Photo credit: all lifestyle shots used from Colleen Roberts' Instagram feed @west_barn with her permission
Did you catch Kate's modern country home tour, or Maria's charming cottage? Well, if so (or if you've just opened up a new tab to see each of these), you might be wondering how to get the look in your home.
Modern country is a style that's popular on Instagram, and it's no surprise really...modern country is welcoming, easy to live with, easy to shop for and fits perfectly with the UK's buildings and traditional vibe.
I recently had with Colleen Roberts - the owner of West Barn Interiors - and a woman who knows a thing or two about doing "modern country with a dash of Danish". In fact, Colleen's modern country interiors business is going from strength to strength, and her gorgeous modern-country/Danish style home has been featured in 25 Beautiful Homes Magazine too.
So, find a comfy spot, snuggle down with a cup of tea and take notes on...
West Barn Interiors' Tips on How to Get a Modern Country Interior
Hi Coll, please could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about West Barn Interiors?
I am Colleen Roberts, co-owner of West Barn Interiors Ltd. West Barn Interiors Ltd was created by me when a previous business came to an end. A couple of months into West Barn Interiors Ltd, a close friend of mine (Joy Newsome) asked if she could join. I was delighted..!
How would you sum up the West Barn Interiors style? Is it country? Shabby chic? Danish? Or a kind of fusion of all these things?
West Barn Interiors style is a mix of modern country with a dash of Danish thrown in… we have some fabulous Danish suppliers, and I think the way we show our stock lets the styles fuse together. I can see our stock in mews style homes, farm houses, barns, city pads – we stock enough for each different taste.
Why do you think the modern country style is so popular in the UK?
I think it's down to the popularity of all the home magazines we subscribe to. We all like to take a look into each other’s homes... personally, I love showing mine on my Instagram page! I think seeing other’s homes inspires us to create this style in our own. And, I think the fact we all ‘live’ in our kitchens nowadays has changed the way we style our homes – any kitchen in any style property can be made to look country if that’s the look you want to achieve. And once you have succeeded in the hub of the home, you find it easier to feed it through the rest of the rooms.
Do you think it’s possible to recreate the modern country style on any budget?
Yes, I absolutely do! I think if you choose well in the first instance and don’t buy things for the sake of it, you can have this look on a budget. We make sure the majority of our pieces all sit together so that you don’t have to buy everything all in one go; you can just add pieces as and when you can afford to.
(Buy beautiful pieces directly from West Barn interiors, or browse the selection of products below - each link will take you through to the individual retailer)
Many of us really love this style but live in modern, mid-century homes in fairly urban areas. Do you have any tips for incorporating the modern country style into homes that aren’t beautiful country barns?
Because we sell such a broad range of accessories, I think we have something for everyone...whether you live in a modern home, or an older style property. As for tips? Stay neutral with your colour schemes and add a key colour to each room. Then the fun begins with the dressing!
You’re clearly amazing at choosing items to go in your shop… where do you get your inspiration from? And can you offer us any tips on sourcing really great items for our homes?
The buying is the fun part! It is easier to choose stock now that we have built up a number of 'looks' in our little showroom. Like everyone else, I read all the home magazines and one particular supplier gives us some great ideas of what to buy. Apart from our own website, obviously, curio shops and good old TK Maxx are still my favourite places to go and look for something different.
The products you sell can really help to make a house feel like a home – can you recommend any from your current stock that really cosy up a space?
Ah now this one is easy… if you want cosy, lighting is key! A lantern will make any corner of a room cosy, and if you don’t like burning candles, fill the lantern with fairy lights for a warm glow. Mix in some glass t-light holders, and consider using coloured t-light holders for extra cosiness.
In my home, one of my favourite cosy corners is the hallway... I have lamps, lanterns and lots of smaller candle holders, but also on the wall I have LED accessories – like our LED wicker heart and star. You can make anywhere cosy without spending too much money.
Sometimes the biggest problem when styling a home is that you and your partner disagree on a style or a piece of furniture, or a piece of art… what advice would you give to homeowners who are struggling with this?
Hahaha! Well as much as it pains me to say this, do listen to what the other partner says. Generally, I make the decisions on what we have in the home (particularly with the smaller pieces and accessories), but when buying something bigger and more expensive, I do run it by Danny, my husband.
I don’t always listen to his idea, but I do think it is best to at least try and understand somebody else’s view or opinion.
Try win your partner over by showing them how you think it would work, compromise on which room it goes in and try find where somebody else has used it or shown it its best. But if you definitely can't agree? Walk away - don't buy it!
Finally, a ‘dream home’ means something different to each of us… so, what does a ‘dream home’ mean to you?
I can honestly say, hand on heart, West Barn is my dream home. I always wanted a converted barn when, and when we bought this back in 2009 we were incorporating my husband's business.
As the years have gone on, we now have a purpose-built office block which used to be the old stone outbuilding. Danny and his guys work downstairs, and Joy and I have the upstairs for West Barn Interiors.
We have built stables for my horses, and have a little land which is perfect for my two small boys. A dream home is a home you don’t ever want to leave, and we won’t leave West Barn - it will be passed down.
So, what do you guys think? Are you a fan of the modern country look, and is it something you're going to be trying to create in your home?
p.s Do you neglect this room?