With interiors, mix and maybe match

Special to The TribuneSeptember 5, 2012 

  • TIPS FROM SAN LUIS TRADITIONS

    GO FOR CONTRAST: Today’s eclectic designs are all about high impact, such as combining a traditional piece with something very modern or industrial. Strong contrast is edgy and looks well thought out, whereas combining similar but mismatched pieces can look like a hodgepodge.

    SPRUCE UP YOUR SHADES: People are gravitating toward simpler window treatments that don’t impede views, yet offer privacy and light control. Roll-up shades do the trick but can be boring. Consider adding a layer of interest with shades that have a little color, some interesting texture or a subtle pattern.

    LOOKS FOR LEATHER: Unprotected leather sofas and chairs will show scratches and stretch over time, giving even cleanlined pieces a rustic look. If you want a very streamlined, contemporary piece, opt for protected leather.

Today’s eclectic interiors are liberating — but deceptively tricky to get right, according to Jason Ortiz of San Luis Traditions.

“In the 1980s, everything matched and came in a set,” he said. “Now you can mix styles and old with new, but you can definitely make a mistake just throwing things in randomly.”

To satisfy customers’ yearning for a range of looks, San Luis Traditions offers more customizable lines. To help them navigate those overwhelming options, there are interior design services. Ortiz and Allegra Marquardt often work in tandem to find the right mix of pieces for a client.

“I’m more modern and she’s more traditional, so together we have a good span,” Ortiz noted.

San Luis Traditions is a gallery dealer for American Leather, which means that in exchange for showcasing select pieces, they get special pricing from the manufacturer. American Leather offers custom upholstered seating (not just leather) in a range of styles.

One of American Leather signature pieces is the Comfort Sleeper pull-out sofa bed that has recently undergone improvements. It sports a thicker foam mattress, a spring-loaded mechanism for easier opening and more ergonomic handles. More design choices include the option to buy and mail in your own upholstery fabric. You can even get it in a sectional.

“Sofa beds are so versatile, so you’re not just stuck with one function for a room,” Ortiz said. “Because these are so comfortable, they’re both a pleasure to sit on or sleep on.”

San Luis Traditions has added to its home accents, including a line of hand woven Indian rugs that are almost exclusively 100 percent wool. It has expanded its selection of designer pillows. There is a line by venerable designer Christian Lacroix, as well as high-end embroidered pillows by Italian manufacturer Sferra.

“Throw pillows are an easy finishing touch to a room,” Ortiz noted. “You can mix them, then change them out when you get tired of that look.”

Also expanded is their selection of wallpaper, which, according to Ortiz, is making a comeback — but with a difference.

“It’s now a more rubberized material, so it’s more compatible with moisture and easier to clean,” he said.

Fussy floral wallpapers have been eclipsed by contemporary looks such as textural grasscloth, or three-dimensional abstract patterns. And if committing to one wallcovering makes you nervous, there are peel-off wallpapers that can be whisked away in a flash.

The trend toward simplicity extends to San Luis Traditions’ custom window treatments. Popular these days are Hunter Douglas’ sleek Silhouettes, a type of fully retractable roller shade.

“Ten to 20 years ago, people were covering up their windows with heavy fabrics,” Ortiz said. “Now people are more adamant about not blocking their windows at all.”

San Luis Traditions, which opened in 1989, was recently named one of the Top 50 Retail Stars of 2012 by Home Accents Today. It offers one-hour design consultations free of charge. Additional hours are $60.

San Luis Traditions is at 748 Marsh St. in San Luis Obispo. 805-541-8500.

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