Being native to Arizona we find our inspiration in the resilient desert. Towering Saguaros, magical sunsets, and remnants of the old west create so much western beauty. We love bringing elements from our past present, and desert home into our designs to create a Western Ethos for Modern Living. Here we want to share with you some ways to achieve that western vibe in your own home.
1. Patina Metals
Patina is a natural process in materials that changes the color due to oxidation or other chemical processes with the natural surroundings. This is commonly found in unfinished or untreated metals. Patina is beautiful. Watching nature take its toll on metals is a gorgeous process to witness and it can add so much character to have a living finish on metals in your home. Metals such as copper, steel, and brass can all have a patina effect if left untreated. We highly recommend patina metals in a western home because it is so indicative of the natural surroundings and process. You can use these finishes in decorative items, furniture, art, lighting, or plumbing fixtures. With all things, the aging process is beautiful and should be highlighted and celebrated
2. Desert Inspired Tones
When we think of a desert color pallet we all can imagine tans, rusts, browns, and creams. Don't get us wrong, we love a neutral toned home but there are so many more colors to the desert than 50 shades of brown. Think of the spring desert in bloom. Bright yellows contrasted with deep greens against a clear blue sky with big fluffy clouds. Or a monsoon evening storm with deep blues and grays, purple lightning strikes and a blood orange sun. You see where we are going. Add in deep, muted tones to your tans and creams to truly bring your favorite part of the desert outdoors in.
3. Heritage Driven Decor
We are going to say it...desert motifs can often be cheesy, dated, or tacky. We urge everyone to put the faux succulent down and walk away from the (most) of the cactus prints at the big box stores. Being too literal with your theme can make your space feel like a gift shop instead of a curated home. Instead, shop for items at thrift shops, Etsy, or vintage boutique stores. Working in items from the actual past of the desert will add that charm without the cheese. Our favorite finds are midcentury southwest items. Having a 70's southwest style lamp in your home will automatically read western and because it is a real lamp from that time period it will be timeless while blending with modern living.
A note from Maegan- One of my favorite decor items in my home is this patina bronze statue of a prickly pear cactus I found in a thrift store. When I saw it, I fell in love and it is one of the best purchases I have ever made.
4. Native Materials
Using products and materials from the immediate surroundings is our favorite way to start our designs. It ensures your home design will compliment your landscape and lifestyle. Materials such as travertine, leathers, stones, copper, metals, plaster, terracotta and more all lend themselves to a western aesthetic because they can all be found in the Southwest. Woods like Mesquite or Pine are native to the western United States and by using this species alone in furniture or cabinetry you are bringing in the spirit of nature. Terracotta is one of the more popular materials known for western living and the rich rust tone of the stone is unmistakeable. Terracotta was first used by ancient Chinese, Greek, and Egyptian cultures to create pottery and later made its way into building construction. Using clay like material was also used by Native Americans and early settlers to combat the intense heat and cold of the desert. Today we see terracotta and clay materials used in both decor and home building and it's unique look immediately adds a western charm. With so many options of materials today, we can use real or faux materials to achieve the look with less maintenance.
5. Patterned Tile
Patterned tile is used all over Spain, Mexico, Morocco and the Mediterranean. Each region has distinct patterns and colors to differentiate them and we love them all! Patterned tile has been recently deemed as a "trend" but we see patterned tiles around the world for centuries and they are not going anywhere. With so many ways to do a patterned tile, we think it is the easiest way to add some western style to a space. Even though this trend started in Europe and the Middle East, the influence made it's way into Mexico and then of course into the American Southwest. All over western states you will see vibrant and muted renditions of patterned tile and we have to refrain ourselves from using it everywhere.
Pro tip: Avoid using concrete tiles on high traffic floors. We really avoid using concrete material tile on any floor but especially high traffic areas because of the sealing and wear. Our favorite spot to put a concrete tile is on walls. There are many alternative materials such as porcelain which is much more durable for flooring and will not fade or get overly dirty.