Getting your "prairie look" on

C'est Le Vie


Last updated 5/28/2014 at 10:16am

What comes to mind when you see the word “prairie” on a cover of a magazine devoted entirely to decorating? Probably not too much, unless you enjoy this avenue of creative outlay. I don’t know about you all but I really think decorating is a rewarding experience, especially decorating on the cheap. Anyway, let’s explore the Prairie Look and what we have to do to become a Prairie Styler.

First, is the Prairie Look brand new? Or is it just a different name for a hybrid or a combination of decorating styles we’ve been using forever, such as: Adirondack (east coast); colonial; country; cottage; craftsman, early American, lodge, mission, ranch, rustic, southwestern, traditional, western, or even the catchall style called wilderness?

My take, having spent a chunk of change on a slick and colorful magazine with “Prairie, the new American Style” blazing on the cover, is this: A group of decorating editors got together in a city someplace, maybe New York City, and decided to give the French Country Look a rest, so somebody said, What’s next? Having practically run the chic out of Shabby Chic, they sat around staring at the skyscrapers, and while waiting for the group light bulb to go on, they all sipped organic water from China. A big idea was hatched (about the size of an ostrich egg, I’m guessing). “Let’s go out West,” a citified decorator/guru said, and the group-thinkers relaunched a trend.

Those city slickers decided to bunch up a bunch of styles and call it Prairie. Then, out came the “special issue” magazine. More magazines and books will follow and maybe a reality show is in the works too. But, will the brand new Prairie Look become the “cat’s meow” in the ever-changing world of decorating our abodes? Some of us might grab on to this trend and some of us have already been there and done that. Anyway, stylin’ is fun, so let’s trot on.

Out here in the real West, we’ve been living in Prairie Country so we could give the Prairie Look a looksee, or at least a glance: first, we’ll save some bucks replicating the expensive east coast suggestions with yard sale finds; and second, let’s see what we can find in our own hordes, I mean homes; after all, reworking the stuff that we already have accumulated from other decorating adventures is a good thing.

Let’s get started with the appropriate mindset: Envision grasslands, swaying in the summer breezes, or if you can’t get that going, think rolling wheat fields (we’ve got plenty of those from Wilbur into the greater Palouse), and go back-in-the-day when prairie schooners lumbered across the prairies, creating ruts in the dirt that are still faintly visible along a small section of the famous Oregon Trail.

Now, we’ll give the reality of those hard times a romantic turn. We’ve got the grasslands, wildflowers, rivers and waterfalls, a color palette of earth colors, all kinds of critters and scary things, spectacular storms, the sounds of nature, and people traveling — we’ve got the makings of a Westward Ho! movie right in our own homes. I wonder if we could round up some prairie schooners for yard art. Keep your Prairie Look ideas handy, I’ll be trotting out more Prairie Stylin’ next time.

Did you go on a yard sale shopping expedition over the Memorial Day weekend? I did, but only for a couple of hours on Saturday, lucking out on some great bargains when I stopped at a well attended, outdoor sale in Electric City where the early morning crowd loaded up on all sorts of great buys, from household and decorating items to jewelry, cosmetics, cloths and shoes for the gals.

Before I call it a day, I’d like to make a suggestion: If you have an itch to comment on this column, you are welcome to leave a name and call back number at The Star office and I will gladly call you so you can speak directly to me about C’est La Vie and its content. That way I can hear your voice and listen to your comments first hand. Bonjour.


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