The Original Mixmaster

A Conversation with Eric Cohler

Discover how Eric Cohler has perfected the art of mixing styles.

Read What Eric Cohler Has to Say:

From his studio in New York City, the principal of Eric Cohler Design discusses his legacy as Traditional Home’s original Mixmaster and one of his favorite projects: a Kips Bay Decorator Show House set in the dining room.

The ability to fuse classic and contemporary elements is core to the Traditional Home moniker of “Mixmaster.”

“‘Mixmaster’ was conferred upon me by the editors at Traditional Home magazine when I first started out,” says the interior designer. He cites architectural training and a study of historical preservation as two ways he honed one of his key design skills: combining composition and luxurious comfort.

“I was able to juxtapose forms and shapes, and do it in such a way that there was a balance, even though they were imbalanced.”

Mixing Distinct Architectural Details with Bold Color

Cohler discusses how he combined paint colors, sheen and creative techniques in a Kips Bay Decorator Show House dining room he worked on—one of his all-time favorites.

“I had the walls finished in Venetian plaster in black, with a little bit of a white thrown in. I believe it was Simply White, which really moved and melded into it. Then we buffed it to a high sheen with a buffer pad on a drill. It looked like it was wax, with this incredible depth and had iridescence to it that reflected whatever I put in the center of the room.”

The power of reflection was an important part of the Kips Bay dining room space. “I'm not a fan of shiny things, especially not shiny fabrics, but this room was very dark and it tended to reflect what I put in the center of the room, which were rice paper panels that were hanging from aircraft cable. So you had these wonderful juxtapositions of color and depth and lucidity and translucence playing off each other.”

The final touch? A Baltic antique chandelier from the 1830s that still used real candles. “When they were lit,” Cohler recalls fondly, “The room just became magical. It was like an alchemist’s dream.”

Today, Cohler jokes that while the term “Mixmaster” may be a bit over-used, “mixologist” may be a fun new term up for consideration within the interior design space.

A white wood mantel features five decorative plates of varying sizes in neutral tones horizontally placed against a blue wall; a small antique painting hangs above.

Historical Collection

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Eric Cohler

Eric Cohler Design

"Color adds depth to a room."

A sun-dappled home exterior painted in a creamy beige with deep sage green-painted doors and trim with an alfresco seating area.

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