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Americana Original

The founder of a well-known Texas home furnishings and antiques store shares her take on authentic and comfortable decorating in her book, New Americana.

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Holly Kuhn has a degree in accounting, but her passion for antiques and decorating grew into opening her first retail store in 1996. As the founder of Old Glory Style, with locations in Denver and in Round Top, Texas, she developed a keen eye for curating displays that were classic and comfortable yet creative. She provides a guide to her signature streamlined country style in the recently published book New Americana (Gibbs Smith, 2019).

Throughout the pages, Kuhn highlights elements such as worn wood finishes, personalized collections, classic home furnishings, and functional pieces used in unexpected ways. "The New Americana goes beyond stars and stripes. It captures the great American spirit in the design of spaces that are hardworking, practical, resourceful, and honest and that have an appreciation for the simple beauty in everyday life," she writes.

This style thrives when decorators look at old things with fresh eyes. As Kuhn advises: "Set aside preconceived notions of how an item should be used: a trunk doesnít just belong at the foot of the bed, and a dresser can be at home in spaces other than the bedroom. Look for the beauty in imperfections of textures, patterns, and patinas."

In New Americana, Kuhn has included chapters on making intentional design choices, finding furnishings and accessories, cultivating an artful spirit and curating collections as well as many examples of beautiful rooms that illustrate her principles.

Anyone who adores country decorating can find inspiration and sound advice in the book, as evidenced by this sampling of takeaway tips:

1. Design rooms to fit how you want to live in them. For example, if using your kitchen as a gathering space takes precedence over cooking, emphasize that with your decor. That might be accomplished by bringing an upholstered piece or pretty accent lamp into the space.
2. Find a place for sentimental pieces. Even if an heirloom isnít a perfect match for your style, it can contribute personality to the mix and provide a comforting link to the past.
3. Shop your space. In addition to hunting your favorite flea markets and antiques shops, take an inventory of what you already have. You may decide itís time to part with a few items that you have outgrown or worn out, but you may find treasures that can shine anew when relocated to a different room or used in a fresh way.
4. Think out of context. Combine items in novel ways, such as mounting favorite pieces of silverware on linen mats and framing them for wall decor, using clamps to hold leather-bound books, or gathering a collection of vintage tape measures in a cloche.

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Photographs by Ryann Ford from New Americana by Holly Kuhn, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith. Photographs by Ryann Ford from New Americana by Holly Kuhn, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.
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Photographs by Ryann Ford from New Americana by Holly Kuhn, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith. Photographs by Ryann Ford from New Americana by Holly Kuhn, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.

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