Getting That Vintage Style Home

Vintage -Style

Source tips on creating and preserving an elegant vintage-style home design in your new old Aussie house.

Vintage-style home design is tried and true

Useful tips on creating and preserving an elegant vintage-style home design in your new old Aussie home can be found in More Colour Schemes for Old Australian Houses, which has been carefully researched and written by Ian Evans in conjunction with well known conservation architects Clive Lucas and Ian Stapleton.

The authors say that one of the best advantages of choosing a traditional, historically authentic home decorating scheme is the sure knowledge that it will be successful.

“Today’s fashion,” they predict, “will be passé next year but a traditional scheme will acquire a look of faded correctness and elegance as time passes” – and as a bonus it can also boost the real estate value of your home.

Source book review: More Colour Schemes for Old Australian Houses

This book gives ‘paint by numbers’ a whole new meaning. It details sixteen exterior home design schemes for houses in every state in the period between Colonial (1820-40), through early to late Victorian and Edwardian times, and the Twenties, Thirties and 1940s. Each home design scheme is illustrated by a sketch of the various parts of the building, linked to a key detailing the colours to be used. The colour numbers, based on current Australian and British standards (which can be found at, can be used to trace alternatives from the various modern manufacturers.

Useful notes on aspects of home decorating practice and the early paint industry in Australia will help those intent on faithful restoration, while background notes on traditional colour schemes and decoration influences, tools and techniques will be particularly useful for those seeking to successfully merge existing structures with recent or intended home renovations.

In addition, the book contains a wealth of design schemes for the various rooms
inside the home, with colour maps, designs for stencil patterns and appropriate wallpaper, plus a comprehensive directory listing suppliers for the products and services needed to paint and redecorate old houses.

Other sources of inspiration for (re)creating vintage-style home design

If you feel like you need more food for thought and further inspiration to get your home redesign moving, you can even research the history of your very own house. Start at your local library – the best person to ask will be the local studies librarian. There you might find an old photograph, for example, that will alert you to roof or veranda ornaments that have long since been removed and original plans for the dwelling and any subsequent renovations that could inform your next step.

Your local library will also be able to point you in the direction of historical societies and relevant interest groups active in your area. Properties owned by the National Trust of Australia can also be a source of home design inspiration (visit

Historic Houses Trust of NSW

Wherever you live, you can also dip into the great resources at the Historic Houses Trust of NSW. Their Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection is open to anyone with an interest in the history of home and garden design and interior furnishing in NSW, from the 19th century to the present day.

Explore the library’s ‘Museum collections’ section and you will discover online databases of floor coverings, garden ornaments and wall coverings. Their collection also includes architectural pattern books and manufacturers’ trade catalogues and sample books – not everything is available in full online but you will find at least a few sample pictures, enough to know if the resource is worth pursuing.

A visit to the library, located at The Mint in Sydney, will reveal a collection of fittings (including curtain and blind hardware, door and window furniture), soft furnishings and trimmings, personal papers and manuscripts, pictures, photographs, and of course, books and magazines. The library welcomes enquiries and says they often have interstate and even international visitors calling in for advice on home restoration and recreation projects.

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