Make It Happen: Designed for Life | Midwest Living

Make It Happen: Designed for Life

Kate Arends, a Saint Paul-based design consultant and voice behind the Wit and Delight blog, shares her tips for mastering old-meets-new style.
  • Old meets new

    A 1920s Tudor-style home wasn’t first choice for modern-loving Kate Arends. But when the reality of home buying overshadowed her design dreams, she decided instead to introduce new design trends into the older home’s architecture. “I wanted to make sure it didn’t look like a new interior in an old house,” says Kate. She chose finishes, furnishings and color palettes that would enhance her home’s character in a modern way. 

    Honor the original To echo the Tudor home’s existing arched doorways, Kate opted for decor that repeated the round shape, like a modern coffee table, mirror and clock. “We pulled from architectural references that already existed and made sure those were reflected in anything that was newly built or added,” she says. 

    Establish character Vintage-inspired finishes and furnishings help bridge new styles in an older home. The cognac leather couch and distressed area rug encourage wear.

    Fuse styles Painting the walls white gave Kate a clean canvas for decorating in her contemporary style. Light fixtures and accent pieces were easy (and affordable) areas to infuse modern design. “A lot of people in the design space are facilitating creativity and mixing and matching and not necessarily sticking to one style now,” says Kate. “Breaking the rules is kind of a new rule, and I’m happy about that.”

    Want to get the look? Click or tap ahead for ideas on how to make this style happen in your home.






  • Make it happen: Round accent

    A round mirror mimics the arched details found in a historical Tudor home. Pendant-like suspension and an aged copper-tone frame give the Looking Glass mirror vintage appeal. $279.

  • Make it happen: Ready to wear chair

    Character is built in to each button-tufted Nina chair thanks to the wrinkles, creases and color variations naturally produced in the genuine leather. $999.

  • Make it happen: Ready to wear rug

    The weathered details of Alcott Hill’s Broadway Navy area rug make it feel original to a vintage home. Starting at $41.99.

  • Make it happen: Mixed signals pendant

    Ohio-based manufacturer Hinkley Lighting seamlessly meshes vintage and industrial styles in the Fletcher Pendant, made of etched opal glass and cast knobs; finish: Aged zinc. $309.

  • Make it happen: Mixed signals table

    Sturdy with a Carrera marble top and traditional wood base, the Reeve Mid-Century Rectangular coffee table mixes materials with ease. $699.

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