The best of both worlds: modern interior design for period features

Impressive period features are an undeniable luxury in the home, insinuating an effortless class. Convert this class into timeless style with interior design that enhances the period features’ elegance, bringing their brilliance into the twenty-first century.


One way to do this is with a simple lick of paint: bring your parquet floors or picture-frame mouldings up to date by painting them a brilliant white or shocking black. Alternatively, introduce modern furniture that harmonizes stylistically with the traditional features, while also introducing contemporary accents. Do this with contrasting colors, patterns, and materials, such as metal in an environment dominated by dark wood.

Masterclass: the architects’ own home

Amongst the hubbub of busy Brooklyn, Ed and Barbara Parker found their perfect home: a beautiful apartment in a nineteenth century building featuring whole walls of windows and original architectural features dating back over a hundred years.

USM Haller media unit with storage in contemporary pure white home

As architects themselves, the couple knew class when they saw it: intact picture-frame mouldings, high ceilings, beautiful wooden flooring and an abundance of natural light from the stunning windows. Even better, they knew how to maximize those features, while minimizing less positive factors such as the apartment’s long thin layout.

modern interior design in a period home featuring pure white furniture

To make the most of the gift of natural light, and to maximize space in smaller rooms, they opted for a monochrome theme, with pure white walls, floors, and ceilings. The bright white also serves to emphasize the rooms’ architectural qualities, providing no distraction to their subtle charm. As for furniture, there was only one option: minimalist, modern USM Haller pieces that contrasted with the environment’s more traditional bones whilst also bringing their own iconic style. The result? Furniture that elegantly complements the space, their steel and chrome finishes playing counterpoint to the open wooden walls and flooring.

white USM Haller vinyl storage in modern home

The benefits of the pieces are not purely stylistic; they also provide a great deal of hyper-practical storage in the minimalist space. One piece, taking pride of place against an otherwise featureless white wall, is the vinyl media unit, housing the couple’s extensive vinyl collection, turntable, and sound system – it also has lockable fold-down storage for drinks, glassware, and crockery making it perfect for entertaining friends. Another piece is perfectly proportioned for the family television, and provides ample room for a collection of much loved coffee-table books.

family with contemporary white living room furniture

The effect is a clean and open style that, Barbara says, “a lot of people associate... with a country home” – quite a sanctuary indeed. Her husband agrees: “it’s a mini vacation every time I come home”.


You can design the perfect furniture for your own home – whatever its and attractions and limitations – using the USM Haller system. Try out our interactive online configurator to design custom pieces, or get in touch to work with one of our experts in furniture design. If you’d prefer, you can buy ready-made pieces from our online shop.