taxidermy series. Taxidermied fowl can add a lot of rich, beautiful color, and are often significantly cheaper than deer and antelope; but if you’re wanting to avoid the dead-animal scene, consider mounting just antlers. For the most humane and animal-friendly option so that you don’t scare off your animal-loving girlfriend, cast resin replicas of domestic and exotic antlers, which can be found at various online outlets sometimes for as cheap as $20. Black-painted crossed arrows can easily be hung on nails, and large mirrors can help fill the room with light. And of course, for art, turn to prints of foxhunting scenes. Believe it or not, you can often even find some respectable framed art of old world hunts in thrift shops.
Decor and Accessories
Keep them minimal for the best effect. Cut glass or crystal decanters, a cigar box, and a few brass or bronze castings of stags or gun dogs make a damn fine impression. If you’ve got shelves or more space, some antique-looking globes and leather bound books can absolutely complete the collection. The only thing you need after that? A damn fine smoking jacket.