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2018 New Trad Sarah Bartholomew

Get to know our New Trad Class of 2018

Produced by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer

Sarah Bartholomew


Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo

Which “traditional” design rule(s) do you swear by? Scale and balance. It will never not be important to have properly scaled furniture and a balanced room.

Which design rule(s) do you break? I don’t follow any rules but I like to mix black with navy and ivory with white.

Do you have favorite “traditional” design elements? (A classic furniture design, pattern, style etc.?) Authentic classical architecture. There is nothing more beautiful than a symmetrical, clean-lined façade.

Which iconic interior designer(s) do you admire and feel are still relevant today? Furniture and/or product designer(s)? Too many to count! Pauline de Rothschild, Deeda Blair, Givenchy, Bunny Mellon, Marella Agnelli, Thomas Jefferson, Jean Michel Frank, Elsie de Wolfe, Gio Ponti, François Catroux, Charlotte Perriand, Michael Thonet, and on and on the list goes! 

What design eras inspire you? 17th Century France, Regency Era, Vienna Secessionist Movement, Anglo-Indian Aesthetic, Early Modern Movement.

Which antiques or vintage designs do you think have held up over time and play well with today’s updated traditional interiors? Anything Louis XVI: the clean, geometric forms, and crisp angles offer a sculptural accent to a space. Charlotte Perriand’s Wood pieces, which are modern and simple, yet still warm and comfortable. And, Anglo Indian pieces marrying Western silhouettes with Indian craftsmanship and detail. The marriage of those two cultures is unique and feels fresh.

How do you keep your traditional interiors fresh and current? I am constantly studying interiors from the past and translate those silhouettes and details into modern settings and modern forms. I find inspiration in design elements from decades and centuries ago and reinterpret them for today.

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.) I love to juxtapose modern and traditional, like a clean-lined side table with classic upholstery, contemporary art in a traditional room or a modern chair pulled up to a rustic antique dining table.

What is a classic color combination that still feels fresh? Blue and green. Just look outside, it’s the colors you see most around you.


Photo: David Hillegas Photography 

Do you have a favorite go-to palette at the moment? Right now I’m having a moment with saffron yellow.

How would you define today’s “new traditional” design? Classic without all the rules. It’s about mixing individual comfort with timeless style and embracing modern elements with traditional ones.

How would you describe your personal design style? A fresh take on classic — layered, edited, understated, collected and comfortable.