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My Five Favorite Ways To Mix Old And New

Hello lovelies! August snuck right up on us didn’t it? It’s already time for another round of My Five Favorites along with my sweet friends Pam at Simple Details, Jennifer at Dimples & Tangles, and Kris at Driven by Decor!
This month our guest host is none other than Melaine from My Sweet Savannah, one of the first blogs I ever followed  (in fact when I first started blogging I won a Lisa Leonard necklace giveaway on Melaine’s blog that has my kids’ initials on it, and to this day I adore it and wear it all the time).  Melaine has such a gorgeous and effortless style and was one of the featured designers for the One Room Challenge with a stunning bathroom makeover. Don’t miss this latest tour of her beautiful lakeside home too!

Welcome, Melaine, and thanks for joining us!!

Today the five of us are talking about how we mix old and new in our homes. While for the last eight years I’ve been trying to rid my abode of all things “80s” (starting with that sweet orange woodwork everywhere!) I do actually really love to incorporate things with a bit of patina into every space. I think rooms all benefit from a little mix – a bit of soul for a modern space, and something unexpected and fresh for a more traditional space. I especially love adding in items that are meaningful in some way – perhaps a travel treasure or a sentimental gem from a loved one.

Here are a few of my favorite old items to mix with new for a collected and interesting home.

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The last time we moved I could not believe all the precious things we had amassed from our own wedding and hand-me-downs from family that we never ever used. I vowed to either use everything in this house or give it to someone else who would love and utilize it!

Here I don’t have a lot of things packed away. Delicate old crystal is a beautiful way to add sparkle and sentiment to your home, if you have it why not use it? Old and fancy glassware co-exists with inexpensive acrylic very happily, it does not care that the tray came from the clearance rack at Homegoods.

A crystal vase sits on an acrylic tray on a coffee table.

I put a couple of old glass vases into regular use here instead of saving them for special occasions.

Mark’s great Uncle Arthur and his wife, Aunt Nellie, bought this delicate, handpainted Murano glass pitcher below on a trip to Italy many years ago and eventually it ended up in our care. I was terrified to break it so it just stayed stashed away safely. But what is the point to that??  This spring I used it for an Easter table and not only is it special to us because of who it belonged to, it also is unusual and interesting and lovely. And it’s sitting on a shower curtain-turned-tablecloth from Target 🙂



My favorite parents-in-law had a ton of old nautical maps from years spent boating on Cape Cod (back before seafarers had GPS!) and since I’m their favorite daughter-in-law (obviously 🙂 ) they gave them all to me when they moved. The maps are not old as in antiques, but they’re beat up and wrinkled and have weathered a few decades (and the Atlantic Ocean) and they are the actual tools Mark learned to navigate the sea with.

I cut this one of the Boston Harbor in half and the framed pieces grace the walls of our newly remodeled bathroom. They face each other on either side of the laundry doors.

A Boston Harbor nautical map, cut in half and framed with inexpensive Ikea frames.

The charts are neutral in color and rather quiet but I love how they compliment the Kelly Witmer print and all the newness of this space. You can see one half of it reflected in the oyster shell mirror.

An old nautical map in a coastal bathroom remodel.

The fact that it’s of Boston is so meaningful – my parents-in-law both grew up in different neighborhoods of the city, and my parents immigrated to Boston from Ireland in the late 50s-early 60s and were married in Lower Mills, which is on the map.

I used another even more weathered map of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket on the back of the TV armoire that I turned into a bar cabinet.

The maps I used are from the 70s but the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) widely sells them everywhere. I bought these same (new) nautical charts here to frame for clients using one of their favorite destinations. For vintage/antique maps check out eBay, but read the fine print carefully and know what you’re paying for because there are a lot of reproductions on there (which is fine as long as you’re not paying antique prices!)



Even if all brand new furniture for every room is in your budget, adding something with a story or a past life makes a room feel collected and gives it personality!

A vintage rattan side table in our living room. 

Small vintage rattan side table compliments new chairs.

This old side table below had me with that pretty pull!

Thrift store score bedside table painted white with a fun surprise inside the drawer!

Old pieces are often fantastic candidates for a makeover!

