Style Clash: Raw and Rustic Meets Smoothly Serene


What happens when one style meets another? Is it catastrophe waiting to happen or is there hope for harmony?

That’s why we created Style Clash. Some design styles are more flexible; others force us to stretch outside our comfort zone. Each week we will offer tips for mixing competing styles successfully.

What do we mean by “successful”, you ask? If nothing seems strange, jarring or just plain ugly, then I’m all for it regardless of time period, colorway or material. I call it a successful Style Clash.

For our fifth installment in the Series we will mix Rustic Lodge with Japanese Zen and see where we land.


Even if you prefer a warm seaside breeze over crisp, cold mountain air, the Rustic Lodge Style (image above) should be familiar to you. Think ‘modern day Daniel Boone’. His log cabin is practically an icon – the exposed logs stacked to form a simple, humble abode.


The unrefined and raw aesthetic of Rustic Lodge Style shouldn’t be a stretch for your design eye to imagine. As evidenced here (image above and below), the focus is on natural, local elements like wood, stone and rocks along with linen and cotton fabrics, comfy quilts, leather and suede and animal prints. Bring the outdoors in, but leave the chill outside.


Throw in some wrought iron, a big stone fireplace, a few weathered antiques and big, overstuffed furniture and you have yourself Rustic Lodge (image above) at its warm and coziest.


Across a continent and the Pacific we find Japanese Zen (image above) in all its soothing and unpretentious refinement. There’s no glory in the Zen interior – its only intention is balance, peace of mind and, if you’re lucky, the ultimate – nirvana.


Furnishings are uncomplicated and few and far between. Subtle colors, smooth surfaces, natural materials. The Zen aesthetic avoids the harsh or bold (image above and below), opting instead for harmony of the five elements: wood, fire, earth, water and metal.


Combining these styles may seem impossible to imagine, but that’s why we are here. Style Clash turns this unlikely duo into a design marriage made in heaven.


The rough and worn Rustic in the “clash” interiors (image at top, image above and below) stands true but leaves plenty of simple, unadorned space for the Zen. Notice the refined, straight lines of the furniture, the smooth, slick coolness of stones, the sturdiness of the raw wood beams and thick wood doors.


It’s a warm and welcoming mountain hideaway sprinkled with calm, relaxed and uncomplicated. Reminding me of the simple joy of a hot bath after the sweating and exertion of a long trek through the trails, this winning combination leaves me feeling calm and content.


If I had to define this “clash”, I’d call it something like weathered, raw and rough with a peaceful, soothing spoonful of serenity.


Meet me here next week as we continue to cruise the spectrum of interior design styles, two at a time. Ciao for now!

Images: Remodelista, yatzer, Locati Architects, HGTV, Salvinia Lodge.

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