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20 Masters of Design
Get inspired by the works of a sampling of the renowned designers and architects who have been featured in Traditional Home
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What does it take to have mastered a subject? In the case of these 20 designers and architects, it took decades of learning, studying, and practicing in their field, of working to define their voice and establish their aesthetic. Click through to read about 20 of the many masters of design we admire and take a look at some of their most beautiful spaces.
Elegant, classic rooms are a hallmark of Suzanne Kasler’s designs. An award-winning designer of meaningful interiors, Kasler is the principal of her Atlanta-based firm Suzanne Kasler Interiors and lives by her assertion that "a room should be collected, not decorated."
Living Room by Suzanne Kasler
“I wanted the casual elegance appropriate for a city house,” says Suzanne Kasler of this home she designed in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. Elegant indeed. The home’s living room is a stunner. Dark-stained furniture grounds the space; a calm palette allows architectural details to shine. “It’s loungy and comfortable,” the designer says. “[It’s] a great room to hang out in.”
In Traditional Home’s 25-plus years, there are few designers we have loved more than Charles Faudree. Lauded for his elegant, collected designs with a French flair, the Tulsa-based designer was a master at mixing patterns. “I’m a big believer in the mix,” he said. “A single object on a tabletop or a single work of art on the wall can be nice, but for me, mixing collections provides the most excitement.” Whether designing quaint cottages or lavish homes, the end result was always warm and welcoming.
Bedroom by Charles Faudree
Inspired by a visit to a villa in Provence, Oklahoma homeowners called upon Charles Faudree to help them get that same country French aesthetic in their new dream home. Forals and checks play merrily in the guest room, while a collection of blue-and-white plates carries lively pattern up the wall. An antique table and lamp add a sense of history to the new space.
Born and raised in Rome, designer Alessandra Branca moved to Chicago when she was 18. In 1981, Branca opened her first studio in the Windy City, where her firm is still based today. Her designs are filled with color and energy and reflect the influence of both her Italian and American heritage.
Bedroom by Alessandra Branca
Alessandra Branca’s signature color wraps the guest room in her Chicago home—an elegant house by 20th-century neoclassicist David Adler. The space is smartly dressed in chinoiserie toile. Backing the trundle bed are 19th-century prints of camellias. “I try to create beautiful yet functional spaces that will enrich the lives of the people who live in them,” Branca says.
Words by Pamela J. Wilson
Mick De Giulio
For more than 40 years, Mick De Giulio has been designing sleek, smart kitchens. And we have been fawning over De Giulio’s designs since the first kitchen to grace the pages of Traditional Home appeared in 1992. Top-notch looks meet practical function in his signature style.
Kitchen by Mick De Giulio
In this gorgeous Minnesota lake home, homeowner Ace Brandt first called upon Mick De Giulio to renovate the kitchen and ended up asking the designer to help rethink the entire house.
“I begged, ‘Mick, will you please do the whole house?’” Brandt recalls. “He said yes, and I was pretty pleased—a guy with so much horsepower redoing my house.”
In what was once a small kitchen filled with knotty-pine cabinetry now sits a sleek kitchen made for entertaining, complete with a vaulted ceiling and direct views of the lake.
Whether working from his office in Paris or Los Angeles, interior designer Timothy Corrigan manages to turn his clients’ homes into spaces that are luxurious, livable, and layered in global style. For 20 years, Corrigan has carefully mixed furniture, art, and design from different periods to create spaces that are interesting, warm, and alive—without feeling decorated.
Words by Rebecca Christian
Living Room by Timothy Corrigan
When Tim Robinson and Bob Cohen purchased their Hollywood Regency-style home, it was lacking the architectural details one would expect from such a grand house. Designer Timothy Corrigan gave the living room the much-needed elements it was missing—a plaster fretwork on the ceiling and added details to the fireplace surround and mantel—to give the room the elevated look it deserved. Raised panels on the walls also help define the space. "We installed the paneling because we wanted the room to feel more substantial," Corrigan explains. "And it looks authentic and original."
