Does The architectural style of the house determine interior design style?
December 13, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I realize people update older houses all the time but from the perspective of investment in your property and the perspective of a designer do you believe that the way you choose to decorate your house(including choice of floor and cabinet style) should be determined by the style of the house? A traditional house would not look right with modern interior or visa versa? Does it matter?
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Shawn Lagemann
That's a good question and a tricky one too. It depends on the personality of the house architectual style. Many houses that have been built over the past 50 years are more generic in style that can go in many directions (transitional) I do prefer a nod to the style of the architecture of the home, so you don't feel as if you entered another dimension when you walk into the door. Houses built in strong personality styles like Victorians, Williamsburg Colonials, Sleek contemporaries look odd when the styles vary on the interior. Today there are so many choices for cabinets and flooring that you can still have all of the updated convienences without sacrificing asthetics.
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 5:54AM
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Aggie Purvinska
There are plenty of traditional houses that have traditional furnishings, cabinets, etc. and they still don't work that well, and same with modern and contemporary houses that are incoherent. A really good designer will have a vision beyond the style of the house, I think it is more about cohesiveness of design, a keen understanding of proportion, function, comfort, color, materials, style, that has to come together more than simply matching a style.
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 6:02AM
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Just commenting so I can keep up with this discussion. Love the question and am enjoying the answers!
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 6:04AM
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Total Design, Inc.
It would also depend on the houses that are around this one. If you are in a neighborhood that is very traditional, it would make more sense staying with that style on the outside, but creating a different look (feel) on the inside. I say this for marketing and resale value of the home only. I have worked with owners of older homes (100+) that we created some very nice interiors, but kept the outside the same.
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 6:05AM
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I think this is a great question. Here's my two cents, and as I am not a professional designer it is merely a personal preference. With beautiful old houses I usually prefer for the outside to be kept architecturally intact and true to the period, but when I walk inside I am just as delighted to see interesting modern furnishings blended into the traditional space as I am to see people who have decorated in a more traditional "period" style. That mix of old and new can be very exciting and beautiful, as long as the original architectural details haven't been destroyed.

On the other hand, when I walk into a house with a very modern or contemporary architectural style on the exterior, I am less delighted if I see fussy traditional furnishings inside. If it is an interesting, eclectic mix of old and new that looks great to me. But if it is all traditional and ornate I sometimes wonder why the owners bought a house in such a modern architectural style when they clearly don't appreciate it's clean lines.

So that's probably a bit hypocritical, but that's what goes through my mind. So I guess the short answer to your question would be "sort of".
1 Like   December 13, 2012 at 6:19AM
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If the exterior of the house is in good condition, it would seem to make good financial sense to maintain it in period detail, using environmentally friendly materials.

If the exterior of the house is in poor condition, hire an architect for a consultation. This would include blending the house with the surrounding property and the neighborhood.

In terms of landscaping, it makes environmental sense to use plants native to the region. They will need little to no water once they are established. A horticulturalist from a local nursery (not a national chain) will know what plants to use. A landscape designer can use these plants to make a traditional looking plan.

For the interior of the home structurally, some architectural details are worth restoring. Others, not so much.

For interior decorating, I personally do not want to live in a "museum" of all period furnishings. (There is a joke about why all the chairs in an antique store are so uncomfortable. All of the comfortable ones wore out!)
As noted above, this is where an experienced interior designer who understands and can envision the homeowner's style and desires in a holistic way is a valuable asset.
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 8:37AM
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