Book: The Country Living Book of Country Kitchens


Sometimes, for fun, I check out really old decorating books from the library. Which, by “really old” means from the 80’s, which is also when I graduated from high school, so really I probably should not be calling them “really old,” but you get the idea.

I like to look through them and just see. How different is the style, really? Do I still like it? Have I changed? Is my taste destined to be stuck forever in a bygone era? Or is there something that transcends time and is still exciting today? I wonder about these things.

So, a few weeks ago I found a book that I just had to bring home. It’s The Country Living Book of Country Kitchens by Bo Niles from 1985 and features all of the classic 80’s country motifs. And yes, there’s lots and lots in the book that’s fairly dated. Case in point:

So much more pattern, texture and clutter than you would see today, right? I can’t imagine trying to keep all that clean.

Surprisingly, there’s also quite a bit that’s classic and relevant for today. Maybe not the whole entire room or the way it’s been styled, but certain elements jump out as being things I would love to have in my house right now.

Here’s some examples:

What did you notice? I noticed all the gorgeous patina on the tabletops, the beautiful smooth plaster, the pretty vintage pottery, the graphic quality of the collections. And that yellow kitchen with the black island? If it was styled in a more spare, modern way? It would look fantastic.

My favorite picture in this book, though, is this one. I am in love with the mantel on that fireplace.

As a whole, the picture is very rustic, more rustic than I would make for myself. But I can completely envision that mantel in my house with my plastered fireplace.

What about you? Do ever look at old decorating books? Do you see what I see, or do you think I’m nuts?

Love, Angela



6 responses to “Book: The Country Living Book of Country Kitchens”

  1. A lot of those old photos look a little familiar to me. Yes, there was a tendency to overdecorate in those days, but a lot of the classic elements still stand. Who still does not love white slipcovers or great patina on tables? I keep wishing that I would come across a wonderful, huge stash of “Country Home” magazines from bygone days on the garage sale circuit. I subscribed to it from the very beginning, and I know I would still love a lot about them today!

    1. I agree, Sally! I was really impressed by how many things I saw and thought, “I’d love that in my house today.” Some things are just classics! I hope you do find some old Country Home magazines! That was my favorite magazine of all time. So sad that it’s gone. ~Angela~

  2. Barbara H. Avatar
    Barbara H.

    Yes, I have my own collection and every so often I go through at least some of them. Often it sparks something way down under in my subconscious and after a few days, I find myself contemplating some kind of change. Often the furniture gets rearranged or my mind gets opened to a whole new way of thinking about something I already have. It’s a good thing!

    1. Barbara, I don’t have many books from this era, but I do have a couple of old ones and definitely a collection of decorating books that I look at all the time. I tend to re-read the same stories and pages over and over. They make me happy! 🙂 I also like to rearrange the furniture… in my mind! It’s my favorite way to help myself fall asleep, to mentally construct a room or garden space and then try different things out. ~Angela~

  3. I think every picture is an inspiration! I don’t actually have many decoration books, I think I only own one, but I believe if decoration is well done, it ages well.

    1. I agree, Magali! Some things are just timeless. ~Angela~

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