By Hebe Hatton
We hear the phrase 'good bones' a lot. People can look past a lot for 'good bones'. Shag rug carpets, lino flooring, avocado bathroom suits, or in this property's case, decor that hasn't been touched since its... lavish 80s reno with built in furniture adorning every room. It was a daunting thought for the homeowners, taking this house that was totally frozen in time and transforming it into, what they knew could be their dream modern home.
So no surprise it took five years for them to decide it was time for a renovation. They brought on designer Jenny Dina Kirschner for the project to breathe new life into what turned out to be a total gut renovation and a lot of new construction. The goal was to create a modern home that still had plenty of old-world charm – plaster moldings, arched doorways, hardwood parquet floors, French antiques – but all in a way that didn't feel stuffy but rather elegant and sophisticated. Let's take a tour...
From the very first glance, you can see Jenny achieved exactly what the homeowners were after. A space that's a real mix of antiques and what appear to be original features, and new contemporary pieces that give the home that sophisticated, purposely eclectic feel.
Antique chandeliers, vintage French furniture, and quirky, more Mid-century style pieces all mix in the living room. And the colors feel fresh and contemporary too despite the more traditional silhouettes, adding to that quirky blend of old and new.
The focal point is of course the large gallery wall. It's been painted entirely by the homeowner, except one Hunt Slonem piece, so brings so much personality into the room. Jenny made the decision to keep all the other walls simple and painting in a crisp white so the gallery wall would be the clear focus.
- Find more modern living room ideas in our gallery.
Formal sitting room
One of the more unusual requests for Jenny's brief was a 'tea room', a place that could be used for entertaining a few friends in an intimate but still sophisticated space. The elegant blue, white, and cream scheme feels perfect for a cozy gathering and again while antiques dominate in here there are some notable quirks, like the clown painting on the main wall and the retro glass pieces on the coffee table.
The snug is used as the family living room. More informal than the others, this space has a decidedly more modern feel which makes little room for antiquity. Kelly Wearstler's Graffito wallpaper sets the more relaxed tone, as does the huge corner sofa which really ups the coziness of the room. The color palette is more striking in here too, the bold blue and grey create a cool-toned space that suits the mood and purpose of the room.
A bright and airy kitchen was a must for the homeowners, so the far wall was transformed into a wall of windows to fill the space with plenty of natural light. The cabinets were kept light too – a classic white and gold hardware combo and even the pale marble used for the worktops and splashback help bounce even more light around the space.
A breakfast nook is nestled into one end of the space. Again, surrounded by windows it's always bathed in light. The chandelier from Ro Sham Beaux is the focal point here, with the matching mint green chairs and the funky fabric used to upholster the banquette, it feels quite the opposite of all the white and muted pinks used in the adjoining kitchen. The distinctive style makes it feel more like its own space, a clear zone within the room.
- Find more modern kitchen ideas in our gallery.
It's back to the old world feel in the stately dining room. Although despite being filled with antiques the space doesn't feel stuffy or overcrowded. A table of that size and in such a dark wood would normally be tricky to style, with the risk it would just totally overwhelm the room, but paired with the high ceilings, pale walls, and dusky pink velvet dining chairs it fits just right.
Some of the only darker hues in the property can be found in the downstairs powder room. Powder rooms just lend themselves to these darker more moody tones, and despite the tried and tested method of using lighter colors in smaller spaces, dark tones can have exactly the same effect, blurring the boundaries of the room. The glossy metro tiles help too.
And back to colors and contemporary style. The contrast between old and new in this house keeps it exciting, you don't know what to expect from one room to the next, and yet there is a cohesiveness here too, what seems to join the rooms together is a ton of personality.
Mitchell Black wallpaper adorns the walls in here, it's mixed with the layers of patterned rugs and the combination of spots and stripes with the furniture. It's a fun space, the life-size Stormtrooper and Darth Vader make sure of that, but it's a practical workspace too with a bespoke workspace and storage unit running along one wall.
The main bedroom feels suitably calming. The decor still has its quirks but the neutral color scheme and layers of soft, tactile fabrics has a soothing and inviting vibe. It's simple, and in comparison to a lot of the rooms isn't packed with furniture but that eclectic feel still remains.
The guest bedrooms are distinguishable by their clear color schemes. The pink-toned guest bedroom also has that balance between old and new with the mix of the antique bed (re-upholstered in that beautiful orange velvet) sitting against the backdrop of a contemporary wallpaper.
While a second guest bedroom sticks with an all-modern style, with a slight mid-century twist. In here texture adds all the interest to the classic blue and white palette, with waffle print wallpaper as the backdrop for the deep velvet blue headboard and boho-style bedding.
- See all our guest bedroom ideas for more inspiration.
The family bathroom is the epitome of this home's style, it's elegant, sophisticated, classic and yet filled with interesting quirks and personality. There's a lovely mix of textures and shapes in this room too with the herringbone floor tiles, simple square wall tiles, the classic shape of the claw-foot bath, and the...interesting addition of the fur rug.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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