“Someone said that interior design is autobiography. For me, it’s nostalgia,” Max Humphrey notes in the opening to Modern Americana, a photographic tour through properties that the Portland, Oregon, designer has designed.
These are homey scenes with clean lines, fluffy textures, period pieces, and folksy touches. The book emphasizes a do-it-yourself approach: salvage wood and other fittings. Paint your own furniture—“the chippier the better.” Gather baskets, cans, stoneware, old flags, or quilts for a custom-made display. “Three of anything is a collection,” after all.
Inspiration comes from across the USA: a saloon counter and bandana prints recall the Wild West, sugar sack pillow cases and old maps summon the rural South, and rocking chairs and barn doors evoke Shaker New England. One can even “bring the outdoors in” via floral prints and vintage antlers mounted on foam deer heads.
The book’s Instagram-ready images are its true star; a narrative is fashioned in the way that they move from materials to placement to in situ enjoyment. Cozy and quirky, these interiors bring to mind a relaxed, colorful Magnolia by way of Wes Anderson. Don your flannel and denim and curl up on a window seat to soak up the pages’ rustic charm.
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