A 'Mashed-Up Mix' of Styles

By Rose Gilbert

March 17, 2014 4 min read

Q: We like a mix of contemporary and traditional styles, heavier on the contemporary. This works nicely in the living and dining rooms, but now we are redecorating the master bedroom, and I am rebelling. All those square corners and slick surfaces are just too cold for me. Suggest a compromise? Save this marriage!

A: Compromise is easy. Saving a marriage? That's duck soup, too, if differing taste is the only issue. You can do it with compromise — aka "eclecticism" — and color.

Here's a smart case in point: a clean, inviting bedroom that looks totally contemporary at first glance. But look again, and more traditional touches come to the fore. Ethan Allen, the furniture company from which we've borrowed this room photo, calls it: "The New Eclecticism ... a mashed-up mix of any kind of style."

Set against the sweep of unexpected color on the walls (more about that in a minute), the imposing headboard is button-tufted — a timeless classic. Another classic, the graceful Louis XV-esque chair looks totally today upholstered in a serene gray that echoes the nickel finish on the updated X-legged stools.

Yin and yang, then and NOW! This bedroom is as cool as it is hot off the presses — that's the latest color rage on the walls, Pantone's Color of the Year "Radiant Orchid," that was all over Paris during the 2014 Maison & Objet show in January.

Like this elegantly eclectic bedroom, it's a thoroughly modern color: confident, fashion-forward and unisex. Learn more at Pantone.com/coloroftheyear and eathanallen.com.

Q: Is American Standard setting a new standard?

A: Everything old is new again for one of American's oldest design brands. Founded in l872, American Standard has been fitting out America's bathrooms for l5 decades and, it calculates, through four major movements in design, starting with Classic (l880-l920) and running through the "Golden Era" (l920-50) and Modern (l950-90).

This month, it's making a big splash over Contemporary (l990-today), introducing an ensemble of upscale bath furniture under a new name, DXV (i.e., Decade l5). Sleek, sophisticated, streamlined and gleaming, it's art for the bath — a porcelain sculpture for the most personal room in your life.

Check it out at www.dxv.com

Q: I painted my bathroom apple green — my favorite color — but I don't like it as much as I thought I would. Is there any way to soften the color so it's not so, well, glaring?

A: Ah, poor you. You've just encountered the quirkiness of color. What looks luscious in small doses — a dress or scarf — often grows aggressive when it's applied to large areas.

Especially under bright lights in a bath, apple green (or chartreuse) can easily turn into poison green when you see it reflected on your face in the mirror. You may be able to tame the color bounce a bit by painting the ceiling a dark, almost black-green, hanging a lot of soft-colored art on the walls, and replacing all lights with the warmest full-spectrum white bulbs you can find.

 Cool, calm, and thoroughly contemporary? Look again at the traditional touches in this elegant bedroom. Photo Courtesy Ethan Allen
Cool, calm, and thoroughly contemporary? Look again at the traditional touches in this elegant bedroom. Photo Courtesy Ethan Allen

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design. To find out more about Rose Bennett Gilbert and read features by Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at creators.com.

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