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Natural Inspiration

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Fall is finally here. As autumn's chill sends us indoors, it's time to consider cozying up your décor with warm tones and nature-inspired knickknacks. But you don't have to retreat to a cabin in the woods to achieve camplike comfort. Mixing a few of today's trendy faux-nature designs with traditional pieces can create a chic and welcoming atmosphere. We took to the streets of Richmond to hunt down the best local finds. Check out these simple ways to give your living quarters the look of a mod hunting lodge.



Open Season

While the thought of mounting an antlered animal on your wall might have once been a turnoff, designers have recently created fake versions that can add a whimsical look to any home -- and no taxidermist is necessary. Available options include replicas made to look real, modern white plaster numbers and brightly colored miniature plaques. While we're fond of the trophy wall we've created, you'll want to stick to one or two sets of horns (or even a lone silver antler) to create a dramatic effect in an unexpected space.







Large real-look deer antlers, Leo Burke; faux alabaster stag head and horns by John Cody, Quirk Gallery; smaller real-look antlers by John Cody, Quirk Gallery; pink horns, green deer, and white bird mounts, Urban Outfitters; branches, West Elm; silver antler, right, West Elm.



Branch Out

Just because you're not the type to, say, build your house around a tree so that the branches grow out of the roof, it doesn't mean that a little nature doesn't have its place in your home. Incorporating pieces that are inspired by the great outdoors, such as votive candle holders that looks like twigs, or a side table that looks like a stump, is a subtle way to achieve a look that is both rustic and chic. A modern organic look can integrate well with your established style. And there's always room for growth.

Go With the Grain

For a look that's both rustic and slick, mix in objects that use wood grain. It seems everything's coming up faux bois these days — from Martha Stewart's Home Collection at Macy's, to wallpaper, to melamine and ceramic china. For the latest in wood look-alikes, check out www.itsknotwood.com. Try wallpapering an accent wall or eating off grain-inspired plates. Just follow this mantra: If it looks like wood, it must be good.



Barrel back tufted chair, Leo Burke; Oh So Faux Lemon Chiffon Wallpaper by Alpha Workshops (to the trade); wall art and neon cuckoo clock, Urban Outfitters; wool throw, Anthropologie; stump side table and owl bank, West Elm. On the bookcase, owl and bird canvas, Urban Outfitters; ceramic fish teapot by local artist Christy Dunn, Quirk Gallery; silver antler, West Elm; and DIY gold pine cones. Below, twig candle holder by Roost, Quirk Gallery.





Creature Comfort

Remember the scene from "Bambi" when all the woodland creatures come together? Why not re-create that gathering (with your own mature taste infused, of course) around your house? Nature's creatures are huge in design right now. Accentuate your bookshelves and tabletops with a collection of owls, squirrels, birds, bunnies, deer and fish. Sometimes a small figurine will do the trick; other times a funky table lamp can add a good dose of outdoors. Whatever your instinct for animals, even a few accessories can bring new meaning to shelf life.



Squirrel and owl taper holders, Anthropologie; faux-bois candles, Target; squirrel and fawn lamps and shades, Urban Outfitters; stump side table, West Elm; fawn statue, Urban Outfitters; Thomas Paul melamine serving platter, Quirk Gallery.



Comfort Food

There's no need to lose the formal look you love if you're hoping to bring rustic to the dinner table. Several china makers are releasing place settings that use woodsy scenes. Complete the woodland motif by using table linens that complement the china. As an added touch, throw in some faux-bois candles, woodland creatures or even pine cones (like the ones we found spray-painted gold at West Elm — sorry, they're just store décor, so you'll have to DIY to get your own).



Damask crest linens, scenic dinnerware, and antler salt and pepper shakers, Anthropologie; candles, Target; mirror, West Elm. Inset, wood grain dish with birds, Urban Outfitters.





Resources



Alpha Workshops, www.alphaworkshops.org for showrooms.

Anthropologie, Stony Point Fashion Park, 330-3331.

Leo Burke Furniture, 3108 W. Cary Street, 358-5773.

Quirk Gallery, 311 W. Broad, 644-5450.

Urban Outfitters, Short Pump Town Center, 364-5216.

West Elm, Short Pump Town Center, 360-4124.

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