A 1930s house is the perfect setting for an eclectic blend of midcentury, vintage and contemporary style.
This 1930s home is the perfect blend of vintage, midcentury and contemporary style.
LOU’S PRACTICAL AND ELEGANT BOOKCASE was built in to maximize a narrow space. “The shelves aren’t deep, so the books sit at the front, which creates a library-like feel,” she says. “My friends often browse and pick something out to borrow.” WHEN LOU WATKINS STARTED HOUSE-HUNTING, HER NUMBER ONE “MUST-HAVE” WAS A GARDEN. While she loves period properties, she decided to focus on 1930s houses, as she felt upkeep might be an issue with anything older. Lou found a three-bedroom home she loved in 2012. “It offered plenty of space for the price, although the interior felt harsh and clinical, with orangey pine, yellow walls and brown carpets and laminate floors.” Over the ensuing years, she’s combined the midcentury style she loves with upcycled bargains and modern finds, and now has color, pattern and interesting pieces everywhere you look. “I’m drawn to elements from lots of different eras and styles rather than sticking with one look,” she says. She’s used clean, geometric fabrics and wallpapers for an updated retro edge. “Since then I’ve added dark tones for weight and contrast, and bright pops of color too.” Lou is an equal opportunity shopper, hunting at contemporary vendors as well as from vintage dealers, artisan makers and ebay sellers. To create storage space, one of the first jobs she tackled was having the bookcase built. “I treasure my books,” she says. For flexibility, she bought neutral-colored seating. “Every house has one tricky room, and for me it was my dining room,” she says. “It barely gets any natural light, but instead of trying to fight the darkness, I’ve decided to go with it. It’s worked well, especially as this is an evening
“I’ve mixed my favorite elements FROM DIFFERENT ERAS.”
space. The fireplace is the focal point. I painted the pine surround and the period-style flowery tiles, which luckily weren’t original. The black wallpaper on the chimneybreast centers the room and adds elegance and real drama.” Storage is provided in two upcycled period display cabinets, which have more of a ’30s feel, and additional display space comes via a gorgeous cocktail cart. Lou often works from home and has plenty of room to keep organized, thanks to a Ladderax shelf unit and a bureau. The dark paint, she says, was inspired by social media. “I saw this gorgeous deep gray-green color; my office was an ideal place to experiment because it’s self-contained and I’m not in there every day. I’m absolutely thrilled with the result. I can easily focus when I’m working, as it’s almost cocoon-like. She accessorized with vibrant tones like orange, turquoise, pink and yellow. Now that she’s settled in, Lou has the textiles, accessories and one-off furniture items to make her home eclectic, comfortable and unique.
LOU FOUND HER MAGAZINE RACK ON EBAY. The teak finish and pared-down midcentury design are just her taste.
“The ’50s styling with the splayed legs really appeals [to me],” she says, “I love cushions, so having plain chairs means I can add color and interesting prints and textures.” LOU’S COMFY SEATING IS CONTEMPORARY.