Let your house lead the way.
The other night I was watching a show on HGTV (yes, I watch those too). The designer’s task was to give the kitchen a much needed makeover. As the designer started, practical matters were addressed, such as storage space, prep space, and family dining space. So far, so good, I thought. And then the design was revealed. The space was to be turned into an ultra modern, super sleek, stainless steel and white kitchen. That may sound good, except for the fact that the homeowners had an ultra conservative, very traditional, colonial home. The newly designed kitchen just did not fit into that house (and she is a well known designer – what was she thinking?)
I see that a lot. Many homeowners have a certain design style in mind, and will force it into a house where it doesn’t belong. How many black granite countertops were installed in houses where they didn’t belong, just because it happened to be the popular choice at that moment? How many 70’s split levels were forced to give up their cool vibe to accommodate traditional over-stuffed furniture? How many turn-of-the-century homes had their history erased with a poorly conceived kitchen remodel?
I say, embrace the style of your house. Go outside and stand on the sidewalk, face your house, and take it all in. Is it a traditional Georgian? A mid-century ranch? A bungalow? Your house will give you clues to your design style. Now step inside. Look at the details that are built in. What does the trim look like? Is it heavily adorned or clean and simple? What do the banisters and railings look like? How about the fireplace brick and mantle? Look at the style of the doors. These were all put in place when the house was built, and if the builder had good sense, should reflect the style of that house.
So if you’ve got that split-level – embrace it with a cool, clean, soft modern design. Keep the flavor of your 1920’s bungalow with a retro inspired vintage chic aesthetic. Pay homage to the history of your Victorian with warm colors and tufted furniture. Listen to your house, and it will lead the way.