Designer Angie Ledo explains how to make beloved antique furnishings work in contemporary settings using the principles of Modern Traditional design.
Corey and Mary are a newly married couple in their twenties who’re moving into their first home. Finally, that beautiful antique chifforobe Mary’s grandma passed down can come out of storage and into the light!
But how do Corey and Mary make this heirloom piece work with their love of sleek, contemporary design?
Sharon has lived in the same house—which she loves—for thirty years. But that nineteen-nineties decor is showing its age in all the wrong ways. She can’t bear to part with her gorgeous American Empire scroll arm sofa, but feeling that her living room looks stale, how does Sharon modernize in a way that incorporates her most cherished antiques?
A solution to both dilemmas? Modern Traditional Design.
Signature Southern Accents Designer Angie Ledo describes Modern Traditional Design—in which SSA specializes—as a curated blend of traditional elements, like antique furniture, with contemporary flair. “Kind of an eclectic feel: that’s really big right now,” Angie explains. “Being able to mix things you’ve got with modern styles and making it work, not having to re-do the entire room.”
So keep mom’s old mahogany dresser, but match it with that royal blue velvet chaise lounge and those Art-Deco-patterned throw pillows, too. Combining these seemingly contrasting stylistic elements will bring out the best in both, resulting in a space that feels simultaneously classic and contemporary. And unique, too.
This grouping from from SSA’s showroom shows off Angie’s Modern Traditional approach in the contrast between contemporary elements like the simple green velvet sofa and Mod-patterned throw pillows, and the rustic antique clay pots and classic blue and white ceramic lamps. The traditional accessories are prominent, but the room still feels updated and current.
Designer Tip: If you are hesitant to go for a full velvet sofa, a similar effect can be achieved with some velvet throw pillows on a more traditional linen couch.
One secret to really showing off your “statement” pieces, be they modern or antique: choose light wall colors. “A lot of times, Modern Traditional style has the backdrop of a nice soft color, whether it be a cream or a white or something with just a hint of something brighter, like a soft grey, or soft gold,” notes Angie. “That way, if you go with a more traditional sofa and want to do some funky artwork, that will stand out.”
Angie also emphasizes that Modern Traditional design, by its very nature, is very flexible. So don’t be afraid to change things up. “It could be that you have this really cool room that might be a library or a dining room, and you just want to go really dark. You can give the room a modern flair that way, and have lighter colored artwork that’s kind of fun and funky, maybe even a contemporary chandelier.”
Of course, if you’re looking to update your home style to be more Modern Traditional, Angie and the other cracker-jack designers at Signature are more than happy to help pull that heirloom buffet table into the twenty-first century in a way that’s stylish and hip, without compromising its timeless, classic beauty.
Check back next month for the first in a series of updating your home with a limited budget. You’ll be surprised how far $500 can go!