7 Designer Touches That Add Old-School Charm To A New Build

·3 min read
SL Idea House 2022 foyer
SL Idea House 2022 foyer

Designer: Charlotte Lucas; Photographer: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kendra Surface

They say you can't make new old friends, but you can build a new old house—kind of. At our 2022 Idea House, a great escape in the River Dunes community near Oriental, North Carolina, designer Charlotte Harris Lucas did just that, filling the newly constructed home with elements borrowed from historic havens along the coast. From curated antiques to reimagined treillage, these thoughtful touches lend enduring appeal and timeless character to a house of any age. Here are designer Charlotte Harris Lucas's signature moves for filling a new home with old-house nostalgia.

Incorporate Hand-Stenciled Details

In the entry, Charlotte commissioned North Carolina artist Madison Mauck of Mauck Made to hand-paint a throwback stenciled design on the floors and stair treads. The designer indulged the same craving for summer house nostalgia in the carriage house guest room (below), where a painted pattern on the walls feels simultaneously of-the-past and fresh.

SL Idea House Carriage House Guest Room
SL Idea House Carriage House Guest Room

Designer: Charlotte Lucas; Photographer: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kendra Surface

Channel Historic Precedents

Referencing the Delft tiles often found in older coastal houses, the designer wrapped the great room's fireplace in similar blue-and-white scenes from Renaissance Tile and Bath—a traditional choice to ground the more modern bleached white oak mantel.

SL Idea House 2022 Great Room
SL Idea House 2022 Great Room

Designer: Charlotte Lucas; Photographer: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kendra Surface

Display a Treasured Collection

Charlotte commissioned a scalloped shelf outfitted with a groove to display a collection of vintage plates above the counter in the kitchen. "It's your grandmother's plate wall reimagined in a more modern way," she explains.

SL Idea House Plate shelf kitchen
SL Idea House Plate shelf kitchen

Designer: Charlotte Harris Lucas; Photographer: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kendra Surface

Turn to the Classics

On the veranda, Charlotte leaned into tried-and-true details. "It feels like the epitome of a Southern porch with all the wicker," she says of the Summer Classics Home Soho Woven Lounge Chairs and Sofas. The ceiling is painted a watery shade of "haint blue," an allusion to an historical Southern practice that grew from the Gullah Geechee community's tradition of painting their doors, window frames, shutters, and porch ceilings blue; they believed that the color would act as a repellent for "haints," or spirits of the dead, who might try to enter their homes.

SL Idea House 2022 Porch Fireplace
SL Idea House 2022 Porch Fireplace

Designer: Charlotte Lucas; Photographer: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kendra Surface

Reinterpret a Traditional Design Element

The designer found inspiration for the dining room walls in classic treillage. To accentuate the millwork, crafted by Fuller Architectural Panels in Raleigh, she painted the ceiling in one shade and finish (Sherwin-Williams High Gloss Barely Pear SW 9666) and the trellis in another shade and finish (Sherwin-Williams White Snow in Satin Finish SW 9541).

SL Idea House 2022 Dining Room
SL Idea House 2022 Dining Room

Designer: Charlotte Lucas; Photographer: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kendra Surface

Bring in Brown Furniture

Antique furnishings, like the console and secretary, root the wide-open primary bedroom in timeless style—without distracting from its harbor view. "It's all about sophistication and serenity in this room," says Charlotte.

SL Idea House 2022 Primary Bedroom
SL Idea House 2022 Primary Bedroom

Designer: Charlotte Lucas; Photographer: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kendra Surface

Add Nostalgic Silhouettes

Charlotte placed Reid Classics' stately four-poster twin beds in the upstairs guest room, as they offer more flexibility for hosting guests of all ages. To keep the traditional furniture from feeling even the tiniest bit stuffy, she cloaked them in a zippy shade of green (Sherwin-Williams Olivetone SW 9670) that matches the ebullience of the room's wallpaper.

SL Idea House 2022 Upstairs Guest Room
SL Idea House 2022 Upstairs Guest Room

Designer: Charlotte Lucas; Photographer: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Kendra Surface