The first thing you’ll want to know about retro interior designers is that they’re all looking for the same things.
There are no special skills required, they’re just interested in restoring old houses to the state that they were designed to be in.
And their aim is to be able to make it look like it used to.
“We want to make sure we do everything in our power to preserve these elements of the house,” says Dan Riehl, the head of the Nashville Retro Interior Design Group.
So how do they do it?
Riells first big challenge was finding people who had worked in architecture.
“When I looked around I found a lot of people who were really passionate about the heritage,” he says.
He then went on to recruit a few others from the architecture industry, and invited them to come and work with him.
“They’re very excited to work with me because they’re looking for a different kind of interior design that has a little bit more of a contemporary feel to it,” he explains.
“A modern, minimal approach, but still very much a house in its heyday.”
Rieldins team went back to the original architecture of the 1930s, and asked the experts what they thought about the retro style.
“There’s a lot to it.
I think the most important thing is that people are looking for something that feels authentic and has a sense of place,” says Riel.
“So what’s important to me is not what you do, but how you do it.
You can do it in an office building or you can do that at home.”
But how do you do this in a way that feels right to the house?
“It’s really about getting to the heart of the interior,” he advises.
“You can’t just go to the next room and change the layout.”
So the team went to their local architecture firm and asked them to think about the building, how it looked and how it felt.
“The architect can say ‘what is this place about?’, and we can then talk about how we want to approach this,” explains Riella.
“But the house has to be like a piece of art in itself.
So that’s what we did: we did a lot more than just a new design.
We also made sure that it was still authentic to the interior.”
He says this is because the retro look is often considered a retro style because it’s been around for so long.
“People tend to associate it with a certain era, but there’s a history that goes back hundreds of years,” he continues.
“It was always done in a traditional way.”
So what’s the best way to preserve the retro vibe in an interior?
“I don’t think you need a whole lot of fancy things,” says Kasey Hulme, the owner of the downtown Nashville design studio Kaseh.
“Most people will just like it and then leave.
You just have to know how to put it together.” “
That means the furniture, the fittings, the furniture itself, the woodwork, the finishes, the appliances and the furnishings, so everything is there.
You just have to know how to put it together.”
How to make a retro design work in a modern home The first step in bringing a retro home back to life is to look at the home and what makes it feel authentic.
“If you look at an old house you’ll probably find a lot in the home that has that retro feel to them,” says Hulmes team member, Katie.
“From the look of the wood to the way that they’ve put the furniture together, you can see the history and history is there.”
That means looking at the inside of the home first.
“I think the easiest way to do this is to find some furniture that you can put into your home that will look like they were used to,” says Katie.
The furniture will help you find the retro feel in the house.
You may also want to look for an outside view, which helps you feel more at home.
“One thing you can look for is if the furniture is made from reclaimed materials,” says Matt Purdy, the team’s urban designer.
“These reclaimed materials are actually used in a lot with the wood in the houses to make the wood feel like it was used to be,” he adds.
“And if you can identify a piece that is a reclaimed piece of wood, then it makes sense to go with that.”
To achieve this, you’ll need to take a look at other old homes.
“This is a really important part of the process,” says Purdy.
“Many of the older homes that are in the market right now have this retro feel, but not every old home has a similar retro feel.
So if you find a home that does, then you can go with it.
It’s just about finding something that you like.” How do you