Large scale renovations are an art form. And as with every art form, subtlety and a certain level of respect is required – respect for the space as much as respect for what you’re putting into it.
This is idea is what I picked up from this article about renovation from the Boston Globe. In that part of the world, a certain architectural tradition has made itself a characteristic of the region. And where everyone has their own idea of what makes for a successful transformation (which is what a renovation is, really), the idea put forward in the article by professional renovators Maryann and Daniel Little is that the key to success is updating a look is about modernizing it, while also staying true to the origins and general feel of the property. So, in more traditional spaces, it makes sense to have materials which are complementary.
Luckily in this particular context, it’s mostly about correcting the design atrocities of the past. And when I say past, of course I mean the 1970s. This seems to have been a time when some kind of gas was released – possibly by aliens – and taste went out the window in a flurry of avocado green and golden harvest carpeting. And of course even in the English Tudor, Georgian, and Colonial traditions and other architectural traditions in New England, wood flooring is a popular choice to make these sorts of changes.
In this case too, the designers turned to restoring the wood flooring and wall paneling, once the design ‘wrongs’ were righted. Wood surfaces allow for an attractive visual update without dampening the spirit of those traditions, or the general feel of the individual home. The same goes for stone surfaces, which match the exterior of the property. Basically, the surfaces they chose – the wood flooring, the stone tile – aren’t there because they’re trendy, but because they work with the whole property, and are in many ways timeless too.
I’m no renovation expert, of course. But if I was, the basic philosophy I’d start off with wouldn’t be too far away from this one –
- Ask myself if the changes made will complement the rest of the property that isn’t being changed,
- Get great materials that look good and will last, and
- Use my imagination accordingly.
In theory, I think I’d make a great renovator! Well, in theory…
Rob.Georgian home in New England image courtesy of ilovebutter.