Trad is Rad

Style is such an interesting thing. I feel like I have a pretty strong handle on my own aesthetic, which I usually describe as a modern take on traditional style. It is rooted in the classic, but executed through a fresh, modern lens. Meaning, I’ll base a space around a very classic foundation, but mix things up with both modern and traditional pieces and interesting, unexpected details. That said, sometimes, I feel like I have design ADD because I am attracted to so many things! Every project I work on has a distinct look and once I get into the zone, it all comes together very naturally, however, in the wilderness of magazines, Pinterest, and movie sets, my eye is drawn to many different styles. I guess it is only natural as there are so many ways to interpret beauty.

As much as I love a crisp, clean, modern interior, I have a feeling the madness for all things modern that has reigned supreme for the last five or so years is calming down a bit. I predict that in 2018, traditional, classic style will be back in the mainstream in a very big way. Of course these things have never gone away– they are classic and timeless after all, but I have a feeling that more and more people will embrace design elements like rich color palettes, Chinoiserie accents, brown furniture such as English antiques; crusty, old gilded antiques from France, and beautiful, old rugs come 2018. I couldn’t be more excited about it because these are the things that make my heart sing! My own interpretation features a bit of restraint and isn’t as pattern driven as some of the truly traditional interiors that I love, but I can still admire their beauty.

The new issue of Architectural Digest features a fabulous home in San Francisco that Miles Redd decorated for a young family with small children. I love that the house itself has the traditional, formal architecture you would expect to find in old school San Francisco neighborhoods like Pacific Heights, yet it is evident that a young family really lives here. The early 1900s house was renovated by architect Gil Schafer and is decked out in the traditional, layered goodness that has become Miles’ signature and that harkens back to the grand, old nineteen eighties when the best decorators of the day dreamed in chintz.

The story serves as a wonderful reminder that while this type of decorating may seem formal or fancy, it’s actually the friendliest for young families! There is nothing more forgiving for a family with young children and pets than an old Oriental rug. Antiques have stood the test of time for centuries in some cases, so not only are they green, but they are as durable as you could hope for, and printed fabrics can hide stains while sumptuous velvets only get better with age. What do you think? Do you agree that the future of design is in looking back to the past?

Thank you, Architectural Digest and Miles for the inspiration and reminder that houses are meant to be beautiful, joyous, and truly lived in! 

{Photography by Trevor Tondro for Architectural Digest}

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Tell Me What You Think! leave a comment...

  1. The children on the staircase shot and the vibrant colored walls is invigorating! I’ve always been a minimalist and a form follows function Mies van der Rohe girl, but there’s another style that’s longing to emerge. While I’ve redone my master bath and powder room with early 19th C consoles, Fortuny shades, Ousak rugs and a German wallpaper in one with a subtle sheen and tiny glass beads, there’s a little voice screaming fabulous velvet sofa and more color in my walls!

  2. I have diagnosed myself with Design ADD as well! ? It takes a lot of discipline to remember what is “me” when confronted with all of the beautiful options out there. I love a clean, modern room in a magazine, but in my own home I love antiques and lots of cozy fabrics. You are able to blend the two styles perfectly, but I don’t have that talent. Love your blog!!

  3. While I enjoy and appreciate beautiful interior design, I have never been one to become attached to things to an extreme. I remember reading once that one reason people become attached to “things” is because life is always changing and sometimes the only continuity we have are the lovely and familiar things we have in our homes and many times pass on to family. That makes sense to me. I agree with you that the best of both worlds is to have a little of each, traditional decor with a touch of modernity. Too much of one seems stodgy and too much of the other seems cold. Love the design ADD diagnosis, we can appreciate the creativity of others while staying true to ourselves in our own homes and remain confident in that choice. There are things that age “well” and those that don’t, the classics live on……

  4. Miles Redd is my design hero! I adore his color confidence and the way he mixes styles. So excited that he will be speaking at the Design Bloggers Conference. I am hoping to meet him. Thanks for a great post!

  5. When I first joined Pinterest in 2014, my pins were mostly modern, but as I continued to observe and pin, my preference evolved from modern to transitional to eclectic, and now skews more towards a traditional modern vibe, for all the same reasons you mention. The original iteration of One Kings Lane was a powerful influence in that transition. Though the images we see online (and off) are varied and compelling, translating them into every day living in our homes always results in a more thoughtful mix of things than those tightly curated, perfectly photographed rooms. Initially I found the difference between the highly curated image and my end result frustrating, but I have succumbed to the thrill of the hunt and now enjoy the creative process of interpretation.

  6. I think I have design ADD too. My definition of postmodern design is do and design whatever you think it might be fine and look good and don’t limit yourself or your design with style. That’s how creativity will born.