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eric cohler's new book

Written by Amy Elbert

Eric Cohler is a favorite here at Traditional Home magazine. The New York City-based designer is eloquent and charming (a pleasure to interview), intellectual without being pedantic (he knows architecture and design but never lectures), and his abilities to blend historic with modern, and expensive with bargain elements are unsurpassed.

Rooms designed by Eric have graced countless pages of Traditional Home and been featured on our Web site. So we couldn't wait to curl up with Eric's book, Cohler on Design (Monacelli Press, 2012; $50).

A stunning collection of inspirational projects by Eric Cohler. (Photo by Francis Smith)

Surprising harmony results when a George Condo painting is paired with a traditionally patterned Oriental rug in a sympathetic color palette. (Photo by Steven Brooke Studios)

Designer Eric Cohler (Photo by John Bessler, reprinted permission Traditional Home magazine)


This photo-rich, coffee-table-sized book is filled with inspiration and each image provides insights into Eric's talents with color, shape, and scale.  The text is well written (Eric's voice comes through loud and clear) and truly practical. There are tips such as:  "Photograph a room you want to renovate, and literally carry that picture around while you're shopping.  Look for pieces that you feel will make your room special and will give it life. Don't try to do everything at once—start with the floor and/or rug and move up from there."

Eric Cohler designed the "Unleashed" fabric for Lee Jofa that surrounds the bed in this guest bedroom suite. (Photo by Nicolas Sargent)


Antique chairs gather around a contemporary table in a glass-walled dining room. (Photo by Claudio Santini, reprinted permission Traditional Home magazine)

Cohler shares in the book how he often mixes high- and low-priced objects, and provides advice on how to develop your own style. "A critical lesson to remember: personal style isn't about going out and buying the most expensive carpets, furniture, or fabrics; it is about being able to arrange a few interesting pieces next to inexpensive pieces. Mix them in with your family's collection, with quirky things that truly express your inner self. Live with what you love." 

A papier-maché deer head is sihouetted against a dark wall, drawing the eye to the ceiling covered in a grass cloth. (Photo by Jonny Valiant)

Don't get hung up on creating "perfect" environments, Eric advises. "We could use a healthy dose of appreciation for what the Japanese call wabi sabi—an aesthetic that believes imperfection is beauty and that promotes a respect for things that are used, transient and incomplete." 

An Italian chandelier anchors a dining room, which also holds monogrammed dining room chairs, a Gustavian settee, and a painting inspired by Fernand Léger. (Photo by William Geddes)

Click here to see more of Eric Cohler's work.



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