the new "new traditional"

It’s a style you’ve seen many times, even if you’re not aware it has a name. The “New Traditional” style of design can be found within the pages of Traditional Home magazine and in Pottery Barn, Ballard Design and Restoration Hardware catalogs. Updated classic furniture pieces with transitional lines define this style. White, cream, taupe, black and brown tempered with warm red, sage green and soft purple are the hues that prevail in the lexicon. Brights are relegated to the more contemporary design styles, while a new traditional home celebrates all that is muted, rich and subdued. Asian motifs marry particularly well with this style, and global influences of all types find their home here.

A property in Pasadena we recently staged presented an ideal opportunity to flex our traditional muscles in turning a completely empty farmhouse-style two-story house into a warm, family-friendly home. We brought in a worldly sensibility with the addition of vintage pieces from all eras combined for greatest ease of living and beauty to the eye.


With great bones and a fab remodeling job, this living room just needed a warm touch, and the feeling that someone might actually live here.


This is what staging does best. Look at the before picture again… now at the  after photo. Which one looks — and feels — more like home to you?


Again, a beautiful room. Great floors, windows and paneling. Who could ask for more? Well, you could. You could ask for a dining table and chairs, and maybe some art on the walls to warm it up.


There you have it. Dinner for six. Eight o’clock. Don’t be late.


This is one of my favorite transformations. This small room between the living room and kitchen just cried out to be a cozy, sun-filled breakfast nook. So that’s just what we did with it.


I don’t know about you, but we’d eat our granola here any day. We brought in a wooden pedestal table, a vintage deacon’s bench and two white Parson’s chairs to outfit the corner banquette-style. Colorful impressionist art hangs above the breakfast area and a transitional linen armchair awaits in the foreground for some fireside reading.


This room has it all. A surplus of windows letting in lots of light, and a neutral tone on the walls. But every bedroom needs a bed, especially one in a house this lovely.


Neutral linen weave upholstery and subtle tufting on the bed give this room a touch of glamour. We used vintage B&W nightstands to tie in with the banded-design pendant light and his-and-hers lamps — one more masculine and one more feminine — to keep everyone happy.


A Craftsman-detailed mirror reflects the room back on itself, while an eggshell-colored sofa and comfy deeply cushioned armchairs telegraph a casual elegance. Nubby linens and jute-braid trimmed pillows bring in the natural world.

A vintage 1930s Chinese cabinet (sourced years ago in Silverlake) glows cinnabar red in a corner, accented by a sage green lamp base with a serious black lampshade. We found the lamp at World Market and the hexagonal table at Home Goods.

The original abstract painting does all the heavy lifting color-wise in the room. We picked out the red and green from it to scatter hues around the space.

We love how these big beefy chairs fill out the space so nicely.

A view into the living room from the front hall beckons you to enter. We chose a simple sisal rug for its natural texture. An antique carved chest stands in for a coffee table.

French doors lead into the breakfast room, showing a glimpse of the tiled fireplace.

Moss and twine balls in an African basket on the coffee table.

We brought in two traditional bookcases to flank the front window and styled them with books and vintage items.

A worldly sense of travel imbues every choice, from adventure books to collectibles from around the world.

We like to turn some of the book titles to the front, especially when they’re evocative like The Magnificent Builders and The Heritage of Early American Houses.

The two head chairs in the dining room were sourced at World Market and we think their subtle coloration is the perfect complement to the wall color and the linen weave side chairs.

A low bookcase — also sourced at World Market — makes a statement as a sideboard. Handy, too, for all your white elephant-storage needs.

Mauve tones in the upholstered fabric are carried through in a vintage oil portrait of a hansom-cab (horse-drawn carriage) driver from the 1930s. A view into the living room reveals the abstract painting reflected in the mantel-top mirror.

Two wine bottles with mauve labels and a neutral mix of stoneware finish off the tabletop.

The Suzani chairs absolutely set the tone for the dining room color scheme and are among our favorite pieces in the home.

Russet-orange linen napkins gathered up in filigree napkin rings.

A linen chair pulls up to a sage green tiled fireplace. We found the diminutive side table at Home Goods.

Light reading, a cup of tea and a sun-splashed room. Who could ask for more?

A closeup of the banquette shows its breakfasting potential.

A visual slice of the master bedroom reveals its transitional style.