Looking to create a individual and unique home that blends new and old? Director and founder of Scaramanga, Carl Morenikeji reveals some simple techniques for blending modern and vintage interior styles to create a truly original home along with his ‘black book’ of his favourite places to buy vintage and antique interiors.
Imagine a room or space with just vintage and antique interiors; it might look stuffy and just plain ‘old’ or ‘dated’, right? Same goes for a room may seem soulless with nothing but contemporary furniture and decorations. Blend the two, and you can create an interior with a real wow factor that will be completely original. completely yours.
In its simplest, blending old and new is a look that is a creative mix of contrasting elements. So it means things do not have to match, keep them unique and individual rather than complying with any particular style. With almost every high-street store selling something ‘vintage’ it’s not a case a rushing out to buy mass-produced newly distressed furniture to contrast a sleek modern element. Instead look for authentic vintage furniture and decorative interiors that have a real story to tell or has character built over time. However, the trick is to get it harmonious and fluid.
In the room above a compact natural wooden chest of drawers acts as a display for a collection of vintage curios including an industrial heat lamp (see our industrial lights to achieve a similar look) and typewriter. In contrast, the hearth displays contemporary white ceramic pots and vases. But there is fluidity because of a similar colour scheme. Antique and vintage furniture was usually built by hand to last from solid hardwoods, textiles woven from natural fibres with natural dyes and by expert craftspeople with skills passed down the generations. Of course many pieces are reused for different purposes and recycled and changed for 21st century living. Importantly they are kinder to the environment. Buy these and they will last you a very long time too.
Have faith in your ability. There really are no rules. Just contrast. If there’s too much faded colour then tone it down with glossy monotone enamel or glass. When you are adding a modern piece think vintage next and vice verse. If you have glossy or modern tableware consider balancing it with a great texture, such as our distressed painted side table.
Carl’s 5 tips for creating an eclectic interior:
- Make it personal – many notable eclectic vintage and modern interiors are filled with striking personal finds: inherited, bought on eBay, found in skips, given as gifts, collected on holiday. They all have personal stories to tell and a unique history. Together they combine to create look that you can call your own. A willingness to embrace difference decorative arts and elements is essential and not a single style is essential. Going original with your vintage finds does have to cost the earth. Well made original vintage furniture and interiors can often be bought for the same price as mass-produced replicas. In short, buy what you love, oh and our vintage furniture is indeed affordable!
- A balancing act – ensure no style, era or theme dominates your spaces. For a real harmonious look, aim for equal measures of contrasting elements – both old and new. Try adding contemporary colour to traditional antique pieces. Carl and his wife Emma, chose a colourful wild exotic fruit wallpaper named ‘Pomegranate’ by Pierre Frey. In front of the wallpaper are a collection of small natural wooden boxes with small drawers. A large 1980s office clock sits next to antique chemists bottles and a corned beef packing crate on top of an bedroom armoire in Carl’s kitchen. Below a Scaramanga vintage mirror works well in this contemporary bathroom, and again adds texture to a smooth modern wall.
4. Changing objects – take items of their original setting and re-contextualise them. Antique shuttered window frames were used below the sink and worktop as cupboard doors in Carl’s kitchen. Evolution and not revolution – an eclectic interior should be changing all the time. Move things around, add and take away whenever you want.
5. Size doesn’t matter – remember there are really no rules, so put big things in small rooms and small things in big rooms to create contrasts. Carl and Emma have a large white 1980s office clock in the corner of their kitchen.
6. Add one stand out element. It could b a large farmhouse kitchen table (see our large range of vintage tables and desks) in a dining room or a painted wardrobe in a kitchen to be used as a larder. It’s size and presence will draw people attention and create a talking point. A large painted wardrobe was used in Carl’s kitchen as a free standing cupboard for food. In the image below a beautiful intricate set of antique doors and frame are clearly the centre piece yet more contemporary elements include a chrome and glass coffee table.
Carl spoke asked Dundee based interior design Sooz Gordon whether we should follow trends closely when styling a space?
“With every New Year there are new trends to go with it, and interiors is no exception. Just to keep it confusing, different brands will select a different colour of the year or variation of a trend. It all comes down to personal taste, whether you like the colour and more importantly do you care about following a trend? I don’t, but it is an option if you are stuck for a colour to try next and are looking for some inspiration. My advice would be to look at different tones of the so-called trend colours and find what connects with you. What I mean is, try and not to go for the obvious, the same swatch colour that is featured in all the design magazines. There are lots of paint companies, so look beyond Dulux (not that there is anything wrong with Dulux) as I can guarantee that is what everyone will be using. Try Farrow & Ball, Fired Earth, Paint Library, The Little Greene and so on”.
Sooz Gordon: http://soozgordondesigns.com/ @SoozGordon
So where do Carl and Emma shop when looking for vintage and antiques for their home:
- Pine Lodge Auction and Interiors – very close to where we live and it’s a real Aladdin’s cave. You never quite know what’s going to appear. A mix of new, vintage and antique interiors and furniture. Greenmyre Farm, Auchtermuchty Rd, Dunshalt, Fife, KY14 7ET, 01337 827 007
- Oscar Dahling Antiques – when I lived in London I used to walk past Oscar’s shop on my way to work. He specialises in Deco and Edwardian pieces and always has a good selection of Angelpoise lamps. Cherry Orchard Rd, Croydon CR0 6BE, 020 8681 8090
- Courtyard Antiques – you need a long time to have a good look around Lewis’ shop. Somehow he’s able to display a lot of stock without making it seem crammed in and in accessible. 108A Causewayside, Edinburgh EH9 1PU, 0131 6629008
- Abernyte Antiques and Collectors Centre, Abernyte, A very varied selection of over 50 antique dealers all under one roof. Perthshire, PH14 9SJ, 01828 686044
- Newark Antique & Collector’s Fair – you’ll need a whole day to explore this huge outdoor event. This is where antique and vintage dealers buy their stock. Go well prepared!! Read Carl’ article on buying at fairs. Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground, Newark, Nottinghamshire: http://www.iacf.co.uk/newark