Taking on a period home can be a fearful prospect. Wanting to honour the architecture while putting your own stamp on the place can be tricky but this Edinburgh hotel shows that being unabashedly playful pays off.
Edinburgh is many things – an incredibly well-preserved Georgian city, an excellent place to pick up some antiques, a foodie haven. However, it’s also quite a grey city, and we don’t just mean the weather.
That’s why walking into Eden Locke aparthotel on George Street, is like walking into a different universe. Pastel colours cover the walls, glossy-leafed plants pepper every corner and design genres clash beautifully at every turn.
Opened last year, it’s got an austere Georgian façade but inside New York architect’s Grzywinski+Pons’ design is laidback and fun, with a series of apartments you can cook and relax in, as well as a communal bar and chill area.
The place is positively brimming with fresh ideas, especially on how to create a modern space in period rooms without losing its character. Here’s a round-up of some of Grzywinski+Pons’ ice-cream-hued designs that can easily be introduced into a smaller space.
Make an entrance
With our wet and grey weather, we often feel like we can’t use the bright and zingy colours that seem to work so well in warmer climes. A squirt of mustard or a slap or coral can feel to brass and boisterous, emphasising the dull weather outside rather than hiding it. However, it can be done, so long as you do it carefully.
Rather than painting a whole room in bright yellow, which can often look dirty in a heavily filtered daylight, got for a single detail like a doorframe, skirting or ceiling, where you can add some fun without feeling overpowered by it.
Say no to matchy-matchy
Period spaces seem to demand decorum – pinkies up people. However, one way to break that idea and give the whole place a more social feel, is to avoid matching everything too much.
Different furniture and fixtures in similar materials or colour palettes will help to break up the symmetry while keeping it flowing. At Eden Locke, natural textures like timber and rattan are paired with block colours.
Two-tone it up
In tall spaces, paint colour can really make or break a room – so much so you might be tempted to paint it all white and avoid the conundrum altogether. However, white can look very austere and cold, and sometimes you can try to compensate it with very bright furniture and accessories that might not really be to your taste.
The Georgians were not shy with their palettes, gilding cornices, painting frescos on the walls and ceilings and creating ornate designs in different colours. Take your lead from them with a strong colour palette that you enjoy being around. If you love pink but not quite enough to paint a 12-foot wall, break it up with a complementary colour. This will not only emphasise the ceiling heights but also make the room feel more inviting and allow you to be more playful with your accessories.
Period, but with a twist
In traditional period homes, an ornate chandelier usually hangs from the ceiling. However rather than opt for the overly fussy glass version for the main rooms, here’s they’ve chosen modern versions, keeping the length to emphasise the height and adding a pop of colour through the shades or through brass piping.
Paying homage to a building’s architecture does not mean maintaining it exactly as it once was. This is, after all, your home, not a museum. So long as you have a decent respect for its history and take elements that work while incorporating your own flavour, it’ll be a space you’ll love living in for a long time to come.
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