The charms of retro and heritage homes are plenty, from their characterful architecture to their lovely design features . But ensuring your home looks chic rather than shabby requires a few stylistic changes.
Fresh from restoring her own retro beach house, Fenton & Fenton founder, Lucy Fenton, has first-hand experience of making an old home feel new again, without embarking upon a full renovation. These are her tips and tricks.
Paint your walls
A lick of paint can do wonders in an old home. Classic colours such as whites and neutrals play well with most architectural styles.
“We wanted to celebrate the beauty of the original exposed brickwork but wanted it to feel more contemporary. We painted it white, which instantly made the house feel lighter and brighter,” says Lucy.
Celebrate heritage features
Some retro design features are utterly cringe-worthy, while others are rare beauties worth preserving. Think carefully before removing original floors, wall panels, lacework or decorative roses and cornicing.
“We wanted the home to retain its original retro beach house vibe,” says Lucy. “So, we made the decision to keep a lot of the original timber panelling.
Change your flooring
When dealing with threadbare carpets, tatty tiles or dilapidated floorboards, replacing old with new is the only way forward.
“We replaced the old carpet in the living room with cork floors and they really suit the ‘ 80s era of the house – it’s much more durable than carpet in high traffic areas,” says Lucy.
“In the bedrooms, we chose a carpet that was sympathetic to ‘80s trends in a 100% wool loop. It’s best to choose finishes that represent your home’s era .”
Mix and match your furniture
Bridge the gap between historic architecture and new interiors by opting for furniture that represents both.
“We incorporated vintage pieces such as chairs and sofas, then had them reupholstered to give them a new lease on life,” says Lucy.
“We also incorporated more contemporary pieces to create a modern eclectic aesthetic.”
Soften austere architecture with homewares
Vintage homes can feel cold and unwelcoming when styled incorrectly. Avoid this by using cushions, rugs and throws to add warmth, then build depth with art, decorative objects and interesting lighting.
“We softened some of the original brown bricks and tiles in the house by styling the space with rugs, cushions and art to create layers” says Lucy.
“It made the space feel more inviting, cosy and relaxing. These tricks can help disguise areas that are a little tired or dated.
Bring the outside in
Reconnect with nature by adding indoor plants to every room. Classics such as peace lilies, ivy, succulents, philodendrons and monstera deliciosa will elevate your space while purifying your air.
“Bringing plants inside was a key mid-century design principle and it’s easy to see why,” says Lucy.
“Plants immediately brighten your home and are ideal for creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere.”
The Sundowner is now available on Airbnb. Find it on instagram: @the_sundowner_anglesea.