Working in historic homes is an exciting challenge for interior designers. At the Ann Holden Design Firm we love working in old homes that come with their own style and character. When working in homes such as these, you need to be particularly mindful of how you balance the old with the new to create a harmonious space. We have a few best practices we use when working in historic homes.

Enjoy The Personality of Your Home

There’s something special about living in a piece of history. Historic homes have special architectural features that we don’t always get to see in new builds. Everything from hand carved rosettes, features like butlers pantries, and original floors and ceilings can add to the ambiance of living in an older home.

We love to showcase historic architecture, not hide it. So long as you love the original features of your home, we want to highlight these unique aspects.

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Can Clients With Modern Taste Thrive In A Historic Home?

Yes!  Making a space adhere to a client’s style while maintaining the elements that make a historic home special is a challenge we take on daily, and we love doing it. Your home should be your own personal oasis which means incorporating the style you love the most!

Whenever we have clients in a historic home with a love for a more modern look, we like to focus on ways we can mix both. For example, we’ll design the home with dark floors and matte white walls to read more modern, but won’t look out of place in an older home.

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The above room is a perfect example. This historic New Orleans beauty was given a modern edge with the addition of modern furniture pieces, abstract artwork, and a modern twist on traditional European steel windows. We chose to expand the windows the length of the back wall, enhancing the modern feel. This gave a beautiful view of the backyard which features traditional french inspired landscaping. By making these modern updates, and maintaining the original fireplace mantle, the modern and historic exist quite harmoniously.

Be Prepared for (Good) Surprises

One of the best things about working in historic homes? The good surprises. Lifting old carpets to find beautiful hardwood floors, or, in the case of the photo below, uncovering the original ceiling. Finding new qualities to your home adds to your experience of the history, as well as giving you a totally unique design feature.


Respect and Balance is Key

We love to let the character of the house shine. When the design feature is on such a large scale like the beautiful ceiling, above, we like to play with more subtle details in the rest of the room. Everything else in this hallway is understated and draws your eyes upwards to enjoy the one of a kind ceiling. This same respect is used throughout the house ensuring that perfect balance of showcasing original designs and modern luxuries.

We particularly love to use designs by Christian Liaigre to balance historic homes with modern furnishings. His work is beautiful yet subtle and understated, letting the charm of the home really shine.

Historic homes don’t need to look dated! We love the challenge of working in homes with a history. To see our work in action, check out our portfolio.