Thursday, February 12, 2009

The New Traditional

The New Traditional, by Darryl Carter, caught my eye while browsing a local bookstore; I turned a couple of pages and was hooked! (Luckily my in-laws got me a copy for Christmas.) Since then I've seen a number of magazine articles featuring Carter's designs. He even has a line of furniture with Thomasville.

If you were a fan of the "minimalist steampunk" look I posited a while back, this book is for you. Carter takes traditional elements -- high quality floors, antiques, dark wood -- and combines them with light backgrounds and black accents for a traditional minimalist look.

All the magazines mention that Carter is a lawyer turned interior designer with little formal training; I suspect the analytical lawyer mind led to this highly disciplined look.

It looks deceptively easy, but this look requires a lot of careful editing and high quality pieces. I think it would be fun to find just the right set of pieces -- to make it steampunk, focus on Victorian or Gothic furniture (or reproductions), add in a handful of brass accessories, and make or splurge on a standout clock and lighting. I suspect this look could be adaptable to apartment neutrals. A key piece of the look is unadorned neutral upholstery; slipcovers could transform existing pieces. Paint would transform the walls (note: O at Home had the exact color Carter used on a house for them: Tackroom White WW10 by Ralph Lauren) For flooring, I keep picturing cream colored travertine, but a lower budget option could be wood look laminate flooring in a medium or dark tone.

None of Carter's houses have *any* color outside of his very neutral pallete, but you could soften and personalize the look with a small handful of accents -- pillows, rugs, a painting -- in a single color. (Dark reds or navy blues would set off the neutrals, but almost any color could work as long as you were diligent to keep everything either neutral or this color.)

The New Traditional, by Darryl Carter, at Amazon.


UsefulArts said...

As a law student with a strong interest in interior design, I have to say I was pleased to see this - but what's up with the books in the last picture? Who puts books on bookshelves that way? I would have expected more respect for books from a lawyer.

Waterbug said...

I like the exposed lath in the bath and the exposed beam in the living room. The plaster residue with everything else being white works, plus the new old contrast.

Phiala said...

Crawford, laying them flat makes it harder to browse, but is easier on the spines for long-term storage.

Though I doubt it was anything more than an aesthetic decision.

Unknown said...

I'm lovin' that bed!

MarkHarrison said...


We have about 6,000 books, and have ended up storing pretty much all "standard size paperbacks" that way...

... for the simple reason that "packing density" goes up about 10% while still leaving all the titles readable.


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