One of the many things I love about Skylands, Martha's home in Maine, is how she has chosen to decorate it. She has perfectly mixed refined elegance with rusticity and whimsy by pairing contrasting textures, all the while maintaining the home's traditional atmosphere. Of Martha's residences, Skylands is my favourite. One of the best decorating choices Martha made, in my opinion, was using her collection of faux bois in her indoor decorating scheme. Faux bois (which means 'false wood' in French) is a decorative technique that mimics the physical qualities of wood, whether it is the grain, the texture of the bark or the gnarled shapes of tree branches. Martha's collection is quite extensive, encompassing both antique examples from England and France as well as new pieces that she had specially commissioned for Skylands.
She initially began her collection with the intention of using the urns, pots, garden tables and planters outdoors. The grandeur and scale of Skylands, however, was the perfect place to use her faux bois indoors, scaling back the opulence of the home with its woodsy charm.
There are two primary materials that have been traditionally used to make faux bois furniture: cast iron and cement. Martha prefers the cement variety because of its texture and solidity. When styled correctly, it most closely resembles the trunks of trees with their rough bark and their knotted branches. Below are some examples of Martha's faux bois collection at Skylands.
In the upstairs hall, two faux-bois planters sprout fancy-leaf begonia.
In the living room, a faux-bois basket plays the centerpiece in a symmetrical table setting.
This faux-bois planter proffers umbrellas for guests on the front stoop.