With the instantaneous nature of social media, many interior design trends are here today, gone tomorrow. That’s not necessarily the case with re-purposed and distressed design stories, however. Rather than being shiny and new, and therefore destined to a limited shelf life, accenting a room with antiqued-themed accessories and themes often create such a one-of-a-kind aesthetic that it presents a design with staying power.
“People are drawn to vintage looks because of their uncommon uniqueness,” remarks Kim Pheiffer of KP Designs, based in Columbus, Ohio. The firm is home to 14 designers and currently is working on more than 50 projects ranging from window treatments to full kitchen and bathroom makeovers.
“Often times a vintage design approach incorporates a nautical or farmhouse feel. Even in a brand new home, clients can bring that vintage look to a room, for lived-in feel with striking architectural details. In that sense, you can take what would otherwise be a ‘cookie-cutter’ home and give it a truly custom look and feel.”
On a broad scale, KP Designs has installed shiplap over drywall and reclaimed barn wood, which can be painted or stained. “It adds tremendous depth and dimension to a room,” Pheiffer explains, adding that their firm has also achieved the same effect using brick facing on walls. “It’s unexpected casual, for a relaxed treatment that really stands out.”
On a smaller scale, hints of the nautical and aquatic looks can, likewise, achieve the same carefree feel. “It’s not about full-fledged anchors or starfish everywhere, but just a few seafaring touches in soothing greys and blues,” she says. “One color we’ve been loving is called seasalt—it’s almost a green-blue with just a hint of grey.” Additional elements that pull the look together are rope textures and colored glasses, such as lamps that incorporate touches of muted blues and greens.
Other accessories Pheiffer and her team seek out are those that traditionally have served one function in days gone by, but that can be repurposed as an eyecatching embellishment. For example, KP Designs has made beautiful use of unconventional mirrors that are more artwork than looking glasses. On another project, the firm purchased corbels in Paris that were originally used at a train station and used them to flank a doorway opening.
Asked why vintage and subtle nautical themes have remained so popular over the years, and Pheiffer offers a simple explanation: “I think it’s retail stores that drive it, but in the end it allows people to take something they may have admired during vacationing or travels and bring a bit of that feeling and memory home with them.”
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