Modern does NOT only have to mean minimalism. A modern sensibility can as well be a layered space in which sacred familial objects and historic pieces are intermixed (infused as it were) with very modern and clean-lined elements. It is through this mixing of design elements that the catalytic result is the creation of a space with a conceptual twist and a heavy dash of wit. In effect, by mixing the elements you make each era or style look stronger because they each speak in a singular fashion in your space, creating a sexy and interesting dynamic with visual tension. The disparate elements make you focus on the uniqueness of each piece, appreciating each element on their own terms AND how they combine as a whole. Of course the difficulty in creating this style is in knowing HOW to mix...“Eclectic Layerism” (My term for this style) does not mean simply shoehorning 1 of everything into your home. Eclectic Layerism is about weaving together disparate elements that work together in such a fashion as to best exemplify the best aspects/attributes of each piece or element when placed together. For example, a blocky modern bureau/dresser with a heavily ornate gilt mirror hung above it, with a sexy resin, ultra modern lamp by Martha Sturdy and a collection of personal elements and books displayed upon it, would be an example of this styling. The goal is to layer your space with elements from you and your families past, with modern and clean lined pieces, as well as retro, antique and vintage finds. Planning your colour palette becomes critical in this equation, as does maintaining modern and functional fabrics and minimal accent carpets. Larger upholstered items (sofas, sectionals, larger chairs, larger ottomans) should be very minimal and modern with thin arms, while occasional chairs can be LUX antique finds reupholstered with sumptuous accent fabrics, Art should be oversized and modern and collections should be tightly displayed in a controlled grouping with accent lighting. Mix into this natural accents and elements as well as personal family treasures. Everything needs to be tactile, usable, functional and beautiful. You are NOT creating a museum, so if something is to precious, delicate or finicky … give it to a museum or ask your great Grandmother to store it for you. Colour wise, think of the flow of spaces and rooms and how to add punctuation walls to emphasize specific rooms or groupings. Start with an overall pale tone such as Benjamin Moore’s “Mountain Peak White” (a stunning yet warm, ultra modern white) and then have rich accent walls such as Benjamin Moore’s “Royal Flush” (great to pop silver accents), “Wrought Iron” (stunning with a collection of gilt frame Architectural prints), “California Breeze” (magnificent with rustic or bleached oak accents) and “Carbon Copy” (for stunning visual depth). Think about traffic flow, usage of each and every item and how you want to showcase your personality within the space.
The modern simplicity of the sofa, side table and coffee table, along with the edited colour palette ground this space in a modern envelope; while the layering of vintage accessories, Art and displayed collections/books give the space life and richness. The main fabrics are simple, slubby linens, while the accent fabrics are sumptuous, tactile and rich. The usage of the one antique table as a side table makes the other tables clean lines REALLY pop beautifully, expressing the dichotomy between the elements. The shelving is a master work of display… a huge amount of stunning objects, yet they don’t feel weighty or forced.
The vintage “bodice back” slider chairs are paired with the modern, monolithic style stone dining table and a sculptural chandelier. Vintage oversized metal pots and antique prayer rugs layer the space and give it depth and interest.
Modern Art grounds this space and allows for a heavy layering of objects and elements. The space has a slight equestrian feeling as a result of the heavily tufted leather sofa and oversized trunks. The painting of the antique side table in a gloss black gives it a freshness and sexiness that makes it feel modern and sculptural. The immensity of the coffee tables placed side by side ground all the chairs and sofas surrounding them, giving the space the feeling of enclosure and connection.
In the room above, the simple envelope of space is given an architectural depth with the addition of the crown moulding and the modern floating style shelving. The display of antique prints and curiosities gives the modern upholstered items and tables, extra depth and visual power. Fresh and compelling, this space is both deeply personal AND welcoming.
Vintage, retro, antique and modern elements are fused in this room giving it visual interest, power and fascination. The over-scale modern Art gives tension and freshness.
This Barn Conversion is both heavily rustic and ultra modern at the same time. The usage of the antique French chandeliers contrast beautifully with the reclaimed wood table surface and the retro, heavy usage chairs. The flooring is kept minimal in a polished concrete and the Art is BOLD and colourful. The beams are visually striking in their immensity and boldness. The overall feeling is one of mystery and magic.