Your home is a reflection of you, your style and your taste. But whilst for many, an ultra modern home is the target, with everything gleaming and new, some people (me included) look towards the styles of the past when they are creating their ideal living space.
I live in a Victorian mid terraced house that is celebrating its 124th birthday this year. We were very lucky when we moved in, many of the period features were still in place, including original doors with the original rim locks still in place and the pigs ear hand rail on the stairs. Other features had unfortunately disappeared, the large sash windows had been replaced by a 1970s style bay, and many of the cast iron fireplaces had also disappeared. But the great news is that, these days, you can replace the period features that you may have lost, either with original finds, or with very good quality reproductions.
Here are a few ways to add vintage to your retro home.
An Edwardian Conservatory
It is a common misconception that leads many to think that conservatories are a modern invention. For whilst the idea of putting them on suburban houses may be fairly recent, conservatories themselves date back to the 18th century when they became a popular addition onto stately homes.
An Edwardian conservatory is the best way to keep your home looking traditional and vintage. The mixture of window sizes and the ornamental central ridge give the conservatory an elegant look that will suite a period property.
A Cast Iron Radiator
We want our homes to be warm and cosy, but that doesn’t mean that our mod cons need to be ultra modern or ugly. Feature Radiators stock a wide range of what can only be described as beautiful, period reproduction radiators that would be perfectly placed in your Victorian, Edwardian or Art Deco styled home. These cast iron radiators are designed in a vintage style but have all the advantages of modern radiators, looking so stylish and elegant, whilst still keeping your home warm. This sort of detail can elevate your period styled home to the next level in terms of authenticity and ‘the look’.
Photos in frames or albums have been pretty popular ever since it was possible for the average person to own photos. Some like to place them in frames, while others will use photo books throughout the place. You can place them on tables or chairs, or up high on shelves. Photo books can be designed to look vintage and fit in with the home’s running décor. It makes for a great space filler while also being something for people to pick up and have a look through. If you were putting up photos in frames, it’s just about making sure the color in the photo fits in with your room’s overall theme.
Fireplaces are one of the best period features you can find in a property – real works of beauty in many cases, whether they are cast iron efforts or Adams style. Unfortunately, they were a period feature that has often been ripped out, especially in bedrooms. But the good news is that these can be replaced.
There are many good quality reproduction fireplaces that can help you get the look, but it is also worth looking at reclamation yards and antique shops and centres like The Doghouse antiques who also have reclaimed original fireplaces. These sometimes need to be worked on as a restoration product, but the end results can be wonderful.
The beautiful sash windows of the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian era were another item that were a casualty of the 1970s and 1980s era of modernisation. Today you can add sash windows to your property that have all the style of era’s gone by, but also have the practicality of UPVC – these are not likely to suffer from woodworm or wood rot and so are practical and hardworking in our modern times.
Charity shops are the best place to hunt from finishing touches if you are aiming to add vintage style from your home. Mismatched china, glass dressing table and vanity sets and 1930s style mirrors that often hang on chains are just some of the pieces that you can pick up quite cheaply in the bric-a-brac section of your local charity shops. I recently picked up an art deco coffee pot for £8 and an Amber Glass dressing table set, also in an Art Deco style, for less than £5. These are pieces that are affordable and eclectic.