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10 Best in Interior Design 2015 -- Part I

I've been blogging for almost four years now, and I realized I've never done a "10 Best" post.  This past year has been so fertile in new products, developments and innovations in interior design that it may be hard to limit the Best to ten.  But I'll try, maybe by combining some categories.  My list is in no particular order.  That would be too hard.  Do you agree with my top ten?  What would you add or take away?  Do tell!

1.  Statement Lighting

You can always tell when something is hot when it's being knocked off by mass producers.  Nothing could be more telling of this fact than new lighting by West Elm, a sister company of Pottery Barn.  Its Mobile Chandelier replicates the phenomenal designs of Lindsay Adelman and Apparatus Studio; and its Duo Walled Pendant resembles fixtures in Zia Priven's collection.

   

Left to right: West Elm Mobile Chandelier, Lindsey Adelman 5-Globe Bubble Chandelier, Apparatus Studio Highwire Chandelier

               

                           Left to right: West Elm Duo Walled Pendant, Zia Priven Muse Linear Chandelier

The point is that chandeliers of this style are 2015's best in lighting and are replacing other furnishings as the statement element in interior spaces.  An offshoot of yester year's Sputnik and atomic fixtures, they transcend mid-century style and raise the bar for lighting manufacturers.  I could easily design a room around these sculptural focal components. 

2.  Black Steel Doors

I knew I was onto something when I copied this shower door design onto one of my Pinterest boards. 

                        

I have no idea where I copied this picture from (and I apologize for not giving credit to whomever took it and designed the space), but I knew these doors had a quirky combination of the windows of urban lofts, Parisian flats and English conservatories.  Classic and cool all at the same time.  They're appearing in everything from entry to shower doors and provide a new vernacular for design.

        

                     Left to right: Jenny Wolf Interiors, Sherry Hart Designs (photo courtesy of Atlanta Homes)

3. Salon Walls

Salon walls have been around for centuries -- five to be exact -- dating back to the salons or exhibitions of student work initiated in Paris in the 1600s by King Louis XIV.  Salon walls enable artwork to be hung collectively and eclectically by grouping art of different media.  They also allow people with large blank walls, whose budgets don't allow for the installation of grand originals, to fill the space attractively and cheaply.

This past year saw the installation of the most magical salon wall display.  At the 2015 Kips Bay Decorators Show House, Philip Mitchell of Philip Mitchell Design, Inc. filled a grand ceremonial staircase in a Manhattan town house with two stories of extraordinary original art from his collection.

          

This picture hardly does this space justice.  Philip Mitchell's salon wall of 2015 defies other designers to decorate a stairwell any better.

4. White walls

Two of the nation's leading paint companies, Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore, selected whites as their 2016 Color of the Year.  For Sherwin Williams, it is Alabaster (SW 7008) and for Benjamin Moore, it is Simply White (OC-117).  My designer friends and I thought these choices were cop outs on the part of the paint companies after the fiasco of Pantone choosing Marsala for its 2015 Color of the Year.  But when I look at my Instagram feed, I see how many rooms are designed with white walls.  White is clean and neutral for a pared down approach.  Alternatively, white is the perfect backdrop for a colorful bohemian-inspired decor.  Here are some of my favorite white-walled rooms:

              

Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room designed this room for the 2015 Junior League of High Point Designer Showhouse.  I adore it!  It's fun and incorporates so many of the elements and principles of design: light, color, texture, pattern, contrast, scale, proportion, balance, harmony and unity.

                    

                                                                  Photo courtesy of I Suwannee

This living room was designed by Jamie Meares, the blogger of I Suwannee and owner of Furbish Studio.  I've been a fan of Jamie's since I received a keychain from Furbish Studio in a Blogfest swag bag.  Her Instagram feed abounds in color and bohemian style. 

In a more restrained vein is the work of Andrew Brown of Andrew Brown Interiors.

                

                                                        Photo courtesy of Andrew Brown Interiors

Andrew's designs in white contrast sharply with Jamie and Holly's rooms, but similarly reflect the same elements and principles of design: balance, texture, contrast, scale, proportion, harmony and unity.

Right on Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore!  White IS the Color of the Year.

5. Basic Black

Equally prevalent as white in interior spaces is black.  Black has become a favorite on everything from kitchen cabinets to window trim (not to mention black steel doors as discussed above in #2).  Black is to interiors as the little black dress is to apparel: it's classic and a veritable design staple.  Here are some of my favorite uses of black in interiors:

          

In late 2014, I blogged about a trend I was noticing in black kitchens.  I revisited this post a few months ago after seeing Lisa Mende's gorgeous black kitchen at the 2015 Junior League of High Point Designer Showhouse.  Lisa's kitchen illustrates the versatility of black in interior spaces.  Black mixes so well with furnishings from different periods and styles as well as with other materials and finishes.  This mix is demonstrated so perfectly in the variety of metals, tile and wood Lisa used in her kitchen design above.

Black punctuates interior millwork when used on window trim and doors.

                 

                                                            Photo courtesy of Andrew Brown Interiors

It's gorgeous in a lustrous satin finish as shown on the trim in the living room designed by Andrew Brown above.  The beefy trim when painted black creates a rhythm that carries the eye around the room.

Walls painted black create a cozy retreat, illustrated in the bedroom below of designer Nate Berkus.

                 

                                                                   Photo courtesy of Nate Berkus

As versatile as black is, it's tricky getting the right shade and finish of black paint for walls.  Like white, black can vary depending on the quality of natural light in the space.  But when the shade is right, it's a stunning complement to an interior space.

Stay tuned for Part II of The 10 Best in Interior Design in 2015.