Antiques mingle in a 1930s English Tudor home

 

Hi there! I’m a fashion stylist and photographer who loves to collect antiques. Over the past decade, I was just an amateur collector, hunting for unique vintage charms, but now I’m planning to start my own second-hand shop. Married for four years, our home is also filled with pre-loved items and family heirlooms traveled through time.

 

 

The overall concept of our home design was a classic french style based on white and off-white hues. I can’t price the exact costs for our project because it was done all by ourselves, and here are some rules that guided us through the whole process.

1. “I’m going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.” – Elsie de Wolfe

2. Make the impossible possible.; If it doesn’t work, make it work.

3. Dress white/off-white to the colors hard to change and add secondary colors.

Exterior : English Tudor style semi-detached house.

 

Our home is a two-story house built in the 1930s. Most of the houses around this neighbor are very old and grow their own privacy with plants and trees in front of the windows.

Lounge : Cream, Pastel and Gold

 

This is when we purchased the house. We decided to transform it into a french antique style against a creamy-white backdrop.

Our living room is lengthy enough to be divided into two areas, which is what we did with a curtain. I love modern pastels, especially the color “eau-de-nil,” a pale bluish green color that is easy on the eyes and blends well with off-white or wood tones of furniture.

Here, a space where pastel green and creamy white smoothly flow together, I can enjoy the roses planted in the front yard. I value consistency as the key factor in designing a room and among many of the details that make up a consistent interior, I put a lot of thinking into creating a cohesive palette.

To disguise the ugly old table, I covered it with a cloth. Still waiting for a pretty round table though!

 

This is my cherished French-style antiqued dressing table. You see the lamp and other accessories are pretty fancy yet pair well with each other. The answer is that cohesive palette of creamy white and soft green. The mirror on top is also slightly greenish.

 

Getting organized is something of a passion of mine. So I always clear up the surface of furniture and store small appliances I use every single day without fail in the jewelry boxes like these.

 

Choosing the right curtains was the trickiest part of our project. Although I prefer window-length over full-length, the windows in our home are structurally more fit for the latter. After going through countless cut-and-tries weighing up a number of factors like color, texture, pattern…, I decided to trim the end of the curtains in the middle and hang longer drapes at the end.

 

These wonderful modern curtains on a floral design are hanging on our bedroom windows. You can see that I laid them out as I did in the living room. Tied neatly, you can’t really tell the height difference, when closed the furniture piece in the middle hides them.

 

One thing bummed me out though was the large mirror blocking the view from the windows.

 

So I made a bold move and replaced it with this couch!

It was really difficult to find a couch that’s 1) low profile and simple (to make the ceiling look higher), 2) machine washable (to keep the off-white covers clean), and 3) convertible to a bed.

 

This antique mirror is a must-have for its beauty while providing spaciousness throughout the room!

 

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved collecting boxes, organizers, and paper bags. They are useful and pretty at the same time.

 

I usually need a lot of boxes to store miscellaneous items, and these round-shaped boxes, which I painted in white from hot pink to match the house, are perfect for storing a sewing kit, headbands, and small jewelry.

 

Here’s a view on the opposite side of the living room. At first, I ordered custom-made curtains for this side’s wide windows. But I had to pass through several failures as every time I tried different curtains on our room it was totally different from the way I had envisioned it in my head at the store. You should all remember to make sure they go with the surroundings or natural light.

Then, all of a sudden the red curtains that came with this house struck me, and I just flipped them over. Thank God! They were like a made-to-measure! On sun-drenched days, they would beautifully blush in pink, a cloth over was even an off-white color that meshes well with the room.

 

This is how the room looked when we first met, you see the red curtains there?

 

I added some touches of gold based on the creamy hues. Carpeting adds a layer of warmth and softness to a space, especially when it’s mingled with antiques. Because placing antique furniture right above the wood floor would give too much of a rough and unfinished feel. Though being in powdery shades, the carpet displays glamorous patterns, so the rest of the room remains a simple setting.

The ugly brown fireplace here is now colored in all white!

 

These two chandeliers were here when we bought the house. I’ve wanted to redo the design into the Louis-Era French style, but decided to settle for hanging crystal garland strands around them.

 

This white fireplace clearly shows how a new coat of paint can brighten up the whole house.

