Trends ride in like waves, then disappear. During the '80s, Southwestern design was a fad that took the form of hokey coyotes in pastel colors, and baskets made in Taiwan. Today, Southwestern style is calmer, more honest. Colors are not merely pastel, but have traditional significance, such as the Santa Fe blue taken from Indian religious rituals. Just as primitive design and symbolism play against the light of the Southwest, the deep shadows and amber sunlight of late afternoon play against the brilliant hues of Southwestern artisans.
Designer and painter Betsey Roebuck, a Maryland Art Institute graduate, designs, builds and ornaments rustic furniture with its heart in Southwestern style. Untraditional, yet with strong ties to tradition, the furniture blends surprisingly easily with almost any style. It's available through Express Import/Export in Ellicott City.
Strong, simple chairs from Belize are crafted of fine mahogany and other hardwoods, and complement decors as diverse as Japanese, minimalist or even American country. Available at the Original Brass Shoppe in Ellicott City.