We love old homes for their charm and character. But we don’t love topsy-turvy floorboards that make us feel like we’re out to sea. Barring expensive structural work, what’s a symmetry-loving gal to do? Genevieve Gorder, interior designer (and host of Best Room Wins), says it’s as simple as a wall of built-in bookshelves. Let us explain.
Live in a Crooked Old House? Here’s a Great Tip from Genevieve Gorder
Your room pitches downward: either a result of a sinking foundation or old-school building methods.
We’ve watched Gorder flip old, historic homes masterfully since her days on the OG cast of Trading Spaces. So when she stopped by PureWow HQ for a recent visit, we just had to ask her thoughts on this tricky design woe: “If your floor pitches one way or another, build up the end of the room where it tips down,” she advised. Specifically, add built-in bookshelves or media units that disguise the slope.
How? Run the shelves so they are square with the room and perpendicular to the ceiling. As a result, you will have more room between the bottom shelf and the floor on the sloped side than you have on the non-sloped side. Unless your slope is really pronounced, this won’t be noticeable. But even if it is, you or your contractor can add a faux front panel to better blend it into the floor. Plus, says Gorder, “Custom built-ins always add value to a home.”
The Finished Effect
What sloping floorboards? To complement your wall of built-ins, layer in lush textiles, large furnishings and pretty decor—all of which distract from the room’s wonkiness—without detracting from the historical charm.