We’re back with another edition of “Get the Look” with designer Allison Crawford! Allison, whose eponymous design firm is based in Texas, knows how to strike a balance: for this designer (and owner of HOTELette), eclectic meets sophisticated, comfort meets luxury, and function meets personality. 

In this series, Allison will show us her tricks of the trade, spilling insider secrets on how to get the most sought-after interiors. This time, she breaks down a style that’s the epitome of cool: Modern Vintage. Read on to catch her tips, from what paint colors work best to the finishing details that will make the space. 

White on White on White
If you want the modern look, you have to have a lot of white. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- my favorite white is BM Super White. It’s fabulous on cabinetry, trim, walls- everywhere! In my opinion, art looks best against bright white and most art galleries agree, and let’s be honest- we all want a Rothko or Kline up on the wall (#artgoals.)  BM Decorator’s White is very popular in the art world, but if you’re leaning towards a vintage and less modern feel, go with a soft white. My top soft whites are Pratt and Lambert Silver Linings and BM Swiss Coffee. Don’t forget to paint the ceiling the same color in a flat finish. Now that we’re talking about sheens, I love flat paint. If you have kids and need more durable walls, consider buying quality paint in an eggshell finish. If you use any of these white paints, you won’t go wrong!

Greenery is the New Floral
As my gal pal Alyssa Rosenheck of The New Southern says, “Greenery is the new floral.” When you have a modern or minimal space, add greenery for a splash of color.  Right now, my house is full of ivy and cacti. Let’s be honest, the ivy is slowly dying but my cactus has thrived over the years. I love buying plants over flowers because they are easier on the wallet and last longer. Recently, my fiance and I have been growing herbs on our patio and they’ve even survived the hot Texas summer. Terracotta pots never go out of style and help regulate water. Super easy!  

Pops of Color
The key to an evolving interior design style is to start with a neutral palate- hence my obsession with white paint. I love vintage. I mean I really LOVE vintage, but old couches are tricky. Furniture technology has changed so much over the past few decades that contemporary couches are more comfortable than their older siblings. So if you go for a vintage sofa, be ready to give up a little comfort, or better yet, put one as an accent in an unexpected room. Stick to contemporary sofas for your Netflix and chill. When it comes to creating a vintage modern look, the magic is in the accessories- like side tables, bar carts, art, sculptures, and chairs. Hit up your local antique mall with an eye for chrome, brass, teak, and Murano glass.

Everything in Odd Numbers
Accessories are always grouped in odd numbers. Books, color, candles- everything should be an odd number. That’s the trick to decorating a coffee table! Have stacks of books in odd numbers – preferably 3 stacked books. Then, add a tray for trinkets, chapstick, remote controls, whatever! I always have a candle on my coffee table because I’m obsessed. Right now, my top candle is Maison Louis Marie’s No. 04 Bois de Baliencout. To complete the look, add a brass object like a small vase or figurine.

Add Pattern through Tile or Wallpaper
This is the place to go ultra contemporary- choose a bold pattern or color, and stay away from looks that were popular in the 1950s or 60s. For wallpaper, I love all of Kelly Wearstler’s prints- and they keep vintage pieces looking super fresh. For tile, my go-to is the line from ATX locals Stone Textiles. I have the “Tangram” in the HOTELette Austin kitchen, and the “Square Layers” on the patio. The crisp black and white keeps these tiles easy to pair with brighter accents, but the unique designs leave a lasting impression.

Buy Unique Items while Traveling
Most of my coolest pieces are from my travels. Aside from their uniqueness, these objects also remind me of fond memories. I tend to buy a lot of textiles on my trips- they are easy to transport and can be turned into pillows, throws, wall hangings and more. I also like to meet local artists and buy art when I can arrange for shipment. Usually these ultra contemporary artworks mix nicely with my vintage gems back home.

Art doesn’t have to be expensive. When my clients have kids, showcasing their art is a fun and free way to add color. A floating frame with a white or maple finish can elevate a fun Saturday kiddo activity into a meaningful piece of art. On my travel adventures, I try to buy one thing that reminds me of my experience and the local culture, which also adds depth and diversity to a home’s decor.

If you don’t want to spend a lot on framing try using colored painters tape or gold file clips, this add a youthful tone to the space, and you can easily rotate out art.

Start the slideshow to see these tips in action! And don’t miss Part One: Modern Farmhouse.