Fresh & Collected
The owner of Old Glory Style dishes about how she uses relics from the past to create crisp, new styles
Holly Kuhn emanates style. Her innate love of decorating and antiques pulled her—thankfully, for all of her patrons—from a career as a CPA to the mastermind of Old Glory Style, a home-furnishings store in Denver and Round Top, Texas. But perhaps the most striking thing about her is that she doesn’t take it all too seriously.
“Make it comfortable and authentic,” advises Oklahoma-born and Texas-bred Kuhn, with the remnants of a charming twang. “I like spaces that are personal and decorated for the way you live. Don’t worry about pedigree.”
Her first book, New Americana (Gibbs Smith, $35), just came out and offers gorgeous examples of Kuhn’s ability to combine old and new, with a creative twist. We asked her to share some thoughts on how to freshen up any house—in the city, the mountains or the hill country of Texas.
“To make the vintage, white ironstone platters pop on the wall, we put them on top of rusty-metal window guards from an old factory. It adds texture and visual interest and helps highlight the simple beauty of the platters. We hung one vertically instead of horizontally just to mix it up a little bit and keep it from being too predictable.”
They provide a fresh, clean backdrop for what you’re featuring. A lot of my style is about personal collections—unusual, one-of-a kind finds. So I think a simple, white palette is a great way to showcase an individual piece or collection. Using a basic palette as a starting point, I can mix all kinds of patterns, textures and even styles.
“The mismatched ottoman is upholstered in an antique rug. If you buy pieces you love, don’t be afraid to mix patterns and textures and colors—it can all work together. But there’s a fine art to having not too much. Again, those white walls help too.”
COURT THE UNEXPECTED
I’m always looking for unusual things to put on the walls—different ways to display the many things I collect. I also love to combine fabrics in unexpected ways. I don’t always get it right on the first try. A lot of it is about being patient, trying different combinations, creating a display, and taking it down and starting over. I spend a lot of time puttering to get just the right look.
“These are functional, lightweight throw blankets made out of different kinds of vintage indigo fabric. They’re lined up on this beautiful vintage peg rack, and to me, they become art.”
I love indigo. It’s a fun way to add a splash of color. I love to use a mix of patterns but then tie them together with the same color. I’m also very practical and I’m all about function, so I’ll add color in with indigo throw blankets that double as beautiful art when they’re being stored away. Vintage fabric is art in itself—I have a thing for fabric.
“I’m looking for unusual ways to highlight individual pieces. I find beauty in the frame itself. I don’t always know right away what to do with things, but if I love it, I buy it, and I know I’ll eventually find a spot for it.”
PATIENCE IS A DESIGN VIRTUE
A lot of my rooms are clean but collected. That’s key to my style—I add pieces that are collected over time. It’s a very warm and lived-in feeling, because it’s very personal that way.
“In this room I hung a collection of five vintage French boxes, which was much more interesting than stacking them on the table. It adds depth and dimension to the wall and fills that little space. That chair is upholstered in vintage linen grain sack on the front—it’s a wonderful texture—and the back and the sides are cow’s hide.”
BUY WHAT YOU LOVE
I do really go with that as my guiding principal. When a piece speaks to you or you feel a connection to it, don’t linger too long on where you’re going to put it. Grab it, and you’ll find a place for it. And probably, over the course of years, you’ll find many spots for it in different rooms. I use pieces over and over again as my home evolves.