Featured Artist: WNC Magazine
During the months of September and October, 2015 I was privileged to be the featured artist in one of our regions finest and most widely read publications, WNC Magazine.
Please take a moment to read this article and check out some images of my featured work.
Read the article now.
Your fireplace mantel serves as a focal point in your den, family room or outdoor porch. Since you undoubtedly spend a lot of time there, you want to decorate it so you can enjoy it year-round. A successful design can inspire guests just as it keeps you grounded in your home. Rustic mantel décor is one way to ensure you get as many “ooh’s” as “aah’s.”
Fireplace hearth decor also provides an exceptional platform for integrating the look of the entire room. You can mix your favorite rustic pieces, newest modern art and most comfortable recliner in a space with rustic mantel décor that brings it all together.
“Rustic elegance” is a phrase that’s gaining traction in interior designing circles around the country. The term refers to a style that’s homey yet chic, heart-centered and sophisticated, comfortable yet fashionable. It’s a year-round design choice that makes you proud to show off your house while also letting you relax in it.
What Is Rustic Elegance?
When you hear the word “rustic,” visions of log cabins may spring to mind. After all, in the past, the word “rustic” often was used as an upscale term for “dilapidated.” And certainly, standing alone, log cabins rarely are elegant and actual dilapidated spaces can in no way be considered elegant.
In reality, rustic elegance combines all-natural elements to create a look that’s warm and inviting even as it’s imperfect and distressed in its old-world elegance. The design blends the high style and classic aesthetic of quality antiques with the modern desire for comfort, convenience and beauty. It employs intricate detail work, earthy colors and natural materials.
Using Rustic Design in a Luxury Home
You can design a room or your whole house in rustic elegance, as fits your personal style. You can use rustic pieces to accent your luxury home or make it the centerpiece of your family space. It’s up to you. Here are several examples of elegant rustic interior design in a luxury home:
Contrast Provides Interest
Interior design in a luxury home has room to play. Place elements that tie the room design together or add continuity throughout the house. Each room needs a central focus, but if the accent pieces don’t add visual interest, then they aren’t complementing the overall ambiance. Contrast — in color, style and/or material — provides visual interest to support the central focus.
Rustic elegance is not shabby chic. It is an upscale arrangement of repurposed antiques, tasteful color combinations and an abundance of natural materials. It’s the contrast inherent in mixing a natural material like wood with an artificial material like metal or crystal that provides visual interest to an individual piece or the room as a whole. Just as a large-screen television set can sit next to a potted plant, an antique mirror on a stark white wall makes the entire wall more interesting.
Embrace Rustic Design in Your Luxury Home
By planning ahead and seeking out rustic accents that complement your own style, you can make your home a more comfortable, more interesting place to spend time. Look for original art and high-quality antiques. Bring in the beloved antiques your family has passed down. Find ways to combine the modern with the rustic with the elegant aged pieces, and you’ll create a personalized look of rustic elegance that will never go out of style.
Find out more about how to incorporate Matt Tommey's sculptural art baskets in your home.
I love repeat clients. Not just because of the obvious reasons but because it signifies a connection with a client and my creative expression. Clients who invest in my work again and again enjoy the nature-inspired aesthetic I create and the fresh designs that keep me pushing the boundaries of sculptural basketry. Those type of clients are how this story starts.
Recently I was honored to create a large wall hanging for an outdoor fireplace on a beautiful covered porch in one of the most fabulous mountain estates I've ever had the privilege to visit. The long drive to the top of the mountain was just the warm-up for the crushed pebble driveway, Olmsted-like gardens and stately mountain manor clad in stacked stone and poplar bark. An extensive collection of native perennials and a flowing stream welcomed me onto this beautiful estate.
Once inside visiting with my clients, the home's interior is equally impressive but what caught my eye was the fine craft collection. Artists who I've admired for years and who's work inspire me fill the walls, shelves, pedestals and niches of this elegant mountain home. Artists like the famed Atlanta woodturning family, the Moulthroups, internationally-known Asheville sculptor Michael Sherrill and Kentucky-based woodcarver Jim Sams just to name a few. It was truly a feast for the senses.
As we moved through the home, we made our way to the outdoor porch which overlooked Lake Fairfield and the incredible cliffs that call Cashiers, NC home. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the gardens before we settled in to talk about creating a special piece of art for their home. As if the natural environment was not inspiring and beautiful enough, now it was my turn to create something to echo the beauty of the natural world and while not overpowering the rustic elegance of the space. After talking for a while, taking some reference pictures and making a few note-filled sketches, I gathered my things and went back to the studio to design something truly special.
For me, every sculptural piece like this begins with the branches. Once I have some branches that inspire me, then I can transcribe that shape onto paper and start the imagining process. After sketching and adding some simple watercolor, I sent the rendering to my clients for approval. They loved it and so I began work. 3 branches, 14 baskets and a whole lot of work.
Over the nest 2 weeks, I worked to create this special piece. Now that it's installed, my prayer is for it to continue to inspire, reflect the simple beauty of nature and enhance the elegant environment that is now my sculpture's 'forever home'.
Recently, a client of mine came into the studio here in Asheville's River Arts District and realized that I not only created individual sculptural baskets, but also did one-of-a-kind mantel sculptures. We talked briefly about the project and they invited me to come on out to their home up at Lake Toxaway, North Carolina.
The day I arrived, their grandchildren happen to be there, which was a special surprise! I talked to the clients about what they envisioned for their fireplace mantel and then we all promptly headed for the forest. The grandkids led the way as I kept a close eye out for special treasures that could be used in the fireplace mantel sculpture. Once we had filled the back of my van with mountain laurel, I headed back to the studio to start the creative process.
Usually for me, the process begins with sorting through tons of raw material and then sketching some ideas based on what I find. The branches we harvested from their property were so striking that it didn't take long to create a design that I felt was beautiful and my clients loved! Once I had the design approved, the real work began - cleaning, preparing, weaving, attaching and finishing all these fabulous materials into the finished product.
When the time came to install the piece in my clients home at the Lake Toxaway Country Club, I was so excited to see their reaction! For me, that's the payoff... when my clients love what I've created. Plus I love the fact that their grandkids were involved in the process. Just think, for years to come they can look up and say "I was a part of that!". Here's what my clients had to say:
"We have known, and purchased, pieces of Matt's work for several years. As a result, we have had the ability to observe and appreciate the evolution of his craftsmanship and design skills. We recently commissioned Matt to create a " focal point" mantelpiece work for our North Carolina mountain home and have been amazed and thrilled with his extraordinary rendering. Not only do we feel as if we have a unique and beautiful piece of art, but one that also captures the spirit and essence of its environment.......plus, Matt's fun to work with!"
What an honor to create these wonderful nature-inspired sculptures for clients who really appreciate them! For more information on my fireplace mantel sculptures, visit Your Personal Design.
Matt Tommey is a sculptural basketry artist working in Asheville, North Carolina's River Arts District.