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2018 New Trad Sean Anderson

Get to know our New Trad Class of 2018

Produced by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer

Sean Anderson


Photo: Sélavie Photography

Which “traditional” design rule(s) do you swear by? Generally speaking, I abide by the “Rule of 3.” If something is too symmetrical, I have to find something to offset the balance.

Which design rule(s) do you break? When it comes to scale, I tend to go with what feels right rather than “by the book.” If something organically finds its home in a certain space, I don’t question it.

Do you have favorite “traditional” design elements? I like to incorporate a fresh, live element into my designs. Plants and florals help provide a hospitable moment.

Which iconic interior designer(s) do you admire and feel are still relevant today? Furniture and/or product designer(s)? I derive inspiration from a couple storied designers. Billy Baldwin’s work always spoke to me as masculine, well-traveled, and balanced. His trademark style was collecting a mixture of objects that varied in age and origin; yet together, they told a cohesive story. Whenever I’m seeking inspiration for a fabricated piece of furniture or decorative art for a project, I generally start by thumbing through Jean-Michel Frank’s work. His eye for combining uncommon materials in creative applications is iconic.

What design eras inspire you? I’m not necessarily driven by eras in design; but rather, by eras in history. I take a lot of inspiration from the American Reconstruction and Great Depression. In those times your possessions were heirlooms, regardless of their condition, and they were treasured for generations. This resonates with me, as I try to incorporate heirloom or repurposed items in practically all of my designs.

Which antiques or vintage designs do you think have held up over time and play well with today’s updated traditional interiors? Antique wood of all varieties continues to blend well in today’s design era. You’ll be hard pressed to find a room that can’t accommodate a beautiful, antique burl wood piece. I’m also a huge fan of using antique rugs in spaces.


Photo: Alyssa Rosenheck

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.) Some of the best opportunities for blending modern and traditional elements can be found in lighting a space. Not just with the light fixtures themselves, but with how light is employed in a room. Soft corner uplights, when incorporated with a commanding ceiling fixture, give a theatrical element. Another go-to is combining old wood with polished metal. The contrast of the two together always looks regal and storied.

What is a classic color combination that still feels fresh. Hands down, black and white! It’s the only color combination that truly possesses endless possibilities.

Do you have a favorite go-to palette at the moment? Right now I’m very attracted to juxtaposed earth tones—rich greens, browns, and grays paired with lighter neutral shades and a variety of elemental materials, such as natural fibers, metal, stone and wood.


Photo: Alyssa Rosenheck

How would you define today’s “new traditional” design? I think we’ve found ourselves circling back on tried-and-true combinations of colors and materials; focusing on a “less is more” approach to furnishing our homes with objects of greater personal importance and quality, while cutting back on unnecessary excess.

How would you describe your personal design style? A few common characteristics can be found in all my work: a marriage of old and new, subtle nods to masculinity, and a layered menagerie of the uncommon. Each job is a new horizon for me and I try my best to approach each opportunity with a fresh set of eyes while incorporating those elements.