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3 Beautiful Interior Design Examples for Historic New England Homes

A home’s interior is a rich story of the life, history, and culture of all residents who once spent and are currently spending their lives and time within its walls. Thus historic homes are very different from new home designs.

Whether the time was short or stretched over generations, the architecture, paint, and meticulous design elements comprising the interior design represent each inhabitant’s aesthetic preferences, and thus, their character and interests.

For these reasons, the interiors of historic New England homes must be preserved and carefully renovated with the utmost care and attention to detail. Examples of this impeccable décor that has persisted through generations are listed below.

Preserving the Past in Eclectic Design

This home’s interior is preserved in homage to the original owner, whose eye was drawn to Eastern architecture and ornamentation.

Every inch of the house is maintained with respect to their preference for Asian-infused décor, a style present in both the color palette and the furniture’s minutiae.

The vast culmination of cultures residing in the Eastern corners of the world are represented in every decorative element, from the rich, black paint enveloping the mahogany trim to the elephant tusk sconces.

This color palette screams of Eastern tradition, starting with the Chinese red lacquer that so boldly envelops the bar’s walls, common room, and living room.  Touches of gold are dispersed throughout the home, giving hints of life to display, imbuing a touch of royalty, and adding a sense of gentleness to the captivating power imposed by the red and black.

Uniquely, the walls do not have a completely opaque finish, but a dynamic, reflective appearance due to the lacquer. This creates a sense of vivacity and movement to the room, inviting visitors and residents into a more profound experience and sense of belonging in the home.

To further compliment the home’s refined look, darkly colored and uniquely designed furnishings were added to fill the floor space.

Leather-bound, bucket seat bar stools, lounge chairs, and Chesterfield sofas decorate the entertainment space, contributing to an atmosphere of lavish repose.

With its immaculate mixture of Asian and European design choices, this home has sealed its place on Marlborough street as one of the best-preserved home interiors among historic New England residences.

Merging Modern with Antiquity

One central facet in interior design is knowing when to use bold, rich colors and when to relax and transition to a gentler look for a more modern feel.

This is precisely what the Platemark team accomplished in one of their most pristine designs yet. By emphasizing hues critical to the look of the sharp and minimalistic modern age, the painters captured this New England home’s historical fragility while bringing it forward into the present time.

The abundance of square footage is made to feel even larger by using crisp, white paint and soft shades of green.

Not only are the walls, ceilings, and cabinetry draped in these soothing colors, but immense attention was allocated to the moldings as well. All around the room, the moldings are flawlessly coated in dark green, offering just the perfect amount of contrast to the lighter shades encompassing the room.

Even the fireplace was given a delicately balanced treatment, painted with a shade that perfectly matches the molding, pulling all features together into one cohesive piece.

Finally, a pop of vigor is added to the room with the intricate patterning on the fireplace’s face, doused with light shades of pink to add a sense of warm innocence to the dining area.

Finally, the room’s elegance is completed by its simplistic furniture.

The welcoming, plush cushions lining the wooden chairs’ seats match the tablecloth on which dining wares are situated. The sleekness of the traditional, yet mid-century style wooden dining table is just subtle enough to illuminate the gathering area.

You may also shop now for modern quilts and be able to imitate classic vibe with neutral and complementing colors.

Simultaneously, it allows the spotlight to fall on the mellow color palette and complementary patterns of the fireplace and area rug on the dining area floor. This home’s quiet poise serves to prove that not all historic homes must be fitted with bold palettes to find their place in the modern world.

Reimaging the Past into Present

An excellent example of revitalizing a historical residence for the modern eye is the revitalized Emmanuel Episcopal Church rectory, located in the Historic District of Newport, Rhode Island.

The home’s new design was intended to host the Chicago couple’s love for entertaining guests – large groups of 50 or more – all while honoring Newport’s historical aesthetics. This meant that the home needed to be opened and rejuvenated, a task that demanded the utmost care and a highly skilled team.

With the help of Parker Construction, Boston architect Patrick Ahearn, and Rhode Island interior designer, Patti Watson, the home was on its way to a new beginning. Watson oversaw the restoration of all fixtures, furnishings, lighting, and millwork throughout the house.

Among the most complex tasks was the floorplan’s expansion, centered on the kitchen’s renovation and the introduction of more entertainment space.

Even with extensive changes, the home’s original beauty was preserved with a successful replication of the piano floor, made from reclaimed wood that beautifully reflected its age and character. The careful placement of the floorboards served to reflect the home’s journey through the last century.

The positioning bore a resemblance to a floor that had naturally expanded and contracted through the years.

Many home features were left intact to the greatest possible extent, including the original newel post graced by a Celtic emblem signaling the home’s original past as a rectory. Elements that could not be preserved, such as the balustrade and interior trim, were replicated to the finest detail.

This Rhode Island home is a stunning example of what it means to imbue new life into a historic New England home, while still honoring the residents of times past.

When you begin your journey into preserving or restoring the interior or your historic New England home, refer to these examples to determine the precise route you would like to take. Ensure that you are supported by the most renowned architects, construction crews, and interior painters in Boston so that your vision of historical excellence is brought to life.


Jeff Campbell