Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More on Euro-Trash

I have woken up this morning still thinking about Euro-Trash style.  So I unearthed this old article in Country Living by Julia Szabo.  Enjoy!















Anyone still believing that country style must be limited to farmhouses need only behold the home of Annie Brahler for compelling proof to the contrary. Located in Jacksonville, Ill., the stately, six-bedroom house is a landmark of that city's historic district. On the outside, it is pure architectural sophistication; on the inside, it's country through and through.

Pictured: An illinois landmark, the William Howard Thompson House was built in 1868 and renovated in 1901 in the Beaux Arts style by the Chicago architecture firm Watson & Hazelton.

The daughter of Dutch immigrants, Annie lives with her husband, Richard, three children, and three dogs in an imaginative re-creation of the interiors inhabited by her ancestors, with antique "farmhouse castoffs" she unearths at barn sales throughout Europe. These she imports through her business, Euro Trash, a thriving enterprise that employs a carpenter and two seamstresses full-time. Like a tableau by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, these rooms combine opulence with an irresistible lack of pretense: Elaborate crystal chandeliers and chairs covered in simple linen look as lovely together as a 17th-century servant girl with a pearl earring. Here, all members of the Brahler clan make themselves at home as they please: "My kids and dogs are welcome anywhere," Annie says. "This is definitely not a museum!" 

Pictured: Homeowner Annie Brahler (with golden retrievers Jack, Ralph, and Maggie) oversaw the landscaping of a garden as stately as the house itself.


Old & New
The straight lines of the bookcase offset the curves of the carved and gilded sofa. A painting hangs somewhat eccentrically above. In signature Euro Trash style, homeowner Annie's business, she had the sofa upholstered in humble linen, similar to the linen-bound volumes on the shelves, "to bring it back down to earth," she says. Silk pillows provide out-of-this-world accents.
Dressed Up & Dressed Down
Tasseled, buttoned "ball-gown slipcovers" dress up gilded dining chairs. Their opulence is underscored by the bare oak floor, outlined in walnut parquet, which gives the room the youthful look of "wearing an evening gown without shoes," Annie says. The Drexel claw-foot table was dark brown until Annie coated it with 
Sherwin-Williams "Pulmonaria" semigloss paint, deliberately avoiding a precise match with the slipcovers.  I don't like things too matchy-matchy."
WHAT MAKES IT COUNTRY? AUTHENTICITY RULES: "True country style means nothing that is contrived," says Annie. "That doesn't mean that you need to decorate with prized, pedigreed antiques, but with so many wonderful castoff treasures out there, reproductions should be avoided."
FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION: "If you have kids and pets, bare floors and washable slipcovers are a must," Annie says. "My home is meant to be enjoyed by everyone in my family."
PATINA: "And don't fret over it," says Annie. "When someone runs into a piece of furniture in my house and leaves a mark on the wood, my quip is, 'That's the look we're going for!'"
FINDING BEAUTY IN THE EVERYDAY: Annie likes to celebrate plain fibers by using them in place of luxurious ones. An over-the-top balloon shade fabricated in cotton makes a country-perfect window treatment for this bathroom window.

Pictured: Eight-year-old daughter Isabel's bedroom has a bedstead that belonged to Princess Lillian of Belgium.

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