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Saluting the Old West

Author: Roberta Landman
Issue: January, 2007, Page 28
Western-themed items and earthy materials team up in the Idea House barn/bunkhouse.
Send your imagination on a trip back to ranchland Prescott of years past, and you can almost hear the jingle of cowboy spurs. The Old West, in fact, is being given a pretty new face in one terrific converted barn at the Phoenix Home & Garden Idea House.

The barn/bunkhouse is one of four Idea House components being built at Talking Rock, a premier high-country residential community once the site of a cattle ranch.

Caught up in the spirit of Arizona’s ranching history, we have been having fun with a tall tale that goes along with our actual hammer-and-nail construction. In our story, the prairie-style barn/bunkhouse would have been erected before the turn of the 20th century, shortly after our homesteading great-grandparents had built their snug ranch-type home (the guest cottage of today).

The barn's lower level would have had room for horses and space for storing materials and supplies for a working ranch (today it’s the garage). Upstairs, cowpokes would have removed their spurs and laid their weary bodies down bunkhouse-style.

Fast-forward to today, where reality and make-believe merge, and this sleeping area has became comfy guest accommodations. Up-to-date sophistication and reminders of the Old West coexist in the midst of a rustic backdrop. As in pioneer days, walls are clad in rough-sawn cedar, and the ceiling’s rafters, beams and planking are crafted from distressed Douglas fir. Randomly laid plank flooring is made of reclaimed wood.

Two full-size custom beds with footboards bearing carved horses’ heads will be nestled between dormer windows. “These beds were made by New West in Cody, Wyoming, and they are the perfect touch,” notes Phoenix Home & Garden Editor Linda J. Barkman. The company specializes in Western-style burl-wood furniture.

The cozy room will offer plenty of design ideas, according to interior designer Denise Scott-Weber, including coverlets made from Pendleton wool blankets gussied up with leather trim, and pillows decorated with antique metal buttons and old wooden nickels. Incorporated into window treatments are antique doorknobs and Indian jewelry accents. Reminders of the West extend even into the bathroom, where genuine arrowheads are part of the design scheme, and a free-standing porcelain soaking tub has replaced the old metal version used by cowboys of days gone by.

The barn/bunkhouse, guest cottage, Arts & Crafts-style main house and its outdoor Cowboy Kitchen are slated for completion in 2007.

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