Traditional to Transitional

May 3, 2022

Traditional vs. Modern is a classic design debate. Traditional design offers classic comfort and elegance, but it struggles to stay up-to-date and clean. Modern design is cutting edge and stunning but may be left in a new trends’ wake.

Enter Transitional design, a marriage of Traditional and Modern. Blending the old and new, utilizing various textures and fabrics, juxtaposing classic and contemporary - it all lends to an inviting, clean, and cozy home. Transitional design establishes a unique and timeless look that will never go out of style.

In one of my recent projects, I took a Traditional home and freshened it up, turning this sleepy villa into a chic chateau. The best part: I didn’t need to redo every room. By focusing on the heavy hitters like the foyer, primary bathroom, and kitchen, this 2008-built home looks brand new.

Let’s start with the foyer, because first impressions are everything.



Transitional design shines through using a neutral palette, so I painted the darker yellow-white walls a crisp Ecru. A muted piece of art along with oversized greenery and simple accessories exhibit Transitional design staples. The mirrored honeycomb-patterned credenza is one of my favorite “wow” pieces in the entire home. This refreshed entryway is intended to set the tone of the home right when you walk through the front door.

The foyer naturally leads into the main living space of the home, and most importantly, the kitchen. Kitchens are not only the heart of the home, but they provide the best return on investment when it comes to a design re-do. We sacrificed nothing in this sprawling gourmet chef’s kitchen.

Transitional design is all about balance; no monochromatic here! To add impactful color, I added navy blue and charcoal. The perimeter cabinets with their white refresh make the space feel larger. The island pops painted in a high-gloss navy blue, and the charcoal refrigerator wall has been transformed into functional artwork. Classic, elongated gold hardware ties all three looks together.

Transitional design favors modern lighting. Clean lines and thoughtful selections contribute more to creating a beautiful space than your typical ornate crystal chandeliers. The freshly refinished white hood doesn’t distract, but rather highlights the geometrical light fixtures. A full-slab marble backsplash and quartzite countertops add elegance without taking from the overall design. Kitchens are all about life and food, so I always add flowers, greenery, and fresh fruit to bring extra pops of color and interest to the space.

The adjacent butler’s pantry also received a facelift. Originally intended as the main workspace for hired chefs for grand entertaining, the transformed butler’s pantry is a second, less formal kitchen space.

I wanted to maximize efficiency while tying the home into our new Transitional motif. These cabinets received a fresh coat of white paint, and we replaced the counters with a bright quartzite. Add some new cabinet hardware and a large sliding metal pantry door, and voila!

Tucked into the corner of the kitchen, a breakfast nook provides a chic but casual dining area to enjoy stunning views of the South Bay.

The primary focus of the nook prior to the redesign was the opulent and antiquated light fixture. Once we replaced it with a swirling, modern fixture and re-accessorized the china cabinet to match our updated kitchen, the room looked completely different. Transitional design encourages playing with different materials and textures; the streamlined iron and glass table paired with simple leather chairs tie a Transitional style bow on this reinvigorated space.

Finally, the Owner’s Primary bathroom. I had ample room to work with, which is always a dream. Especially when it’s an “everything’s gotta go” situation. Let’s do this!

For an updated, spa-like feel, we covered the walls in porcelain slabs and laid the floors in marble. Curved-faced cabinets with floating polished nickel hardware elevate the former lackluster look. Alongside the impressively large framed mirror, I added sleek glass and nickel sconces, which when placed vertically, provide a contemporary look compared to the former downward-facing lighting. The free-standing, angular tub offers elegance and practicality in one fell swoop.

And there we have it! A brand new look by redesigning only a few rooms. If you think you’re my next brave (and wise) client who’s ready to embrace something new, get in touch!

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