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2018 New Trad Ohara Davies-Gaetano

Get to know our New Trad Class of 2018

Produced by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer

Ohara Davies-Gaetano

Which “traditional” design rule(s) do you swear by? I believe that the essence of “traditional” design is to embrace and meld genres of style from different periods of time. By collecting and curating an interior that juxtaposes elements of style, there is spirit and soul behind the design and this is something that I swear by.

Which design rule(s) do you break? I do not believe in “matchy-matchy;” I much prefer subtle juxtapositions between materials, colors, textures, and finishes. When everything matches perfectly a space feels almost one-dimensional—I like to create depth in layering so that there is interest and intrigue.  

Do you have favorite “traditional” design elements? (A classic furniture design, pattern, style etc?) I have been an avid antique buyer since I was a little girl going to antique fairs with my family. Antiques, vintage, and found one-of-a-kind items are a must for me and I try to incorporate antiques into my work whenever possible. I love the story that an antique or found object offers to a space.

Which iconic interior designer(s) do you admire and feel are still relevant today? Furniture and/or product designer(s)? Oliver Messel is an all time favorite. I love the Caribbean and his work in Barbados and Mustique is always so inspiring. He was a true visionary and artist and his expression was so beautifully crafted in the interiors and architecture of his homes.

What design eras inspire you? I do not have a specific era, it is more elements from various eras that inspire me and that I like to meld together. I like elements of Rococo but not an entire Rococo interior for instance.

Which antiques or vintage designs do you think have held up over time and play well with today’s updated traditional interiors? I love beautiful and elegantly carved gilt mirrors and I love what they can do to pretty much any space, even modern. Carlo Scarpa’s Polidedri chandeliers and sconces from the 1960’s are a go-to—beautiful luminosity without being over the top with glamour. Show me an 18th century Swedish Gustavian cabinet or commode in the perfect shade of pale blue and I get weak in the knees.

How do you keep your traditional interiors fresh and current? I love using a lighter palette for the textiles within a project and I do not incorporate a lot of pattern. I focus on texture and love to mix linens, wools, and tonal jacquards. When I use stronger colors, I like to find interesting saturations of a color so that the color is a bit unexpected.

Give us a couple of examples of modern and traditional design elements that work well together. (For example, Chinoiserie paired with a Parsons table or Converse worn with a Prada suit.) An 18th century Venetian blown glass chandelier paired with a 1970s Angelo Magiarotti marble dining table and Planter chairs. An 18th century Italian Rococo gilt mirror above a vellum chest of drawers

What is a classic color combination that still feels fresh? Blue and white will never go out of style and almost always feels fresh. Black and white palette if done properly is always a classic as well and a beautiful foundation for incorporating other colors throughout a home.

Do you have a favorite go-to palette at the moment? I am designing a theater right now and we are using this seductive seal gray mohair paired with an inky blue and deep golden velvet, it is amazing.

How would you define today’s “new traditional” design? More and more there is an appreciation for a more curated and collected interior. I feel like the “new traditional” is less safe and perfect, but more layered and curated, which thrills me.

How would you describe your personal design style? I have been collecting art, antiques, and found objects for a long time so my own personal style really tells my story—it reflects my travels, artists that are a part of my life, and is always homage to my surrounding environment. Our home in California is very light and ethereal with a lot of antiques, modern art, and curated finds. Our home in Montana is a bit moodier—the walls are this beautiful blue pine and the pieces in our home have an earthy quality to them and a bit of masculinity. I love to mix pieces that speak to my soul and the soul and spirit of our homes.