The new year is off to a great start: I had the opportunity last night to go to an Elle Decor sponsored presentation and book signing by It Designer Darryl Carter. The event was held at a Thomasville furniture showroom, to showcase the lovely new line of furniture Carter has created for them.
Like his new book, The New Traditional: Reinvent, Balance, Define Your Home, the furniture line is all about putting a modern spin on traditional styles, with an emphasis on comfort. I haven't had a chance to do more than thumb through the book, but the over all look there and in the furniture line seems to boil down to whites, ivories, and neutrals mixed in with lots of brown wood furniture with clean, elegant lines. Now, that may sound formulaic, but trust me it isn't, and it works beautifully.
While I'm not an uber-traditionalist in my own own approach to decorating, I am a big fan of clean lines and straightforward shapes in furniture, and wood as wood. You'll see lots of that in The New Traditional. The beauty of the white and neutral backdrops of his rooms really let the furniture breath in the space, and lets the wood grains be part of the texture of the room.
A couple highlights from Carter's presentation include his take on downplaying pattern in a room. He said that when upholstering furniture pieces he will often use the reverse side of a piece of fabric, like a toile, in order to maintain a subtle pattern without the saturated color. And he suggested doing the same thing with rugs: flip 'em over and use the underside. While the furniture pieces in the Thomasville line were upholstered in lots of neutral linens, Carter also emphasized practicality while living in mostly white and neutral surroundings; he said that there are lots of great neutral synthetic fabrics out there that can hold up to the wear and tear of kids and pets. Basically, don't let real life hold you back from living with white.
And speaking of pets, dog lovers will happy to note that Carter's dog Otis enjoys a prominent spot on his website and in the pages of the new book. In fact, I even spied something that I rarely see in other design books and magazines: a pair of dog beds placed under a table-style kitchen island. Amazing!