If you find yourself falling in love with elements of modern and traditional design styles, there’s no need to fret—or feel like you have to commit to one or the other. These two looks, while characteristically very different, come together in what is defined as the transitional style. And on this week’s episode of Bravo's Best Room Wins, we watched two designers— and —tackle transitional in homes that were in desperate need of change. “Transitional is very playful, very tongue-in-cheek,” says host and judge Genevieve Gorder.

Watch a clip of the winner reveal:

This week’s guest judge was industry pacemaker and master of all things transitional: . Adler—a potter, furniture designer, and “interior decorating mega-force”—runs his iconic namesake brand and crafts spaces equally as impressive. Adler’s ability to fuse vintage and modern styles is not only a testament to his keen eye for design, it’s what makes him a household name. In Adler’s world, antique trouvées and futuristic statement pieces exist in harmony. Alex Alonso, the winner of this week’s episode, attributes his love of transitional style to his immigrant upbringing. “As a Cuban immigrant, I always grew up with a mix of hand-me-downs and newer things,” Alonso says. “Because of that, my style has always been about embracing the past while creating my own traditions and legacy with things that I acquire.”

We got the chance to speak with Alonso, founder and principal of , on his approach to design, and experience competing on Bravo's Best Room Wins.

best room wins episode four
Designer Alex Alonso is the winner of Best Room Wins episode four.
Courtesy of Alex Alonso


Siweb: How would you describe your own design style, and how did that help you craft a transitional space?

ALEX ALONSO: My own design style is what I like to call ModVic (Modern Victorian)—layered, eclectic, a strong mix of antiques and modern pieces. I like to use darker colors and focus on well-curated pieces throughout. I like to tell a story with each room. Since my design style is so much about the mix and bringing in old and new together, it lent itself well to the transitional design challenge.

ED: What is your favorite part about transitional style?

AA: For me, the fun part about transitional style is the process of discovery. Finding vintage pieces that have a legacy and putting them in the same space as something that is modern, newer is always a fun task. It’s a puzzle I never get tired of! How you ultimately balance it all is what makes the design powerful.

ED: As an immigrant and someone who grew up with collected pieces and hand-me-downs, how did your upbringing help guide you and your approach to design?

AA: We kept everything! Not to the point of hoarding, but we tried to make everything work. So I developed an appreciation for vintage pieces, but was drawn to what was new and modern. I’ve always had to reconcile that balance. Throughout it all, I learned to “edit” rather than just “purge.” With the transitional style, it takes a lot of editing because you want to achieve a certain balance in the design to the point where it just “works."

ED: Biggest challenge?

AA: The biggest challenge was working with contractors you’re not familiar with. You're trusting them to deliver on your vision. It’s a big gamble. The homeowners are always particular; that’s the nature of the work. But I got lucky with Chris and Lindi. They were amazing collaborators in the process, barring a few ceiling fans…

ED: Biggest success?

AA: My biggest success was highlighting the rafters and celebrating the architecture of the space. I got lucky there! I believe my room won because of the way I was able to make the space feel layered and rich like the inspiration house. There were a lot of accessories that were very carefully chosen to fill in the spaces, without overcrowding.


Take a look below for the before & after shots of both contestants' rooms:


BEFORE


Alex Alonso (left) and Sybille Zimmerman (right)

best room wins episode four
Before photos of Alex (left) and Sybille’s (right) rooms.
Courtesy of Bravo Media


AFTER


Alex Alonso (left) and Sybille Zimmerman (right)

best room wins episode four
After photos of Alex (left) and Sybille’s (right) rooms.
Courtesy of Bravo Media


WINNER: Alex Alonso


best room wins episode four
Courtesy of Bravo Media

In the end, Alonso's room came out on top. His bold design decisions and ability to fuse a contemporary freshness with a vintage charm is what earned him the winning spot. "In particular for this style, I wanted to take bigger risks with the furniture and accessories pairings—to lean into them being a little funkier and less predictable," Alonso says. "I went with an Asian accessories moment atop the modern, marble dining table surrounded by leather folio side chairs and Chandigarh armchairs. For the living area, I opted for sexy, dark green velvet sofas that felt a little more Hollywood Regency and graphic black and white pillows that edge more mid-cent-mod."

According to Adler, who praised Alonso for his decision to paint the ceiling rafters black, "The biggest and boldest choices really paid off."

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