Striking traditional-modern balance

The Province

MARY FRANCES HILL – Published on June 08, 2016

Creating a style that could be described as transitional — traditional, but not too old school; with some touches of the contemporary, without being too slick — Morgan Thomas finds a perfect balance in the display homes at Greenway at South Ridge in Surrey.

In doing so, Thomas designed a look that can offer something for every visitor.

She is well aware that many members of the downsizing demographic, the population that has shown much interest in Adera Development Corporation’s South Ridge community, aren’t always thrilled about the square footage they’ll lose when they move from a grander home into a smaller space. To address this concern, she brought in large furnishings.

“It was important to show how large groupings of furniture can be arranged, while still feeling open and light,” she says.

In the open-concept space, the dining room table and chairs lean toward the traditional, while a chandelier over the table has a more modern industrial feel.

It often becomes a bit of a trial and error with various pieces when you’re in the space, “but generally speaking it’s all about balance,” she says. “Thought has to be given not just to the ends of the spectrum, traditional and industrial, but also to the area in between. In this particular project, it became more about using many neutral pieces that gave a nod to some of the details in the more standout pieces.”

Where neutrals appeal to a universal crowd, deep blue accents add a decorative curve ball, adding some contemporary flair to more traditional pieces.

“Psychologically, blue is certainly a calming colour,” Thomas says. “The neutral tones create a great foundation to let the moments of colour stand out. Many of these neutral tones were brought in through natural materials such as wood or stone (to give a) richness to the space.”

Thomas also considers that new homeowners at Greenway may not want to splurge on new and expensive furnishings.

She recommends customizing budget-friendly pieces so they look more luxurious.

“That Ikea sofa can quickly be transformed into a style you love and the money you save can be spent on other standout pieces. It’s all about the splurge/save.”

At the same time, she suggests it may be worthwhile to make an investment in a piece of decor that can act as a social centrepiece.

“I’d recommend focusing money on items that will get a lot of use and attention — pieces that you touch often or that people gather around.”