Design is in Alexa Hampton’s blood. The designer, who for the past 20 years has been owner and president of the firm her father founded in 1975, is adept at tailoring classic principles for modern life. Whether a home, a yacht, or any number of home products, Hampton’s designs are smart and stylish, elegant, and functional.
Bedroom by Alexa Hampton
A deep blue palette is at once both playful and soothing in this showhouse bedroom designed by Alexa Hampton. An indigo wallcovering has a watery effect—a quality repeated on the antique rug and the upholstered chairs at the foot of the bed. A regal four-poster from Hampton’s collection for Hickory Chair anchors the space in classic taste.
Louise Brooks founded her firm, now Brooks & Falotico, in 1988 and her work has been featured in the pages of Traditional Home numerous times throughout the years. Brooks has the keen ability to reconfigure a space while keeping it appropriate to a home’s design, using every square inch to great advantage. Homes and kitchens by the revered architectural designer are known for their timeless, graceful style.
Kitchen by Louise Brooks
Blue accents dot this mostly white kitchen in Brooks’ own New Caanan, Connecticut, home. Pottery Barn bar stools pull up to a gray-veined white marble island where a pair of vintage pendant lights illuminate the work space. An elegantly designed vent hood features architectural corbels at either end and serves as a ledge for displaying serving pieces.
Warmth meets elegance and a comfortable sophistication in the work of Boston-based designer Gary McBournie, who has been creating refined and polished interiors for his firm Gary McBournie Inc. since 1992. Classic furniture, decorative arts, innovative color schemes, and graphic accents are the signatures of his always-inviting style.
Words by Rebecca Christian
Entry by Gary McBournie
Casual and colorful, but firmly rooted in tradition, this two-story entry hall is a shining example of McBournie’s innovative color schemes. The geometric pattern fills the soaring entry with personality and immediately sets the tone for the rest of the art-filled Weston, Massachusetts, home.
Since its launch in 1992, Christopher Peacock Cabinetry has become synonymous with luxury. The hand-crafted cabinetry inspired by classic British designs has been installed in numerous showhouses and the homes of high-profile clients, and Christopher Peacock, the designer behind it all, is well-regarded for the understated elegance of his beautiful, functional kitchen designs.
Kitchen by Christopher Peacock
When it came to designing the kitchen for the 2015 Lake Forest Showhouse, Christopher Peacock’s first order of business was to tame some of the squirrely design elements of the 1929 home. “Originally, there was an alcove with a big arch hiding a window,” he says. “It was a beautiful window, and yet you couldn’t see it. It was a missed opportunity.” By removing walls and low-hanging archways, Peacock trasnformed a maze of rooms into one 16x22-foot light-filled kitchen suitable for a modern family. “We removed the big archway on the alcove by the kitchen sink, and immediately that brought all this light into the space,” Peacock says. The kitchen, outfitted with cabinetry from Peacock’s Lambourne Collection, is dressed in pleasing neutrals and wood tones.
In 1988, after a 22-year apprenticeship with the legendary Parish-Hadley Associates, Bunny Williams launched her eponymous firm. With more than five decades of design expertise under her belt, Williams is renowned for her graceful, feminine style. She was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 1995 and continues to design classic products and interiors while mentoring the next generation of designers.
Dining Room by Bunny Williams
Working with this dining room’s limited natural light, Bunny Williams dressed the space in a pretty, neutral palette. A custom grisaille, a monochromatic mural depicting neoclassic architecture and nature, adds a layer of formality to the room. An elaborately carved Edwardian pedestal table holds court atop a sisal rug. Curved legs add a hint of feminine flair to dining chairs, upholstered in gray silk linen.
For more than 25 years, designer Thomas Jayne has been creating tailored, comfortable homes. In that time, Jayne has become renowned for his deep knowledge of the history of design and for creating spaces that suit modern life. His impeccable credentials—advanced study at Winterthur and the Met, working at Christie’s and for the legendary Albert Hadley at the firm Parish-Hadley—have never bogged him down in fussiness. He designs for real life, but an elegant version of it.
