Blending the old with the new in renovations

Last weekend I had the wonderful experience of attending a local house concert.

I have been part of this family’s event in the past and always look forward to their hospitality, delicious food and entertaining music. This event did not disappoint and it was such a relaxing and fun evening reconnecting with people and soaking up the amazing talents of these young musically talented folks.

As we sat in our comfy lounge chairs and listened to the songs being presented I couldn’t help but look around and analyze what made this type of event so satisfying.

The home is an older renovated bungalow with a sprawling layout which is very conducive to hosting large parties. The owners have taken some of the elements and upgraded them yet they have left items from another era in place such as the large limestone fireplace and wood panelled walls in certain areas.

This reminded me that when planning a renovation, it isn’t always necessary to demolish and remove every aspect of a home. Sometimes there are elements that are worth keeping and working with even though they may be older and dated.

Often you can successfully add modern elements to an older home which blend beautifully with original elements. It can also help save some money if you are able to keep some of the original elements.

I was doing a design consultation yesterday with a former client that I haven’t seen in five years.

It was so fun to be back in their home and to help them as they carry on with the next phase of their renovations.

Years ago we updated the paint and flooring and added new countertops and backsplash and now they are working on doing a refresh of their kitchen cabinets. Again, we are able to work with the existing cabinets as they are in great shape and have a timeless style so the cost of this renovation will be considerably less than if they were starting fresh with new cabinets.

The pieces in this kitchen that can be removed or altered are easy; a light valance and shelves around the kitchen window, a desk area and the dated cabinet pulls are the main items which need tweaking.

Add a darker stain to the cabinets and you have a completely refreshed kitchen for minimal dollars. As we walked through the rest of the house I advised them to replace bedroom doors and closet doors and to refresh the look of the house with larger baseboards and window and door trim.

These minor fixes will visually refresh the home and get the smaller dated elements out which makes a huge impact on the feel of the space.

When planning your renovation, it is possible to create a brand new look around existing elements.

Don’t be too quick to dismiss items which may add to the overall design theme – especially if these items are large or expensive to replace.

Sometimes it can be resurfaced, recoloured or updated just enough to make it have a whole new life. Something in your home that you may not think works can fit if it is blended into the new design plan either with a new colour or a few modern updates. Consider the existing parts of your home that may be used in your pending restoration.

Kim Wyse is a local freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer’.

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