A modern country study

I absolutely love traditional dark wood paneled studies that you typically see in old country homes. However fast-forward to 2018, and this is my take on the traditional country study.


I love this study by Charles Cudd Co. It epitomizes a grand country home to me. With the ornate wood paneling, dark wood stains, leather chairs, rich fabrics and antique books.

Orono Custom Home traditional-home-office
Photo by Charles Cudd De Novo, LLC. See more traditional home office designs

I wanted to get a similar look and feel but with much lighter colors, so as to not darken the room too much, and obviously on a much smaller budget!

The study was actually a small dining room before, with very bland features. Cream walls, cream curtains, white ceiling and white beams, and a light maple floor. There were no redeeming features about it, other than the large windows, which were covered by the heavy valances and curtains, and double height sloping ceiling with beams. Everything had to go.


The color scheme I chose was grey, mustard and off-white with hints of gold and warm mid-toned wood. I kept most of the walls off-white to keep everything bright and airy, and added some color with one feature wall in mustard / gold. I painted the ceiling beams grey to accentuate them and make them stand out more as a lovely feature of the room, and tied in the grey of the beams with a plaid rug.


I’ve kept a few hints of the traditional country study artifacts such as trophies, pheasant feathers, bronze statues and traditional hunting scenes. But I’ve freshened it up with modern paint colors and industrial rustic elements such as the old workbench I used as a desk.


I opted for a free-standing bookcase from Restoration Hardware called French Panel double shelving. I managed to buy it at half price at just $1500, and think it gives a very similar look to fitted shelving, with similar crown molding. However it would probably have cost me a lot more to have a carpenter make and fit shelving to the same quality. This was by far the biggest expense of the room, but I think worth it and necessary to create this look.


We refinished the floors to match the windows in a mid-toned rich colored stain. Caution: If you ever want to stain maple floors use a gel stain. Maple is a very hard and tightly packed wood that doesn’t take stains very well at all. It actually took us two attempts to get the right look with the floor and honestly they’re still not perfect. But they look much better than they did before. Also, be careful with sanding marks. You need to make sure all the sanding marks are gone before staining it, otherwise they will show up in the stain.


I toyed with whether to add curtains to the room to soften it a little more, but decided to leave the windows without to maximize the light in the room. Eventually I will change the ceiling chandelier for something like this one available from Houzz which is a little more modern than the one there now.

Dover 4-Light Antique Bronze Vintage Globe Cage Chandelier With Crystals, 16" contemporary-chandeliers
Photo by Edvivi Lighting. See more contemporary chandeliers designs

And even though I love the look of the workbench desk (which was actually free as it was an old workbench left with the house) I’ve been on the hunt for a more traditional style executive desk to really give the room that country home feel. Plus it will be more of a standard height, as the workbench is a little too high to be comfortable.

I love this one by Restoration Hardware – the St James desk 76″ – although it’s a little too large for my room.


They also do a 55″ version with just one set of drawers.


This one is also a really nice modern take on a traditional executive desk. The Siedlewski executive desk by Joss & Main.


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