Mixing the old with the new

Photo credit: Deadline Design, Foxtel Photographer - Vanessa Hall

It can be difficult to inject a sense of personality into your home when you’re renovating or building from scratch - you run the risk of everything looking a little too ‘display home’ or ‘same-same’.

But, as Design Insider Shaynna Blaze explains, adding a mix of old and new furniture and vintage finds can be a great way to overcome this. It’s just a matter of getting the balance right.

“Take, for example, a period home,” she explains. “If you have only one modern piece, you’ll feel like it doesn’t fit, so it’s best to actually have a couple.

“It could be that you have beautiful architecture, or beautiful ceiling roses and cornicing - if you put a modern couch in there, with, say, a very modern lamp, or a very modern piece of graphic artwork, it can look great.

“But you’ve got to get the balance right in the room.”

 Shaynna Blaze Sitting Room Photo credit: Deadline Design, Foxtel Photographer - Vanessa Hall

This can be a matter of trial and error, but most times, Shaynna says you’ll know by looking at your room whether something’s not quite right.

“It’s like having a modern house and sticking a Louis XIV-style chair in the corner - it’s not going to work,” Shaynna adds. “So you have got to make sure that if you have a house like that, with a modern dining table, you put, say, more than one old chair around it, creating a ‘cluster’.

While Shaynna’s own home is modern, the space she works out of is an old 1880s Victorian building.

To keep things interesting, she’s peppered old items amongst the new for contrast, but has bold, modern architectural statements throughout.

“It’s all period, but I’ve got, for example, an ultra-modern staircase, and the kitchen has got a mix between period and modern,” she says.

 Shaynna Blayze Dining Room Photo credit: Deadline Design, Foxtel Photographer - Vanessa Hall

So how does she find those stylish older pieces?

“I’ve accumulated them,” she explains. “I think because I have access to so many wholesalers and shops.

“But also, travelling all over the country as well - I like to get pieces when I go away.

“One of my big things when I travel is to get something that is not a souvenir, but is an actual functional piece that will work in my home.

“It becomes part of that story of what I have got.”

 Shaynna Blayze Outdoor Dining  Photo credit: Deadline Design, Foxtel Photographer - Vanessa Hall

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