 

Before taking the plunge, I weighed up countless options by visualizing the arrangements with an online photo editor (Pixomatic) to minimize mistakes and find the best way. Like the image above, I added a white lamp and three picture frames around this area, and it all came together perfectly fine!

 

For some neglected corners, I love placing mannequins to give a designer-shop look.

 

This is sort of like my home office. The original plain windows felt dull and boring, so I bought the colonial grid patterned films shipped from Korea to apply directly on the existing glasses, which turned out to be a clever and affordable way to decorate the windows.

I actually asked whether it was possible to make the lines bolder before making the order, but the answer was no. Oh well, I’ve learned to come to terms with it.

 

These windows drawing the eye to the beautiful garden, are the whole point of the desk being here.

Since I spend lots of time looking at a computer screen, I try to consciously look away from the screen and provide a clear view to the outdoors to give my eyes some rest. Unlike most people using double brackets to layer a curtain, I just installed sheer semi-opaque curtains from IKEA on top of the existing ones.

Guys, patterned curtains are much prettier when they’re naturally wrinkled. But, of course you need plenty of pieces to fully cover the windows with wrinkled ripple curtains.

 

Usually, most of the clutter goes into the drawers, and only some of my favorite items are put on display. The Burberry box, my favorite heirloom from my mom with a lock celebrating my parent’s wedding anniversary, used to store cosmetics and jewelry but now is a space for my cameras and their accessories.

The vintage Swiss desk shelf clock on the right is actually a decorative object always set at 11:59.

 

This Louis Vuitton briefcase from my dad also serves no purpose as a bag, but is perfect for storing receipts and important documents while sitting above the drawers as a decor item. Its colors – creamy white, orange and dark browns, gold – and texture smoothly blends with the drawers.

 

The mirror above the fireplace sometimes stands here.

These recently bought glass vases were such a good purchase. Their sizes and weights were light enough to be easily delivered from abroad. Before I had to use paper bags to put flowers from the garden, but it seems that the flowers have found their right places in these vases!

 

Sometimes the flowers go into the bathroom to freshen up.

 

Now this was supposed to be a side table by our bed, yet it was too big to be a nightstand.

 

Instead, I figured a better place for this piece in my home office. I never knew it would fit perfectly with the idle chair that was around. Yay me!

My husband and I both grew up in a family without a TV, so we decided to use the iMac as a TV. On weekends, we would pull up another chair by side and watch some shows while having meals or ice creams. It was a smart move to extend the desk area.

 

I think the items on display for everyday use should not only be practical but also be pretty. That’s why I take time and think carefully when buying an even tiny piece. This leather square tissue box cover is sturdy and luxurious, adding a decorative touch. I’m planning to get more of these except in smaller sizes.

 

Though there’s no need to worry about leaving water stains on the surface of this desk, I like to place a mini marble plate underneath a cup. This azulejo patterned cup was a souvenir from our trip to Portugal (Should’ve got some more!).

 

As we have this morning routine to read through the bible every day, it’s also on display above the desk. The wooden book stand designed for cookbooks or thick books is very convenient to use with the page paper clips on the bottom.

 

My favorite color hues – sugary and soft shades.

 

I definitely need a footstool to provide support for my back when I’m working on this desk. I had used one from our bathroom, which I hated its pattern, until I found a perfect piece from a flea market.

 

Again, I really love collecting paper bags and boxes and making the best use of them by storing all sorts of items like receipts or accessories. I just love this tightly organized look.

Kitchen : White & Wood

 

Here’s a before. The backsplash, which was covered with these scrappy tiles in dark colors of every kind, was replaced with a foam board and a staggered pattern tile sticker on top. I mean my budget cannot handle a full renovation with real tiles. Also, as a notoriously whimsical person, I don’t know when I’d decide to try a new design.

 

The windows in the kitchen are also finished with the grid patterned films for a fresh French vibe. Oh, I’m thinking of replacing these wooden blinds with curtains.

 

The wooden dish cloth rack adds warmth and personality. By the way, I laid this large wood board to protect the natural oak surface of the countertop from water stains. The natural wood is still in fashion in British homes, and it’s definitely a high-maintenance material.

 

I cleverly hide the outlets with clothes, items, or anything that could cover them up.

