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Photo by Meagan Larsen

How To Nail the New Western Look In Your Home

Designer Ashley Campbell’s tricks for making classic Western motifs feel at home in modern spaces.

Go on, admit it: You’ve still got a thing for antlers and plaid. And for good reason. Few decorative motifs evoke warmth and nostalgia quite like Western ones do. But do they have a place in a new Denver home? Designer Ashley Campbell says yes—and proves it in this caretaker’s cottage turned guest retreat on a Greenwood Village horse property. Here, she makes her case.

Classic patterns are always in style.
There aren’t many patterns at play here, but those Campbell chose make a big impact—
and tip their hat to the West. In the living room, an upholstered deer mount by artist Chase Halland sports a classic Pendleton pattern; its gray tones complement the sofa’s striped kilim fabric. There’s black-and-white buffalo-plaid drapery in the main bedroom and a complementary plaid wall tile in the bath. And atop the crisp-white kitchen and bathroom floors are vintage Native American rugs. “I’ve always been a sucker for Southwestern rugs, and I thought they were such a perfect way to tie in that red floor,” Campbell says.

Unexpected accessories lighten the look.
“I love dimensional wall art,” says Campbell, who thought outside the box when selecting pieces to adorn this cottage’s pale walls, including a collection of vintage cowboy hats that often double as party attire. “The homeowners report that when they have get-togethers, they and their guests all put on a hat,” Campbell says. “I love the idea of art you can use.”

Cozy colors can feel fresh & smart.
Campbell updated almost every inch of this 1,000-square-foot cottage—except for its original wide-plank wood floors, which had been painted a warm red. “We really used that to our advantage,” says the designer, who built a palette around the bold hue: a mossy—but not too “country”—green for the new bathroom vanity, a moody shade of charcoal rather than ho-hum brown for the living room’s built-in bookcase, and a high-contrast array of whites, ivories, tans, grays, and blacks for just about everything else. “We wanted to create a nod to the West and the ranching vibe,” Campbell says, “but with a modern twist.”

Clean-lined furnishings make it modern.
From the dining room’s Scandi-sleek seats to the living room’s update on the traditional camp chair, “we picked furniture pieces that had a lot more structure to them than you’d typically see in a Western aesthetic, then paired them with more casual or rustic fabrics,” Campbell says. There are rocking chairs, but with clean metal frames and taut, whipstitched-leather backs and seats. There’s an inviting sofa, but with tailored cushions. “Because this is a guest house, I didn’t want the homeowners to feel like they constantly had to be fluffing or flipping the cushions,” Campbell says. “It’s an example of form meeting function.”

Texture is timeless.
“I’m a big fan of really layering on the texture as opposed to everything being colorful,” says Campbell, who married leather cabinet hardware, raw and burnished metal furniture frames, hair-on-hide upholstery, patterned rugs, and, on the beds, cable-knits mixed with Pendleton blankets and faux-fur throws. The natural wood tones used so liberally in classic cabins are employed sparingly here to ensure their impact. The wooden dining table was handmade by the homeowner and his father, and the kitchen’s floating shelves are crafted from a walnut tree that once grew on his father’s property, “so they have very special meaning,” Campbell says.

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