Updated traditional styling means a fresh and clean look


Decorating a home can mean many things: changing your style, updating an art collection, or trying out new colors and patterns. Whatever you do, Houston interior designer Janus Lazaris invites you to think about form and function – and sustainability.

Lazaris, from Janus Design Group, was a speaker at a recent Access Design event co-hosted by the Houston Design District and the Houston Chronicle. His talk was on “From traditional to transitional: mixing styles to create a unique home”.

While Houston’s architectural and design style has been predominantly traditional, changes to contemporary and modern styles – or a hybrid called “transitional” – are underway.

Here’s his take on how to do it.

Traditional versus transitional

Design style is sometimes hard to define, but you know it when you see it. For example, go to any house on the annual River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail and it will be traditional. You can expect lavish furniture, wallpaper, light fixtures, and artwork, but they can also be updated in a more contemporary or traditional style.

One of Lazaris’ clients preferred the traditional style, which included antiques, a herringbone pattern in the wood flooring, hand-crafted Gracie wallpaper, and hand-painted gold ceilings.

If you’re done with the furniture and your friends and family don’t want it, consider consigning it or donating it to local nonprofits. The options include:

Houston Furniture Bank: 8220 Mosley and 295 Sawdust; 713-842-9771; houstonfurniturebank.org

Habitat for Humanity ReStore: 6161 S. Loop East; 713-643-1100; houstonhabitatrestore.com

Magpies and peacocks: (Donate textiles) 908 Live Oak; 832-299-5609; magpiesandpeacocks.org

Circle of the blue bird: 615 W. Alabama; 713-528-0470; thebluebirdcircle.com

The Guild Shop: 2009 Dunlavy; 281-801-8055; theguildshop.org

The color scheme, finishes and details of the furniture and accessories all matter. Less ornamentation means you’re moving towards a transitional style. Think of it as a fresher, cleaner version of the traditional.


When designers talk about layers, they are often referring to the different elements of a room: rugs, furniture, accessories, lighting and art. Lazaris also points out that you can layer textures and styles to make a room more interesting.

When rooms are more contemporary or modern and minimalist, they can feel cold or austere. Layer rugs or add more textured fabrics, like silk, wool or velor, or use elements with rattan or rattan panels, or even seagrass shades. These layers of visual interest prevent your room to feel too “a note”.

To mix together

Maybe your living room and dining room are more traditional. This doesn’t mean that every room in the house should reflect this style. You can be more contemporary in a home office, nostalgic in a guest bedroom, or whimsical in a craft room.

One of Lazaris’ clients had very traditional main living spaces – and saved the fun stuff for a craft room where they like to be creative. For her, Lazaris designed a mural of giant, multi-colored flowers that swirled around the room.

The same goes for art. Change it up by putting a simple modern frame over a traditional landscape or an embellished gold frame over an abstract painting, Lazaris said.

Whatever you do, make sure you have original artwork in your home. If you’re going to spend $ 500 on a production piece of art, use that money to have a local artist paint something just for you, she said.

Correct Gaps

Lazaris noted that many past and new customers want to refresh their homes during the pandemic. They are more at home and can see the flaws in their home. Or maybe they just realize they need their home for new things: they need a home office, a place for home schooling, a functioning gym, and , perhaps, a cocktail bar where they can relax at the end of the day.

A client needed a home office and was using a table her grandfather brought when he immigrated to the United States. “I can’t think of a better way to spend your day than to work at this table,” Lazaris said.

Keep what you like

Think of your home as a trip to the beach, Lazaris said. Are you wearing the swimsuit that makes you feel cute or the one that makes you feel fat? The answer is easy.

Keep the things you love and the things that make you feel good. Things that don’t make you feel good? Get rid of them and don’t look back.

So if you want to keep your grandmother’s table or a piece of art you bought on your travels but don’t know how to operate it, seek professional help.

Pay attention to the environment

For all the new pieces that Lazaris helps customers buy, some furniture gets thrown away. Instead of sending items to a landfill, consider donating them to charity or sending them to a consignment store.

“Some of your furniture will stay with you for a very long time. If it has a good structure, you can pad it or use it in another room, ”Lazaris said. “I’m big on sustainability. If your kids don’t want your dresser, you can recycle it. Paint it with shiny paint and put new material on it.



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