Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Visit the Historic Home this weekend

This Saturday I will be speaking at the annual Historic Home Show and Designer Craftsman show in King of Prussia, Pa. The show runs from Thurs. Jan28th-Sunday the 31st. A wonderful collection of exhibitors from Architects and Designers to period appropriate building materials, hand-crafted decorative accessories and antiques can be found there this weekend.
My topic title is “Living with History, making your historic house a home”. I am very excited about the opportunity to share with so many my philosophies of design and living. I feel that no matter what your means your house can be a warm and inviting home that your friends and family love to visit. As you have read before in this blog I have learned to make the best of wretched floors, roughly plastered walls and limited space.
My 25 plus years of design experience has taught me that even though you are itching to transform your house quickly into your vision of design and style, the best way to have a truly rich multi-layered “look” is to take your time and slowly get to know your house and its many quirks and delights waiting for you around every corner.
Your historic house has no doubt seen many periods and usually more than one owner or two in its lifetime and you are in the great position to keep some of the adaptations to its structure that have come before you and to discard others giving you the ability to make your own mark upon it in your own time.
Remember, whether your house was built in 1720, 1856, or 1930 you have the opportunity to tell the next generations to come how we of the 21st century restored and interpreted our houses and how we hopefully passed on the best of the past history of the house to them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What to do with your "awful" floors in your historic home.

Refinishing your floors in your historic home may not be an option at first. You may have more important renovations to take care of and certainly floors are the last to be redone as you would not want to have to redo them yet again if a careless contractor spilled paint or scratched them. My problem was that our floors in our Dutch Colonial had never been restored since the house had been built in 1930.


I was faced with the problem of floors that were stained, scratched and worn with the traffic of a family of two children and a backyard pool. What to do? If we had invested in having them redone, the constant stream of football players, little brownies and small wet feet would surely undo the effort and yet as a designer I needed to come up with something other than just throwing a pretty rug down.

My solution was to start with a small (4×6) area painted by a friend directly onto the floor in the front entrance hall. It has lasted for 12 years now and I feel it has just the right mix of vivid color and the contrast of the worn floor beneath.

Next was the kitchen and I found a local artist to paint a historic stencil design on it with a heavy polyurethene coating over it that has handled all the kitchen traffic and activity easily.

Our little family room also got a great simple “border rug” from the same artist and it has held up great for many summers as the steady stream of wet feet made their way from the pool to the bathroom.

Think “outside the box” when you have a design issue and very little money. Refinishing the floors at a later date, whether they had been touched by an artists brush or not, would have cost the same in time and money and not been nearly as special.