RESTORATION TO ADORE

Find out how to bal­ance his­toric charm and fresh style in your next restoration pro­ject.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Contents - BY STEPHANIE AGNES-CROCKETT

Andy and Can­dis Mered­ith’s new book of­fers ex­pert tips on bal­anc­ing fresh style and his­toric charm in your next ren­o­va­tion pro­ject.

For his­toric home lovers, “new” does not nec­es­sar­ily equal “im­proved.” Whether you’re house hunt­ing for a fixer-up­per, or fix­ing up your homey house, you need to de­cide when to renovate and where to re­store. Old Home Love, by Andy and Can­dis Mered­ith of the ti­tle HGTV se­ries, of­fers in­struc­tion for mold­ing the rich his­tory of your cot­tage into a time­less trea­sure for to­day.

SAVE OR SCRAP?

When it comes to res­ur­rect­ing or raz­ing an old house, the Mered­iths err on the side of restoration. “In our opin­ion,” they say, “there is al­most al­ways a way to save it.” But that doesn’t mean stress­ing out about get­ting ev­ery­thing just right. “When we re­store a home,” they say, “we don’t make it per­fect.” In­stead, they do what they can to keep the struc­ture and his­toric­ity in­tact: “Most ma­te­ri­als can­not be repli­cated ex­actly,” they say, “but we can come

CLAS­SIC CAB­I­NETS. This gor­geous white kitchen fea­tures the house’s orig­i­nal cab­i­netry. “We re­stored the cab­i­nets with a lot of sand­ing, put­ty­ing, and paint­ing,” the Mered­iths write. Be­hind the counter, a stone back­drop en­hances the room’s his­tor­i­cal tex­ture, as does the cen­tral wooden is­land. Above, the glis­ten­ing chan­de­lier adds per­son­al­ity and glam­our.

close.” Of­ten it is pos­si­ble to match the style of the home, even with­out us­ing the same ma­te­ri­als. Try floor-to-ceil­ing cab­i­nets and out­door trim along the frontal ar­chi­tec­ture. Rather than al­low­ing the de­tails to stump you, look for the po­ten­tial in a pro­ject. “Long story short,” the Mered­iths say, “if you have the right mind-set, it’s al­most never too far gone.”

POL­ISHED AND PRAC­TI­CAL

Not only do the Mered­iths bring a pas­sion for old homes to the job, but they’re also great at what they do and of­fer a num­ber of tips for suc­cess­ful ren­o­va­tion, un­der­stand­ing the need to in­tro­duce mod­ern con­ve­niences into older homes. This is a nec­es­sary de­ci­sion, not only in the in­ter­est of com­fort, but also for safety. “We al­ways re­place elec­tri­cal [wiring] in old homes,” they say. “Noth­ing can burn down a house faster than bad elec­tri­cal [wiring].” Kitchens and bath­rooms are also im­por­tant ar­eas for ren­o­va­tion.

“Truly his­tor­i­cal kitchens,” the Mered­iths ad­mit, “are not all that prac­ti­cal for how we live to­day.” For this rea­son, the Mered­iths aren’t afraid to up­date cook­ing spa­ces with dish­wash­ers and present-day stoves. “We don’t try to hide the fact that we have mod­ern ap­pli­ances and fix­tures,” the Mered­iths write. “When we can af­ford it, we make pan­els to cover them, but when we can’t, we don’t stress too much over it.”

Like kitchens, bath­rooms ben­e­fit from up-to-date ren­o­va­tions. The Mered­iths rec­om­mend “new claw-foot tubs and bead­boards” as “a per­fect mix of the two pe­ri­ods, bring­ing both com­fort and style to a new old space.”

Dwelling Dé­cor

Andy and Can­dis of­fer tips for choos­ing how to style your old cot­tage.

RUGGED BEAUTY

Add color to your hard­wood floors with eye-catch­ing cov­er­ings. “Clas­sic furniture and an­tique rugs help draw at­ten­tion to the orig­i­nal de­tails of a his­tor­i­cal home,” the Mered­iths ex­plain. Match your or­na­men­ta­tion to your ar­chi­tec­ture.

