Vintage Eclectic. The wife has a good eye. The house is not period perfect just antiquey looking. Most of our lighting came from Rejuvenation.
Probably depends on your goal. Do you want it to be period perfect or just decorated with interesting stuff that sort of goes with your interesting house. We follow the later. The fact that her Christmas decor was referred to as looking like a Norman Rockwell painting, was quite the compliment.
Hi Mike, welcome to this great site for old home lovers. My suggestion to you is take a look at
my site in this forum for ideas and suggestions as well as my on line Ebay and other sites I am
sure you will get a lot of ideas as to what you can do to decorate your "lady".
I agree with Bill, I lived in a wonderrful 1898 Victorian for 30 years and did most of my furnishings from auctions and antique stores, go with what you fall in love with and what you are comfortable with, don't think about what anyone else thinks,as long as you like it, it is your house and you live there. There are tons of websites on how to up-cycle old furniture and restoration for old furniture I wish you the best.
I agree with Bill and Annette in the sense that comfortable and what you like is the way to go. I love antique furniture and have several pieces, but I admit I'm rather "phobic" about them being used continually (if you look in my photos, my diningroom suite shows that). From my understanding you can get modern comfort in an antique looking piece, and furniture restorers do wonders with pieces as well. My luck would be to buy more antique furniture, and then my Rottweiler would make lunch of it so I tend to stay on the more practical/comfortable scale. Even though it doesn't make the house look "Museum" like, it's comfortable, practical, and really doesn't take away from the over-all asthetic of the house itself.
As far as lighting and fixtures, I've had good luck on ebay and with recycled/repurpose places (construction junction here for example). A local antique store here has alot of fixtures too, but they price in the thousands.
Just remember to keep the feel flowing. When someone approaches your house on the exterior, they see it is a 1890 Victorian. Their mind is set to expect the same inside and as you travel from room to room.
If you leave a Victorian parlor and go into a 1950's kitchen - the kitchen may look beautiful and be really cool, but your inner mind is expecting to see a period kitchen more similar to that of the parlor. This is why I created my ebook on How to Convert Your Modern Refrigerator Into an Antique Icebox - available on my website. Modern refrigerators usually stand out like a sore thumb.
Take your time and check out lots of garage sales in the spring. Go on house tours and get some book for ideas.
Best of luck - but most of all - have fun!
I collected antiques for over 20 years with each and every one perfect for my house. It was perfect except for the fact everyone that came over to my house said it reminded them of going to grandmothers. They would walk through the house and look into every room like there was invisible velvet rope across the doorways. One day someone asked me where I lived. That really opened my eyes to what I had done. I never really lived there I just decorated and dusted. One day I met a buyer for the state historical society. After negotiations a truck came and hauled off everything I had not sat in for a year. I had chairs that were so uncomfortable and other pieces I hated but were right for the period. What I'm left with is some antiques, some unusual junk, and some new furniture that looks older. I like everything I have and I now can say I live in my house. I use and enjoy every piece.
I agree with Lair. We're restoring a 160 yr-old historic home, but while we intend to keep the original architecture, we do not want to feel like we're living in a museum. Some people may forego comfort for historical accuracy, but we prefer furniture that is not only stylish but comfortable! Our home is Italianate & was embellished with cast iron railing when built, & shortly after we bought the house we learned the wife's family came from Baton Rouge. Then we found French designs under layers of wallpaper, so I was happy that Country French decor will be not only be my choice, but also appropriate for the home's history.
We are in synch with most of the above commens. I just purged a 19th century sofa this past fall, beautiful woodwork but not comfortable and just taking up space. I have one remaining upholstered antique, and even that one is only 75 years old. Our strategy is that we buy antique/vintage for all things wood or metal: tables, chairs for tables, dressers, beds, wardrobes, desks and the like. Easy chairs, sofas, beds and other soft things we buy new. We look for a vintage vibe but don't buy reproduction on those things.
It all depends on your taste. I personally don't like a lot of extraneous detail jumping out at me from every angle. For instance, I hate wall paper and am not a big fan of gingerbread molding. I was fortunate to have almost no possessions when I bought my little bungalow. This allowed me to concentrate on cleaning/restoring/painting each room top to bottom before I worried about furnishing. As I said, obtrusive detail annoys me, so, when I realized that, under the zillion layers of paint, the original fluted casings were pine, I was kind if relieved. For one, I didn't have to feel guilty about painting over beautiful old hardwood, and also I didn't have to spend hours removing every last bit of paint! I didn't want a lot of contrast between the trim and walls, but also didn't want to paint everything the same color. A friend suggested having the wall paint tinted down one level for the trim. Between the difference in gloss level (flat on the wall/low luster enamel on the trim) and the oh so slight difference in color, the room felt comfortable and warm (even empty) with a subtle depth of detail from the original molding. Once I had a finished area, it was a lot easier furnish because each room already had a distinctive feel. I don't suppose the interiors would have looked this way back in 1906, but I like it and I think its respectful to the character of the home.
So, if I were you, I would start by emptying the room, doing all the prep and restoration, replace or restore the light fixtures, and paint. While you're working, try to get a sense for how the room feels to you. Then, when the room is ready, start with the basics. In my dining room, I started with a table and four chairs. Slowly, I added a rug, my grandfather's dresser (which I use as a credenza, lamps, pictures, etc. In my experience, before rehab, you should really try to get a feel for everything you want to accomplish before you start. Having a full scope of work will help make sure the job goes smoothly and quickly. For decorating, on the other hand, take your time and add elements as you find them.
We are still a work in progress as well, but I agree with all of the suggestions made here. In each room we are trying to achieve a balance of old and new. In a lot of cases the new tends to be rugs, fabrics and our sofa. Then we mix in older, interesting pieces that we have fallen for. Many of these tend to be wood: end tables, book cases and also arm chairs that we bought at estate sales that we have reupholstered. My husband also has an obsession with vintage wooden boxes with writing so we have used them for magazine holders, toy holders, and he also turned a college of small boxes into shelves. My point being start with a few interesting things that you love and build from there.