Country Cool

For years, I have collected antiques.  My grandmother was an antique dealer in Tulsa and my mom and her siblings all collected antiques. Primitive antiques are my favorite. When I was first interviewed about my store nine years ago, I was asked, “how do you mix old with new?” my answer was you buy a new sofa. You see, everything in my house is old except the upholstery, rugs, and my bed, so it didn’t occur to me at all that people wanted to know how to incorporate old things with their new things.

I like to say I was country when country wasn’t cool.  Though, when I think about it, it’s always been cool. If you saw Jura Koncius’s story in last week’s Washington Post you’ll see what I mean.  Gone are the days of geese and gingham – though a little gingham never hurt anyone – having been replaced with shiplap and shibori. Country has taken on a new meaning in recent years.  I’m not talking “Fixer Upper” country, I’m talking minimalist country like Amy Zantzinger’s home featured in Jura’s story.  Or The Ranch Uncommon, Amber Lewis Interiors, and Country Road Living, three of my favorite Instagrammers right now.

To embrace your inner country is easy. Start with white paint – lots and lots of white paint. It’s not just good for the walls. If you are so inclined, paint a tired floor to give it new life as they did over at Country Road Living.  Cabinets and counter tops, too.

Then add warm distressed or reclaimed woods.  You can go ashen gray, deep walnut, stick with a raw white oak, or go with my favorite, pine. This can be in the furnishings, the floor, the cabinets, or accents throughout…or a combination of any of these, like The Ranch Uncommon’s kitchen.

Finally, add texture and a bit of pattern.  Linen is my drug texture of choice. It’s simple, elegant, and messy all at the same time. Pair that with fresh cottons, wool, and leather and you have a timeless room. I love how Amber Lewis Interiors incorporates the most subtle patterns in the bed, linens, pillows, and rug, leather chairs, and linen curtains in this gorgeous bedroom.

To create a minimalist country home is easy at Red Barn Mercantile.  Simply mix Cisco Brothers, Dash & Albert, our vast collection of decorative throw pillows, bedding from Taylor Linens and Pine Cone Hill, and lamps and casegoods from some of our favorite makers.  With our design services and our expert staff we make it simple for you to express your own country cool.


  • The latest from Amy
Owner Amy Rutherford started Red Barn because she wanted to deliver a service — to provide both old and new in one place. No longer will busy shoppers be limited to reproductions or forced to shop multiple flea markets for the look or gifts they want. The trick in blending old and new, vintage and modern, classic and quirky, is balance. And Amy’s knack for mixing rustic antiques with urban chic has created a look that is both fresh and familiar.

Red Barn Mercantile opened its doors in September 2007 with a single vision in mind: providing old and new to offer our customers signature whole-room designs at great prices.

We’re more than a furniture boutique and provide more personalized service than a big box retailer. We work hard to bring you the highest quality furniture and gifts, the most unique conversation starters, wall hangings and accent pieces, whether they come from off-the-beaten-track flea markets, or the latest designers.

1117 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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