March 3, 2014 11:00 AM

Where Modern meets traditional

Sleek shapes and contemporary furniture are nothing new. But their infiltration into home décor has been such a slow trickle in some ways. The real news, perhaps, may be the reality that even the not-so-contemporary homeowner is interested in these pieces in a way that works inside homes with the most traditional bones.


"Frankly, in 2014 I can't believe there is still a discussion about whether or not modern elements should be in a traditional home," says Jeffery McCullough of Jeffery McCullough Homes and Interiors. "The juxtaposition of styles is good classic design, not something that is new or a fresh perspective unless someone has been in a cave for the last 100 years and hasn't looked outside of the world they have created in a bubble."


McCullough points to interiors created by The Prince of Chintz Mario Buatta, who married unexpected elements like an abstract painting over a pink and green chintz covered sofa. The kind of designer who paired a 1970s Koch and Lowy modern floor lamp on one end of a sofa balancing a blue pleated and ruffled silk lamp shade on a Staffordshire figurine table lamp on the other end and boldly placed a white lacquered box coffee table in a room with nothing but antiques and chintz.

"A great room is accomplished through the mix of elements that lead to a balanced room with proper scale and harmony," McCullough says. 

Todd Zimmerman of Designs by Todd says clients are asking for a more modern environment in their homes and work spaces. He points to sites like Pinterest and Houzz as a catalyst.

"Today's consumer has access to more exposure to trends in design," Zimmerman says. "Although most homes in Acadiana are more traditional, there are ways to incorporate design elements to give the home a more modern edge."

So popular has the trend become that otherwise rustically-minded sources like Paul Michael Company are now ordering lines of the contemporary variety.

"We first introduced it with our fall collection, and we will continue through this spring as well as our next fall collection due out later this year," says Paul Michael manager Bailey Caldwell.

In addition to larger furniture pieces, Zimmerman says there are several ways to give a modern edge, including the use of clean crisp color palettes, editing the clutter, adding a large scale piece of contemporary art and recycling traditional lamps by spray painting them with bright high gloss paint and changing the traditional lampshade for a drum style shade. 

"Repurposing existing window treatments by removing trims and tassels will give the treatment a more modern streamlined look. Modern is always about less is more,'" Zimmerman says.

For McCullough, the rules of design are about throwing the rules out of the window. 

"I say stop worrying about whether something is traditional or modern and just select beautiful pieces. Rooms will sing and shine when the right balance is achieved through the mix of good design no matter the provenance or era or curved or straight line or chintz or chrome," he says. 

McCullough points toward pairing unlikely elements like a 1795 table with a 1960s chrome lamp: "I promise you the room will be fabulous. And the mix of seemingly disparate objects will be the reason."


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