Paint and pattern—and a lot of ingenuity—update a mix of fixer-upper furnishings with interesting silhouettes and curvaceous turns.
Old and familiar blend with the new and the now in this sweet 1939 cott age—for instance, Grandmother’s milkglass compotes poised atop a stack of gridded IKEA bookcases. Or the sweet paired with the strong—a pink ﬂ oral wallpaper backdrop for a Saarinen-inspired Tulip table. It’s a look held together by a palett e of blue, yellow, pink, cream, and black, and by ample use of furnishings chosen for their clean forms.
But none of these items cost a mint. Some are family treasures, while others were found at thrift stores, home centers, and the occasional roadside garbage pile. Simple stitched projects— pillows, ott oman slipcovers, and drapes—show how easy it is to personalize a purchased item into one-of-a-kind. There’s great satisfaction in doing something yourself, even if it is done a litt le less than perfect.
Before decorating began in this 930-squarefoot nest, the owner focused on the colors and ﬁ nishes for the walls, ﬂ oors, and windows, camping out in the basement until the walls and ceilings were painted or papered and the ﬂ oors reﬁ nished. For the living room’s color palett e, soft restful colors were chosen—a neutral but elegant gray for the walls and a sky blue for the ceiling. To ground the room, window sashes were painted a sharp gray and the wood ﬂ oors deepened to a rich, dark walnut hue.
Though it’s always helpful to paint and stain sample boards to see how colors may look in a room before committ ing to labor-intensive painting, mistakes sometimes happen. But when your greatest cost is a gallon of paint, it’s a comfort to know the only thing you’ll be out is a litt le time, a few dollars, and maybe a sore back.
Create striped art from rolls of electrical and painter’s tape wrapped around a board, opposite. Tip: Cut strips longer than your board—electrical tape shrinks. Mix it up To freshen vintage style, mix bold, buoyant patterns in bright colors. Castoffs and affordable big-box items can be personalized to great effect: An $18 canvas drop cloth was the raw material for one of the armchair slipcovers, above.
On the ledge
The demilune ledge is embellished with embossed wallpaper from a home center and a DIY marble finish, above.
Keeping foundation pieces neutral—a white slipcovered chair and a black bookshelf—allows you to update a room with striking accessories, such as a bold chevron pillow, above left.
White paint brings harmony to mismatched furniture, such as these dining chairs, below left. New fabric seat covers finish the look. A polystyrene ceiling medallion and crystal chandelier make the small room feel grand
A builder kitchen was refreshed with unexpected pops of sea-glass green— new cabinet fronts and knobs, countertops, even ceiling paint—to boost the 1930s appeal, below.