Designing with Classic Modernism

Designers and architects are often asked about “what style” they subscribe to, or which architectural or interior design style their work typically falls within. At our San Antonio architecture and interior design studio, we approach every project individually, our answer tends to consistently be, “the style depends on the neighborhood and the homeowner.” However a theme that frequently emerges through our work is respect for classical design that simultaneously incorporates the flow, utility and comfort of our modern-day lifestyle. If we have to choose a lane to describe our work, then the answer we most often provide is Classic Modernism.

We know that many people love historic and traditional homes. So do we! Older homes have stories, texture, and draw home buyers to established neighborhoods with mature trees and beautiful distinctive architecture. As aesthetically attractive as these homes and neighborhoods can be, many of our clients contact us to help them traverse the challenges of adding modern functionality to these older homes that more comfortably fit the way we live today.

Today’s modern lifestyle requires more and larger closets, more visible, accessible connections and passages between rooms, as well as more casual spaces in which to relax. The challenges the architect and interior designer face are accommodating the functionality without compromising the beauty of a traditional feeling home. This blend of design, classic modernism, aims to contemporize a traditional home without destroying what makes it great.

In the process of adaptation, the thing people often fail to realize is that it is not always the best idea to take out walls. Keep in mind that especially with our modern day pace, today’s “open concept” home with all of its bells and whistles may rapidly be the vintage concept of the future.

It is counterintuitive perhaps, but we often advise that adding or retaining existing walls in a space can actually make a home feel larger. It most definitely can provide a home owner with more function when it comes to furniture.

In addition as many homeowners discover, struggling to find a way to furnish an open concept home can be challenging because there are no walls for sconce lighting or for a sofa to sit against. The very minimalism the style open concept home promotes can sometimes yield a space that feels austere and empty.

Granted, feeling perpetually connected with a clear line of sight may sound great, but often times it is frankly more civilized to have some separation and a proper amount of comfortable, upholstered seating. Walls, rooms and destinations within the home create a sense of comfort, safety and coziness that many of our clients value.

Another element of classic modernism in home decor is the stylish and skillful mix of antiques, vintage and contemporary/modern furniture which creates an authentically collected look in the home. It can then feel both new and old, be comfortable, functional and still have old-world style and a sense of traditional.

When considering classic modernism in architecture, we focus on creating well-proportioned spaces and simple forms. The simple use of materials often feature a juxtaposition of opaque and solid. While not “classical” which typically conjures Greek and Parthenon images, or Doric and ionic columns with goddess statues, classic modernism is about clean lines, simple use of three-dimensional forms, lower pitched or flat roofs, defined vertical planes.

The key to classic modernism is in defining the right mix in design for the home’s exterior, its fit within the neighborhood, and suitable interior design so the homeowner enjoys the space while it reflects them at their best.

In our Design Discovery events, we discuss the different styles of architecture, tips and insight from experienced, leading industry professionals and offer the opportunity to talk about ideas, challenges and show innovative approaches to solving challenges with professional design. Sign-up to receive an invitation to Design Discovery here, on our events page.

To learn more about classic modernism or our customized approach to finding the right design for your home, call us for an appointment.

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