Black and Brass - Get the Look

Black and Brass - Get the Look

I'm really loving  black and brass these days. Why? I've been watching a lot of movies from the 70's and early 80's and marvelling at how fashions, or particular eras of fashion, at which I once turned up my nose, are now bountiful sources of inspiration. 

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Old with New

Mixing old with new can give you a gorgeous result in your home, but it can also be a bit of a daunting task to take on. Not to worry - we've got some great examples of mixing antique and modern together in rooms around the home.

Living Rooms

Using key features such as light fixtures or large pieces of furniture, you can easily show off your mix of old and new. The spareness of some of the modern pieces contrasts beautifully with the more intricate look of the antiques.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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Kitchens

Typically when mixing old and new, we see old buildings and rooms with newer furniture and fixtures. In the first kitchen below, we see a beautiful modern kitchen given some real interest with an antique cabinet.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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The next two examples show modern fixtures in an older home.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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An older table with modern chairs is a quick and fun way to mix things up.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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Dining Rooms

In some cases, simply adding one or two modern items into an older space can do the trick. Below you see a modern light fixture and chairs doing the job.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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In this room, the modern chairs add a contrast not only through their form, but stunning color as well.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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Here the contrast is also in color and form, with black Ghost chairsand a modern pendant lamp contrasting beaituflly with the old white table.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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Bathrooms

First up we have a real stunner. The high walls and antique chandelier are juxtaposed with a sleek modern tub and some modern recessed lighting.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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This bathroom contrasts a sleek, modern shower (heaven!) with a gorgeous claw foot soaker tub. The dark color of the walls allows the striking light fixture to really sing. A stunning room.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

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This bathroom is all sleek, white and modern with a splash of beautiful contrast in the antique cupboard. A great use of color, texture and style.

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.
Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor - antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room.

Tile Trends

Tiles aren't just for floors these days, though there's nothing wrong with that idea. The current trend for bold tiles, in color and pattern means there are plenty of options for you to choose from that look nothing like the neutral, quiet tiles that sit under rugs and go unnoticed. Using a bold tile or tile pattern offers a focal point or area of interest, while also giving you a durable and functional surface. Tiles are a great option for your kitchen backsplash, and you are limited only by your creativity.

Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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The classic black and white tiled bathroom floor always creates a wonderful backdrop on which many colors or styles can be played out.

Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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But tile is also a great way to direct the color scheme of your space, either through a main color...

Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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....or by adding highlights with splashes of color.

Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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Small spaces are a great place to play with bolder colors or patterns that you may be uncomfortable putting on a larger area. Think of powder rooms or bar kitchens...

Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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...or, entryways.

Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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But if you love color, you can always commit to it. A stunning floor like this is given all the attention by keeping the rest of the space white and muted.

Bold colors and patterns in your tiles offer an instant splash of style on the floor, wall, entry, backsplashes or even a tabletop!

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Before and After: The Living Room

We've got a Before and After for you today! We recently finished some work with a couple of lovely clients who took possession of an older home and wanted to rework the interior a bit. The previous owners had done a bit of updating when they prepared to sell, but had likely done a lot of the work on their own and the results, unfortunately, weren't great.

Paint colors were dreary and not terribly well applied. Cracks in the corners were left un-mended, and this older home lacked sufficient outlets for modern owners. The fireplace in the living room was the original red brick, and the sconces were also from another time - which is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case....well have a look at the first before picture:

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

 

And here we are after:

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

LR after 8Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Our work with these clients covered most of the spaces in the home, so the living room became part of the overall plan. The clients were looking for a mix of old and new that was still uncluttered and functional.  In this space and the adjoining dining room (pictures of those to come later), we settled on a calming grey - Sherwin William "Passive." We used a simple palette of grey, blue and yellow-gold, with mixed metals, primarily brass and chrome. Modern fixtures, mix with vintage pieces to give the space a relaxed feel.  There is a family room in the basement where the TV is located, so this room was kept as an entertaining space.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

