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  • Me;l Stevens

TRANSITIONAL DESIGN: Just what does that mean?

I don’t think there’s a week that goes by that I don’t hear the word “TRANSITIONAL”. As an interior designer, the dialog between my clients and I include this word on a multitude of levels. It can start with what the current style of their home currently is and where they want to bring it in the future. It can come up while we discuss their kitchen design when talking about cabinetry. Since the majority of my projects are in New England, most of the homes I work on are traditional; however, we have a sprinkle of mid-century modern and contemporary as well. So, what is transitional design? Well, my account is the blend of traditional style mixed with contemporary. The emphasis on what direction you may sway relies simply on your personal taste. I have seen some lovely 200-year-old homes transformed by incorporating both the old & the new styles, creating gorgeous harmony. Some people want just a touch of the modern look in their spaces and some require mostly modern with a few artifacts and antiques dotted in. So, where does this information take us in relation to kitchen and bath cabinetry?

Over the past few years I have witnessed transitional door styles and cabinet construction become a happy melting pot of the past and present in regards to form and function. I have watched frame-less cabinetry become equally as popular and inset cabinetry fall back a bit to let full overlay shine. I do still see partial overlay, but not as much. Designers have watched traditional raised-panel doors decline due to the reigning flat-paneled doors. Any derivative of shaker style is popular for most of my customers today. Long gone in most New England show rooms are the traditional arched doors with the raised panel. I have watched several cabinet manufacturers discontinue that style altogether. Of late I have seen a new kick on the traditional wood stained doors. Lots of creativity using carved-out rustic wood and patterns. We have combined high-gloss veneer cabinets with the natural wood in a space. It looks great in bar areas. The sky is the limit these days!

Perhaps you want a minimalist look, clean lines or a back drop for your more exciting elements (think tile, tops and lighting). Maybe you have a collection of vases or old pottery you would like to display in your kitchen. As you flip through places like magazines, Houzz or Pinterest, you will see the focus on transitional design. It wouldn’t be uncommon to see an old-world farm house sink paired with a sleek contemporary piece of quartz. Maybe you will notice a relic light over what looks to be a floating island with runway lights at the bottom. More recently, I have been designing reclaimed open shelves and island tops over painted shaker cabinets. The design options are truly endless within transitional design.

When it comes to the bathroom remodels, I am seeing clients choose this room as their first area to make the transitional change. Many opt for floating contemporary vanities with soapstone tops or an old-world mirror over a sleek, high-gloss contemporary vanity. Others have selected a standalone soaking tub with perfect egg-like form on a barn wood floor. Blending the contemporary with natural elements can be just the touch you need to make your space feel updated. My take on transitional design is that it will continue for many years to come. The diversity it brings allows more individuality than any other design style I have witnessed in the past.

Happiness is a space that feels like YOU!

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