KEEP IT SIM­PLE

When you do need to mod­ern­ize por­tions of your house, keep the up­dated el­e­ments un­der­stated. You want your house to be a com­fort­able place to live, but that doesn’t mean you have to sac­ri­fice rich his­toric­ity on the al­tar of con­ve­nience. MY FA­VORITE AN­TIQUES. The cream-col­ored sid­ing with framed herbal sketches serves as a crisp back­drop to the buf­fet used on the set of the movie, The Sound of Mu­sic, which finds its home in this quaint kitchen. Even so, choos­ing an­tiques does not have to be ex­trav­a­gant. The four iron chairs, which are an­tiques, came from a yard sale.

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PERSONALIZE WITH PRIDE

“Old homes are not meant to be mu­se­ums,” the Mered­iths say. “They are places for chil­dren and adults alike to let their imag­i­na­tions grow.” Rather than wel­com­ing only an­tiques into your home, give it room to breathe in the present. “Find what speaks to you,” they say, “and don’t be afraid the house won’t ac­cept and love it.”

BACK TO BASICS

“Em­brac­ing and ac­cen­tu­at­ing the nat­u­ral and un­der­ly­ing build­ing ma­te­ri­als is part of our ren­o­va­tion style,” the Mered­iths write. That means ex­pos­ing stately ceil­ing beams and strip­ping down to orig­i­nal sur­rounds. “We love be­ing able to see the rough edges in a home,” the Mered­iths say, “along with the pol­ished.”

SIMPLIFIED STYLES. For new furniture that looks old, like the gray-blue cab­i­netry in this 1920s home, choose ba­sic styles that evoke a sim­pler time. Dress up your walls with an­tique plates, and ex­per­i­ment with old-fash­ioned light fix­tures. An­tique rugs are also a fan­tas­tic dec­o­rat­ing choice, as they color the room, while in­tro­duc­ing a tra­di­tional el­e­ment.

|ABOVE| INTERSECTION OF TIMES. Th­ese rooms are an ef­fort­less blend of past and present, com­bin­ing the his­tor­i­cal el­e­ments of the orig­i­nal home with some pops of mod­ern vi­brancy. In the eat­ing nook, the el­e­gance of the paint­ing and chan­de­lier is re­freshed with French bistro chairs topped with mod­ern furs. In the above right photo, the pi­ano and hall rack un­der­score the pre­served mold­ing and stained glass, while mod­ern wall­pa­per adds a youth­ful en­ergy.

“Things can get worse be­fore

they get bet­ter. In­stead of look­ing at the cracked plaster and dirty walls, we see what’s un­der­neath and what

it can be­come.”

|TOP LEFT| BRICKATECTURE. “Some­times it’s hard to know when it’s okay to paint brick,” the Mered­iths say. “Our gen­eral rule is if it was built be­fore 1950, we don’t.” From the rooftop weather vane to the porch steps, this house is a his­tor­i­cal gem of the past, as well as a stately, mod­ern prize.

|TOP RIGHT| AC­CU­RATE ARCHWAY. Restor­ing orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­ture can be chal­leng­ing, but this grand porch re­flects the beauty of keep­ing to the house’s orig­i­nal pat­tern. It helps that the same fam­ily has owned this turn-of-the-cen­tury gem since it was built. The well-pre­served porch wel­comes guests through an in­trigu­ing archway, with a some­what en­closed seat­ing area. The ma­jes­tic stone ex­te­rior makes the house stand out, even cen­turies after it was built.

Old Home Love by Andy and Can­dis Mered­ith, pub­lished by Gibbs Smith,

2017; gibbs-smith.com.

|LEFT| NOOKS & CRANNIES. Al­though this bath­room wel­comes mod­ern day plumb­ing, the sim­ple sink harks back to wash­basins of old. With­out at­tract­ing un­due at­ten­tion to it­self, it serves its pur­pose. When in­tro­duc­ing mod­ern fea­tures, seek out sub­tle utilitarian pieces, and let the house’s ar­chi­tec­ture do the talk­ing.

|BOT­TOM LEFT| BLACK IS BACK. Black, which some may con­sider a mod­ern color, is ac­tu­ally a his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate color choice for an old home. “Black was a com­mon house color in the 1800s,” the Mered­iths say. To­day, it re­mains a sleek choice, par­tic­u­larly off­set with the clean white trim fram­ing the win­dows and door.

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