Architecture inspired by 19th-century lighthouse design helps, of course, but the savvy mix of furnishings would work anywhere. Uncurtained windows, graceful wicker porch chairs, a plain white modern sofa, and an early American-inspired coffee table make an unlikely but charming mix.

A Personal Haven

Contemporary fresh country style is one of the hottest looks around, and it's going to be a durable one. That's because we want it all: The warm richness of traditional country style and the serene freedom of modern style.

The rooms here do a great job of combining unlikely elements into something very inviting. One key is the easy-to-live-with color schemes: quiet naturals in the living areas, softened red, white, and blue in a child's bedroom.

This sunny child's bedroom looks modern with all its streamlined built-ins, but the design actually hearkens back to shipboard storage compartments and the cozy alcove storage-beds built into Scandinavian cottages.

Another key is the use of timeless natural materials such as woven rush, wicker, soapstone, and real wood. Even when they are formed into obviously modern designs, such as the roomy pass-through counter, they retain their natural warmth.

A sweep of curved stone, something you would never have seen in the olden days, makes a pleasing, dramatic countertop for a pass-through. White, traditional cabinets and rush-seated stools add warmth.

But the most important way to make your country modern is the simplest: Weed out the clutter and keep only what is functional or personally meaningful to you. Now, that's freedom.

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