Robert Zebrowski - Dec. 2013

Designer Display

Photo of Robert Zebrowski - Dec. 2013 accessory display at Judy Frankel Antiques

Mixing Modern and Rustic

As a designer specializing in kitchens, Robert Zebrowski is constantly finding ways to incorporate both modern and traditional elements for his clients.  The heart of many homes, the kitchen is a place where contemporary design and technology intersect, allowing families to create updated versions of traditional meals and customs. Given this professional experience, it’s no surprise that Robert has created a display with a bold mix of modern and rustic accessories and furniture.

The seating area is comprised of a black mid century modern leather sofa and pair of chrome and leather chairs. The clean simple lines of the modern furniture provide a perfect counterpoint for the rustic textured cocktail table. Created with an antique wooden toboggan base and leather covered trunks, the large improvised table adds warmth and texture to the space. Because the wall is dominated by a pair of large Chinese lacquered cabinets, Robert selects bold accessories that won’t get lost or overwhelmed in the mix. A patterned kilim rug in earthy red and rust tones complements the cabinets and anchors the space with a mix of refined but rustic elements. A pair of tall, polished nickel floor vases flank the cabinets and echo the metallic elements of the pair of mid century chrome and white globe chandeliers. Large Asian baskets and rustic pottery add sculptural and textural interest.

Here are some tips for successfully mixing rustic and modern elements:

  1. When mixing woods or finishes, keep in mind that it’s easier to mix less formal wood finishes.  Unfinished, reclaimed or bleached wood, pine, antique oak and painted wood provides a natural and pleasing counterpoint to the sleek lines and metals of modern furniture.  Furniture with more formal finishes such as cherry or mahogany, are trickier to mix in. 
  2. Start by mixing pieces of different styles that have simple lines and shapes.  Creating a cohesive, eclectic interior with pieces of contrasting textures, finishes, and style can be achieved by combining furniture and accessories with simple lines and shapes. The bold, sculptural lines mix easily together. 
  3. Use earthy elements and colors to soften and add color to sleek, modern or rustic elements. Robert uses color, weathered wood, woven baskets, dried branches, textured ceramics and a faux fur throw to warm up the chrome, black leather and glass of the modern pieces.