Modernizing Traditional Family Pieces

It is common in the South for families to pass pieces down for generations.  I am blessed to have something in almost every room of my home that belonged to a family member at some point in time.  However, the challenge comes when mixing those pieces with today's more modern, laidback lifestyle.  Even the current traditional style is much more casual than our grandparents traditional tastes.  It can be especially challenging when the piece you've inherited is completely opposite your own design choices, or is a treasured family heirloom that cannot be altered in any way (ie. paint) ;)

However, in my opinion, the best rooms are a balance of new and old.  Older pieces have a patina and character that cannot be replicated, and often have a quality not found in today's furnishings. They add a sense of warmth to a room.  The new keeps those older pieces from looking shabby, outdated, or dowdy.  The design board below shows an example of this mix:

Two commonly inherited items are rugs and buffets.  To balance out the traditional heaviness of these two pieces, I added in fun lighting (love that Sputnik style chandelier!), abstract art, and upholstered seating.  I pulled the blues and golds from the rug, and used them in the art and lighting so that even though the pieces are very different stylistically, they still share a commonality. 
To further ensure the space would read as modernized traditional, I used Farrow + Ball's Wevet (white) on the walls, and Worsted (gray) on the trim.  By using color on the trim, instead of traditional white, the design continues to contrast the seriousness the older pieces bring to the space.
Hope this helps some of you who may be struggling with mixing those family pieces in with your own style.  On a sidenote, Farrow + Ball released nine new colours this year, and they, along with Paige Minear at The Pink Clutch,  are generously giving away a gallon to the reader who creates their favorite mood board.  Head over to Paige's blog to find out how to enter.  Good luck!