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How to Merge Retro Design into Your Decor

How to Merge Retro Design into Your Decor
How to Merge Retro Design into Your Decor

The decorative style “retro” often refers to the design period roughly between the 1920s and the 1970s. This is How to Merge Retro Design into Your Decor.

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How to Merge Retro Design into Your Decor

Caroline Clifton-Mogg shows us how to live with midcentury style in a classic or rustic environment. In her book, Modern Retro: From Rustic to Urban, Classic to Colour, she show us how to merge the ever-enduring style into contemporary environments or mixed with antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The influence of the era’s designers—from Walter Gropius and Alvar Aalto to Le Corbusier and Noguchi—can still be seen in 21st-century interiors.

“It is sometimes hard to realise just how revolutionary some of the early pieces must have seemed at the time,” Clifton-Mogg writes. “The combination of new techniques and new inventions resulted in materials with which we are very familiar today —bent tubular steel, moulded plastic, and plywood—but which had never been seen before that period.”

The book reveals how people adjusted retro designs with a wide variation of decor styles, including rustic, eccentric, and industrial.

Both sides can coexist in Harmony.

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Dutch native Manfred Geserick chose to highlight the architectural bones of his 19th-century French mansion by combining furniture and art from different eras. “I want to create a tension between styles and periods, to move away from the idea of pure design, which on its own can become impersonal and boring,” he says. In the salon (shown), the classic architectural space holds a long, low sofa upholstered in acid-green velvet from the ’70s sitting opposite two chairs from the ’50s. The sharp tone of the velvet tint contrasts with the neutral herringbone wood flooring.


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In the mid-1990s three friends—a Frenchman, a Malaysian, and a Swede—partnered to take on antique dealing and interior decorating in the East End of London. This direct the trio to open up Les Trois Garçons, a ground-floor restaurant, bar, and shop situated in an old Victorian pub. Their apartment was on the first floor. Both are decorated in the same eccentric style, including stuffing , 19th-century pieces, and 1970s furniture, among other periods. Les Trois Garçons designed the dressing room, seen here with light oak and glass cabinets showing off rows of shoes and sneakers. A pair of 1950s armchairs upholstered in Italian velvet sits underneath a 19th-century English brass light fixture.

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The elements of rustic interiors emphasise the sharper angles of 20th-century furniture and objects. The patina of age and rural purpose is texture and decor in itself. In this living room, colour is used to soften and add warmth to the neutral neighbourhood of natural building materials. Twentieth-century furniture—in its metal, polished wood, moulded plastic, and fiberglass—also exhibits a semi-organic and adaptable appearance and blends in well.

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In the United Kingdom’s Cornwall, Anna Bingham and Dan Mullaly’s dreams came true when they opened their camping site Love Lane Caravans. They searched for vintage caravans, old buses, and camping vans to become overnight accommodations. These homes-away-from-home were decorated in vintage textiles and decor underline each vehicle’s particular material or characteristic from kitsch to Formica and chrome. This ’50s Tiger Cub by Leyland was once a rural bus riding along country lanes. It now features new stuffing on original bench seats and a romantic canopied bed.

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