April 14, 2015

A Closer Look at Traditional Design

There are so many design styles out there in the world. And I confess that I like many of them. But...
For me, traditional leaning into federal with a touch of "southern" has always made me swoon and want more. 
I can look at rustic, farmhouse, French, mid-century modern, retro whatever, contemporary, etc...and think some part of it is pretty, or cool, or stylish, but I always circle back around to traditional...especially southern traditional. 
Fine woods are part of traditional style. Mahogany and cherry are my preferences. And look for brass handles too.
Now when I say traditional, I am not referring to colonial, eagles, or wingback chairs of the seventies. I am instead referencing more of an English/Federal style with a touch of southern flavor. To me this is classic style!

I just go oooh and aaaah when I see a federal style antique in a magazine or tour an old home in Charleston, S.C. I even go so far as to love the old southern homes in New Orleans or other parts of the deep south. 
Since many of those grand old dames were built by the wealthy they reflect architecture and interior designs imported from what was popular in Europe and England at the time. From fine fabrics to china...much was imported. There were fine cabinetmakers in New England...and talented silversmiths in the colonies...but often their styles were interpretations of what was in style across the pond. (We may still be doing the same thing, copying what is popular across the pond.)

Traditional has many looks. And, you can accomplish a traditional vibe in various ways. 
Sometimes there is a fun mix of a modern, updated look within traditional style. Some people like to be "period" correct. 18th Century, etc. But those of us who "live" in our houses probably just have a mix of furnishings. Traditional style furnishings have staying power...so I am never getting rid of things (yes, pack rat)...which means that I have to work with what I have...old or not!
The flavors of traditional can vary with each person, each room, or each home. Those of us who favor traditional style interpret it differently. Fot the most part I have incorporated an English or Federal flavor....due to building a Georgian style home and furnishing it over the years. Now that we are in a smaller home I have had to work to reinterpret my version of traditional. So, I am re-evaluating my vision of "my" traditional style. I still have the furnishings...but I am looking at little ways that I might tweak the house to freshen it up a little. 

I am loving what is called updated traditional, or modern traditional. I call it "traditional with a twist"...and that is the direction I want to go when I begin to look for fabric to upholster some chairs. I want to replace the English chintz with something more modern and fresh, when I cover my uber traditional wingback chairs. 

My purple chairs (I have a pair.)...should the fabric stay or be covered?

I was looking at some of my photos to get a perspective on the "style" in my house. I am just one of those traditional girls...but other styles slip in because my home is not a museum, but a real place where life happens. Just having a traditional item here and there can actually "flavor" your style. You do not have to have everything of one style. In fact, all one style in a room might be a little flat. 
We have an old family high chair from my hubby's family...with puddled drapes tucked in behind. The drapes are traditional...but the old highchair looks more primitive to me. Being an old family piece, it stays of course. 

So, what does traditional look like
How do you spot "traditional" if you are in a warehouse full of furniture, decor, prints, and dishes?  Look for Chinoiserie.
I think that any blue and white from an English manufacturer such as Spode, Wedgewood, or Johnson Brothers gives immediate "traditional" style to a room.
Blue and White china is very traditional. If you put a few pieces in a room and it immediately says "traditional."
Add a fancy picture frame and an old cracked piece of ironstone for a touch of traditional.
Put peonies (very southern) in a blue and white flower (English style) pot.
Dress up the master bath to carry out the traditional theme and add a bit of southern elegance.
Decorate with ironstone...or a "look alike." My tureen is actually inexpensive porcelain...and can go into the oven. Still, It looks old and traditional.
Use an English ironstone pitcher. 
This old piece was given to me by a friend many years ago as a thank you for my helping her move. I love it. (the post about my pitcher.)

If you love traditional style...please come back soon. I will be posting more examples of traditional, as well as traditional with a twist. 

Today's traditional is not the traditional of decades past. There is a new traditional out there these days...And I am loving it!

Thanks for visiting today.
©MyKentuckyLiving 2014-2015

Linking with the following blogs…

Between Naps on the Porch, Tablescape Thursday
My Kentucky Living
My Kentucky Living

Hello, I'm Sheila and my house is a giant art project! I enjoy creating an environment where my family can feel safe, secure, and loved. We are empty nesters learning to slow down and enjoy life.

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