A new home doesn’t have to be a home without character. Thanks to products carefully designed with a little nostalgia, you can bring Old World charm to your new build with these easy hacks!

New Build Charm

DeCeglio Home
Spring 2019 at the DeCeglio Home

Beautiful archways, hand-painted tile, and hardwood floors that have weathered the years, these are a few of my favorite things. When house shopping a few years ago, I often fell in love with those charming assets that are, in my opinion, too often overlooked. The problem was that I wanted that Old World character with new appliances, an open floor plan, and a state-of-the-art air conditioning system. I know it might seem silly, but if I was moving from PA to NC, I wanted to move into a home with a zoned air conditioning system.

After what seemed like 100 open houses and a mid-renovation bail (a story for another day), I came to learn that I wasn’t going to get everything I wanted. Those beautiful archways and original floors were going to come at a price. That price was excessive sweating in the south. What we settled on was a beautiful, modern home that is often mistaken for an original in the neighborhood. The only issue was figuring out how to fool visitors into thinking it was more than a few months old.

It’s taken some time and is still a work in progress; however, slowly but surely, our house is turning into a home with its own unique personality. I’ve learned a few things in my three years at what we lovingly call The House of D. Our last name is DeCeglio, get your mind out of the gutter.

These interior design hacks will help you incorporate Old World character in your brand-new build.

The Bones

Crown Molding and Baseboards

Bedroom design
Design By Huge Studio

Crown molding can take four simple walls and transform them into a bold, elegant space. Properly paired with the right baseboard, this millwork can bring charm to a home that’s reminiscent of a bygone era. Starting as a necessity to the building process and historically made of plaster, crown molding was meant to cover up gaps in materials. Now, it’s usually made of wood and used to bring character and added design to a space.

Crown molding is featured where the top of the wall merges with the ceiling, and it’s also found at the finished top edge of cabinets, as well as surrounding doors and windows. When buying our new home, I didn’t look closely enough at the windows. A more modern approach to molding is to NOT encapsulate windows with it – a look that I personally do not like. After living in our home for a few weeks, I couldn’t decide what looked “off” about our windows. I soon realized each window contained a window sill and nothing else, so I added molding to suit my style.

PRO tip: When buying a new build, take a close look at the millwork from top to bottom. Luckily, adding a little molding around the windows is an easy fix that is sure to transform the ultra-modern style to make it more charming.

Hardwood Floors

Example of hardwood flooring design
Herringbone Floors by Dylan Farrell Design

I’ve talked about my childhood home before and some of its outdated qualities. If there’s one thing I could never bash, it’s the beautiful hardwood floors featured throughout my family’s home. When searching for our perfect house, I was looking for one thing I couldn’t sacrifice: real, authentic hardwood floors.

While there are many great options, if you can’t install the real deal, nothing beats a beautiful hardwood floor. Real wood, designed to withstand the test of time, should be your first choice if you have the option.

To elevate your interior design, consider installing real hardwoods in an alternative pattern or color. A herringbone design can transform the classic staple into a modern update with some personality.  If you have already installed the floors, consider re-staining with a timeless stain like natural wood or greige. Take a look at this cocktail room by Dylan Farrell Design. The natural wood floors in a herringbone pattern feel modern and updated while still maintaining classic charm in a neutral color palette.

Tile

Tile design
ColorFill Hand Painted Tile by Pratt + Larson

A beautiful tile incorporated into a mosaic is a design feature that never ceases to amaze me. Growing up in a home with linoleum flooring, I’m fascinated by patterns of carefully placed tile and coordinating grout. No two designs are ever the same, offering endless possibilities and patterns of hand-painted pieces. When I travel, I’m always taking notice of the tile work and designs of old buildings and homes. I’m a firm believer in using this inspiration in your new build.

Recently, I came across Pratt + Larson on Instagram. Hand producing each tile in Portland, Oregon, this brand offers a one-of-a-kind design reminiscent of Old World European products. A variety of glazes in every color of the rainbow gives these tiles personality while adding a little pop to your kitchen.

Kitchen Tile
DeCeglio Home Tile

While I didn’t discover Pratt + Larson until recently, thankfully, I did find our home before a backsplash was installed. While the builder initially wanted to add shiplap as the backsplash (clearly he doesn’t understand Italians cook with splattering sauce), I chose a tile that coordinated with our home’s cohesive color palette. We decided on a crackle ceramic and marble tile featuring Asian statuary lines. The product is from SOHO studio and almost changes colors depending on the light. The gray/blue tile paired perfectly with the Sherwin-Williams Slate Tile 7624 doors found throughout our home.

The Hardware

Doorknobs

Doorknob
EMTEK Knob. Photo By Angela Raciti Interior Design

I have a slight obsession with doorknobs. It may sound ridiculous, but a beautiful doorknob on a perfectly painted door does it for me. I can remember visiting my grandparents’ house and being fascinated by the crystal doorknobs. The see-through hardware, paired with a brushed-metal plate, is the ultimate status symbol. It’s the next project on my House of D wish list and another task for my husband’s endless honey-do-list. By the time he switches out the knobs on the 24 doors in our home, I’m sure he will be an expert at doorknobs and want to kill me.

Brands like EMTEK by Assa Abloy are creating hardware that stands out. EMTEK, founded in 1981, each item is custom-assembled in their California factory, allowing consumers to mix and match knobs and finishes. I can’t think of a better way to showcase your home than with this modern product with Old World flair.

“To us, it is an integral part of a room’s design theme. It is an extension of your personal style and we want it to do more than blend in. Door hardware should make a statement, your statement.” says EMTEK via the company’s website.

Cabinet and Drawer Pulls and Knobs

Cabinet pulls
Belwith-Keeler Trellis Collection Hardware by Wilshire Cabinet

There’s no point in having beautiful floors and cabinets in perfectly coordinated colors if you forget about the hardware. Like doorknobs, a perfectly paired cabinet or drawer pull can pull a design together as a finishing touch. Whether you’re looking for hardware that is more modern or antique, quality is key. A well-designed and manufactured piece can withstand the endless feasts and functions of a well-loved and used home.

Drawer handles
The Edwards Collection by Alexander Merchant

 

 

The design world is seeing a resurgence of gold-tone hardware for cabinets and drawers. When I think of this new trend, I’m reminiscent of 1980s style brass finishes; however, interior designers pair the gold hardware with dark, moody cabinetry—creating a bold statement that draws the eye, enhancing the look of a space without feeling dated.

At Vishion, we’re also noticing a lot of black matte hardware. This isn’t your mother’s wrought iron cabinet pull: matte-black is a modern statement with a timeless look. Companies like Alexander Merchant are taking the trend one step further by pairing the two. Gold tones with matte black create a lasting impression that’s sure to impress your visitors. Just another way you can turn that bland new construction into a charming home with character.

Back in Time, One Step at a Time

If you can choose your floors, hardware, and tile before you move in, consider yourself lucky. The ability to redesign your new construction before move-in day is something you will wish for as you painstakingly replace every single fixture in your home. If you’re “updating” your space to add character after moving in, take your time. Create a list of projects that need personality and a wish list to go with it. Then, go back in time, one step at a time. Slowly but surely, your new construction will be a home with character.

Vishion’s Favorite Charming Designs

Add Charm To Your New Build With Vishion

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