Creating a Classic Interior: A Timeless Transformation

The homeowners’ collection of art and antiques are incorporated into the design. In the 1930s, the owners of a New England Colonial were faced with low ceilings, cramped rooms, and outdated features. They contemplated moving...

Creating a Classic Interior The homeowners’ collection of art and antiques are incorporated into the design.

In the 1930s, the owners of a New England Colonial were faced with low ceilings, cramped rooms, and outdated features. They contemplated moving away but ultimately decided to invest in a comprehensive renovation. Working closely with a team of experts, including architect, builder, and interior designer Michael Carter of Carter & Company Interior Design, they embarked on a journey to create a classic yet contemporary home that seamlessly merged the past with the present. Their efforts were recognized with a prestigious Bulfinch Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art New England, celebrating their success in preserving and advancing the region's classical tradition.

A Modern Interpretation of Tradition

Creating a Classic Interior Carter keeps the dining space formal—the colors used are cool and elegant.

Carter's design approach respected the classical bones of the structure while infusing it with new materials, modern style, and a contemporary color palette. The homeowners' collection of art and antiques formed the foundation of the design, with Carter incorporating custom-made furniture, wall and floor coverings, and accents to complement these cherished pieces. By using materials like rock crystal, acrylic, and unique woods, he added elements that exuded elegance and sophistication, elevating the space beyond its historical context.

The interior underwent a refreshing transformation, with renewed colors, stylish wall treatments, and carefully chosen furnishings. Studio E wallpapers, custom-made carpets from Michaelian & Kohlberg, and curtain fabric from Quadrille, Fortuny, and Lucy Rose Design contributed to the overall aesthetic. The color scheme leaned towards cool and elegant tones, accented by pops of aqua, pale coral, and sunny yellow. The custom-made carpets, aged to resemble century-old heirlooms, tied the rooms together while adding depth and character.

Achieving Dignified Grace

Carter meticulously selected furniture pieces that harmonized with the homeowners' antiques, resulting in a sense of dignified grace. A Jerry Pair dining table paired with a Dennis & Leen chandelier, David Iatesta chairs surrounding a Furniture Guild table in the breakfast room, a Furn & Co desk in the office, and chairs from David Neligan Antiques in the living room were just a few of the carefully chosen furnishings that contributed to the overall ambiance. The aesthetic was characterized by calm elegance, with occasional surprises of the unexpected, creating a space that felt effortlessly stylish and inviting.

Overcoming Challenges with Collaboration

Creating a Classic Interior Carter varies lighting options throughout.

While the transformation of the home was undoubtedly a rewarding experience, it was not without its challenges. New England's harsh winters posed a significant obstacle, especially when the walls were opened up for renovation. However, with cooperative and design-conscious clients, the hurdles became more manageable. Carter fondly recalls the close rapport and creative input from the homeowners throughout the process, emphasizing that their involvement played a crucial role in the project's success.

Designing Your Own Classic Interior: Tips from Michael Carter

In addition to the inspiring story of the New England Colonial's transformation, Michael Carter shares some valuable tips for those looking to create a classic interior of their own:

  1. Great bones make great rooms: Collaborate with architects and builders who understand classical design and historic detail to ensure a strong foundation for your space.

  2. Don't skimp on the floors: Achieving a deep and rich-looking floor requires more than just standard stain cans. Opt for a special formula that includes an aniline dye to achieve a superior result.

  3. Utilize a variety of lighting options: Incorporate LED recessed lighting for practical purposes, while making lanterns, sconces, and chandeliers the focal points for aesthetic lighting.

  4. Choose a go-to paint: Benjamin Moore's Historic Collection is a reliable choice, ensuring timeless and elegant walls.

  5. Embrace antique furniture: Take advantage of the affordability and character of antique pieces. They add a sense of history and authenticity to any classic interior.

By following these expert tips and infusing your own personal style, you too can create a classic interior that stands the test of time.

Remember, a classic interior is not just about recreating the past; it's about honoring tradition while breathing new life into a space. The award-winning result achieved in the New England Colonial serves as a testament to the transformative power of design and the satisfaction that comes from successfully marrying history with modernity.

Image Source - The homeowners’ collection of art and antiques are incorporated into the design.

Image Source - Carter keeps the dining space formal—the colors used are cool and elegant.

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