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Blending Styles: How This Couple Achieved Harmony in Their Modern-Traditional Home

Brass fixtures, rich wood cabinetry, quartz countertops and an apron sink add sleek sophistication to this kitchen redo.

Homeowners called a pro when a DIY kitchen plan went awry.

By Heather Shoning | Photography by Brittny Smith

Designing a kitchen is akin to putting together a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Not only is there the overall floor plan to deal with, but you’ve also got to think about where every pot, pan and utensil goes for optimal functionality. Throw into the mix a couple with different design styles, and things can get messy without the assistance of a pro. For this project, the husband, an engineer working with high-end architectural firms, sought guidance from a friend to order cabinetry, but the couple’s best-laid plans began to unravel when it arrived. 

“The homeowners were encountering issues they hadn’t anticipated,” says interior designer Brittny Smith. “They called me in a panic because they weren’t sure how to make this kitchen work and how to put it all together.” After reviewing the cabinetry they had purchased and conferring with them about their design aesthetics, Smith devised a plan centered around a statement piece that would blend the two design styles and anchor the open floor plan. “We had to recenter the whole kitchen on this statement hood,” Smith says. “We centered all the lighting and the sink and reconfigured the island seating and layout.”


The husband has a modern-minimalist aesthetic, while the wife loves traditional. To blend these two styles, Smith designed a hood to be the kitchen’s focal point. It has graceful, curved lines that skew more traditional, but she specified a contemporary smooth-plaster finish to give it a modern edge. While the perimeter cabinetry is a soft dove gray, the island brings a rich warmth to the space with its dark-stained finish, harking back to traditional design elements. The quartz countertops and backsplash maintain a light and airy feel throughout the space. Brushed brass fixtures and cabinet pulls add a delicate sophistication, and Smith amalgamated the design styles by adding minimalist pendants with a black and brass finish. The sleek fixtures intentionally ensure a clear view of the hood. Leather stools with clean-lined black frames make up the main seating area.

Considering the open concept, it was only natural that the design project carried over into the main living area. Smith sought ways to create continuity, such as repeating black and brass elements, while adding visual interest to the neutral palette using texture and form. The homeowners opted for bar seating instead of a small table in the eat-in kitchen area. To give this area a modern edge, Smith specified a liftgate-style window that opens to a patio with additional seating on the opposite side of the bar top. In addition, she designed a wooden slat wall feature that coalesces the homeowners’ design aesthetics. The tone mimics the traditional wood of the island juxtaposed with modern floating shelves and sleek light fixtures. Black and brass are the perfect yin and yang. The design repeats in the living room, drawing warm wood tones into that area.

Dining Room

The dining room features an asymmetrical chandelier that was initially considered for above the kitchen island. “The homeowners and I agreed that the chandelier took away from the focal point of the hood, which we wanted to be able to see clearly when walking into the kitchen,” Smith says. The obvious choice, then, for the piece was in the dining room, where it would serve as a stand-out design element. “It feels like a piece of artwork over the table,” she adds. The pedestal table in a light finish has a traditional silhouette, and Smith selected dark chairs with cane backs for contrast. Three mirrors hung together on the wall double the impact of the chandelier as you look into that space from
the kitchen.

Living Room

The contemporary sliding doors directed some design elements. “We like to take design cues from the home’s architectural elements,” Smith says. “With the addition of this new sliding door next to the TV room, we wanted to bring another contemporary architectural element into that room.” The repeated slat wall creates a design continuum between the living room and kitchen and adds a textural element. Smith encouraged the homeowners to eschew their original desire for a crescent-shaped sofa. “With so many contemporary elements, we needed to incorporate furniture and textiles that were comfortable, cozy and more traditional,” she says. In addition to the more traditional sofa, she also selected a classic rug style. A pair of leather chairs in a structural, durable design; a two-toned, geometric wooden coffee table; and an ultramodern floor lamp round out the living room with a balanced, cohesive look.


Interior designer: Brittny Smith, Homesmith Design, Mesa, (480) 735-4932.
Cabinetry: Faucet/pot filler/cabinet nobs:
Kitchen hood: Venetian plaster: Mauricio Nieto, MGM painting LLC, Scottsdale, (480) 529-2146, and Jose Dominguez, Arizona Valley Drywall and Paint, Gilbert, (480) 266-4589). Wall sconce:

Pendant lights:
Dining table: Dining chairs: Chandelier:
Sofa: Chairs: Rug:


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