Making the Unattractive & Old, Beautiful & New
How many times have you looked at a piece of vintage furniture in a shop and thought “Geez, that’s ugly”, or “It would have been such a nice piece if they hadn’t done THAT to it.” Or what about your own furniture; you’re just tired of looking at it because you’ve outgrown the style. As an interior designer, I can tell you this happens a lot.
Well, we can’t turn back time on design atrocities or interior design styles we’ve outlived. What we can do is tweak pieces into something that’s great in both look and price. For many of us, interior decorating tastes change as we grow and this is an easy way to update your home interior furniture without breaking the bank.
Roaming through San Francisco interior design shops, I find vintage pieces at great prices that perhaps offset other luxury design pieces I’ve selected. Below are a few examples of San Francisco Bay Area interior design projects where I’ve shown some furniture examples of pieces of recycled and made new again.
Here’s the finished product of a vintage coffee table I updated. The beautiful Italian marble was there, but it was glued to a painfully ugly base of heavily scrolled wood.
Knowing the marble was a find with its round shape, I took a simple steel base that was a stock purchase, and replaced the wood base with a contemporary steel frame. Bringing together traditional and contemporary interior design fit the homeowner’s aesthetic perfectly.
Super easy, super results!
You can also feel good about purchasing vintage furniture or re-purposing your existing pieces because you’re creating a green and eco-friendly design interior for your home. Less consumption means less waste. It also means a healthier interior as new furniture can have highly toxic off-gassing depending on how the piece was made. But older pieces have had years to dissipate any harmful fumes.
This desk started out as a black metal army desk. I took it to an auto body shop and had it sprayed with chocolate brown automobile paint for a hard-wearing durable finish. The homeowner loved sailing, so I decoupaged images of sailing and the San Francisco Bay onto the desktop. After varnishing and sealing, the images on top were protected from moisture and wear.
Now he has a desk that not only is functional and inexpensive, but also a one-of-a-kind piece that’s very personal. It’s a great conversation starter and nobody else will ever have one like it!
Here I updated the homeowner’s existing dining chairs. Originally, the set of 6 chairs were covered in brown vinyl. Certainly durable, but not very attractive with the overload of brown vinyl, dark brown wood table, and brown chair backs. So, I set about creating a cheery color palette and upholstered the set of 6 dining chairs into 3 different colors.
This is a great way to turn a set of ho-hum chairs into something that’s unforgettably unique. A great solution that matched these newlyweds’ youthful style while designing with what they already owned.
Now that I’ve shared some of my interior designer secrets, take a look around at the endless possibilities sitting in your own home or the nearest antique shop.
Do you like the ideas and want something fantastic and unique but not interested in the legwork? Contact me and I’ll be happy to help!
San Francisco interior designer, Kimball Starr, is a commercial design and residential interior design firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Kimball works to “change lives one room at a time” through designing creative and innovative interiors across the country.