November, 2007 Archives
Changes in the design world can be slow and in most cases, trends are here for years before they finally surface and catch on. Pairing blues and browns, for instance, took some time before it went mainstream and it’s recently been updated with the tranquil feel of blue and gray. Designers are also updating architectural details like molding or crown by painting them the same color (instead of highlighting them) for a contemporary feel. And we’re seeing several new color trends on the design scene right now – a lot of green, eco friendly fabrics, wild graphic patterns and several self color palettes with muted blues, taupes and grays that are very soft and easy to live in. All in all these trends are very sophisticated and palatable and we’re not seeing colors change from one extreme to the other like they did in the 80’s.
By the same token, the eco trend has hit the ground and gone mainstream faster than anything I’ve ever seen. It started with building materials, but now innovations for turning your home green inside as well as out are really coming around. There’s eco friendly paint, energy efficient lighting and a wide range of green furniture. We’re also starting to see more use with rocks, grass, twigs and other organic, natural materials across the board. Angela Adams, who’s very well recognized for her home furnishings collections, has a fantastic new carpet line that’s made from recycled materials and manufactured in strict adherence to child labor laws. Her patterns also feature the graphic, bold colors we’re seeing a lot of this year.
We’re really excited about discovering interior design companies that are eco conscious and love to support their products when we can. Recently we’ve embarked on a remodel with one of our clients to make their home 100% green using recycled carpet padding, 100% New Zealand wool carpet, eco friendly paint, energy efficient pictures and we’ll be installing dual flush toilets that also promise to leave a lighter footprint on the environment. But eco makeovers are costly, and if it’s not something that fits your budget, there are a number of simple and inexpensive modifications you can make throughout your home. For instance, replacing one light bulb with compact fluorescents takes thousands of cars off the highway. I’ve committed to using energy efficient lighting and have also become much more aware of the lights I leave on in the house. It’s also very easy to watch your water consumption and not leave water running longer than necessary. In addition, I write notes on the back of used envelopes or other bits of paper lying around, instead of using a new pad of paper. Little changes like these are resourceful, easy to implement and help you do your part in respecting the environment
Posted: November 25th, 2007 filed under green, trade shows
As an interior designer, it’s important to be up to date with what’s going on in the green world. I have no problem admitting that I am still learning like everyone else and am trying to find new ways to visually decipher what’s best for my clients. So in early November, I attended a green design trade show in Chicago called Greenville. I like to get a sense of what companies are doing visually with their displays, especially when I use their products in my store, and it helps inspire me with my own projects.
Having a store is a great way to display my ideas and the things I’ve learned from trade shows. People who are looking for alternative design options can actually see what I am using in the shop and get a sense of the design work I do. There’s been a definite shift in materials and people are beginning to care about what they put in their house. They want to know what their options are and what’s different from what has always been done. At Greenville, I was specifically looking for innovative countertop materials, a noticeable piece in a kitchen that is often overlooked.
Everything right now has that terrazzo broken glass feel, reminiscent of recycled pop bottles. I’m looking for ways of taking that design to the next level. Ironically for this trade show, I flew a thousand miles to find a company that I already partner with in town and found a flooring material. It has that earthy wood floor appearance, but it’s made from a newer, renewable material. I also discovered that people are pushing bamboo. Normally I’d think bamboo belongs in a house with a Zen quality or that bamboo with oak cabinets is incongruent. But when I saw this bamboo flooring, it had a beautiful mahogany walnut feel. It’s not expensive, absolutely within normal price ranges and is exactly what I look for. Also on the bamboo front, dark and light strands are being mixed into a single bamboo strand, giving it more texture.
The last thing that really stood out was a really beautiful new take on cork, that’s not your teenage son’s average corkboard wall. This cork is polished and has a more organic quality to it. Check back in with me over the next few weeks for updates on other new discoveries I’m finding out there in the design world.