The drapery fabric (So Good's Medina) was worth every penny spent. Having custom drapery made can be a considered purchase once you factor in the fabric and the labor, but if the room is one that you intend to feature and entertain in, it's a worthy place to put some of your budget. These drapes look stunning and catch the eye of anyone entering the room.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

What to hang on your walls? My advice is typically that it doesn't need to be "art" or even necessarily a picture or painting. It simply needs to be something that you really love and/or that means something to you. Don't hang things on your walls that you feel so-so about. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy. And a few mirrors, they're great for adding light to a space ;)

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Here are a few more great vintage finds that were added to the space. The sideboard was found via local classifieds. In it's former life, it was a cabinet stereo. It's now general storage and hides speakers to the bluetooth system. A bit of beeswax polish and four new legs and it became a new treasure for this home. the brass lamp is also a vintage piece, and the crow was one of those fortuitous finds at a local Yart Sale.

Now, on to that fireplace. Here's the before:

fireplace before 2

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Yikes.

The decision was made to simply paint the fireplace, rather than replace it. If a client intends to use a fireplace like this on a regular basis, my advice is typically to renovate it and install an insert. Wood and gas inserts are very efficient heaters (and can be absolutely gorgeous as well), whereas an old wood fireplace like this, while romantic, is essentially a hole in your house through which heat escapes. If you are installing an insert, you can also take a moment to consider complely transforming the fireplace and hearth with a new front using, for example, tile, or stone.

But as they don't use it frequently, wanted to keep some of the older features of the home in tact, and wanted to reserve more of their budget for exterior work, we used a simple and inexpensive method to transform it.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

The contrast between the dark charcoal color and the warm brass fittings is just gorgeous. Most of the brass pieces were sourced at vintage shops and flea markets and given a good polish. The tired old sconces were replaced with new ones that evoke the past, but still have modern chrome touches.

 

That's it for now. In coming posts we'll show you the before and after in other space in the home, including a fabulous new dining room.

Inspiration Board: Going Grey

Using grey in your decor only sounds boring. In reality it is color that can achieve a very classic, grown up look. It can also look a bit cold for some people's taste, hence people often shying away from using it as a primary shade when they decorate. If grey and chrome is your look, go for it! But if you want to retain some warmth while still enjoying a calm, grey palette, we've got and inspiration board with some tips for you to design a beautiful, serene space that still gives a cozy feeling of home. Inspriation board with tips on decorating with grey while keeping a warm and sophisticated look in your living room or any other room. Using warm metals like bronze and gold, greenery and soft textures.

Visit us on Polyvore for links to everything on the inspiration board.

Decor: A Converted Cottage

A personal design fantasy of mine involves renovating an old cottage in England. White washed walls, a thatch roof...it's the stuff of romantic notions indeed. Until such time as I up-stakes and move across the pond, or find a comparable cottage in these parts, I'll have to make do with house tours like this one of a beautiful little 1840's cottage. bedroom

kitchen

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So pretty - and the kitchen highlights that we don't necessarily need 150 square feet of prep space. Small is beautiful.

See the whole tour here.

Inspiration: Decorating with Pastels

Using pastels in interior decorating need not be over-the-top girly. It can create spaces that are warm, inviting and calm. Here's an inspiration board that shows you how to incorporate some beautiful, soft pastel tones into your living room decor. The soft pink and blue palette is complemented by the textures of natural fibres and knit decor. Lush! Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 2.08.13 PM

Our top tips for using pastels to create this effect:

  • Consider natural wood tones in your furnishings.
  • If you use metals, keep them in warm tones, like brass or copper.
  • Choose only a few main colors in your palette and then use tones of these throughout the room.
  • Use natural, soft textiles around the room - drapes, poufs, rugs, throws and cushions.
  • Go with a neutral on your big items, like sofas, and on the walls. This keeps the pastels form overwhelming the space.