Mixing it Up for an Eclectic Feel

Phoenix Home and Garden Feb 2019 cover

Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine, February 2019

Combining design styles can create an eclectic and elegant look in your home.

By Ben Ikenson

A good rule of thumb in interior design is to choose a favorite style that guides you in making consistent, cohesive choices of individual decorating elements.

If you’re drawn to two disparate styles, such as traditional and contemporary or Southwest and midcentury, however, this approach simply doesn’t apply. But don’t despair—with the help of professional interior designers, you can enlist well-honed strategies to create the perfect mix-and-match look.

“You have to be careful not to end up with a mishmash, and there is a fine line between eclectic and hodgepodge,” explains interior designer and Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner Susan Hersker.

“Eclectic is a successful blending of designs, lines, materials and other considerations with a great deal of thought given to the process.” The designer’s rooms frequently include furnishings from different continents, periods and cultures, but commonalities in texture, color and form provide the necessary visual synergies.

Introducing a single, unique item to an existing interior can also take a special touch. Hersker relays an anecdote about a client whose home and furnishings were contemporary.

When the woman inherited a precious heirloom cabinet from her mother—a traditional-style item that was out of sync aesthetically with her sleek interiors—Hersker embraced the piece’s ornateness. Instead of banishing the casegood to a back hallway, she created a custom space for it in the homeowner’s office.

Now set between modern-style built-in cabinets, “it looks like it belongs exactly where it is, as if it was meant to be there all along.”

 

Dining Room by Karen Rapp Interiors - Phoenix Arizona
A contemporary Moroccan tribal rug anchors this dining room by interior designer Karen Rapp. The serene space seamlessly integrates a traditional table with contemporary chairs, a 400-year-old oil painting above the fireplace and an antique French side table.

Interior designer Karen Rapp, also a Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner, shares her primary trade secret for orchestrating cohesion while combining contrasting styles: Focus on scale, proportion and style sensibilities.

For example, she pairs a No. 14 bistro chair designed by Michael Thonet in 1857 with an Eero Saarinen Tulip table created by its namesake Finnish designer in 1957. “The scale and proportions of the chair and the table are the same, so that’s complementary.

Both pieces have curved design elements, and while they’re from different centuries, they have a similar timeless grace and elegance,” says Rapp.

Interior designers often deliberately choose seemingly discordant elements to enhance the personality of a space.

“Mixing styles can add charm as well as change the entire look of a room,” says interior designer Michelle Pierce. To create a hierarchy of styles and keep the ensemble balanced, she follows a 75/25 rule.

She notes, “If 75 percent of your existing furnishings and accessories are one style, say, traditional, you can add in 25 percent of another, such as midcentury, and your space will have a creative vibe but still be cohesive.”

Karen Rapp Interiors eclectic living room
To enhance the large scale of this sitting room dressed with mostly traditional furnishings, Rapp incorporated large pieces of contemporary artwork from the homeowner’s collection. The size of the painting above the sofa table is proportionate to the size of the antique Chinese foo dog collection.

LUXE Arizona – Feat. Karen Rapp Quote

LUXE MAGAZINE - ARIZONA - JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

LUXE Arizona Magazine

January/February 2017

Luxe Arizona featured its Design 2017 list of interior designers, architects and inspiration in its first publication of 2017.

Editors asked Karen Rapp, ASID, for her philosophy on kitchen design. Her answer is found on page 265:

“The kitchen is the heart of the home, so when it comes to design, I like to select neutral, timeless materials for their warmth, form and function.”

LUXE Arizona - Feat. Karen Rapp Quote | Karen Rapp Interiors

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Spanish Colonial Style

Spanish Colonial Style home - PHX Cover Jan 2002

phx-mag-cover-jan-2002Spanish Colonial Style

Phoenix Home & Garden, January 2002

 

This house is built in the Paradise Valley Farms area, a rural enclave of two-acre lots in the heart of Scottsdale.

This home was the first one to be rebuilt and the intimate scale of the home addressed the context of 1960 ranch style homes originally found in this neighborhood.

The house has a comfortable, historically correct scale to it and is articulated with restrained detail to evoke the best of what Spanish Colonial design is all about.

Dubbed the house of a hundred arches the arcades that protect the home from the harsh phoenix sun were inspired from the Royal Palms Hotel that the owner loves so much.

Read the full article here.

 

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Showhouse Entry Court

PHG Nov 1989 Cover Designers Showhouse

PHG Nov 1989 Cover Designers Showhouse - entry courtDesigners Showhouse Entry Court

Phoenix Home & Garden, November 1989

 

Pasenla Bien

After crossing a stone bridge spanning a deep arroyo, guests to the home are drawn to the shaded archway entry court, a cool contrast to the surrounding desert.

Setting the mood for a peaceful retreat are antique “santos” offering welcome and, perhaps, benediction.

A tall cacti echoes the ceiling height and adds a sense of drama, while the antique wood bench and table and rebar chair repeat the materials in the massive entry doors, while still offering an intimate seating area.

The French fabric, through its pattern and colors, complements the desert landscape and Moroccan style of the home.

Designers pictured: Jeninifer Beresfor, Casa el Encanto, and Karen Rapp, Karen Rapp Interiors.

 

To view the Entry Court article, please click here.

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The Drama of Granite

PHG 1986 Cover - Drama of Granite feat Karen Rapp

PHG 1986 Cover - Drama of Granite feat Karen RappThe Drama of Granite

Phoenix Home & Garden, August 1986

 

Interior Designers Don Brady and Karen Rapp were featured in the “Best of the West” Kitchens 1986 article called “The Drama of Granite.”

 

Article by Nora Burba; Photography by Larry Pacilio

 

To view the article, please click here.

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Rustic Master Suite

Phoenix Home and Garden Cover Sept 1985

Phoenix Home and Garden Cover Sept 1985 - Rustic Master Suite Rustic Master Suite

Phoenix Home & Garden, September 1985

 

“The Natural”

Crisp white linens, rough-hewn textures and cool tile make this rustic master suite a refreshing retreat.

Using a pine pole bed as a centerpiece, designers Karen Rapp and Don Brady of Don Brady Associates created a rustic look for this bedroom.

 

By Nora Burba, Photography by Mark Boisclair

Resources: Don Brady, Karen Rapp

 

To view the Rustic Master Suite article, please click here.

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