So many of us dream of owning our own period properties, we dream about stone fireplaces, we fantasize about AGA cookers, we break into cold sweats at the thought of oak beams! Owning a period property is a unique experience, you are more the steward of the home than the owner, the caretaker of a property where generations of lives have been lived and stories been told so you have a duty to retain its soul. Of course there are drawbacks to owning a period property, original features might look impressive but run down heating systems, dank lighting and 60’s wallpaper aren’t the design motifs dreams are made of! It takes a subtle hand to modernise a period property without ridding it of its charm but with a gentle touch, an eye for style and a little bit of creative flair you can be the owner of your very own grand design.
Stop! Think! Plan!
Diving right in is oh so tempting! If your stunning Georgian kitchen is marred by lino or your 16th Century Tudor sitting room has been scarred with garish floral wallpaper that makes your eyes sting your first instinct is to grab whatever you can find (paintbrushes, rollers, steam cleaners…hammers!) and get straight to work. Before you do: stop, take a deep breath, and open your eyes. You should analyse your home from top to bottom to identify the areas that need modernising the most and the areas that can wait, it’s common for the condition of furniture and cosmetic touches like wallpaper to make us think our homes need more work than they really do. Check what’s underneath wallpaper and flooring before pulling up materials to avoid giving yourself a bigger job!
Simple Details Make A Huge Impact
It doesn’t have to take months out of your life and cost a fortune to give your classic home a more contemporary feel, simple solutions like upgrading small small fixtures can change the ambience of a dated room in minutes. Coloured light switches can be replaced with simple, clean, white designs and drab door handles can be easily replaced with something more stylish. Try it and see your room instantly lift before your eyes without the detraction of period character.
Some materials used for flooring, counters, sinks and baths can be instant indicators of age. The ‘in’ colours, styles, patterns and materials of the moment are likely to be incongruous with period features; stainless steel and low beamed 16th Century ceilings aren’t usually a match made in heaven. Period homes should be made to look timeless, not modern, so choose classic materials like woods and stones and simple, clean coloured walls to make the original features of your home stand out. Remember, today’s chic might just be tomorrow’s shag carpet!
Shed Light On The Room
Investing in modern lighting fixtures doesn’t just add a contemporary touch to a room, it also adds greater and more efficient light to your space. Older fixtures tend to be dimmer and drabber than modern styles, you can have greater and more energy efficient light with an upgrade. In dark corners of your home encouraging natural light is always positive, skylights and solar tubes are discreet ways of adding natural light to a home.
A Lick Of Paint
Nothing breathes fresh life into a room like a simple touch of paint, once the rest of your jobs are completed it’s finally time to roll up your sleeves and tackle your walls. Neutral tones brighten the space, compliment any décor and won’t fall out of style.
Modernising an older property is like walking a tight rope, you have to find the perfect balance between the old and the new and show care and respect for your surroundings but when you do it right the effects are truly, simply, stunning.
This post was written by recent home renovation recipient Emma Smith on behalf of Connells Decorating Services who she always trusts for their keen decorating eye and attention to detail.