by Kelly Davidson
My House Magazine
“Western style shouldn’t hit you on the head with ‘western accents’ everywhere,” says furniture designer John Gallis. “Nor should it be so simple, with just fence posts and antlers all over. It should have a relaxed organic look that you won’t grow tired of.”
As owner of Norseman Designs West in Cody, Wyoming, Gallis custom designs heirloom-quality western and rustic furniture. Though he admits to including a wagon wheel or two in some of his pieces upon request, he typically advises against kitchy ornaments and encourages less garish touches.
To achieve an honest feel, Gallis recommends embracing the beautiful imperfections that characterize western furnishings. “Too often, people seek perfection and lose the wood’s shape and texture,” he says. “Each chair in a set may be slightly different. But that’s beautiful … that’s western.”
He also warns of hastily committing to a western motif, whether for one piece or an entire room. “If it’s right, you’ll enjoy it the rest of your life, so don’t rush it,” he urges. Instead, Gallis suggests defining your western style slowly by collecting magazine clippings or photographs of features you like and don’t like. That way, when the time comes, your designer can blend or avoid those elements to create the ideal piece or space to compliment your distinctive, refined western style.