Transitional Style Dining Room Transitional Style Dining Room
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The big, old-fashioned homes that line the East Side may look traditional from the street. But step inside and you may be surprised to find many inhabiting a transitional feel that pays homage to its classic architecture while infusing the space with modern elements. 

When Dawn Cook, owner of Dawn Cook Designs in Shaker Heights, was faced with a redesign of a large family home in Shaker Heights, she paid attention to how the residents — a doctor, educator and two active teenagers — used the space. 

Focusing on the expansive kitchen, she learned that the teens frequently brought friends home for lunch in the middle of the school day, so the area had to fit all of them — and couldn’t feel stuffy or uptight.

“People want much cleaner lines now — less fussy, more relaxed,” she says.

Cook opted for a transitional style, allowing for a fully functional, livable home that still exudes classic elegance.

A knockout in the middle of the kitchen, the spiral staircase was a natural focal point. To complement its curves, Cook brought in similarly shaped features, including helix-like artwork from Cleveland’s Bonfoey Gallery and a 1940s-inspired spherical glass chandelier with an industrial vibe from Restoration Hardware.

“It’s a showstopper,” she says. “When you walk in and see the circle thing going on, it feels comfortable to the eye.” 

To create an atmosphere suited for casual, everyday gatherings, Cook put a curved island in the center of the room that cradles a round table, perfect for either sitting or serving. A nearby dining room boasts a more formal setting for large-scale entertaining. 

The room’s piece de resistance is a 48-inch, white sink — a chic, utilitarian workstation that goes far beyond standard sink functionality. 

“You can prepare a whole meal not even moving away from this sink,” says Cook. 

Indeed, it’s become a hub for the family, not just for washing dishes but for draining pasta, serving cheese, icing champagne and plating meals — all in one place.

Other hints of functional transitional design are peppered throughout the kitchen, even if you can’t see them — which is the point. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets hide a pantry, while tall doors conceal a sink for the organic garden in the yard. Because the home doesn’t have a mudroom, Cook hid spaces for hanging coats and storing shoes and tennis rackets.

“This family is the epitome of a transitional design,” Cook says. “The wife said, ‘I want everything to be white, bright, elegant, sophisticated.’ But they also wanted it to be interesting and a little bit different.” 

Spherical Glass Chandelier
Shop The Look
Mimicking the curves of the kitchen’s spiral staircase, Restoration Hardware’s 1940s-inspired spherical glass chandelier ($999) is a rare purchase for Cook. She typically prefers to buy independently made goods. But with its industrial feel, it fit perfectly into the space. While she opted for the polished nickel option, it’s also available in a black-and-brass combo.

Style Defined
A trendy term that represents the marriage of traditional and modern elements, transitional style results in elegant spaces that are still functional and livable. Think sophisticated crown molding paired with sleek furniture. While serene, muted palettes ground this look, warm wood tones and plenty of interesting textures keep things interesting.

For more on this style: Design Guide: 5 Tips For Injecting Personal Style Into Your Interior

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