The New Traditional

For this handsome, traditional-leaning family home in town, our biggest challenge was managing scale. Large volumes meant ramping up furnishings, such as in the living room, where there’s an enormous fireplace that’s tiered like a wedding cake all the way to the ceiling. For that space we commissioned a coffee table that’s huge — 65 inches in diameter — but it doesn’t look over-large because of its proportions within the context of the room.  Where the room transitions to the kitchen, we searched high and low for appropriate standing lamps to flank two armchairs with matching ottomans. Ultimately we designed them ourselves — in an unusual wood corkscrew-on-pedestal design, with 40” diameter shades — and had them made locally. This is a case of where, when we do our job perfectly, no one notices. That’s when we know we’ve succeeded.

For this new traditional look, the homeowner wanted a neutral palette, with refined and elaborate architectural elements, either painted white or in walnut. No attention to detail was spared; many of the furnishings, such as the dining table and chairs, were custom made. Interior doors were crafted by a local woodworker out of walnut, with the decorative central rounds inspired by Montana’s state capitol building. Art was commissioned for important spaces, including a 6-by-8 foot Ben Pease teepee painting, visible in the living room upon entering the front door. In certain rooms we were able to flex our clients’ personalities, like in the warm, masculine library with its beautifully matched walnut veneer panelling and custom-made contemporary desk. A serene, airy office, in contrast, has walls painted a robin’s egg blue, white open shelving displaying the wife’s pottery collection, and chairs upholstered in a fun blue leopard print pattern. (We made the pinboard ourselves using a contemporary dappled fabric from our design studio.) The powder room makes a statement with a wall of white Walker Zanger tile whose rounded pattern picks up on those amazing walnut doors.

Throughout the project we wanted to mix traditional and contemporary, textured neutrals, and soft, inviting fabrics for a tailored look within a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The addition of treasured items like hides from family safaris adds the final layer of meaning and goes a long way toward making a large home feel homey.