Camp Style--Vintage Cabin Life

Fantastic camp style!   The bentwood chair and hickory desk are by Genessee River Trading Company. 

I just stumbled across this photo on pinterest.  It doesn't link back to anything, but I don't really need it to.  I immediately recognized it as a photo of a trade show booth from one of my favorite camp-style vendors, Genssee River Trading Company.

(By the way, the red bentwood chairs and desk are available in our online store,  These chairs come in bentwood or aluminium, in arm, side or rocker styles and in many different color choices and are $550--just fabulous if you love camp style!)

What is camp style?  Well, it's many things and there are really no hard and fast rules.  Folks who decorate in camp style pretty much feel free to pick and choose from among their favorite old cabin elements.  However, camp style is often characterized by hickory furnishings, especially antique hickory.  You also might see hand hooked rugs and old quilts.  And of course, there are the vintage cabin collectibles.  These feature all sorts of themes from camping, fishing, woodland animals, canoeing, Indian trading pieces and any other old thing that might have been seen in a cabin during the first half of the 20th century.

Although there have always been fans of camp style, it became chic in the late 90's thanks to the smart Laguna Beach store, Camps and Cottages, which helped it make its way into mainstream decorating. The store's owner, Molly Hyde English, eventually published a book, Camps and Cottages in 2001 (vintage copies are still available at  At the same time, the shabby chic movement was taking place and the two worked together synergistic-ally.  

The 2001 book by Molly Hyde English, owner of the store by the same name in Laguna Beach.
Ralph Kyloe is another person who has had a big influence on this style.  Kyloe is an antique dealer, store owner and writer who lives in the Adirondack Mountains.  Although he would probably call the look he promotes "Adirondack Style", there are many overlaps with camp style.  He collects antique hickory, old canoes, willow backpacks and other camp collectibles.

Interior of Ralph Kyloe's store.

Kyloe has written many books on this subject and is truly an expert on old camp and Adirondack antiques.

Just one of Ralph Kyloe's many books.

As the best original camp and Adirondack pieces get rarer, prices increase, of course.  Luckily, there are still plenty of manufacturers currently producing hickory furniture, such as Old Hickory and Genesee River Trading Co.  We've selected our favorite pieces for our online store,  If you love camp style, you can easily get the look by buying pieces from these current manufacturers.

Another way to get the look is by attending flea markets.  It may take a little digging, but if you love prowling around flea markets, there are some great finds to be had.  My favorite flea markets are Alameda and the Rose Bowl in California as well as Round Top Texas and Brimfield Massachusetts.  

Part of the fun of camp style is that you can mix in your favorite vintage items and collections.  Some vintage collectibles you might see in a camp-style cabin would include American flags, old sporting equipment such as water skis and tennis rackets, camera equipment, plaid thermoses and lunch boxes from the 40's and 50's, game boards, antique canoe paddles, vintage Pendleton blankets, Indian trading pieces, tramp art and much, much more!  You can pretty much include anything that might have been used for a cabin holiday.  Or, anything else you love can probably work, too. 

For inspiration, here are a few more photos from past Genesee River Trading Co. trade show booths:

Genesee River beds, nightstands and benches mix with vintage signs, oil paintings, oars and fishing gear.

A Genesee bed and bench with vintage textiles, china and boating paraphernalia.

Genesee bed, dresser and stool with cowboy themed collectibles. 

A Genesee chair, chest and ski bed with vintage skis, tobaggan, and ski art.

Genesee hoop chairs and side tables with shuffle board pieces, an old boat, boating paintings and life preservers.

Genesee bentwood chairs and table with woodland themed collectibles.

The Genesee truck ready to be unloaded.  Happy shopping!

How delightful are these booths?  Personally, I love flea market shopping and the thought of furnishing a cabin in camp style just seems like outrageous fun to me.  If anyone out there wants to take me to Round Top to shop with them, I'm in!

For additional postings on camp style, click here. 


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  6. I have been collecting Old Hickory, tramp art, and Black Forest to outfit my cabin in so IN. I also like inlaid folk art tables, antler art, mil yard longs. It is getting hard to find but the thrill of the hunt keeps you going. I got my early inspiration from Ralph Kylloe books. Too bad Ralph never made a book with values. The prices are all over the place.


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