Age new floors with historic-inspired finishes. Add instant patina by whitewashing or staining wood floors for a rustic, age-old look. In this breakfast nook, a coat of clear polyurethane shows off the grain of raw pine floors, lending an antiqued, Swedish-style feel.
Lay reclaimed bricks for an established look. Choose salvaged or recycled building materials when constructing outdoor paths, stairs, and patios. The various shapes and hues of these antique bricks create a courtyard with historic charm that looks anything but brand-new.
Go retro with antique appliances. Offset new cabinetry and fixtures in a kitchen by using a single vintage appliance, such as this circa-1950s Chambers stove. Various Web sites, including eBay, sell versions ranging from around $100 each to more than $800 for a pristine, restored stove.
Greet guests with an old front door. Skip the builder’s basic and install a front door with age and patina. This pine door, which was salvaged from a ruined building in England, gives its cottage instant character and creates a welcoming entry.
Install vintage-inspired plumbing. Merge modern and traditional in a bath by combining a new sink and beaded board with an old claw-foot tub and faucets that have a period feel. An all-white palette looks fresh, while a handheld faucet adds vintage charm to this renovated room.
Use period hardware on drawers and cabinets. Elevate functional spaces for everyday storage to a more elegant level by choosing classic handles, knobs, and latches. These bin pulls feel both old and new in a kitchen that marries vintage style with modern efficiency.
Create warmth with natural materials. Craft a cottage that feels lived-in with the physical beauty of wood and stone. The rich, almost glowing color of the Douglas fir in this staircase adds depth to flat surfaces, while the cooler nature of the stone floors brings texture and contrast.
Add character through architectural salvage. Find a new purpose for old doors, windows, moldings, and mantels -- and save them from the dumpster.
This pair of teak French doors was rescued from a nearby historic landmark. Local flea markets and the Web are great sources for recycled architectural details, which are usually less expensive than new reproductions.
Try antique or vintage lighting. Create a conversation piece by using old fixtures in new ways, as with this iron chandelier and linen shade. Tied on with bows, the shade diffuses light and softens the metal frame.
Evoke a handcrafted feel with millwork. Create true cottage character with trim, woodwork, and moldings that enliven plain walls and ceilings. Walnut shelves perch atop doors and windows in this new home to give a sense of traditional bungalow craftsmanship.