Design Topic: Traditional Style – Elegant, Sophisticated & Timeless

October 17, 2013

When I think traditional style, I think timeless classics—like the quintessential gold-buttoned navy blue blazer fashioned by Norman Hilton back in 1963: It’s been a mainstay in the closets of the well-dressed for the past century. In every sense, the prep-school blazer is a case study in traditional style.

Traditional design in the home follows that same classic lead. Dating back hundreds of years, the look has transcended time with its elegant, sophisticated vibe. Today’s traditional feels well-coiffed, not stuffy; perhaps less cluttered than in generations past, but still true to its formal roots.

We see a wonderful representation of traditional style in some of Greater Cleveland’s older, more established neighborhoods—think Lakewood, Ohio City and University Heights. These homes boast fabulous architecture complete with hardwood floors, built-in cabinetry, original woodwork and lead windows. Traditional design style celebrates these ornate details and then adds another layer of warmth and depth with fully-fashioned window treatments, oriental rugs, Tiffany lamps, statement antiques, high-back upholstered chairs, and more.

When I’m working with a customer on transforming or updating a space using traditional design style, I draw on rich, warm colors, luxe fabrics, unique embellishments and ornate accents. A great example of smart—and livable—traditional style is a kitchen remodel shown here. For this project, we incorporated today’s modern conveniences (granite countertops, stainless appliances, under cabinet lighting, etc.) while staying true to traditional roots.

Here you’ll see classic cabinetry with end panels and fluted columns, a decorative range hood, upholstered chairs, chandelier light fixtures, elegant faucets, and more. The effect is very formal, yet inviting. The one rule of thumb I try to adhere to when creating today’s traditional designs is that is has to be approachable—not like in your grandma’s living room where you were afraid to sit on the couch. As with any style, there has to be a balance.

From flea market finds to family heirlooms, you can make today’s traditional uniquely yours. For more traditional design inspiration, be sure to check Houzz and Dover’s Houzz page.

The best is yet to come,
Beth Orr