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Mingling Old With New: Recreating your home for 2017

By Alicia France


Rarely do we get to start completely anew with a structure and interior furnishings when building or renovating. Often budget constraints require us to find middle ground between our existing home and our ideal home, which can leave us disgruntled with the finished product. How can we make strategic decisions on design to maximise our space?

Having an entirely antique or retro home can be breathtaking. The same holds true for an ultramodern structure filled with modern furnishings. However, spaces that effectively blend age-old furnishings with current architecture or pieces can be surprisingly gorgeous. Mixing the old with the new is a delicate balance, but here are a few tips that will help you find harmony between these two tensions.



The only way to understand how to best utilise your budget is by truly understanding the space. Who will be using the space and what will they be doing in it?

If you use the space for dinner parties, how can interior design enhance this event? If you invite family and friends over regularly to watch a rugby game on Saturday nights during the season, what will truly boost this experience? Having a chair in the bedroom looks lovely, but considering that it will mainly be used as a dumping ground for clothes means it doesn’t need to be a particularly high in quality. However, selecting a sofa for your lounge that will be used daily, and by guests on the weekend warrants a larger purchase to ensure comfort and longevity.


Colour Palette

Ensuring a cohesive colour scheme is in place throughout the room, creates unity between old & new items. For example, replacing your red sofas in a more modern colour to suit your blue and cream drapes. This creates a relaxing colour scheme, as all the hues in the scheme sit next to each other on the colour wheel. Since cream has a yellow base, you could add green into the room with the existing drapes. As again, green tones sit between yellow and blue on the colour wheel. An emerald or moss coloured sofa would completely update the look in the room, and will refresh the entire feel.

Old & new blog - Frobisher, Christchurch, NZPhoto Credit of Kelli Kroneberger, Suburban Bees


Similar Patterns

Finding repeating patterns or shapes within your existing pieces that you love, will help give direction for any new products. For example, if you have many whimsical, non-symmetric, floral or leaf patterns, continue the natural sinuous lines with new pieces that update the look, but still fit within the overall scheme. Or if you have arched windows, bringing these curves into joinery and furniture design will bring a sense of sophistication.



Finding modern furnishings with materials that complement existing pieces will help create synergy within your home. For example, if you have an antique pewter water jug, adding new elements such as candlesticks or a sideboard with pewter finishes, will subtly increase the cohesion of the elements.


Old & new blog - Frobisher, Christchurch, NZPhoto Credit of New darlings Instagram


Strategic Shopping

When shopping for new items to sit beside traditional or vintage pieces, there are two directions that seem to work extremely well. The first is to go ultramodern and minimalistic with the pieces selected, as a fun contrast against the re-used items. For example, placing an heirloom timber stool next to a sleek rounded, floor standing tub, producing a striking yet gorgeous contrast.

The second strategy when selecting new items is to pick pieces that are a bold mixture of modern technology, but mirrors the form of traditional pieces. A good example of this is the chandelier Les Cordes by Mathieu Lehanneur for le Château Borély. This ultramodern material takes a fresh take on the traditional French chandelier, which complements traditional and modern elements around it. In Christchurch, it is more likely that the antique style to work with is either High English Gothic, the style of the Cathedral, or Mid-Century Modern style, like the much-desired modern homes of Sir Miles Warren.

Old & new blog - Frobisher, Christchurch, NZPhoto credit of


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