 

Below the wall clock, a very modern yet ugly chrome towel radiator is covered with a cloth.

The smooth draping effect created by the window valance on the right counter the height difference between the display cabinet and windows. You should never overlook the importance of filling the blank space between furniture and the ceiling.

 

You know, it’s actually no exaggeration to say that I’ve seen every single dish soap dispenser that’s out there in the world, and I barely managed to find one I like from Korea. I was willing to bear the overseas shipping fees since they’re so cute and affordable at the same time.

The water-resistant marble plate sits underneath to cover water or dish soap brimming over the lids. The all-white design can be too drab and boring, so I placed the ivy plant to add life and beauty around here.

 

This is what our display cabinet looked like when we first got it from a neighbor. Though built by a prominent architect, it was a complete mess as you can see, the broken top, holes from the nails, and paint chips… Our neighbor said that they tried to fix it but soon gave up and left it in the garage for a long time. I decided to get the piece at a bargain price, and it turned out to be a great deal!

To get it completely repaired, it needs repainting after removing old paint using a paint stripper, but we didn’t dare to try it because the piece was too massive and weighty to be lifted. So, I’ve managed to settle for some time-worn scratches and appreciate its vintage aesthetic as an avid antique lover.

I used a scraper to remove paint chips then wiped off the surface, installed a custom-built wooden cover on top, filled cracks and holes, sandpapered the surface smooth, and finished with the final coating. Yes, I put all my heart and soul into this work.

 

It’s not perfect, but it totally works for me. And I know that it is still sold at a very expensive price in the market so it is well worth all the trouble. There’s also that grid pattern I adore the most, now this is how a beautiful French style door would look like with the solid and right-sized bars.

 

This is how the cupboard looked before painting. FYI, fancy plates are much better facing the front when on display.

 

50 shades of white! The same color white differs in hue, chroma, or lightness.

 

As with the living room, I used the online photo editor to plan the arrangements.

 

Kitchen Design 1: Marble Countertop

 

Kitchen Design 2: Antique Kitchen Island

Here’s a snapshot of how I brainstorm design ideas. I’m thinking of repurposing a drawer to a kitchen island but have yet to find a right one.

 

As I said, I try to cover up any furniture piece that I don’t like with a plain white cloth, sometimes with little floral print.

 

My mom gave me this Portmeirion dish set as a wedding gift. I didn’t really like them as a child, now I love their timeless and classic look pairing well with wood design elements throughout this house.

 

This is the heart of our kitchen.

 

Adding versatile colors to the space like painting a fresh sheet of canvas.

 

The salt and pepper shakers with a wood lid provide a consistent look in the kitchen.

Garden : White, Grey and pink

 

The reddish brown shed is now painted in white to match the whole house.

 

Painting the birdcage as well. I now consider myself a trusted painting expert!

 

Ta-da!

 

The fireplace was too large to be sitting in the house, and it’s giving the garden a beautiful focal point. Dreaming of a gigantic house to bring the fireplace inside someday!

 

Geraniums for every spot in the garden. I chose round-shaped pots to move around at ease.

 

On fine days with a clear sky, I snuggle up on this delightful porch piece and take a cozy rest. Also as a folding bed, it’s very handy and portable.

The elegant ornament standing here is pretty, yet too heavy to be hung over a loop. I think it’s fine enough where it currently is hiding the branches in the back.

Bedroom 1 : White

 

An antique mirror from my mom.

 

You see from this old picture? My parents still own aged furnishings that are older than 30 years. I also have that red carpet only in different colors.

 

Till quite recently I had to go through a range of styles to find the design I like the most. The current bed is equipped with wonderful trims and gorgeous design, but it’s too big and high for the room. Though my husband convinced me to stick to this bed for at least a year, I’m planning to put this back on our table before long.

 

The glass vases fit in anywhere around this house. I mixed David Austin’s Wollerton old hall roses and Chelsea stars. I adjusted the tone of the bedding set to match the creamy yellow and pink. I take a cohesive palette very seriously, and flowers serve as spectacular decorative accents.

 

Flowers everywhere!

 

Epilogue

There’re plenty of rooms left to be organized and dressed up. I’m looking forward to seeing how our home full of cherished memories and stories evolve through time!

 

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