Go beyond cowboy chic with a diverse heritage of home decor.
“The desert tells a different story every time one ventures on it,” wrote inventor and adventurer Robert Edison Fulton Jr.
The same is true of Southwestern style, with its eclectic lineage of artistic, architectural and archaeological influences. A Southwestern-inspired home could tell the story of a Territorial hacienda, a Pueblo adobe dwelling, a sprawling ranch house, a midcentury bungalow, or a mix of all of those.
“There’s the distinctive blend of traditional Native American and Spanish styles underscored by warm, inviting textures, patterns and colors,” says Andrew Bradford, COO of Premier Copper Products in Phoenix. “Southwest decor doesn’t limit you to cactus-green tones or kitschy cowboy chic! It has evolved into a blend of old with new, warmth with pops of vibrancy, traditional with contemporary.”
Emily Henry, owner/designer of Millicent in Santa Fe, New Mexico, says growing up in Taos informed her view of the Southwestern aesthetic.
“The homes of our family, friends and acquaintances aptly reflected the spirit of Taos – with its mix of primitivo, worldly sophistication and bohemian charm,” Henry says. “Think Georgia O’Keeffe. The people I grew up with had a reverence for fine art and they didn’t discriminate between modern and traditional works. They were interested in objects that were genuine, authentic and unusual.”
For Jason D’Asto, manager of The Tile Shop in Scottsdale, Southwestern style is all about “freedom. Santa Fe and Territorial will always be a part of the landscape, but it’s interesting to see them next door to French Provincials, Cape Cods and Arts and Crafts bungalows,” he says. “Most exciting for me are new modern-style homes designed with regional materials like stucco and fired brick or stacked stone.”
The style is an inherent match for our desert surroundings, but it transcends the geography that inspired it, says Eddie “Junior” Smith of The Plant Stand of Arizona. “The Mexican pottery sells nationwide… We are are shipping about 100 containers a year to a company in Miami [Florida] and they’re redistributing it throughout the Southeast.”
Mexican ceramics in swamp country? Now that’s a story worth telling.
John Brooks Incorporated
2712 N. 68th St., Scottsdale
“The past few years have been good for Southwest style and design. People seem to be interested in a more clean, simple look,” says Millicent owner/designer Emily Henry, giving an apt description for her pine Happy’s Curios credenza (inquire for pricing). “If you can, save up your money and buy the real thing. We can make a difference and keep Southwestern handcraft alive by purchasing products made in our region whenever we can… What would the Southwest be if we stop making all these beautiful things that so define the Southwest?”
The Tile Shop
14000 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
“It’s fun to watch clients consider the possibility of having a shower with ‘wooden’ walls,” manager Jason D’Asto says of rustic yet sleek faux-wood tiles ($2-$10 per square foot), a modern take on Southwestern style. He advises clients to “take your time and research the history of the many styles that have made a home in the Southwest. You may be surprised with the options available to you.”
Premier Copper Products
Find locally at Ferguson showrooms, ferguson.com; Central Arizona Supply showrooms, centralazsupply.com
Premier’s hammered-copper, double-slipper bathtub’s “warm hues lend an elegant, inviting appeal to this Southwestern bathroom, blending Old World character with a contemporary look and functionality,” says COO Andrew Bradford. “Copper is endlessly recyclable; it is both a stylish and sustainable choice. Also, copper sinks and tubs contain natural antibacterial properties that keep germs at bay.” List price: $6,760.