10 Best in Interior Design 2015 -- Part II

Before I forecast what's hot for 2016, I'll wrap up the ten best in interior design for 2015.

6. 3D Printing

Remember the Kohler televisions spots where a client would present his or her designer/architect with a faucet and require that the space be designed around the faucet rather than the conventional vice-versa? 

More than ever that is the case, because in June 2015, American Standard introduced a revolutionary faucet created with additive manufacturing better known as 3D printing.  While 3D printing has been used in the past to create plastic faucet models, the faucets now produced by American Standard's luxury division, DXV, are the first working faucets to be printed in metal.  In addition to the revolutionary manufacturing process, the 3D printing methodology enabled DXV engineers to transform the way water is delivered through the faucet, totally upgrading the user experience.  How much does a 3D-printed DXV faucet cost?  For now, about $12,000-20,000.  But like VCRs in the 1980s and flat screen TVs now, maybe some day these faucets will be affordable for all. 


                                                            Photos courtesy of American Standard 

7. Boutique Vendors available through E-Commerce

One of the delights of my job is discovering new trade resources.  I've discovered many through Instagram and many find me.  We're lucky now because many small producers of bespoke fabrics and wallcoverings have online shops where folks outside the trade can buy their wares.  For example, in 2015, one of my favorites, Zak+Fox, began selling pillows made from their fabrics online.


                                                           Photo courtesy of Zak+Fox

This is one of my favorite Zak+Fox fabric patterns, Khaden, in color Himalaya.

Another favorite with an online shop is textile designer Rebecca Atwood.  I adore her Shibori pillows.


                                                        Photo courtesy of Rebecca Atwood

A great addition to the online marketplace for bespoke textile furnishings is Guildery.  Begun in 2013 as an e-commerce marketplace for suites of coordinating textile furnishings, Guildery began to offer custom coloring of their textiles in 2015.  Digital printing makes the turnaround super fast.  As a direct-to-consumer offering of bespoke textiles, Guildery is changing the home furnishings landscape.


                                                                  Photo courtesy of Guildery

8. Return to Opulence

In the fall of 2014, I wrote about the trend to more opulent interiors.  In 2015, this trend materialized in abundant offerings of velvets, tufting, mixed metals and more.


                                                         Photo courtesy of J. Robert Scott blog

In this photo taken in the J. Robert Scott Showroom at Los Angeles' Pacific Design Center during Westweek, the Center's Spring Market week, evidence of a resurgence in luxury materials and forms is evident.  Notice the overstuffed tufted ottoman, the velvet sofa, and the sinuous metal of the coffee table.

Another way that opulence materialized in 2015 was in the introduction of rose gold as a new metal finish.  Rohl introduced a stainless copper finish that has a rose gold hue in its Country Kitchen Cinquanta line.


 9.  Design through the Decades

What came first, the chicken or the egg?  In home decor, we often wonder, does fashion influence home decor trends or vice-versa?  A fashion trend for autumn 2015 was fashion through the decades.  I started seeing this in home decor as well, and I predict this will be more true in 2016.

We've seen the mid-century modern look of the late 1950s-1960s for a while now.  One need only look as far as retailers West Elm and Design Within Reach to see how ubiquitousness this look is.


                                           Photos courtesy of West Elm (left) and Design Within Reach (right)

The 1970s have returned to 2015 interiors with lacquer and metallic finishes, graphic patterns reminiscent of pop art, the colors of the rainbow and pops of orange, and yes . . . macrame.


                                                             Photo courtesy of Anthony Baratta, LLC


                                                               Photo courtesy of House Beautiful


                                                           Photo courtesy of Ace Hotel, Palm Springs

What's back from the 1980s?  Remember chintz?  Pastels?  All back.  Just look at Pantone's 2016 Color(s) of the Year, Rose Quartz and Serenity.


                                                              Photo courtesy of Pantone

One need only look at Pantone's color pairings for Rose Quartz & Serenity to see the 1980s back in full force.  Note the prevalence of taupe, gold and southwestern colors. 

10.  Wallpaper

Faux finishes eclipsed wallpaper as the preferred wall treatment for several decades.  I find that homeowners are wary of committing to wallpaper because of its permanence.  But with so many stunning options, including removable wallpaper, I don't find that excuse worthy anymore.  I advise reticent clients to start small: use wallpaper in a small space like a powder room or as a feature wall in a bedroom or hallway.

Here are just a few or my favorites:


I took this picture in the Phillip Jeffries, Ltd. showroom at the Boston Design Center.  The wallpaper is their amazing Bloom pattern.


                                                  Photos courtesy of Eskayel (left) and Tempaper (right)

Next, I try my predictions of what's hot and what's not for 2016. 


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.


"It's A Wonderful Life" Redux

It's that time of year again when there are repeat showings on TV of the great Frank Capra film, "It's a Wonderful Life."  I'm surprised that there are still people who have never seen the film.  It's such a classic.  All my husband, Abe, has to do is watch the last five minutes and he's in tears.

                                                               Photo courtesy of

If you haven't seen the film, here's a quick recap: Jimmy Stuart plays George Bailey, a hometown boy in Bedford Falls, New York.  Unlike his brother, Harry, the war hero, George's life is circumscribed by his small town roots.  George grew up in Bedford Falls and it's where his mother resides; he's married to his hometown sweetheart and together, with their three children, they've made Bedford Falls their home; and it's the location of George's family business, the Bedford Falls Building and Loan.  Due to a memory lapse, George's Uncle Billy fails to make a critical deposit that puts the solvency of the Building and Loan in jeopardy just as bank examiners are conducting their audit.  George sees his whole existence turn upside down.  Believing everyone would be better off without him, he decides to take his own life by jumping off the town bridge.  George is rescued by his guardian angel, Clarence, who shows George what Bedford Falls would be like if he hadn't lived.  George realizes how many lives he's touched, and with Clarence's help, sees the light.  It's a classic story of good triumphing over evil and of personal salvation.

