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Meet Traditional Home’s top 10 “New Trads”

Posted on Friday, April 19, 2013.

What does “traditional” mean in 2013? Ten emerging designers from across the country, carefully selected by Traditional Home’s editors, are redefining and redesigning the classic definition of traditional.

“From their use of unexpected colors, materials and patterns to the marriage of seemingly disparate design styles, these designers are pushing the boundaries of traditional design to create interiors that are absolutely luxurious, yet livable,” said Ann Maine, editor in chief of Traditional Home.



Ginger Brewton, who grew up redecorating her Barbie mansion and going with her mother to open houses, began her career as a decorative artist in Charleston, South Carolina. That background—plus travels, study at the New York School of Interior Design, and an apprenticeship with mentor Elaine Griffin—shows in the classic sensibility, international flair, and architectural awareness she brings to interiors for what she calls a well-designed life (also the name of her blog). In a guest room, for example, she balanced a George II chandelier with a white lacquered table. She founded her Charleston-based firm, Ginger Brewton Interiors which serves a national clientele, in 2005.



Taylor Borsari began her career in Los Angeles with Michael S Smith, dean of updated traditional. There she managed residential projects in Beverly Hills and Malibu. Since founding her own boutique design studio in 2005 in Las Vegas, she has deployed her new-wave chic look from Laguna Beach to Maine. Her twists on traditional include using horizontal planks for walnut cabinets in a kitchen redo and trading tired nautical motifs for organic textures and patterns in beachfront homes. The epitome of her approach is the elegant and indestructible Eames fiberglass chairs that the mother of two uses at the dining table in her Newport Beach home.



Heather Garrett studied art history, interned at Sotheby’s, worked for art dealers in New York (“Misery!” she recalls), attended Parsons, and learned at the elbow of French designer Robert Couturier. Then, like a designer with a storyboard, she used those gathered elements to create her own firm in Durham, North Carolina, in 2002, blending such styles as French Modern and Southern Traditional. Her twin mantras are “Kids, pets, and red wine are facts of life” and “Nothing made by man is as beautiful as that found in nature.” Her signature look includes sophisticated surfaces as varied as plaster and hide or velvet and linen, as well as extraordinary lighting.



Julie Goldman is a born collaborator, whether she’s fishing with her father in the marshlands of Louisiana, browsing Christie’s catalogs with a fellow art collector, or teaming up with artisans on designs and products for J. Latter Design, the L.A. firm she founded in 2000. After graduating with a degree in art history from Tufts, the flea market aficionado returned to New Orleans to work for the hallowed firm of Holden & Dupuy. Her tutelage in antiques there is reflected in the way she reimagines pieces to add distinction and function to modern settings. Her one-of-a-kind interiors always look artisanal and touched by hand.



Having grown up in the South, Andrew Howard understands the value of tradition, but this Jacksonville, Florida, native encourages fresh interpretations of classic designs. A good listener with a disarming sense of humor, Andrew easily befriends his clients and understands their design visions. He’s a natural in the business—his dad and stepmom are James and Phoebe Howard, Jacksonville-based designers with shops in several locations. Andrew studied business at the University of Florida, but design was his calling. “This is where I belong,” he says. He started his design practice in 2003. “My main goal is to create comfortable and inviting spaces.”



London-born Katie Lydon went into the family business. Raised by parents who worked at Sotheby’s, she studied at Wimbledon Art School and Cambridge University before doing stints at Condé Nast and New York’s Mark Hampton Design. This background is reflected in her passion for antiques and architecture, balanced by a love of contemporary art. Now a resident of Tribeca, she founded her NYC design firm in 2002. Whether designing an uptown townhouse, a downtown loft, or a family home in Boston, she’s likely to mix interesting pieces from emerging artists with a retro twist or two. She believes every room should have key pieces with gravitas and soul.



Growing up in an artistic family, Andrew Maier was hired by friends and neighbors to design spaces at the age of 12. Drawn by his love of horses into work as an exercise rider for steeplechase trainers, he returned to design as a prop stylist for TV commercials, music videos, and magazine shoots in NYC. He founded Andrew Maier Inc., now in Locust Valley, New York, in 2001. His projects mix curiosities with classical elements such as period paintings and floor-to-ceiling bookcases. Andrew’s calling is to listen, mix clients’ desires with his own epiphanies, and give them back spaces that reflect the best versions of themselves.



Born and raised in Greenwich Village, Frances Merrill moved to Los Angeles in 2001 to study textile design. The love of textiles that’s in her DNA was deepened by working at the Thai Silk Company, cofounded by her late relative, Jim Thompson. Her Reath Design, launched in L.A. in 2009, mixes tradition and exoticism. Frances has a gift for designing outdoor spaces and creating indoor-outdoor flow. For a home in need of a dining room, playroom, and guest room, she increased living space by creating a dining room under the stars and filling a tepee with vintage rugs for play. Situated at the edge of the yard is a prefab structure she transformed into a vibrant oasis for guests.



Kristin Rocke rocks a design floor to ceiling, often creating custom light fixtures, furnishings, architectural details, and wall coverings. After studying urban planning with an emphasis on architecture and earning a design degree from the University of Utah, she opened in 2004 K. Rocke Design in Holladay, Utah. Even a mudroom she designed for a busy family is beautiful and functional, with clean lines, Shaker details, and handsome polished hardware on drawers lined in practical galvanized steel for outerwear and gear. She’s at her most inspired working with craftspeople to create spaces her clients can’t wait to get home to.



The term Summer Thornton has coined for her signature look is “cultured irreverence.” It’s exemplified in a luxury pied-à-terre she designed in Chicago, where she founded her firm in 2007. In the living room, urn-shaped Lucite lamps mix with vintage lounge chairs and a restrained Barbara Barry sofa. No two of her projects look alike. Using classic forms and unexpected colors and materials, she invariably evokes the appropriate mood that each space calls for. Summer’s background includes work with designers and at Osborne & Little, the famed British textile company. A world traveler, she never met a flea market she didn’t love, be it in Moscow or Buenos Aires.

On May 15, New Trad designers Garrett, Lydon and Thornton will go “Off the Record” with Maine for a panel discussion, part of Spring Market at the D&D Building in New York. For more information on this event, visit the website.

The New Trads will be featured in the May issue of Traditional Home and the Spring 2013 issue of TRADhome—Traditional Home’s online magazine that launches May 13.