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Can Cozy + Modern Mix? Top Designers Weigh In

February 21, 2018

Can you make a clean, modern design feel as fabulous as it looks? We asked the experts, and now we're sharing all the juicy details.

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Photo: Eron Rauch. From: Caitlin Murray.

Personality + Soul

"A modern aesthetic and warmth don't need to conflict," says interior designer Caitlin Murray. "In fact, we approach each design decision with the client's comfort and personality in mind because, after all, the spaces that we inhabit day in and day out should be functional and satisfying. We believe in creating glamorous, modern interiors that are warm and comfortable." Caitlin shares exactly how she pulls this off: "We achieve this by layering textures, introducing organic shapes and colors, and incorporating soulful accessories and artwork. We often turn to medium-gray paint colors, grasscloth wallpaper, jute and wool rugs, velvets and linens to bring a dynamic warmth to a space."

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Photo: Colby Edwards. From: Joe Human.

Welcome to the Dark Side

"A lot of times, clients think [for] a space to be clean and modern, it can only [have] white walls and sharp edges," says interior designer Joe Human. "That is totally not the case." Joe explains one way to achieve a modern design that doesn’t feel stark: "Keep a cohesive color palette, and play with textures and scale within a single color palette. Utilize colors that work well together, such as deep blues and rich woods." Joe also encourages the use of strategic lighting. In this bedroom, he chose brass lamps outfitted with warm-toned light bulbs to keep the room from feeling cold.

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Photo: Sesha Smith, Convey Studios. From: Urbanology Designs.

Modern Rustic

Interior designer Ginger Curtis of Urbanolgy Designs says the cozy-modern combo is one she designs frequently. In fact, she says it’s becoming so popular that it’s now considered a design style all its own: modern rustic. "Rustic is not what it used to be. Gone are the days when rustic meant four-poster beds made from logs, antler chandeliers and dimly-lit rooms. The new modern-rustic looks mix clean lines with natural materials, rich in texture and ruggedly handsome. Think white walls and exposed beams and rafters, with either a cowhide or vintage Turkish rug beneath a newly-upholstered sofa in the best performance fabric. It’s a warm and clean look loaded with character and charm. The minimalist at heart will take this look and pare it back, while the maximalist will layer and indulge on quirky, one-of-a-kind pieces."

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Photo: Amy Bartlam. From: Jenn Feldman Designs .

A Piece of Cake

"In today's design world, we believe any mix of style, function and fabulous is possible!" says interior designer Jenn Feldman. "We're very protective of how the architectural elements of a space come together. The doors, windows, casings and walls should connect in a way that keeps the design of the space clean, linear and overall modern. I always say that the most timeless and clean elements of a space should be its bones. Then, by layering in textures, colors and patterns, we can evoke the more personal, intimate feeling we want to create for our clients and for the room we've designed."

Jenn says understanding the particular feeling her clients desire is crucial to her process. One client may define cozy a bit differently than the next. "We are always coming into the design process emotionally — how does our client want to feel? How do we create that feeling in the space for them? And how do we mix our vision and polish into the space at the same time? Many days I look at my job kind of as a baker in a big, gorgeous dessert shop, making these perfect JFD cakes! We mix in a lot of great, essential ingredients and come up with this flavored recipe. Then we layer in all these great icings and aesthetic details tailored to each "cake." It's exciting to have the creative opportunity to make a different mix all the time, all while keeping the JFD basic design principles of the space consistent and disciplined throughout the process."

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