Aside from the film being one of my husband's favorites, I have other connections to the film.  I learned last year, when I took my youngest to see some colleges in upstate New York, that Frank Capra's inspiration for the locale of the film was fostered by passing through Seneca Falls, New York.  There are many similarities between Bedford and Seneca Falls, and the townspeople of Seneca Falls have identified and memorialized them in a local museum and in town-wide events.  This past summer, after dropping our daughter off at college in Geneva, New York, just about 10 miles from Seneca Falls, we felt bound to pay a visit to the "It's a Wonderful Life" museum.

We've also felt like we've had a little George Bailey existence in 2015.  At the beginning of the year, my father-in-law passed away after a battle with Parkinson's Disease.  Four months later, I developed CIU (chronic ideopathic urticaria) which is still plaguing me.  In June, my mom had a heart attack and spent the summer in the hospital and rehab.  And in September, the advertising agency at which my husband worked lost a key account that generated about half its revenue and laid off about 40 people, including my husband.  It's hard not to wonder at times, what did I do wrong that this is happening to me all in one year?

Thankfully, so much else in my life is good: my mom survived the heart attack and our immediate families are all well; my kids are great and doing so well in their chosen paths; and I've probably had the best year I've ever had in 15 years of business.  

So I just want to thank, like George Bailey, my "Clarences," -- the clients, business associates and readers who have been my supporters and friends in 2015.  I have to believe that those who do good for others will reap what they sow.  May this holiday season bring joy into your lives and may 2016 bring you and your loved ones good health, happiness and to the world, peace. 


Revisiting Black Kitchens

Almost a year ago, I wrote about black kitchens in one of my Trend Watch Tuesday posts.  I'm revisiting that post to add a kitchen I saw in April at the Junior League of High Point, North Carolina 2015 Designer Showhouse and featured in this month's Traditional Home magazine.  If it's in Traditional Home, why include it in the blog?  Because the kitchen was designed by my friend and super-talented designer, Lisa Mende, with whom I shared the Brizo Fashion Week experience in September 2012.

Ever since designer Steven Miller did a black kitchen for the 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase (it was also House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year), black kitchens have been taking the kitchen and bath industry by storm.  Black is as basic and as versatile as white, inviting ample opportunities for mixing in other colors, patterns, materials and textures.

Lisa Mende's black kitchen was a home run for numerous reasons.  The black cabinets and range hood maintain focus, but the white glossy subway-tiled walls keep everything in balance.  I love how Lisa punctuated the walls with black window trim.  That's an important takeaway: trim doesn't have to match the walls and doesn't have to be white.


The mix of black and white patterns in the space is a textbook example of how multiple patterns can be harmoniously used.  Lisa used the large pattern on the window shades sparingly, balancing it with a small print on the counter stools and a geometric wallpaper pattern on the ceiling.  Adding interest, the ceiling pattern is not so bold as to distract one's eye-level perspective of the space.

Another awesome feature of the design is the use of mixed metals.  Appliances are stainless, hardware and light fixtures are brass, faucets are copper.  Yet they all work perfectly together.  Note the contemporary drawer and cabinet pulls paired with the vintage-looking swing-arm wall sconces.  Another great lesson: mixing periods is good design!

As great a design as the kitchen was, so too was the adjoining breakfast room.


Walls clad in cobalt blue grasscloth, green leather chairs trimmed with nailheads, a settee in a striped pattern with a Greek key motif and a mid-century inspired chandelier all harmonize to create a cheerful family gathering spot.  Congratulations, Lisa, on a superb job!


High Point Fall Market Preview

October 17th through 22nd marks Fall Market days in High Point, North Carolina.  I'm not going, but have received numerous invitations to view new products that will be unveiled at Market.  From these invitations and press releases, I've detected a trend. 

Metals have been prominent for several seasons now (see my post Heavy Metal from 2012).  What I'm noticing is a new way that they are being integrated into furnishings.  I'm seeing an edgier, almost futuristic display of metals in some of the Fall Market introductions. 

Two pieces that illustrate this trend are the Zhin Cabinet from Currey and Company (below left) and the Butterfly Floor Lamp from the Phillipps Collection (below right).


The metal decoration on the cabinet, although geometrical and symmetrical, is abstract, referencing none of the motifs or geometries we typically see in furniture hardware.  Similarly, while the stand of the floor lamp mimics butterfly wings, the lack of a solid base is unconventional.  It's as if the lamp is tentatively balanced.

This Bernhardt credenza, debuting at Market in a similar console, strikes an almost brutalistic tone.  Made of a nickel silver alloy clad exterior, its form is massive and heavy feeling.


Patterns found in nature are re-interpreted in some new introductions.  Abstractions of tortoise shell and hexagrams surface here in the Langkawi Outdoor Table by Jonathan Charles and this credenza from Studio A.


When metals are combined with woods, the effect is almost raw.  Woods appear in a natural state or in an organic, dimensional form.  And the accompanying metal details seem similarly rough hewn.


Both the bases above -- of the Taracea coffee table and the Villiers Armoire by Alfonso Marina -- are sculpted yet rugged.  And both are paired with wood left in either its natural state or carved into a dimensional geometric form. 

These designs signal an interesting development: a turn away from resurrecting forms and patterns from the past (like mid-century modern or neoclassical) and a movement toward the creation of something new and novel.  I like it and am excited to see more!