Some people think that because they live for all things neoclassical, chintz and a good chinoiserie, they will never “go modern”. I, however, disagree. One must recognize that the two spheres of design in fact strengthen the other and thus, they should be embraced.
As a ‘Traditionalist’ myself, I genuinely love the defining elements of such design, however I also believe in the beauty of harnessing a slightly different aesthetic when a certain opportunity beckons.
I have had the pleasure of working with my clients on such an intimate level, that often, I design not just their primary residence, but other homes where they live to seek respite. A second home, or a place with a very strong tie to a particular landscape, can welcome moments of modernity and can often be a stage for exploring a slightly different mood. From the mountains to the beach, nature can often set the tone for how the interior of the home is considered. Though it sounds contradictory, the landscape is often the focus of life in these homes, not necessarily all of the trimmings indoors.
As I reflect on our Casa Leggera project, this home answers to those notions. It is modern yet traditional. It flirts with modern design elements, but keeps a classic sensibility. This project is indeed a weekend home, with an incredible desert setting set against dramatic sandstone mountains, lava rock and tumbling textures of fauna and flora. In other words, the landscape is the main character. She is center stage, and as a designer, it is our job to honor and enhance her role.
In a remarkable landscape that provides one with a particular sense of zen from the beautiful chaos of our lives, it can be freeing to strip down our homes with a rather edited approach.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to incorporate modern design into a classical interior:
- Keep accessories clean lined, minimal and functional (think bowls, trays, books & boxes)!
- Maintain larger scale proportions on case goods.
- Use art to underline a theme or act as a punctuation mark. Contemporary art makes traditional interiors look fresh; and conversely, English School or Old Masters look so bold in a modern interior.
- Use a clear color palette- think fresh, naturally occurring spring colors – for a more traditional take on a modern interior.
- Horizontal lines (and stripes!) can really bring a fresh approach to traditional decorating. At Casa Leggera, horizontal lines are used as a motif inside to repeat nature’s view seen through tall picture windows. Traditional elements like rattan, seersucker fabric, stripes, raked limestone, grass shades, and trimmed lampshades- all reinforce that naturally occurring theme outside.
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