Interior and Carpentry Tips

by Tobe Walter
(New Jersey)

Some interior and carpentry tips. If previous owners of your home have removed all traces of the past creating large spaces from small rooms, perhaps, or discarding the distinctive ornamentation then there is little point in elaborately recreating a period impression. You might as well remain in the present. But careful use of any existing detail, together with, perhaps, some authentic colour and furnishings, will create the feel of the period. In any case, it is unlikely that you would want to emulate the exact way in which rooms in an older house were used originally.

Nowadays, for instance, most people eat in the kitchen or in a room adjacent to it: servants and dumb waiters are part of the past. And generally we seem rather fonder of sun baked rooms than our predecessors were; many of them even fought shy of natural light. So some alterations might be necessary to make darker rooms lighter. It is possible, in an old building, to pay great attention to authenticity and somehow miss the point. A stark, bare boarded room with stiff backed chairs around the walls, or an over stuffed sitting room might have every last detail historically correct.

But a home is not a museum; it has been built to be lived in, and it's only natural that, over the years, it will be modified as occupants, needs and feelings change. The important thing is to keep the building's rhythm, rather than imposing on its essential character. Don't force a small two bedroom suburban house to look like a New York loft; if that's what your heart is set on, then it would be better to move. On the other hand, this doesn't mean faithfully reproducing a period piece: a soaring light well cut through two levels of a Victorian terrace house need not be inappropriate, and there is certainly no reason why a Bauhaus chair, a glass and chrome table or an espresso machine should be a stranger in a rambling Colonial house.

The key to being successful is keeping everything in proportion and using sympathetic materials and textures. It is advisable to live in your home whatever its state while you consider how to go about repairing, decorating and furnishing it. By living there you will begin to understand it and the period in which it was built and how your needs relate to it: once you know exactly how the building functions, how it feels, it will be more obvious what to do, what looks right and what looks wrong. Time and its companion, patience, are invaluable ingredients when you are putting a house to rights.Thanks for reading this page on Interior and Carpentry Tips

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