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2018 New Trad Rajni Alex

Get to know our New Trad Class of 2018

Produced by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer

Rajni Alex


Photo: Olga Mironova, Mirrastudio

Which “traditional” design rule(s) do you swear by? The only rule maybe worth following is to pay attention to size and scale. Every space is unique so it’s important to be considerate of what that space is. (What are its limitations? What are its possibilities?) Other than that, there are no rules in my book.

Which design rule(s) do you break? All rules are meant to be broken! Design is about having fun and creating a distinct point of view.

Do you have favorite “traditional” design elements? (A classic furniture design, pattern, style etc.?)  I’m a big fan of beautiful millwork, whether it be crown moldings, cased entries, or a detailed fireplace mantle. These architectural elements, albeit small, can really transform a bland space into something truly exceptional.


Photo: Keith Scott Morton

Which iconic interior designer(s) do you admire and feel are still relevant today? Furniture and/or product designer(s)? There are many iconic designers that I’ve admired over the years. If I had to name one that I relate to, it would have to be David Hicks. His use of bold colors, mixing of antique and modern furnishings, and including contemporary art in his designs really speaks to my personal style.

What design eras inspire you? The midcentury modern era has always been a source of inspiration for me. Designers such as Jansen, Jean Michel Franc, and Giacometti have all shaped my design aesthetics.

Which antiques or vintage designs do you think have held up over time and play well with today’s updated traditional interiors? Eero Saarinen and Milo Baughman are two furniture designers, amongst many from that era, whose works have truly stood the test of time. Their pieces continue to find relevance in today’s world. I’ve used Saarinen’s Tulip Table in a casual breakfast nook combined with traditional elements such as an upholstered banquet and Chinoiserie style chairs. A Milo Baughman Cantilever chair can also be upholstered in a bold graphic pattern to make this mid-century modern piece more current.

How do you keep your traditional interiors fresh and current? I like to mix design elements and eras to keep things fresh and interesting. A hand-painted Chinoiserie wall juxtaposed with a modern light fixture or a vintage rug gives a room just enough character and a fresh perspective on elements that would otherwise be considered dated.

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.) See above.

What is a classic color combination that still feels fresh? White and blue is timeless, but there are many ways to play with these colors so that they feel new and fresh—lacquered millwork, for example, can add a punch to any room.


Photo: John Bessler

Do you have a favorite go-to palette at the moment? I don’t necessarily have a favorite go-to palette, but I always incorporate jewel tones in my design, whether it be in the form of a feature wall or pops of colors through pillows and accessories.

How would you define today’s “new traditional” design? Today’s “new traditional” design is all about mixing the old with the new, tempering trends with the classics and combining them in a way that inspires and compels you to want to “be” in that space.

How would you describe your personal design style? I’d love to say that I have an eclectic sense of style but that probably rings true more for my own house. As a designer, I don’t like to box myself in to one particular style—my clients are very diverse, with different tastes, lifestyles, and budgets. My design specifically caters to their needs and vision. One thing you will find consistent throughout my work is that I design rooms to feel and look collected but not hoarded, evolved yet not contrived. Most importantly, I hope that each space I design evokes a sense of happiness.