HGTV’s Joanna Gaines Explains How To Create An Old-World Feel In A Brand-New Build

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HGTV's Joanna Gaines Explains How To Create An Old-World Feel In A Brand-New Build

HGTV’s Joanna Gaines Explains How To Create An Old-World Feel In A Brand-New Build

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Many homeowners dream of the possibilities a new build brings, including a chance to customize the home to their specifications and lifestyle. But there is also something to be said for older homes, which often exhibit a lot of character and charm that comes from hosting decades or centuries of happy dwellers. HGTV’s Joanna Gaines is known for her stylish remodels that often mix old and new elements, but a recent episode of “Fixer Upper: Behind the Design,” had Gaines contemplating how to make a newly built home look like a cozy European cottage. By using architectural accents, rustic materials, and other elements, Gaines succeeds, creating a perfect home for homeowners that looks plucked from over a century ago.

Gaines says in the episode, “The biggest challenge on this project is creating an old-world feel in a brand-new build.” However, since the home is entirely new, it gives the designer a blank slate, allowing her to make changes both inside and on the home’s exterior that give it an old-world European feel.

Mixing old and new

stucco cottage

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When asked about their vision for the home, the homeowners ask for a European cottage feel, which Joanna Gaines helps them flesh out more during the episode, where she explains “European cottage style to me is light woods; it’s stucco accents. I also envision antique doors, aged beams, really cool dormers, and flower boxes.” Her vision guides the home’s exterior, where whimsical green shutters, wood accents, and white stucco create a home that looks much older than it is.

Inside, Gaines applies her ideas of a European cottage to the kitchen, which features wood beams, classic Shaker cabinets in a pale blue, and old-world accents in metals, like the embossed copper trim above the stove and brass plumbing fixtures. To maintain storage, counter room, and ease of movement, Gaines opts for double islands, which increase the kitchen’s welcoming feel. In the living room, Gaines chooses an old garden gate and reclaimed wood mantle for the fireplace surround made of stucco.

Getting the look

shaker drawers with brass knobs

David Berlekamp/Shutterstock

If you are looking to create an old-world feel in your new build, consider the ways that materials, textures, and colors can bring a dose of the past into a new space. Reclaimed wood, vintage/antique furniture, and other old objects are a great place to start. Antique stores, estate sales, and flea markets boast a lot of finds that may be exactly what you’re looking for — or never knew you needed.

Gaines uses antique ledger pages as artwork and decor, which she extolls her love of in the episode “Fixer Upper: Behind the Design”, “To me, it could be art. I tear out the pages and get them framed and matted, and this is perfect for a gallery wall in an entryway, or a living room where you want to keep things a little more muted, but really interesting. These ledger books are a really fun way to bring in some history, some character.”

Salvage yards are another great place to find architectural accents like molding, ceiling medallions, old windows, and shutters. In addition to antique décor, you can also choose perenially classic elements in your home, like the Shaker cabinets or Gaines’ use of simply-designed rattan chairs in the dining room, that have enduring value but are also very contemporary and adaptable.

Charlotte Gammon

By Charlotte Gammon

Meet Charlotte Gammon, our expert and author. She's our true treasure, as she has got 20+ years of experience in gardening, winery and house design. In early 2000s, she worked for today.com magazine and was in charge of the gaardening section. Later on, Charlotte opened her own designer agency and worked as a designer and decorator. We are happy to have Charlotte with us, as she is our good friend. We value her experience and we're sure you will love the articles she created for our blog.