My dream house would be a camp like this one, rustic but wonderfully accessorized
Here in the northeast United States, the end of May ushers in beach house season and the beginning of July heralds the opening of fishing camp houses. This rustic, back-to-nature style emerged during the late 1800s in New York’s Adirondack mountains and along the rivers and lakes of New England where families built cabins or cottages furnished with rough-hewn, locally or home-made “twig style” furniture, today often called old hickory.
Camp activities revolve around fishing, hiking, hunting and relaxing outdoors. This is bear country! Sometimes these houses were primitive, remote and lacking heat or electricity or expansive and grand with multiple buildings on the property. Porches such as this New Hampshire beauty often are built from slim birch logs fashioned into posts and lattice.
The main living area is furnished typically with old-hickory cane chairs and leather sofas. Oriental rugs are a posh addition. A collection of miniature furniture is displayed on one of the wood beams.
Fireplaces, flannel blankets and wicker rockers are popular camp features.
Dining on the screen porch offers river views and protection on buggy summer days as well as breezy, candlelit dinners after sundown. Bentwood chairs and a pine picnic table set the tone for simplicity. I can practically smell the bbq trout.
The kitchen and breakfast table has a definite mid-20th century feeling with its old-fashioned metal sink on legs and rough-hewn cabinets and shelves.
In the entry, a yellow-paint decorated Victorian chest sits in a birch-frame niche. Accessories include collectible bentwood chairs, an old Persian rug and a canoe paddle on the wall.
An amazing cuckoo clock has a wood case composed like a decorating trophy comprised of hunting motifs — note the deer head on top, rifles, oak leaves, game birds and an Indian pouch.
In the guest cabin, there’s a wood stove set into the fireplace. Red-and-white is the favored color scheme throughout. In keeping with the casual camp atmosphere, natural wooden blinds are used as window coverings.
The guest-house bed has fanciful painted “trout” valances over windows dressed with wood blinds. A painted headboard and Victorian oak dresser are examples of New Hampshire cottage furniture from the late 19th century.
A back porch offers a place to sit, space to store additional fireplace logs, and a lantern is kept handy for grabbing up after dark.
Here are some old hickory and Victorian furniture pieces I’ve photographed over the past few years when I spotted them at antique shows.
Old hickory tables and boxes at Brimfield, Mass.
A pair of Victorian bamboo bedside tables and a magazine rack.
A wonderful paint-decorated old hickory desk, with new hardware, and rustic cane-seat chair.