Creating Entertaining Space in a Historic Home-Getting Started

by | Aug 18, 2022 | Feature Projects

Here below the Mason Dixon line in North Carolina, most small towns have historic homes of a different time. Though filled with a hominess that can’t be replicated, they present unique challenges for modern-day living. Recently, our team helped a family reimagine their historic southern home to create intentional spaces while preserving its charm. 

About the Client & Their Historic Home

Andrea and Stephen bought a 1948 colonial with plans for restoring it. As small business owners, staying connected to the local community and preserving its history played a big part in their buying decision. Bonus, the house is so close to work they can ride an electric scooter to their office! With a sweet little girl and an older dog, they were ready to make significant changes to better meet their family’s needs. 

historic home before
Pictures of the home before our clients bought the home.

They had been in their home for three years before calling CoCreative Interiors. In that time, they completed several home renovation projects on their own. They removed a wall, installed new kitchen cabinetry, an island, and lighting, and added decorative molding to the eat-in dining area. After removing the wall, the clients weren’t sure what to do with a space that “didn’t feel right.” In particular, Andrea worried they had removed too many walls. 

With no idea how to move forward, Stephen and Andrea felt stuck. Besides being stumped by the floorplan, they had well-loved furniture from college and full-time jobs with busy lives. They needed help, and we were excited to take on the challenges.

Design Challenges in a historic Home

Most of the challenges we faced with this project were spatial. Older homes have tons of charm but can also have tricky layouts. When their home was built in 1948, an open floor plan was not a common design feature. Careful thought had to be put into transforming several small rooms into an open, airy space that feels modern yet historic. 

The family room was very long and narrow, which made using the space effectively difficult. The room was so narrow that sitting on the sofa to watch the TV over the fireplace was uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, in fact, that the family added a second TV area off the kitchen in a small open space that didn’t have a defined use.

Several aesthetic design challenges had to be addressed as well. The floors were a bit orange for Andrea and Stephen’s taste, and they wanted to update the fireplace area by removing existing faux wallpaper. They also wanted to update their furniture from the hodgepodge of pieces they had collected over the years to refined pieces that matched their current style and needs. 

Finally, the family needed better lighting and more storage in the family room. (What family can’t use more storage?!) Lighting in older homes is often lacking. In this case, the main living areas had no overhead light fixtures and only a few outlets. 

Pictures of the space after the client made changes on their own.

Goals of the Project

  • Define spaces for relaxing and entertaining in the long, narrow family room
  • Develop a lighting plan for the family room
  • Create a dedicated dining room area
  • Balance the far wall in the family room to create symmetry
  • Upgrade furnishings to reflect the clients’ current style and needs
  • Select low-maintenance pieces that hold up to kids, dogs, and everyday use
  • Provide shelf space to display books, tchotchkes, and mementos
  • Add storage for their daughter’s crafts and toys
  • Include a designated space for reading 
  • Improve TV viewing

Jumpstarting the CoCreative Interiors Project

Once our team had a clear idea of what Andrea and Stephen wanted to accomplish, we created design storyboards. These boards bring the vision to life and show how all the colors, patterns, and textures come together. This phase of the design process also allows our team to collaborate with our clients to make any changes and plan adjustments.

Project Design Boards

Once all of the pre-work and planning was complete, we set out to transform this historic home into a beautiful entertaining space that Andrea and Steven could be proud of and enjoy for years to come. If you want to see the finished project, check out part two of this three-part series. Get a behind-the-scenes tour of how the space evolved along with tips to help you look at your space with a fresh perspective. 

CoCreative Interiors Design Board

If you would like to chat about your Charlotte, NC design project, book your complimentary discovery call! You can also download our free project planner and budget calculator to jumpstart your own redesign project.