Some time ago (pre-COVID), I attended a presentation by the editor-in-chief of Dwell magazine on color trends through the decades. I’d say the upshot was that color trends come and go, but white kitchens never really go out of style. But what really struck me was the presenter’s take on home design in the 21st century, and the influence of apps and websites like Houzz and Pinterest and Instagram, as well as the 24/7 lineup of home design shows on HGTV and other networks and streaming services.
We have an endless array of design photos available at our fingertips, so we should have plenty of inspiration to inform our remodel projects. But the presenter called this wealth of examples “a cavalcade of images that mean nothing,” and said it’s “like drinking from a firehose” and “an ocean a mile wide and an inch deep.”
Was she right? Is this new way of looking for design ideas a good thing or a bad thing? Does the sheer magnitude of imagery help homeowners come up with better designs, or does it just overwhelm them with too many choices and no guidance on what’s good and what’s not so good?
Making Bolder Design Choices
Here’s what we’ve noticed here at Albee Interior Design: In recent years, our clients seem to be getting bolder about their design choices. They want their homes to reflect their unique tastes and needs, regardless of what’s in style, or what anybody else is doing, or how it might affect the future resale value of their home.
Here are a few examples of the unique and highly personal designs we’ve been working on lately:
- A home bar with a steampunk design, including a riveted metal ceiling, cogs and gears, and mad-scientist-inspired light fixtures. (Check out our March 2021 newsletter for details on that one: https://conta.cc/2P15wWm.)
- A kitchen in all primary colors. And not just little pops of primary colors. We’re talking a full kitchen in bright red, blue, and yellow, including cabinets, countertops, backsplash, flooring, and walls.
- A townhouse in a mixture of gothic and Art Nouveau, with flocked damask wallpaper, black and purple-painted walls, and a black-crystal chandelier – a design we’ve dubbed “Dark Nouveau.”
- Multiple projects that involve taking space from a spare bedroom, sometimes to the point that it no longer even qualifies as a bedroom. On one project, we’re converting an entire bedroom into a luxurious closet and dressing room. On another, we created a large master suite by converting an adjacent laundry room into a walk-in closet, and an adjacent bedroom into an en-suite bathroom. On other projects, we’re leaving just enough space for the remaining “bedroom” to function as a cozy office.
These unconventional designs do seem to be influenced at least in part by the staggering numbers of inspiration photos that are out there. After all, it used to be that if you decided you wanted to paint your kitchen hot pink, your friends and family would tell you that’s a crazy idea, and probably talk you out of it. Now, however, I guarantee you can go online and find tons of examples of hot pink kitchens. (Go on. Try it. Google “hot pink kitchens,” or any other wild design idea that you can think of.)
Certainly COVID has played a part in the bolder design choices as well, with everyone spending more time at home and deciding they hate what they see. They want their homes to be their personal havens, and to surround themselves with their favorite things.
“If All Your Friends Decided to Jump Off a Cliff …”
There’s undoubtedly a downside to all this. Just because you can find examples of your crazy idea doesn’t mean that the idea is any less crazy. It’s just as easy to find photos of really bad designs as it is to find really good ones.
But we prefer to look at the positives. For one, the far-reaching bombardment of images means that trends can’t really gain traction, so the design style you choose is less likely to look dated a few years from now. Light, dark, color, no color, minimal, maximal, “grand-Millennial” … it’s all on trend right now.
And this new no-trend trend fits right into our design approach at Albee interior Design. One of our main goals has always been to help our clients realize their personal style – to take all those crazy things they love and pull them together into tasteful and functional designs.
After all, despite the plethora of inspiration photos out there, it’s still important – and possibly more important now than ever – to get a little expert guidance on how to bring design dreams into reality.