The Garden of Good & Better

The 'Chronicle's Nod to LIVING SOUTHERN

With all the big-box chains taking their cue from that four-letter word for Scandinavian, it's totally easy to succumb to the design-in-a-box mentality – that IKEA-fication behind so much contemporary decor that has so many Downtown lofts looking like boring Swedish theme parks. While refreshing on the outset, a little bit of stark, clean line goes a long way and can be just as overdone as the Eighties love of dusty rose and slate blue or the Nineties affinity for the overstuffed.

Hence our salute to Southern living. No, not so much the mag (although we won't deny the occasional guilty page turn), but more the mise-en-scène, the genteel feel, the eclectic shotgun wedding of tacky and taste. Southern style is not all mint juleps and bourbon & branch (a little sip can, however, prime the creative juices). It's as breezy as a streetcar, as languid as a Georgian drawl or a slow pungent draw from a Cuban cigar, as cozy as a backyard barbecue or as mannered as an afternoon tea: elaborate, excessive even, yet deliberately modest and understated just as often. Hopefully some of our suggestions herein will help slow down your interior design process, inspire you to reconsider some classic Southern home decor elements. It's time, darlin', to stop and smell the gardenias.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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four-letter word for Scandinavian, IKEA-fication, boring Swedish theme parks, mint juleps, bourbon and branch, streetcar, languid, Georgian drawl, pungent draw, Cuban cigar, backyard barbecue, gardenias

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