Is it vintage or is it tacky?

Due to recently client activity and budget I have been showing a lot of older homes. Let’s call these fixer uppers, handyman special or just in need of TLC. I’m thankful that I have clients who are ready and willing to buy a house that needs some love as that presents a wonderful challenge for me as both a realtor and a designer to help them find the perfect home.

As we have been looking at properties we have jokingly talked about all things vintage that we are finding in homes. There have been a few moments of absolute laugh out loud as we poke our heads into a bathroom to see the matching lavender tub and toilet and more gasps of either horror or humor as we find ourselves in a disco inspired basement with pulsing bright orange shag carpet not only on the floors but on the walls and ceiling. It has been a trip, man.

Sometimes people live in their homes and never feel the need to change things. Often a room or basement space is packed with storage boxes and the flooring and wood panelled walls have not seen the light of day since 1972. Very often we get so used to our surroundings that we don’t see how aged the décor is until we empty out spaces or go to sell our property.

Change will often shake us out of our complacency and encourage us to re-decorate a room whether it’s a child moving off to college or your adult child or aging parent moving back home. Suddenly that room that has been frozen in time for decades needs a facelift or a huge transformation.

The room at the end of our hall has just been vacated by my boyfriend’s son who has moved on to his own place and now the room is bare and dusty and its age is showing. While he was living there I didn’t give the room any thought except to vacuum it once in awhile but now I have my sights set on another guest room for when the children come home for the holidays. He is even waiting and asking when I am going to re-do his room into a ‘masterpiece’ like I have apparently done with other areas in the home.

It’s hard to say how long this tucked away room has been decorated with the hint of southwest sage green and rose Aztec but once the purpose of it changes then the décor becomes extremely important. When I take the use of this room from housing a 20-something outdoorsy young man to a guest retreat to house my daughter and other friends, I suddenly want softness and sweet colours instead of super hero posters and race cars on the window sill.

Is your whole house a handyman special or are there just a few corners which need the dust cleaned and the walls painted? If you can look at any part of your home and see patterns and colours from a bygone era, you might be using the word vintage as I am as I dream of the day the minty green carpet gets removed from our new guestroom.

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

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