Words by Ted Loos
Dining Room by Thomas Jayne
Thomas Jayne restored this landmark Palm Beach villa with a tailored look and subdued palette. “The architecture of this home is so rich,” Jayne says. “What we did with decoration simply supports the architecture and the art. We furnished and decorated it with an eye to quality and sculpture. It’s arranged for comfort, but there’s a chastity to it.”
Restrained embellishments allow the view to steal the show. A pair of 18th-century English eglomise mirrors highlight pale blue textured walls that mimic the hues of twilight and play beautifully with the waterway’s naturally diluted palette.
Lillian August, designer of interiors, furniture, and textiles, has a love for color and a knack for a wide range of styles. She co-founded Lillian August Furnishings + Designs with her sons in 1987 and has been creating must-have items for the home ever since. With both her own products and several licensed collections, Lillian August has become synonymous with lovely, livable interiors.
Dining Room by Lillian August
Pretty and practical furnishings fill Lillian August’s North Carolina home. Hand-blocked English wallpaper wraps the dining room in a feminine floral motif. A rustic dining table, chairs, and patinated sideboard—all Lillian August for Hickory Chair—help downplay the formality of the space. One glamorous touch, however, dazzles overhead: the crystal chandelier Lillian designed was inspired by a Russian antique. “It’s relaxed decorating—relaxed and romantic,” the designer says of her home. “I like creating pretty and somewhat feminine atmospheres where people can sit back and enjoy themselves.”
Since founding his firm in 1983, architect Bobby McAlpine has designed homes across the country in a variety of traditional styles and regional vernaculars, but nowhere have his designs been more influential than in the South. The Alabama native has helped define traditional Southern architecture with designs that are timeless, graceful, and emotionally evocative. And his talents don't stop there. McAlpine also is know for his furniture line and as the author of several inspiring books.
Lake Home by Bobby McAlpine
The architecture of this Lake Martin, Alabama, home is incredibly site-specific as it rambles along the shoreline. The house nods to the romantic notions of the Shingle style, with its familiar forms and gracious proportions, yet this structure enjoys a commanding stature and sense of permanence.
“This home acknowledges its owner, a gracious Southern lumberman,” architect Bobby McAlpine says. “The design draws elegance from devices not typically found in residential architecture. There are elements of a chapel in the woods, rural schoolhouses, and old factory offices. It even has its feed-and-seed-store moments."
Words by Amy Elbert
Chicago-based Tom Stringer, the founder and president of Tom Stringer Design Partners, admits that travel is his greatest inspiration. He’s known for trotting the globe in search of offbeat objects and exotic ideas for clients. His designs reflect his passion for travel with an artful blend of modern and antique furnishings, ultimately creating the ideal backdrop for his clients’ lives.
Bedroom by Tom Stringer
In Tom Stringer’s own Chicago townhouse, art and artifacts pepper every room. The palette is muted but rich in texture. In the guest room, metal tones of bronze, copper, and gold create a rich but muted palette that allows artwork and texture to shine.
Jamie Drake is not afraid of bold choices. He launched his firm, Drake Design Associates—now Drake/Anderson—just three days after graduating from Parsons School of Design in 1978. Known for his fearless use of color and modern aesthetic, Drake has been creating sophisticated, luxurious spaces for four decades and was named to the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 2003.
Bedroom by Jamie Drake
For a pair of color-loving art collectors, Jamie Drake was a natural choice to help them update their stately Greek Revival home in Bellport, New York. While the traditional architecture of the home was honored, Drake let the homeowners’ passions take front and center. Upstairs, a pretty purple bedroom tucked under the eaves is a favorite. A large-scale purple-and-white checked rug brings bold pattern underfoot, while the rest of the room is wrapped in soft lavender. "We covered the walls and ceiling with a lavender grasscloth,” says Drake. “It’s dreamlike.”
