Where Old and New Meet

Only a few days ago, we finished the installation for a project in Toronto and I wanted to do a simple post about the finished living room. To put in context, the client bought a brand new modern condo that wasn’t entirely built when we started and wanted to integrate many antique pieces that she acquired thorough the years in the space. Mixing old and new has always been one of my favorite thing to do in interior design and I was thrilled to take on this challenge. The pieces were simply gorgeous and, even though many were pretty torn down and damaged, I though it was worth it to repair, strip and refinish them.

For instance, the clients had these antique chairs covered in black leather.


The wood details were quite exquisite but the leather felt out-of-style and it simply wasn’t working for me. We decided to recover them with this fabric by Kravet in salmon and black. The pattern can appear bold but it is subtle in person even though we can see how textured it is. We also treated the wood to make it look gold. We kept some signs of distress on the frame because, after all, it is an antique and antiques have history that we should display. The final result is both modern and old-world.

When it came to sofas, we did try and work with the old ones the client already had. We could have reupholster them but the style and shape of them were not ideal. They were also pretty corned and started to become uncomfortable. Nevertheless, we wanted something different with some sort of an “English” look. We searched high and low but could not come out with a pair of sofas that both had the look and the shape we were looking for. When these situations arose, I will rather make a new one from scratch and make sure it is perfect for the space. We could also pick some castor legs for an additional English vibe and this vintage-looking fabric called “Royal Garden” by Kravet.

To “modernize” the sofas, we made new decorative pillows whit a Rio Magenta fabric and a deep purple one (both from Kravet). The modern pattern on the magenta one and the profoundness of the purple are making the ensemble feel less old.

We also custom-made a large square ottoman with vintage looking legs. The fabric is also by Kravet and echoes the sofas nicely while the square shape helps break the soft corners of the sofas.

We re-used a lot of existing console, side tables, lamps and art pieces. Even with the modern-looking furniture and fabrics, we needed more contemporary features in the room. The fireplace that was being built was quite modern in shape and color but I wanted to surround the space with modernity. That is why we picked an extra fine sisal wallpaper with a soft gray hue and a custom area rug in a charcoal color.

The entire open area is covered with this wallpaper while the different rugs help define areas (living, dining, office, etc.).

Finally, by mixing classic English pieces like the tea service with oriental art such as the Chinese stool and Indian statues, we brought an entire new feeling to the room. It is so unconventional and interesting. I am really glad of the result.