Nancy Gent Designs - Urban Country Style

Urban Country Style captures the contrast between big-city style and small-town charm and applies it to interiors and exteriors. Finally, here is a book that goes beyond the eclectic mix and defines an emerging style by truly demonstrating how to achieve not only a stylish home but a more functional one as well. Urban Country Style provides a six-element guideline: F.U.S.I.O.N., or Functional, Unexpected, Simple, Integrated, Old, and New. The six elements apply to nearly any home project and provide a unifying design philosophy for everyone from suburban families to urban twenty-somthings, young couples to empty nesters. With an emphasis on sensible style and creative combinations, this book shows you how to assess your own living space, make better design choices, and capture the essence of urban country style on your own.


As decorative styles go, country tends to the sweet, urban leans toward the street. A new book, "Urban Country Style", marries the charm of the former (baskets, quilts, weathered window boxes) with the edginess of the latter (concrete, factory castoffs, galvanized pipe). It proves an excellent match: Country takes on sophistication, urban is softened. Together they are more interesting and more livable. One example: The book suggests using rubber treads typically found in commercial stairways in a home setting. The industrial-strength rubber looks completely different installed on the warm wood of a residential stair, while adding a durability any household could appreciate. And another: When remodeling, consider commercial windows and doors rather than standard residential options. Commercial styles, often very contemporary-looking grids, are built to be more durable and allow wider expanses of glass that can flood a room with light. Every page has ideas like that, and the photos to illustrate the appeal. -- Washington Post, April 12, 2007

Everything old is new again in this coffee table book about how to modernize country home furnishings by following a six-element guideline called F.U.S.I.O.N. (Functional, Unexpected, Simple, Integrated, Old, and New). You won't find needlepoint samplers and calico, but you will learn how to create a surprisingly pulled-together design aesthetic out of items you wouldn't normally think go together: think scratched antique wood tables paired with modern chrome halogens. We love this book for helping us create a look out of mismatched hand-me-downs. -- TrendCentral Newsletter, May 5, 2007

The book goes beyond the vague "just make it eclectic" advice from designers in recent years. When it comes to designing, Hickman and Gent suggest starting with function. Functionality also visually bridges the gap between old and new. A vintage farm sink and restaurant-grade stainless steel shelving go together psychologically because both pieces are pared-down and utilitarian. -- Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, April 14, 2007

The urban country look seems to know no bounds, with apartment dwellers and condo owners also picking up on the trend.

Much like shabby chic evokes images of soft florals and worn-in slipcovers, Hickman and Gent hope the mention of urban country will bring to mind old farm tables, galvanized pipe and beloved antiques. And for people who embrace this style, they want to get across that it is always a work in progress, something that will constantly evolve as long as you are in your home.

So turn off HGTV, hit the farm supply store and start thinking about ways to make what you already have work for you, and add what you need to make it more functional. -- The Tennessean, May 6, 2007