Photo Gallery: Traditional & Formal Interiors
Traditional elements combine in this cosy space for reading or entertaining. Light drapes contrast perfectly against chocolate walls. (Dark, rich paint tones create an antiquated appearance.) Skirted furniture — a classic throwback — ceiling millwork, crystal accents and tufting on the sofa complete the look.
Coffered ceilings and one-of-a-kind cabinetry lend old world elegance to this large kitchen. A walnut island is topped with Belgian black marble, while white Calacatta marble on the other counters balances the contrasting island. Crema marfil flooring gives the space the feel of a French estate. Custom millwork and moulding may be more expensive, but is a great investment if you want to transform a modern home or condo into a traditional space.
A spare backdrop of pale wood flooring and expansive white walls provides the perfect foil to Luce’s collection of antique furniture and delicate accessories. Eye-catching accents like a sparkling chandelier, ornate sconces and a gold-framed mirror add European elegance. Red velvet Louis XV style dining chairs bring rich colour to the living/dining area. Upholster your chairs in a jewel-toned velvet or accessorize with velvet throw cushions.
Honey-toned toile de Jouy on the walls, dental moulding, patterned bedding, and vintage furniture offer old world charm in this guest bedroom in Luce Gayrard’s North Hatley weekend retreat. Upholstering walls with toile fabric rather than wallpaper creates texture, but a toile paper works just as well. If toile isn’t for you, try a faded floral pattern to mimic old wallpaper.
In the same North Hatley home, an oversized crystal chandelier and ceiling medallion set a traditional tone in the dining room. Dining chairs covered in honey-coloured velvet and a matelassé coverlet, used as a tablecloth, add to the luxe vibe. If crystal isn’t in your budget, there are endless options: resin versus glass, light bulbs versus candle holders — just aim for a gold or tarnished finish.
A beautiful bathroom with painted pine floors exudes elegance with art and artifacts, including a silver candelabrum, antique chest of drawers, ornate lamp with pleated shade and delicate glass urns. Scour antique shops and flea markets for old candelabra, then polish them up and display them in unexpected places.
Don’t cover up classic hardwood if you want to channel a traditional and formal style. Allowing it to wear over time will give it a Georgian-home scuff. In Patrick Frey’s Paris apartment, luxe fabrics and wallcoverings, a unique light fixture and classic chairs exude old-world charm.
An oversized mirror and floating marble vanity create an instant focal point for this dramatic powder room, in a newly built home attached to Tawse Winery in Vineland, Ontario. The mirror reflects both light and the fireplace situated opposite it. (Try making your own DIY Statement Mirror.) Rich details, such as the gorgeous fixtures, hardware, and tailored bench, emphasize the sense of refinement and grandeur. The bench here is new from de Poitiers, but consider reupholstering old pieces of furniture as well — the legs can be refinished and you can customize with velvet piping or nailhead trim for a traditional effect.
The dramatic dining room in the same Tawse Winery home is defined by its towering coffered ceiling and transomed doors and windows. You wouldn’t know it’s a new-build! The room’s antique furniture, including the chandelier, was found mostly at Paris’ famous Marché aux Puces. The massive 18th century walnut dining table, accented with white oak, was a lucky find. If you don’t come across a new dining table you love, consider buying old and refinishing the wood. Antique dining tables are often solid wood and have beautiful traditional detailing.
This glamorous home office, by celebrity interior designer Kelly Wearstler, offers a late-night working space off the bedroom. Nothing says “old” like red, black and gold, and these lacquered bookshelves are classic. Opt for open shelves or glass so that books, encyclopedia volumes and artifacts are on display. Arrange books for a formal look in bedrooms, hallways or dining rooms, too.
Raw brick painted airy white, tone-on-tone bedding and luxuriously full drapes wrap this bedroom in elegance. Topped by twinkling crystals, this mostly white space gets its interest from a variety of textures and dramatic gold and black accents. The subtle gold on the bench, bed and chandelier also add to the antique feel of the room.
A wall-mounted sink with exposed plumbing and footed antique demi-lune are a traditional alternative to a boxy modern vanity — think back to the washbasins of the 19th century, placed atop old dressing tables. A crystal chandelier and sconce, and walls painted in a metallic bronze tone complete the Victorian look. A small bathroom is a safe area to experiment with dark, rich wall colours. Choose your favourite jewel tone — think dark brown, ruby red, emerald green or navy — and run with it. Be sure the room has plenty of natural light or wall and ceiling fixtures before painting it dark, however.
Use your front room regularly and embrace its traditional features. Ample seating makes this space warm and inviting. If you have a non-working fireplace, create a grouping of thick white candles inside for a faux fire or have a gas fireplace installed. Toile slipcovers are an easy way to change the look of a room, and work well here with the traditional moulding around the fireplace and ceiling.
A 19th century painting by French artist Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun over the fireplace completes this classic foyer and library. Bold mouldings, framed engravings and a mahogany-panelled wall add to the antiquated style. If you don’t have the budget for pricey art, browse antique shops for affordable portraits from lesser-known painters. Showcase portraits in elaborate gilt frames, or try your hand at DIY gold leafing.
If you do opt to cover hardwood up with a rug, or want to conceal polished concrete or modern tiles, choose an area rug with florals in muted hues like rose, vanilla and pale green. Recover old chairs in velvet, toile or paisley. Here, designer Sarah Richardson, host of HGTV’s Sarah’s House and Sarah’s Cottage, used traditional patterns on both the chairs and rug.