A style so manly you can probably smell the leather bound books, mahogany wainscoting and pipe smoke through the screen. Heavily influenced by the classic European style, but made popular by American colonial. This is perfect for the Classic Gentleman. It makes me think of Hemmingway, the White House or the Gentleman’s club (not a reference to a strip joint, by the way). This is for the gents with a gratitude for fine craftsmanship. Space planning is typically closed, to break the floor plan up into clearly define areas. This doesn’t have to be the case; the open plan lifestyle is extremely popular nowadays and works well with the Traditional style.
Traditional tucks away and hides the working parts (structure and services) of the building. Unlike the Industrial style, walls are plastered, wallpapered and/or clad in timber. Bespoke architectural detailing and ornate fittings are used to cover the skeleton and embellish the spaces. This creates the warm and inviting nature typical to the Traditional style. This style is more focused on softer, comfortable spaces that beg to be lived in. Timber panelling, moulded ceilings, with elaborate cornices, and classic skirting can be painted or left as natural timber, depending on the look you are trying to achieve. There are two approaches to the Traditional style. You can either go for rich, deep wood tones or light, bright painted tones. These can be employed in different rooms to match the occupancy thereof. Dark timber panelling and rich colours are prefect for a Gentleman’s library or entertainment room. Light painted cladding and off white colouring are great for lounges and kitchens.
This keeps with the characteristics defined previously, hardwood flooring is a must (no engineered or laminate here). Rich natural parquet, staggered boards and other configurations, with the raw imperfections of the timber present, add character and warmth. Hardwood timber is not great for wet spaces as the water causes swelling and contraction, creating cracks and blemishes. Today there are many great “timber-look tiles” that seem, almost, as good as the real thing. But rather, in that case, a full bodied porcelain tile in a classic arrangement is a better alternative. Plush and inviting wool pile carpets are found in more comfortable relaxed spaces, like the living room and bedrooms, for example.
Neutral colours, often whites, off whites and pastels ground the decorative detailing, fittings and furniture. Rich colours can be employed in signature pieces of furniture, artwork and feature elements. Charcoal greys work well for panelling and cabinetry. Rich colours, for example burgundy or olive, make great feature paint or wallpaper colours. Even in some cases, if done right, black painted panelling adds a touch of class and sophistication. As a side note, if you are going to paint your panelling ensure the mouldings are deep, otherwise they may become lost and ineffective.
Possibly the most ornate aspect of the style, the fittings in the traditional setting are feature elements. Shelving, cupboards, cabinetry, panelling and doors are heavily moulded and embellished. Light fittings, sconces and chandeliers are elegant pieces with intricate metal work and elaborate glass light bulb casings.
The cabinetry follows the same ornate embellishment as the other fittings, but it is very definitive in its purpose. The Traditional kitchen is where you expect nothing but the best home cooking. The style is steeped in good old wholesomeness, and nowhere is as wholesome as the kitchen. Stainless steel appliances give a more contemporary feel to a style, that in some cases, may look dated. Having said that in the real Traditional kitchen of an older house an aga stove will not look out of place.
The ornate nature extends further into the bathroom. The classic mouldings, staggered small rectangular tiles and claw footed free standing baths are all signatures of the style. Porcelain fittings, often free standing, on intricate metal frames are commonplace in this style, but look fantastic nonetheless. Shinier metals, such as brass or copper are a great addition and create a sense of luxury.
Comfortable, plush, textured cotton couches you get lost in are a must for a family room. These add to the homey nature of the style and go great with the lighter tones. Dark tufted leather couches and chairs are a must for the natural timber tones, what is a smoking room without a rich tufted leather wingback? Carefully crafted claw footed chair legs and ornately lathed table legs are a must in traditional furniture. The care and attention is a must as the furniture forms a feature and can be a signature piece to a space.
The Traditional is perfect for the Gentleman who holds class and sophistication above all else, enjoys the finer things in life and loves the home to be a place of absolute comfort. A style steeped in history and as soothing as an old slipper, this is perfect for the Classic Gentleman, or the modern man wanting to add a touch of class.
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