The decorating maxim of mixing old with new is personified in the beautiful antique home I visited this week. The homeowners fell in love with their antique home at first sight for its beautiful setting and unique structure. Part of the home was a section of the Benjamin Beal lighthouse dating to 1830 that was moved from Salem Harbor to Hingham to join the 18th century dwelling on the property. A later addition was added in the 1990’s to provide a large family room and additional bedrooms. The mixing of old and new takes place both architecturally and decoratively throughout. ‘This Old House’ is fresh, bright and warm inside with beautifully chosen paint colors and lots of natural light (even on a rainy day!). Antique features are embraced and sit comfortably alongside modern furniture and lighting.
On the subject of brown furniture, the homeowner admits to loving brown wood pieces for their handcrafted architectural beauty and enthusiastically shows me to a secretary she has in her ‘music room’. This attractive federal-style secretary fell out of favor with a family member and was sold to a antiques dealer only to be re-purchased and reclaimed by another! So it remains in the family and is set in the ‘music room’ which houses a piano and several guitars. There are musicians, past and present, on both sides of the family and their heritage is beautifully displayed in this comfortable sitting room. As with art, antique furniture (brown) pieces naturally add a unique feeling to any room they inhabit due to their hand-crafted nature. We are both in full agreement of the necessity of brown furniture and are perplexed by the current rejection of this mindset.
I loved speaking with the realtor-homeowner about her design habits and guidlines. She feels a room should be maximum 70% decorated to allow for the random, personal touches and feels all rooms should have something broken, ugly and/or brown – not perfect but personal. She moves her furniture and accessories around on a regular basis and is an admitted ‘design junky’ having worked in the industry in several different roles before Realestate.
I could have chosen any (and every) room to focus on but honed in on the living room for its pretty color scheme and furnishings to incorporate a few pieces from Waterhouse. The color-scheme is a warm combination of dark-pink and salmon tones set off by yellow and white walls and windows, accented with gold-tone hardware for a little glamor. Collected items are displayed artfully on all surfaces including a beautiful glass top, painted rod-iron table flanked by clear lucite chairs showing a collection of art and decorating books. There is a clear nod to chinoiserie in her accessories so I chose a collection of Japanese woodblock prints from the 50’s done after 18th and 19th century examples all mounted in gilt bamboo frames. The prints are hung three by three (nine total) to compliment the white bamboo etagere on the opposite side of the front window. Above the gilt-tone bamboo and glass bar we hung an original oil painting depicting a scene of Worlds End by Hingham artist Margaret McWethy. The colors, loose impressionistic style and gold frame added the ‘vibe’ that an original painting brings to any space and nicely complimented the existing decor.
I am so grateful to homeowner Angie Stevenson for letting me into her beautiful home to use as a perfect example of how to mix old with new. She was even gracious when the painting I hung using removable 3M hooks fell onto her glass bar. Thankfully everything (and everyone!) survived intact.