For most of us, living in a large, beautiful period property with high ceilings, big room sizes and full of character is a dream. New build property could be difficult to customise and lack the foundations you get after purchasing an older home, although you can rest assured you will not experience the issues that come with buying an old house (or money pits as others like to refer to them) so it will all be roundabouts and swings.
Baylyn House dates back the year 1882 and its history is one that never ceased to fascinate me. I have spend hours searching the internet and even paid a visit to the local museum to all available history archives to try and find out who lived here and what their stories are. I would love to understand more about the people who walked down these halls before me 135 years ago.
But the question is, how do you style and decorate a period property? Here are some top tips I have to offer.
1. Be Sympathetic
It is essential that you be sympathetic to your house’s age and decorate appropriately. I find it shameful seeing old properties be decorated with modern, minimalist interiors which would best suit a bachelor pad or penthouse suit.
Well, while you don’t necessarily have to hang curtain pelmets, a gentle nod to the original house design by infusing some traditional tones or appreciating the original floorboards will work wonders.
2. Conceal the Imperfections
You don’t expect to have a perfect house when it is more than a decade old and housed generations. So, you can conceal the imperfections.
In most cases, it is features like the trim, moulding and door details that make you gain some affection for older homes built during a different age, when the finishing touches were based on personality and everything else was completed beautifully. Painting can be a good way to hide the imperfections.
Some years back, it was common for people to rip out the beautiful original windows, doors, and fireplaces to give the house a more modern look, even going so far as to install luxury kitchens in Surrey houses and other places. Currently, however, interiors are sympathetic to the property’s age and everyone is trying to bring back the cast iron fireplaces that were destroyed.
When it comes to period property, the beauty lies in the period, so whether it is an Edwardian (1901 – 1910), Georgian (1714 – 1820), Victorian (1837 – 1901) or something slightly modern, say 1930’s semi house, be sure to retain the beautiful details and touches. But if they have been ripped out, you can visit reclamation yards to try and restore them.
4. Character Should Be Your Statement Piece
If you’re fortunate to have original windows, particularly stained glass, let them shine and make them the focal point of your room. Similarly, if you have a big fireplace, then be sure to focus around it (usually this will be the point of focus for most rooms). You can also draw some attention by using soft furnishings and proper furniture placement.
You shouldn’t forget the lighting. How best can you illuminate the rooms with electric and natural daylight lighting? Always remember that lighting should be present at three levels; high, middle and low level. Lighting should be softer in rooms you live in and brighter in rooms you work more often, like the bathroom and kitchen.
Dimmers are also a great addition. The old pendant chandeliers installed in grander houses could look flat if they are brightly lit so they should be dimmed. Besides mid and low-level lighting is also required to give different moods. You shouldn’t shy away from installing modern lights in a period home. Although it could be a contrast of fixtures, the truth is that it could enhance the home’s architectural features. Additionally, concealed lighting is great for highlighting a beautiful wall paneling or ceiling.