COMFORTABLE - This main floor living room in a True Line Homes show home in Laredo would be the perfect space to host morning coffee with friends.

Discover the joys of decorating vintage homes

Red Deer designer talks about recent trends

How many of you love old homes?

I have a romantic and nostalgic connection with heritage homes as I grew up in a graceful three-storey brick home. When I travel, I am more likely to search out the old boutique hotel or B&B than to stay at the swanky hotel.

While hauling my suitcase up three floors isn’t much fun and the rooms can be cramped, it is a world of history and exquisite detail that awaits!

My favourite comedian, Chris Hardwick just ran a video on Zillow where he talked about the home he lives in with his new wife, Lydia Hearst.

It is a gothic dream reminiscent of old Hollywood that they like to call ‘Victorian Gentleman Serial Killer’ which is in keeping with the couples’ sense of humor.

The home is filled with gothic light fixtures, taxidermy, random antiques and a strange collection of horror movie memorabilia which fit right in with the style and age of the home.

I think I am more the early Victorian, lace and damask type of old home lover – however to each his own. It is refreshing and inspiring to watch someone give us an insight into their home which is slightly quirky and may have superhero costumes hanging in the closet.

I applaud people who can truly make an interior space their own without apology and without worry about what everyone will think and assume about them because they have a different take on interior space.

With older homes, you can tend to get away with more risks such as brighter colours and bold statements because these homes are not cookie cutter usual like most houses today.

The fun about renovating an old home is often the discovery of hidden items. When I was a kid I helped my parents scrape off 12 layers of wallpaper and newspaper to uncover a hidden fireplace.

I have renovated with clients and have excavated pocket doors with beautiful stained glass and have seen wooden beams exposed after taking down ugly and dated ceiling tiles.

Vintage homes will often have quaint spaces such as vestibules and window seating areas which are just begging for a unique touch such as colour or drapery.

These whimsical spaces want to be adorned with bright colours and vintage finds that seem perfectly made to fit such areas. The fun in finding those perfect items can take up many weekends as you estate sale your way to the ultimate antique (or maybe the tacky taxidermy item).

Even items that are discoloured or aged can be refinished to your exact taste.

One of my favorite items in my home is a HUGE mirror that I rescued and painted gloss black. It was nothing to look at in its worn-out state but it is fabulous and now retro-chic!

If you are looking for a space to inspire your creativity and to give you passion for finding the old and discarded then working on an older home is the perfect prescription.

These graceful old gals are ladies in waiting (for you) to adorn and bejewel them with their former splendor with an updated twist.

The unique and the strange can become part of your everyday living and believe me it is one of the most rewarding and fun experiences you can ever have in home ownership.

Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Realtor/Ask a Designer’.

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