How to Breathe New Life into a Historic Home
Our clients own a beautiful historic home in Minneapolis in a stately neighborhood. Having lived there for 11 years, they decided they wanted to give their home a more modern, colorful, and updated look. Today we are sharing our strategy for how to breathe new life into a historic home.
The first step in any design is talking with our clients to develop a deep understanding of the way they want to home to feel and function. We also pay close attention to what they love about their home now and use those elements as the jumping-off point for the overall design of their home.
How to Breathe New Life into a Historic Home-Living Room
While our clients had a large and gracious living room, they found they weren’t using it for entertaining or daily. They LOVED the artwork they had in this room and their rug was a great and grounded the space. They also found the lounge chairs were very comfortable.
Their other seating wasn’t inviting, and they found people didn’t really like to gather in the space. The lighting in the space was also inadequate.
As part of designing this room, we explored reupholstering and restyling their existing chairs. Unfortunately, this strategy involved more expense than buying new chairs so their existing chairs so we selected new furniture retaining only their side tables.
We selected furniture with modern clean lines and extremely comfortable cushions. The large coffee table will allow our clients to indulge in their jigsaw puzzle hobby. We added sconce lighting to the fireplace to improve the general lighting so the room would be more useable for daily life.
The blue tones of their existing rug and the reds and golds in the artwork they loved were the basis for the color palette of the room. We selected fabrics that are a mix of geometric and organic patterns along with neutrals for the largest seating pieces. Sign up for our blog notices to see the reveal of this project in the fall.
In the dining room, all the furnishings were just right. Unfortunately, the fabrics were tired and too traditional. Because the settee in the dining room was a focal point from the entry of the home, it represented a huge opportunity to make a modern statement. We choose Pollack Fabrics Square Dance for its bold pattern and colors.
For the dining chairs, we selected a coordinating small-scale texture and some zipping double welt.
A Modern Den
Our clients use their den more than any other room in their home. The dens cozy scale makes it just right for a quiet evening reading or watching a movie. They adored the red leather chairs that were in this room and loved the built-ins and wood stove, but the rest of the room felt a bit stale to them.
Since the den was on the same floor as the living and dining room, we decided to keep the color scheme flowing and found the perfect plaid to bring a multi-color palette together with our navy blue, red and gold scheme. A new rug, a wall finish in navy, and a zippy metallic wallpaper on the ceiling is a great illustration of how to breathe life into a historic home concept. Wait until we reveal the before and after on this one! You won’t believe your eyes.
The primary bedroom was pretty but had become a spot where things that didn’t have another home migrated meaning it didn’t have a particular style or strong color story. We wanted to extend our blue into the bedroom and give it a modern look that was serene.
We decided that the multi-color rug, which was a little too small, would leave to find a new home in the office down the hall and be replaced by a lush neutral rug that would be a daily pleasure to walk on. We decided on a monochromatic blue fabric scheme for new pillow shams, and window seat pillows to pull the scheme together and added a bench, in a pleasing plaid, to the end of the bed so the shams would have a place to live at night.
Modern Office Update
Because our client's family was growing with the addition of grandchildren, they anticipated her office serving double duty in the future as an additional guest room. While the rest of the house had a strong color scheme she preferred to keep it light and lively.
We used a navy blue desk to continue the blue but based on the rug we were reusing we added whites, purples, and lime greens to give a distinctly feminine touch to this home office.
The combination of modern furniture with historic architecture is a perfect example of how to breathe new life into a historic home.
The guest bedroom of this home already had a great modern/traditional mix in place with a modern geometric rug and a craftsman-style bed and chair. The draperies were heavy and made the room feel dowdy.
By using a modern red pattern fabric for a sleek roman shade and adding a more traditional window box plaid and a traditional stripe we completed the mix and gave the room a lighter and more updated look.