The inside of this thrifted bedside table is painted a fun hot pink.

Limed oak dining table and thrifted cane chairs.

Refinished dining table gets a limed finish

One thing I really love about this table is that it’s evident that it has history. It was originally bought by a US soldier who was stationed in Germany and brought back to New Hampshire where it spent many years in the more formal dining room of a farmhouse with a growing family. The table is solid oak and opens to seat 12 comfortably. We use it for our breakfast, lunch, dinner, office space, homework, DIY projects, dinner parties, holidays and writing very long blog posts 🙂 365 days of the year. It’s the epicenter of our home and I LOVE it’s character and patina mixed with a new light and rug!


Like your precious crystal, fine glassware or china, vintage linens aren’t getting any younger sitting in a closet never used! Even with their imperfections I love old linens that have been passed down and have history.

A vintage tablecloth is beautiful with all it's imperfections.

A vintage Irish linen tablecloth we received for our wedding got eaten by moths, so I repurposed it to cover Hannah’s headboard. You can see more of this teen girl room here.

Vintage tablecloths that are beyond repair can also be made into cloth napkins or a runner!



Before I built our wall of bookcases I had a gallery of old black and white photos. It never ceases to amaze me how old photos can add so much charm and LOVE to a space!

Old black and white wedding photo

This photo above is from my parents’ wedding album that lives in our family room shelves – hands down the best old item I have in my possession!

It is truly these kinds of things that make a house a home, don’t you agree?

Built in bookcases with old and new books and black and white photos.

I wrote a post a while back on how to retouch, reproduce and frame old photos to preserve the original – if you’re thinking about framing some of your own family photos be sure to read these tips first.

How to fix, reproduce and frame old photos safely.

I hope you enjoyed these simple ways to mix old and new!

Knowing Pam, Jennifer, Kris and Melaine they are going to have a million fantastic ideas! Join me to pop over and visit them today!

Driven by Decor

Simple Details

Dimples & Tangles

and our guest host

My Sweet Savannah


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Pam @ Simple Details

Thursday 2nd of August 2018

You're so right, what is the point of stashing away precious treasures?! Your pitcher from Italy is gorgeous, how fun to us it for Easter! How have I not noticed your fabulous rattan table, so pretty! And, is that photo of your dad, I see Peter!


Thursday 2nd of August 2018

Wow you have a good eye Pam!! Peter does look like my dad and brothers for sure, I'm amazed you picked up on that! Hope you are enjoying your last few weeks with your boy!! XOX


Wednesday 1st of August 2018

Wonderful share --thank you Lisa!


Thursday 2nd of August 2018

Thank you my friend!! xx

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Wednesday 1st of August 2018

Great ideas. I agree, what is the use in having nice things if you aren't using them. I have a framed quote in our dining room that says, "Everyday is a special occasion"...helps me remember to pull out the crystal and the china.


Thursday 2nd of August 2018

That is one of my favorite expressions Lauren! I haven't used my china in years but not because it's too precious....more that it doesn't go with anything I use today....but my crystal I use all the time. So glad you get me! :)

Jennifer Griffin

Wednesday 1st of August 2018

Lisa, I just love those framed maps so much! Even better with the story behind them. :) And, you've encouraged me to include more framed photos on my shelves. I have tons of family photos in gallery walls but not too many on shelves. Love these ideas!


Thursday 2nd of August 2018

Jennifer you know how sentimental I am....I constantly have to edit how many "special" things we have around the house! Especially photos from any era!

Debbie - MountainMama

Wednesday 1st of August 2018

Lovely, Lisa! I didn't know you were first generation American, just like me!! What counties are your parents from? I like to use all my Irish crystal - the vases come out regularly during the summer months, and the glasses I've used for many a lovely dinner party. Boy do they make the table sparkle! I have a Waterford footed bowl of some sort that I use on my vanity for my makeup brushes - it makes me smile to see the sun sparkle through it in the mornings (note to self - it needs to be washed!!)


Thursday 2nd of August 2018

Debbie my parents are from Ireland, how about you?? I have a lot of Irish crystal too :) :) :) I love that idea to use your Waterford bowl for your makeup brushes, if I used more than one makeup brush I would definitely steal that idea!