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Expert Advice: 5 Tips for Elevating Interiors with Transitional Design

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Expert Advice 5 Tips for Elevating Interiors with Transitional Design portrait 4 9

Expert Advice: 5 Tips for Elevating Interiors with Transitional Design

September 15, 2021

Call it the happy medium of home design: where style-forward meets comfortable, considered meets easy. To us, it’s the sweet spot, with interiors that feel cohesive but not too “done.”

One element that can help to achieve that perfect balance? Flooring, which sets the tone for interiors and effortlessly ties together spaces within the home. It’s a designer’s trick to use timeless wood floors to create a traditional but unfussy look. Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors, for example, mixes artisan craftsmanship, plenty of character, and the organic texture of wood with clean lines and the modern simplicity of wide planks. Their floors are handcrafted, one board at a time. In fact, as many as two dozen pairs of hands will touch each board during the production process. No two floors are alike, and the natural, untouched beauty of the wood creates a design-forward yet trend-proof foundation for any space.

above: wide plank wood floors unite an open plan kitchen and sitting area in th 10
Above: Wide-plank wood floors unite an open-plan kitchen and sitting area in this Bedford, New York, home by Alexander Butler.

Intrigued? Take a look at these pro tips for mixing clean-lined with classic—and incorporating wide-plank flooring, too—via NYC-based architect Alexander Butler of AB|DS.

above: carlisle’s weathered brushed white oak flooring lends a simple, elegan 11
Above: Carlisle’s weathered brushed White Oak flooring lends a simple, elegant backdrop to modern fittings in this airy house in Connecticut by firm Stonefox.

1. Mix details with pared-back design.

“Transitional design, to me, is basically a distillation of traditional elements and modern ideas. Details like baseboards, casings, and crown moldings are incorporated; however, these elements are pared down to their most basic level. Clean and simple geometric designs are favored over more grand and decorative gestures.”

above: a dramatic mix: dark hued oak flooring with super modern steel chairs an 12
Above: A dramatic mix: dark-hued Oak flooring with super modern steel chairs and a sleek kitchen island in a Waldorf Astoria residence in Chicago.

2. Keep an open flow.

“I think that the most successful transitional designs incorporate modern ideas, such as symmetry, axis lines, open plans, and gracious circulation, which allows the design to be experienced and appreciated as a whole.”

above: carlisle’s original grade white oak plank flooring with a brushed text 13
Above: Carlisle’s Original Grade White Oak plank flooring with a brushed texture brings a slightly rustic transitional look to a 1960s ranch kitchen in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, redone in shades of white.
above: with natural wood textures, grains, and knots, no two floors—or boards 14
Above: With natural wood textures, grains, and knots, no two floors—or boards—are the same. 

3. Minimize clutter.

“I typically suggest muted colors and minimal clutter as well in order to clearly delineate transitional versus traditional.”

above: the white oak plank flooring creates a sense of openness and cohesion in 15
Above: The White Oak plank flooring creates a sense of openness and cohesion in the same re-envisioned space.

4. Think traditional materials with a modern twist.

“I love wide-plank flooring. In all of our designs, materiality plays a key role, and in the case of wood flooring, you can’t fully appreciate the character of the material in smaller widths. Also, there are fewer joints, which translates directly into less clutter. Each board is more able to gracefully merge into the next, versus something choppier and more frenetic at a narrower width.”

above: wide planks lend visual simplicity to this graphic black and white kitch 16
Above: Wide planks lend visual simplicity to this graphic black-and-white kitchen. Photograph by Josh Goetz, courtesy of Spector London.

5. Stick to a serene palette.

For wood floors, Butler says, “I prefer a matte finish in light to medium tones, very similar to my paint color logic: It’s much more soothing to the senses.”

above: inspired by a classic italian countryside villa, this home on the banks  17
Above: Inspired by a classic Italian countryside villa, this home on the banks of Seattle’s Lake Washington features natural Walnut floors that echo the exposed beams above for a harmonious look; the rest is kept spare. Photograph by Alex Hayden, courtesy of Lisa Staton Interior Design.

See more via Carlisle Wide Plank Floors.

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