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Traditional and Contemporary: Can They Coexist?


Posted on September 10th, by Michael Menn in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Traditional and Contemporary: Can They Coexist?

Dictionary.com defines a tradition as “a customary or characteristic method or manner.”

It defines contemporary as “of the present time, modern.”

Seems like the two are diametrically opposite of each other and can’t coexist.  Right?

Actually wrong.

There are lots of examples in everyday life of traditional and contemporary (or modern) coexisting harmoniously.  I’m a baseball fan, so I will use that as an example.  Baseball fans are traditionalists, yet they also crave modern amenities when going to a game.  The ballparks built over the last 20 years or so reflect these seemingly disparate desires.  The parks themselves were constructed with a “throwback” architectural style reminiscent of the look of parks built 100 years ago or more.  Baseball traditionalists love the intimacy these fields project.

Yet these parks are also quite modern.  They include features ranging from expansive concourses with different types of foods and souvenir shops, to high tech scoreboards with video screens for replays and races with animated characters, as well as up to the minute scores from around the league.  Baltimore’s Camden Yards is really the first of this style park, but you can now find these venues from New York to San Francisco…from Texas to Minnesota.

Of course, Chicago has no such park.  Which is my segue into something you can have in Chicago (or anywhere else)…a home that is both traditional and modern.  Because many homeowners do want a traditional look, but seek modern as well.  We recently completed a Kitchen combining these two seemingly disparate styles.  Here are some things you can consider to fuse the two, based upon what we did.

  • Traditionalists generally want the overall look to be traditional.  In a Kitchen, the most dominant feature is the cabinets, so you would want traditional cabinets.
  • Juxtapose those traditional cabinets with modern handles.  And, of course, the inside of the cabinets should be designed to optimize functionality.
  • You can go traditional or modern with the floor…we went traditional, with a hand-scraped walnut-plank floor.
  • Extend the traditional look with a wood top countertop.
  • Of course you will go contemporary with the most modern appliances.  Additionally, complement the traditional features with a contemporary look, such as black or stainless steel appliances (we went stainless steel) and modern fixtures
  • Use the backsplash to extend the contemporary style…we used tile that when put together presented a mosaic
  • Finally, mix traditional lighting with modern cans

If you want to know more, this Kitchen was recently featured in New American Luxury Magazine.  If you want to learn more, just click on the link and it will take you to the article.





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