Combining the Old with the New

February 23, 2015

Combining the old with the new.

Growing up in the Toronto area with a father that had a Mercedes dealership, Sandra always had an appreciation for nice things.  At a very young age, she started to collect a few antique furniture pieces that became very special to her.  Later in life, when she and her husband Jack moved to Alberta, she still maintained her love for beautiful things. After admiring the window displays at Baltzan’s furniture several times, she decided to venture in one day. She was unsure if she and her husband, being only in their 20’s, would be able to afford what she was so drawn to.  Upon entering she was engaged by the store owner and after a short conversation she bluntly asked why she should buy from him and not from a more popular, mass market furniture retailer.  Sandra was treated to tea and a reminder of what she already knew.  You get what you pay for when you buy quality and with quality you should also only have to buy once.  Sandra was then was introduced to Anne, a design consultant at Baltzan’s, they cultivated a relationship over the years and together they were able to slowly fill Sandra’s home in Fort McMurray with beautiful, high quality furniture, a piece or two at a time.

 Decorating by mixing your old and new furniture (100)

Fast forward 25+ years and Sandra and Jack are now ready to retire to Edmonton, Baltzan’s furniture has closed and Anne has moved her design expertise to McElheran’s. 

McElherans Fine Furniture and Design

McElherans Fine Furniture and Design

Sandra and Jack found a home that they both loved with a style a little more contemporary than what they had in Fort McMurray.  This created some concern because they had accumulated many special pieces over the years that they definitely wanted to take with them to their new home.  Thankfully with the help of Anne they were able to create a cohesive look while mixing the 20+ year old pieces with brand new ones.

Decorating by mixing your old and new furniture (101)

Jack says “the look that we put together was done in pieces over time.  That’s the beauty of quality furniture, it blends together.  Today’s piece matched the 20 year old piece and everything comes together very nicely.”

 Decorating by mixing your old and new furniture (102)

Here are some tips when you are mixing furniture.

Don’t try to completely re-invent your style. 

While there is nothing wrong with mixing a contemporary piece of art into your traditional dining room or an antique into that contemporary living room, you have to stay true to the theme that you started years ago. If you feel like it’s time for a new look then you will have to start from scratch. You can mix in that odd, yet special, existing piece but it’s important to keep in mind what your general theme is going to be.

 McElherans Fine Furniture and Design

Pick your treasured pieces first.

You know the pieces you love and these are the ones that you will need to start building around.  Pick them out and figure out where they are going to go in your new home and then you can start filling in around them.  It is unlikely that you are going to walk into any store and find the perfect pieces to go with what you have but if you take some time to see what can be customized for you, you will find that there will be lots of options to choose from.

Don’t pigeon hole yourself in by the architectural style of the room.

While you cannot completely ignore the architectural elements of the room, you will be surprised at how the furniture and décor items you choose will play a bigger role in determining the feeling of the space than the architecture of the room itself. For instance, if you had looked at Jack and Sandra’s home before it was furnished and decorated, you could very easily think that it needed to be a contemporary style, however, the strategically placed traditional furniture looks fantastic.

When in doubt get help.

It is always a good idea to get a professional to help you when you aren’t buying exactly what you see on the show room floor.  When ordering custom furniture, the trick is to find someone that will listen to the ideas you have while also being willing to work with the pieces you want to bring in.  Many design consultants want a blank slate because it is easier but what you need is someone willing to help you blend the old with the new.

McElherans Fine Furniture and Design

There are no hard and fast rules when mixing the old with the new so experiment a little and have fun with it.  The end creation should be something that tells a story of the journey you have been on.



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