Fresher decor blends classic, modern
In decor, “traditional” tends to conjure up images of matched furniture sets, prim patterns and buttonedup formality.
But there’s been a revamp, and what’s now being called “new traditional” is a fresher, freer look that honors the classics. The style blends traditional architectural and decorative elements with contemporary ones for unexpected, sometimes edgy results.
“It’s all about balance,” said New York interior designer Alexa Hampton.
She said the trend started in Europe, where older residences “are often filled with ornate architecture: herringbone floors, intricate plaster work, French doors. With heavy decoration, these architectural bones can seem fussy.” That led to an “undecorated” movement — white walls, furniture with sharp angles, minimalism.
“I think this foil of old and new is essential to good design,” she said. “The conversation between modern and classic creates a tension, and when done right, it’s very powerful.”
Moldings, shelving and good hardware can give a space a traditional or contemporary “frame” to which contrasting elements can be added.
“If my architecture’s very traditional,” said Hampton, “I might do an unexpected wall treatment like highgloss lacquer.”
Likewise with furniture and accessories, “It’s nice to combine a more curved traditional piece with a sexy and sleek cocktail table.”
The European Fine Art Fair, the art and antiquities version of Fashion Week,
This undated photo provided by Made Goods shows the Alfred chair, The classic wingchair in hammered metal is a surprising take on the traditional form.
This image provided by Made Goods shows the Etienne mirror. It is cast in tin and painted black, which gives its classic Beaux Arts features contemporary drama.