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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Decorating: Mixing The Best Of The Old With The Best Of The New

This week one of my readers asked if I would do a decorating work shop. I do love to decorate and have helped others with their homes, but am by no means a professional! It did get me thinking about a week long class my friend Sherry and I took several years ago. It was called Chandler's School of Interior Decorating. Tom Chandler teaches the class in Little Rock, Ar. It was really great and I learned alot! I am going to give you some tips that I learned at the bottom of this post. One thing that really stuck with me is something he repeated over and over. "Mix the best of the old with the best of the new". He uses alot of beautiful antiques in his decorating along with contemporary pieces. He really knows how to create interest in a space!

After thinking about what he said about mixing old with new I started looking at the older pieces I have in my house. I don't have alot of old pieces and I don't know if they are even considered antiques, however, the pieces I do have really mean something to me.

The Duncan Phyfe end table belonged to my mother in law and I believe it belonged to her mother. My mother in law passed away 4 years ago and I sure miss her. I remember when she gave me that table. She said she always wanted me to keep it and never sell it. No way would I ever sell it! It means alot to me and it's in perfect condition. I just love the shape of it and love that it is old. Everything else you see here is relatively new exept that little stool...

My aunt Pat gave me the cute little stool. The man that recovered it for me said it was really a good piece and worth quite a bit! I would never get rid of it either...I love cute little curvy stools... and it was given to me by someone special.
This pretty pedestal planter sat in the corner of my nanny's dining room forever. When she passed away I inherited it. It was something I always really liked. I don't know if it's an antique or not, but I think it's pretty old.

I think I only paid $10 for this old chair. The wood is really pretty and I liked the shape of it. I recovered it myself (as you can probably Love the pretty toile fabric.

I think this mirror is pretty belonged to my nanny too. She gave it to me when she was alive. I remember when she first showed it to me...I thought it was stunning and still do! It hangs in my entryway. Always beware of what a mirror reflects...that tip is on the list.

I love the detail and the mirror on the edge of the different! I will never get rid of this either.

I love mixing old books in with my decor. The date on these books is 1909. The dogs are still some of my favorite pieces. They really need to find a new home soon. They have been on the mantle since I moved in...time for a change.

Remember the old keys I found? I also have mixed in alot of old black books throughout the bookcases. Like I said, I don't have alot of older pieces, but what I do have is very special to me. I really like the look of mixing old and new together. It creates interest in a room!

I added a few pics below of some of Tom Chandler's work...I'm telling you, he is wonderful! I really learned alot in his class and it really has stuck with me. Click Here if you would like to learn more about his classes and see more of his work.

With fall just around the corner...I thought this was unique and different.

Beautiful bookcases...LOVE!

Beautiful room!

Here are some tips I took home from his class:

1. Mix the best of the old with the best of the new...this one really stuck with me!

2. Black is neutral

3. To de-emphasize, make the negative match its surroundings

4. Variety is often a good thing

5. Lots of little plants is considered "old ladyish"

6. The lighter the wood floor the more contemporary

7. The darker the wood floor, the richer and more "old world"

8. Categorize large collections

9. When possible, arrange the furniture, then introduce the area rug

10. Mix iron, glass, stone, wood and painted wood to create interest in a room.

11. Pairs create formality

12. A touch of animal print adds pizzazz!

13. Be aware of texture

14. Be aware of what mirrors reflect

15. Place BIG pieces in a room first

16. Do not mix clear colors with muddy colors

17. Use the decor you have first...then go from there

18. Use art that you can itentify with

19. NOTHING is better than wrong! (leave it blank until you find the right thing)

20. Try not to get to "Decorator"

Hope these tips helped! I know they have helped me. There is alot to think about when creating an interesting room. Have a great weekend! I'm thinking about you guys on the east coast! I hope you all stay safe!

I am linking to Amaze Me Monday at Dittle Dattle.


Melissa Miller said...

Wow! Really great tips Kristen. Everything looks pretty. You really have some great pieces with richness and character. It sounds like it was a good class to take.

We are hunkered down waiting on the worst of the weather. It should be here in the early morning.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Super great post. I love your home, it is always stunning and I love the mix of the old and new. You do it very well. Hugs, Marty

L said...

Great tips, Kristen. Thank you for sharing. Love all of your inherited decorative pieces. Your home is so pretty.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

great tips and ones I try to practice...I love old books...too much

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

Thank you for this very helpful post. The tips on details you gave will definatly help me in my own redisign.
You have such a beautiful home.

Stacey said...

Those ar great ideas and some of them took me a long time to figure out. It took me years to realize I prefer clear colors to muddy colors. Hmmm, maybe I should pay attention to lists more often. :) Your home is one of my very favorites. You do a fantastic job mixing items together to create a beautiful place.

Becca said...

I always enjoy seeing your beautiful home and lovely furniture, Kristen! You have the perfect colors for Fall, too! I know you can't wait to decorate for the season. Love his tips, too, especially no. 12. :)

Marianne said...

Hi Kristen,
What great tips, thanks so much for sharing. Your blog was one of the first I found when I starting blogging and just loved you home from the beginning. You have lovely pieces of furniture and have mixed old with new perfectly.
Marianne :)

Carrie @ Dittle Dattle said...

What a fabulous list to go by! Some I have heard before (but it never hurts to hear them again) and many more that I have never heard. Thanks for sharing :D

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Great advice Kristen!

Your home is gorgeous!!

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I'm a 40yr. old mother of 1. I've been married for 19 years to a wonderful man, Kevin. We have one son together named Chase who is 14. We live in a small town in Arkansas and have a dog named Sassy, a cat named Coco and now a chinchilla, Tiki. My husband is a Database Administrator and I have my own business called Kristen's Creations where I make and sell a variety of crafts. I worked in a shop as a floral designer for 15 yrs. until it closed. My former boss decided to retire and lease out her building. I enjoy crafting, decorating, and hanging out with my family. E-mail me at

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