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Many people like the charm and character of older homes, but often they can be daunted by the amount of restoration they require, as well as the costs associated with maintaining them. Many of my clients at Philip Mitchell Design request "A New Old Home." Essentially a house that feels and looks authentic in style, design and finishing, but that functions more efficiently than a historic property, with minimal or no upkeep.

The suggestions below definitely conjure historical charm and character, whether you are restoring, renovating, building an addition, or constructing a new home from scratch.

1. Paint Colours

Using historic paint colours for both interiors and exteriors provides that depth and softness often associated with period buildings.

2. Plumbing Fixtures

By adding original or reproduction vintage style faucets, pedestals, tubs and water closets, you can recreate that classic heritage feeling from a bygone era.

3. Windows And Doors

Selecting a specific window and door style based on appropriate historical style, size, mullion profile and glass can add that character often found in older homes.

4. Hardware

Installing historically accurate reproduction or antique handles, knobs and latches in timeless finishes like natural un-lacquered brass, bronze and iron, can provide instant age to a project.

5. Roofing Materials

Choosing a composite cedar roofing product or standing metal seam roof (rendered in steel, aluminum or copper) can add that bit of history to a newly constructed home, while virtually remaining maintenance free for years.

6. Architectural Salvage

Introducing a unique salvaged architectural element, such as a vintage cabinet or an antique mantelpiece from a historic building, add character into a new space, and is eco friendly at the same time.

7. Lighting

Introducing a number of different types and sources (wall sconces, surface mount fixtures, pendants and picture lights) of antique-look lighting fixtures can add a charming ambiance to new space.

Browse a gallery of Philip's designs.

Photo sources:
1. Benjamin Moore
2. Spaces Design
3. Decorpad
4. Decorpad
5. Tim McGhie, via House & Home
6. Angus McRitchie, via House & Home
7. Remodelista
8. PMD Design Inspirations
9. James Dixon Architect PC
10. House & Home October 2010 issue
11. Steven Grambel, via House & Home
12. House & Home July 2010 issue. 

Author: 

Philip Mitchell

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