Not only do we offer interior design services at KKDL, but we also like to talk about them, too! We had the honor of joining some of our favorite design gals in Sonoma for their #LoveLocal event celebrating Sonoma’s local artisans and designers. While there, we sat alongside our friends at Traditional Home, Lee Industries, and Sonoma Country Antiques to talk about the art of mixing old with new and incorporating local heritage into design. Keep reading for some of our favorite pointers from the panel!
What are your clients asking for at the moment, design-wise? What does “traditional” really mean to today’s homeowners?
To our clients, traditional styling is investing in pieces that will be just as relevant and trendy as they are now, five or ten years down the line. They are wanting our help in understanding how those pieces will fit into their home and how they incorporate furnishings and décor they already have into that traditional style. With so many resources, from Houzz to One Kings Lane, clients have access to different ideas and trends and we do our best to help them hone in on a few key aspects of traditional design that fit their aesthetic.
So we know what your clients want. Perhaps more importantly, how would YOU define today’s traditional design?
I would say that we define traditional design as a creative spin on timelessness. Incorporating family heirlooms with contemporary art, for example, reflects the personality of the homeowner while still maintaining that classic aesthetic.
What do you think draws people to more traditional interiors versus more contemporary or modern designs?
The traditional aesthetic has always had a strong following because of its classic styling methods that clients are drawn to. It’s easy to imagine yourself in a traditionally styled space versus a contemporary one because it’s familiar and approachable. Clients may want to mix antiques and heirlooms with a few pieces of modern design to bring the look into the 21st century, but still highlight the fact that it’s traditionally styled.
The definition of traditional design obviously varies from person to person. When a client asks you for “traditional” décor, how do you decipher what that means to them?
We are very visual at the Design Lab. We often find that clients have misguided ideas of trends and styles and consider themselves contemporary when they might actually be transitional, or they love Spanish design but are more often drawn to French country themed décor. Once we are able to sit down and speak with them and look through the inspiration for their homes we gain a better understanding of what a genre means to them, specifically when they ask for something traditional.
How has your design work—your definition of traditional—evolved? Can traditional interiors truly be avant-garde and cutting edge?
Oh, definitely! Traditional style will always maintain its classic roots but continues to become fresher and more innovative as interior design trends come and go. Our personal design aesthetic has evolved by keeping an eye on current trends, re-interpreting past travels, and taking inspiration from our travels. We weave avant-garde design into our projects by juxtaposing timeless pieces with cutting edge design, like creating a bold color palette with pillows, rugs, and artwork.
How do you ensure that the interiors you design will look fresh and current and yet stand the test of time?
One of our go-to style secrets is using seating that has a timeless appeal. If our clients are traditional, we make sure to keep the seating classic with its shape and fabric. However, we mix in unexpected elements through colorful fabrics, rugs, lighting, case goods, and artwork to give the look a modern spin. This way our clients can freshen their look without sacrificing their core traditional style.
I’m especially interested in the influence of locally-made items in your work, and what it adds to your designs. Is it a request of your clients or something you get to expose them to?
Being from Sacramento, we love sharing local artists with our customers. Sacramento fosters amazing design talent and we like to show it off however possible. Some of our clients are already familiar with local artists and sometimes request their work, but if they aren’t, it’s always great for us to share local talent that shows off our stylish California vibe.
Favorite examples of local artisans?
When the architecture of a house has some history, do you honor that with same-period furniture, or do you freshen it up with more clean-lined, contemporary furnishings? And vice-versa. When the house itself is contemporary, is it important to warm it up with antiques to get your design message articulated?
We love honoring the interplay between architecture and design. We tend to take cues for the direction of a client’s project from the architecture and vibe of their home, then we can build a design that is tailored to their space and personality.
I would love to hear your thoughts on trends. I’ll admit it, when I attend the big shows I’m always looking for the latest trend. It’s a hazard of the job. Do you do the same, or do try to avoid generalizing? How important are trends, really?
We like to consider our team adept at spotting fads versus trends. We love embracing trends and our clients look to us to share those trends with them and to sometimes use them in the design of their home, while still making sure to stay away from fads that could weaken the traditional, timeless look they are going for.
Every few years or so, we see a new star emerge in the traditional design pool. French Moderne, mid-century… What are your client’s salivating over right now? And what do you see coming down the pipeline?
Right now our clients are wanting to focus on their outdoor living spaces just as much as their interior design. We’re seeing a cool and casual California vibe happening around us, and clients want to be able to entertain outdoors as much as they do indoors.
Traditional obviously has different connotations from country to country, even state to state—the Wine Country’s version of traditional versus New York’s, for example. What would you say sets your part of the world’s traditional aesthetic apart?
California’s definition of traditional is light, casual, and approachable. We don’t take ourselves too seriously but we love luxury.
Last question… When it’s all said and done, what sets today’s traditional design apart?
Today, we have color and art and texture at our fingertips. By mixing bold color palettes and modern textures and contemporary art with timeless and traditional pieces, we are able to create a modern version of traditional style. Clients are looking for something out-of-the-box but comfortable and nostalgic. We see this translating into outdoor spaces, too, which is revolutionary for traditional design. It’s an exciting time to be a designer, that’s for sure.
Big thank you to Ann Maine of Traditional Home for inviting our crew to join you in the Napa Valley. Until next time! Ox