An avid gardener, Charlotte Moss draws abundant inspiration from nature. Moss, who launched her design business in 1985, frequently pulls on those same soft forms and beautiful colors in her work. Her elegant designs are a blend of American and European influences.
Bedroom by Charlotte Moss
This sprawling showhouse space designed by Charlotte Moss serves as a celebration of life. It is arranged as a studio apartment, with distinct living, working, and sleeping areas. Soft pink and blue set a sweet palette that ties the spaces together; floral-motif fabrics carry a quiet energy around the room. The room’s show-stopping moment is a canopy bed trimmed with curtains and an upholstered footboard.
Eric Cohler is known for a highly intuitive approach that is both cerebral and sensuous. For more than twenty years, his mix of classical and contemporary styles—enhanced by jolts of unexpected color and pattern—has resulted in interiors that are elegant, warmly welcoming, and the epitome of comfort.
Words by Rebecca Christian
Sun Porch by Eric Cohler
Three walls of arch-topped windows in this sun porch at the Adamsleigh showhouse let in abundant light and create a link to the outdoors. Designer Eric Cohler used creamy floor-length draperies to accentuate the height of the space while softening the brick walls. Pops of pattern come courtesy of the black-and-white folding screen and pink ikat-print chair.
Integrity and beauty are hallmarks of Madeline Stuart’s designs. She founded her firm Madeline Stuart & Associates in 1990 and launched her first product line in 1998. A lifelong Los Angeles resident, Stuart has designed for a number of VIP clients and has become well-regarded for her beautiful yet understated style.
Living Room by Madeline Stuart
The palette in actress JoBeth Williams’ Spanish-style home originated with the living room rug. Designer Madeline Stuart pulled out the rug’s coral and blue hues to create a warm and inviting palette. The subtly sophisticated space is filled with light and features a beamed ceiling, French doors, elegant floor-to-ceiling drapery panels, and overscale upholstered pieces. "There is nothing more gratifying than creating a home that truly reflects the people who live there," says Stuart. "This is an honest house—there's nothing phony or contrived.”
Cuban-born Vicente Wolf has long had a passion for design. Growing up with a family in construction, he started drawing and designing at an early age. Wolf founded his firm, Vicente Wolf Associates, in 1988 and 10 years later was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame. Fueled by a passion for art and global travel, Wolf has been seamlessly blending the contemporary with the traditional for more than thirty years.
Bedroom by Vicente Wolf
For his space in the 2012 Holiday House Designer Showcase in New York City, Vicente Wolf created a light and lovely Swedish-influenced bedroom. “Swedish rooms always have a sense of lightness and simplicity,” Wolf says. To achieve that lightness, sheer curtains and crisp white walls were paired with cool blue-gray fabrics. A hint of glamour comes courtesy of a Baccarat chandelier and a Louis XVI-style mirror.
Mary Douglas Drysdale
Traditional silhouettes. Classic proportions. And especially invigorating palettes. These elements distinguish the work of designer Mary Douglas Drysdale. Drysdale is the creative director of the Washington, D.C.-based firm Drysdale Design Associates, and is known for her original and timeless designs and her exquisite attention to detail.
Living Room by Mary Douglas Drysdale
During the renovation of this Capitol Hill rowhouse, Mary Douglas Drysdale was able to flex both her architectural prowess and her interior design capabilities. The home remains true to the Federal style in which it was built, but was given a fresh blue, white, and green color scheme. In the formal living area, a stately secretary—a staple in many Drysdale designs—is flanked by a collection of blue-and-white plates creating a colorful focal point and reiterating the home’s color scheme.
The Sidecar, price available upon request from Moore & Giles [1-800-737-0169]
This beautifully crafted bar cart, The Sidecar by Moore and Giles, is a great way to store liquor, glassware, bar tools, and anything else needed to complete your own miniature bar. The cart, made of Virginia black walnut, birch, leather, aluminum, and brass, is wheeled to make sure the party can travel with you. Perfect for drink-lovers without the space for a full bar.