A simple design; rich, wood tones; and a clever Mister-Fix-It approach to decorating allow George Krauth to blend his love of the outdoors and his treasured family heirlooms in this Chattanooga, Tennessee, home.
Fabrics are crucial in every room, but don’t let fabric stores scare you. Instead, be creative. George chose to have pillows made from 1940s Italian military blankets rather than picking a neutral, frill-free cotton for his custom porch swing.
Retire those old posters and stolen street signs from college, and replace them with easy, inexpensive art like this old, enlarged envelope.
"This is one of my favorite things," says George of the framed envelope in the dining room. It was addressed by George's great-grandmother to her uncle, George's namesake, in 1917. He found it tucked away in his grandfather's dresser.
Lots of warm wood tones in your home can create an outdoorsy-masculine atmosphere, but be careful not to overdo it. Incorporate a few light-colored woods or painted wood furniture into the space to keep a balance.
"I had so much dark oak with my great-grandfather’s table and sideboard, I wanted a modern contrast," George says. His solution was to have the chairs commercially sprayed in a light driftwood color.
Framed art doesn't have to be a painting or a photograph. George loved the color of the graphic blueprint of his great-great-great-uncle's home in Louisville, Kentucky. He paired it with a family military portrait from the 1700s for a mix of technical and traditional styles.
Tip: Use high-quality scanned copies to protect your originals.
Use your home as a way to express yourself. Do you love to collect something? Whether you collect baseballs, vintage records, or metal figurines, like George Krauth, group them together, and display them tastefully.
A Victorian aquarium becomes an interesting container for an arrangement of moss and a potted orchid. If flowers aren't your style, try low-maintenance plants with a bite, like cacti.
Mount a prize-winning fish or animal in the living or dining room to tie in your hobbies, but use them sparingly. A fish or a pair of antlers here and there is ok, but too many, and your living room will look like a taxidermist's shop.
Men are known for being handy; it's part of their genetic makeup. Use that same creativity when decorating. George uses inexpensive, unexpected wine corks to serve as knobs for kitchen cabinets.
George was drawn to these vintage Chesapeake Bay maps because of the mustard yellow color and his love of colonial port towns. Covering the whole room with the maps would have been too much, but carefully placed, the grouping functions as an extension of the bed.
George filled this antique cabinet with family keepsakes. He pushed books to the back and layered the front with items such as his great-great-great-uncle's pocket watch, a sterling silver souvenir sombrero from one of his grandfather's trips to Mexico, and his father's old autographed baseball.
Skip the ruffled bed linens and collection of frilly throw pillows and opt for menswear-inspired pinstripe, paisley, and hound's-tooth. Your bed will look as put together and crisp as your favorite suit, and everyone looks better in a suit.
Want more dude decorating advice? Check out our "On the Couch" interview with builder/designer Frank Goldstin