Balancing Old with New

Always love a dramatic before and after…. This room was part of the One Room Challenge. Thank you @oneroomchallenge and @betterhomesandgardens for hosting this event. There were a few hundred participants and featured designers that transformed their spaces within a six week time frame. My goal in this challenge was to complete the room using as many reclaimed, antique, artisan, agrarian, salvaged, and existing materials as was possible. This can be a little tricky….but here are some tips that work for me.

Traditional? Farmhouse? Modern? Coastal? ……Before designing the room, decide what style you want the space to be and stick with items that match that description. I wanted to design a traditional style room that leaned towards vintage California coastal. These watercolors were my inspiration. I love pretty much every design style so this takes restraint for me!

Stay strong and stick with the plan. …..The next step is to decide on the must have functional furniture you will want in the room and the optimal layout. If you own existing items that you plan to use, start with those. For the remaining pieces, measure and document the smallest and largest sizes acceptable for each piece and take that with you when you shop. This is really important. How many of you have a plan in place but fall in love with a great wrong sized piece that never really works in a space? So, stay strong and stick with the plan. I am very proud to say, I practiced this and although I fell in love with so many pieces while shopping, I stuck to my list and only purchased the items that would work for the space.

Do not over furnish the space. ……Because we are often mixing a plethora of different finishes and textures with reclaimed furniture, it is important to only use what fills the needs for the room. Additional pieces will quickly start to clutter the space.

Simplify wall and window treatments. …..along the same lines as above, I find that if we end up with great pieces that are a little bit of a mash up, it is best to keep the walls and window treatments simple and crisp…. This will give you that perfect balance of rustic and refined. As you can see, I kept the walls and windows a crisp white and added a bit of sophistication with the trim to balance the rustic and mismatched elements.

Have fun with accessories. …..I love to find the perfect finishing touches for a space…..like the icing on a cake. Keeping the colors somewhat neutral will once again help enhance the found elements in the room rather than compete with them.

Save space for an agrarian element. ……plants are the bomb! They help improve the air quality in a home, they are beautiful, and they fill spaces without the clutter of unnecessary additional furniture. One of my favorite trees for indoors is the olive. I am so happy to have one in my room now. If you do not exactly have the optimal light, fake it. I have a recessed light above this tree and have replaced the regular bulb with a plant light. Another agrarian element that is pretty much always great for a space is flower arrangements. I made these primarily with plants from our yard to include; eucalyptus and olive branches, succulent flowers, and even artichoke leaves. I purchased the roses since my new rose garden was not producing yet and my blooming roses were brighter than I wanted… Back to the succulent flowers. These are actually pretty ugly when on the plant but they work so well in the arrangements. So, make sure to take a look at the plants you have and imagine how you can beautifully display them.. Of course, vintage and antique containers make the most beautiful vessels for arrangements.

I hope that you found some of these tips helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know what methods you use to incorporate existing, artisan, and agrarian elements into your spaces ….and I am always interested in where you like to source your materials. Mine were found at the following:

Consignment Classics – consignmentclassics.net

My Sister’s Attic – mysistersattic.com

Two Sister’s Consignment – twosistersconsignment.com

C’est La Vie Antiques – Cestlavieantiques.com

The ReUse People – thereusepeople.org

One Room Challenge Week 2

The One Room Challenge has come at a very busy time for me. As I mentioned in my bio, I am an architectural salvage appraiser, mainly for tax purposes, which means, I am a busy girl these days….and why I am posting at one o’clock am. But! I am all over this challenge. There are over three hundred rooms being renovated by guest and featured designers. I am certain you will find a ton of inspiration in their blogs. You can take a look at these fabulous designs by going to http://www.oneroomchallenge.com/orc. But let’s take a look at how our master bedroom renovation has progressed this week….. I did some shopping to source furniture and have to say, I am pleased with the progress. Shopping for antique, vintage, reclaimed, and salvaged pieces is a bit different than new. Here is a sampling of what I found, followed by some tips for you:

Vintage French bookshelf found at Two Sister’s consignment store
Chandelier (crystal removed for cleaning) salvaged from a deconstructed 1920’s house
Vintage side table (marble top not shown) from Orphaned Objects consignment store
Two Restoration Hardware side chairs from Consignment Classics

The most important tip I can share (other than to remember design should always be fun and never overwhelming) is to measure your space and determine the size and scale for each piece before venturing out. I know I mentioned this in my last post… but it really is the basis for a successful space. Anything significantly large or small will not work no matter how awesome it is.

Another important tip is to decide how much work you are willing and able to put in to your finds. Some people like to put their mark on every piece, while others prefer to find treasures that are ready to use in their space. Due to the timeline of this challenge and my current busy schedule, I chose to limit my efforts and find furniture that was in good condition with the right fabric and finishes for my space……. EXCEPT these…..

So this large mirror and 80’s footstool with the crazy town fabric are not exactly ready for the space….but, they fit the scale that I am looking for AND I am willing to make the changes necessary. You will not even recognize them in the reveal!

Final tip for the day…. Your space should reflect you. While I like to mix up consignment store finds with more refined antiques, designing with reclaimed, salvaged, and antique items should be a reflection of your style. If you are drawn to expensive antiques and you have the budget for it, go for the antiques! If you are a bargain hunter and enjoy creating great designs with super deals, have at it! There is no one formula for this. It is all about mixing the old with the new, creating beautiful spaces, and helping the environment along the way. Stay tuned for next week as we introduce fabrics and paint to pull all of these items together. Also, I would love to hear from you. Where are your favorite places to source furniture and accessories for your designs??