Mixing traditional and contemporary in the home: An interview with New York interior designer Robin Baron

New York interior designer Robin BaronRobin Baron is the founder of Robin Baron Design, an interior design firm based in Manhattan, New York. Launched in 1990, the firm creates residential interiors that are client-centric and known for innovative and vibrant designs. Robin Baron Design offers a full range of design services, including space planning, custom furniture design, fabric and color selection, as well as construction and renovation. 

In one of our recent blog posts, we talked about the trend of mixing traditional and contemporary in the same home, even in bold ways. What is this trend all about?

Robin: We live in a world where we are surrounded by traditional elements: from pre-war architecture to cobble stone streets. Our aesthetic, however, prefers clean, modern lines. We crave the simplicity and sophistication in which we function best.

I believe that the trend of mixing traditional and contemporary styles is all about finding your own voice and translating that vision into your home. Today, we have the freedom to be authentic and create a unique style that reflects who we are.

Combining these two opposing styles may sound difficult at first, but it really is simple once you understand the key to making it work – balance and inspiration! Let’s take Snaidero’s TIME kitchen, for example: It has an overall sleek and chic look, but the neutral and earthy color palette also blends with any traditional décor. It balances the elements of both styles in a very warm and transitional way.

Snaidero's TIME kitchen

Do you see it becoming more and more popular or is it something just for the few who like to be more daring?

Robin: Mixing styles, trends or periods is always a little daring. You have to find the confidence to explore different aspects of yourself. It’s risky and requires a creative and open mind. That said, I definitely see this trend becoming more popular…and it should be! That’s how you express your individuality!

What are the rooms in the home that lend themselves better for this kind of experimentation?

Robin: I think any room that you spend time in, really. The kitchen is perfect because it’s the heart of a home – it’s where functionality and personality meet. It naturally lends itself for experimenting with the trends because it evolves with you. As your family grows, you’ll find yourself keeping a few meaningful pieces and mixing it up with stylish new items. That’s what the trend is really about: blending the old with the new.

Transitional design by Robin Baron mixing traditional and contemporary styles with balance

Let’s say you have a kitchen in a very contemporary style in a period or rustic home. The kitchen opens to a living area with traditional furnishings. What are the décor accents you can use throughout the space to bring the contemporary and traditional furniture together and soften their differences?

Robin: Since this is an open space, it’s important that you create a flow with your décor. Bring antiques into the modern, contemporary kitchen, and add modern pieces to the traditional living area.

Again, it’s about the balance. If you want to achieve that eclectic style of mixing the trends, keep it classic with the fixed items (like cabinetry) and spice it up through accessories or color. Lighting is the first thing that comes to mind: Find a vintage light fixture to hang over the kitchen island, or use a pair of modern lamps to flank your sofa in the more traditional living space. Another idea are country-inspired pieces, like a big scale or an antique lamp. They create a great juxtaposition and a fabulous dynamic!

Robin Baron's design combining modern and traditional

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2 Responses to Mixing traditional and contemporary in the home: An interview with New York interior designer Robin Baron

  1. Pingback: Transitional kitchens design: 5 essential things to knowdesign living – living design

  2. Pingback: Kitchen decorating ideas: Mixing vintage and moderndesign living – living design

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