This Home Puts a Thoroughly Modern Spin on Traditional Design

Updated 06/24/19

 Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

It's official: Traditional design is having a moment. Now, if the term "traditional" conjures up images of old-school, dare we say, outdated living rooms decked out in shades of beige, rest assured that this is not the décor style we're talking about here. Interior designers like Emily Henderson of Emily Henderson Design and Dan Mazzarini of BHDM Design have been championing a revival of the classic style and bringing it into 2019 by coupling traditional design's penchant for comfort with modern design's affinity for functionality.

It's exactly this balance between classic and modern sensibilities that interior designer Erin Gates of Elements of Style sought to bring to this 5000-square-foot family home located in the rolling hills of Dover, Massachusetts. "I wanted the spaces to be both functional and comfortable, as well as beautiful and refined," the designer tells MyDomaine. As you'll see ahead, she nailed it. From the massive living room to the spacious kitchen, this 5-bedroom, 6-bathroom home feels at once grand, yet cozy, and polished, while still being inviting.

Keep scrolling to step inside a modern traditional Massachusetts home that proves the classic design style deserves your undivided attention.

Traditional living room
 Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

Dubbed "the great room," the central living space boasts show-stoppingly high ceilings. "I really wanted to make the drapes the statement, to really emphasize the height of the room, but still remain casual enough to not have the room feel ‘dressy,’ which it’s not," the designer tells MyDomaine. "We chose this Les Indiennes block-printed cotton that had grey tones pulled from the fireplace stone in it as the jumping off point."

Traditional great room ideas
 Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

While furnishing the space, the designer prioritized selecting family-friendly pieces. "We reused her sectional, but added new rugs, a great check spindle chair, which has a modern farmhouse feel to it, and a nice big coffee table for family game time," divulges Gates. "A pair of tufted ottomans were done in faux leather and are great, durable extra seating options."

Neutral living room ideas
 Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

"The great room" is a lesson in how to layer textures to create an inviting space. That said, achieving the final result wasn't without its challenges. "The concrete lamps were so insanely heavy; we were worried they would crush the side tables. Luckily they were sturdy enough to handle them because I adore the texture they add," says the designer.

"This room is really more about texture than it is color. We only used small pops of green in the pillows," Gates explains. The designer's keen attention to every textural detail even extends to the light fixtures hanging overhead. "We selected a slightly rustic chandelier to hang from the vaulted ceiling to warm up the space a little," she adds.

Traditional kitchen design ideas
Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

When renovating the kitchen, the designer opted to use materials that are both beautiful and functional. "The homeowner loved the look of Danby marble from Vermont, but was worried about durability," Gates confesses. "So we used a gorgeous honed slab only on the island—which gets slightly less abuse when cooking and entertaining—and did the perimeter countertops in a leathered absolute black granite and the backsplash in honed Danby marble tiles, to bring that beautiful material up onto the walls."

Kitchen island ideas
Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

For the kitchen island, the designer chose a gray paint that perfectly complements the Danby's veining. "Since the ceilings aren’t incredibly high in here, we chose these sculptural glass pendants that add so much interest but don’t block your line of sight," notes Gates of the space.

Traditional dining room decorating ideas
  Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

"Off the kitchen is a casual dining area that we wanted to be very comfortable, as the husband likes to work from here from time to time," explains Gates. "We placed a freestanding upholstered bench (in outdoor fabric) in the window bay and added some slipcovered chairs around the custom designed table from my collection with Huston & Company in Maine."

Traditional butler's pantry
Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

In the butler's pantry, Gates decided to go a bit bolder. "The cabinets are a high gloss, deep gray color, which really makes the brass hardware and plumbing fixtures pop," the designer tells MyDomaine. "The counters were the same leathered, absolute black, and the backsplash is a marble diamond mosaic," she points out. "A funky teardrop fixture creates a moment of glam in this small, but showstopping space."

Traditional modern living room
 Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

The formal living room posed the biggest design challenge for Gates. "There were several pieces we had to work with in this space, which is very long and tricky to layout," she explains. The solution? "We placed the sofas back to back with a burl wood console in between them, topped with a pair of cool candelabras," she notes. "A pair of modern leather chairs on one side and pair of more traditional wingbacks on the other side create two distinct seating areas." Genius.

Updated traditional living room
 Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

In the formal living room, there were some excellent pieces for the designer to work with that the homeowners already loved, namely the zebra ottoman, brown velvet wingbacks, and pair of West Elm sofas. "We moved things around and added to the space to make it feel complete," Gates tells MyDomaine.

Mudroom wallpaper ideas
 Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

When it came to decorating the mudroom, the designer turned to neutral patterned wallpaper to add visual interest without overwhelming the space. "We wanted to add some interest to the mudroom and back staircase, so we chose to wallpaper the staircase wall with a tone-on-tone patterned paper," says Gates.

Powder room wallpaper ideas
 Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

The powder room is another space in the home that features beautiful wallpaper. "The client wanted to make a fun statement in here but did not want to redo the whole bathroom, so we repainted the vanity to coordinate with this amazing chartreuse wallpaper from Osbourne & Little," discloses the designer. "New lighting, mirror, window treatments, and hardware rounded out the revamp."

Tween bedroom decorating ideas
 Michael J. Lee; DESIGN: Erin Gates

"For her 13th birthday present, the parents asked us to redecorate their teen daughter’s room," says Gates. "She did not want anything too feminine and loved this aqua and chartreuse scheme, which felt unexpected," she explains. "The windows were a challenge given their shape, but our workroom figured out how to block the light in a stylish way with these upholstered panels they built and covered in the shade fabric."

Related Stories