One advantage of having experience is that you gain perspective. Perspective is important because it enables you to understand things on a deeper level than you would without it. In the world of interior design, perspective enables one to spot trends forming and even to get ahead of the next wave and perhaps become a trend setter. But before you can be on the cutting edge of the next big trend in anything, you have to know where you are and what is currently trending. In the world of interior design, the New Eclectic is big. While eclectic interiors (mixing furniture and accessories from different periods) have been around for a long time, the new eclectic interior rejects all of the old rules. Consequently, the best new eclectic interiors do not look decorated at all. They look intensely personal, collected, handmade and forthright. They are the opposite of the opulent interiors from the 80s, warmer than the sleekly modern interiors of the 90s, and hipper than the warmly rustic interiors loved for the last decade.
This townhouse in Brooklyn, designed by Jessica Helgesson Interior Design, illustrates the New Eclectic style with its mix of styles (rustic beams and modern glass chandelier), playful use of color (notice the 4 tones of bold color on the bookcase wall), and custom and handmade items (walnut table with turquoise butterfly joints, pottery and ceramics displayed on the shelves).
The kitchen features streamlined cabinetry (notice the absence of upper cabinets), a tufted sofa floats facing the island, and the modern glass or lucite railing on the left coexists with the traditional white subway tile backsplash. The mid century modern legs on the counterstools rest on the "of the moment" chevron patterned white oak floor.
Another project from the same design firm is this living room found in a brick Mediteranean style home from the 1920s. Although the dark beams, chandelier and window treatment style are what one would expect to find in a home of this style, nothing else is. The curtains are made of hemp with antique suzanni used as trim, the sofa is made from antique carpet and the coffee table is custom designed to look like bricks, echoing the home's exterior.
Designated one of the Up and Coming Designers by House Beautiful, Jon Call created a living room that is a virtual melting pot: French mirror, Asian tables, mid century lamps and an elongated regency sofa. He says of the room, "It shouldn't work, but it does!"
Sometimes movie sets act as a flashpoint for a style and nothing illustrates the New Eclectic interior better than Nancy Meyers set for the movie, The Intern. The kitchen below is a riotous mix of periods and styles featuring a rejection of traditional kitchen design while pairing warmth and functionality. The thing that strikes me the most about this style is how intensely personal the spaces feel.
Likewise, the bedroom set blends iconic items from all over the world in a room unusually colored (charcoal gray in a bedroom mixed with several shades of red and blue!). A paper shade chandelier from Japan hovers above a carpet from North Africa and a modern platform bed is flanked by traditional lamps. The horizontal modern prints hung low on the wall are an unexpected, personal choice in a a room with high ceilings and traditional architecture.
Taste in interior design mirrors the aspirations of the culture and the emergence of the New Eclectic reflects the diversity embraced in our culture as well as the rejection of the old social order. With the ever increasing speed of new technology and the ability of the younger generation to create and adapt easily to it, I foresee that tomorrow's "hot" style will be a further rejection of traditionally accepted customs and practices when it comes to residential design. Spaces will become even more personal and custom. At the same time that tradition is rejected, pieces with history and age will be revered, but will be used in a way that is almost unaware of the original intent. Intensely colored and patterned rooms will appear with as much frequency as pale, calm and almost austere rooms because who is to say which is better? Just as our culture has moved away from absolutes in morals and religion, so too, will the next generation further reject the rules of design or "the flavor of the day" peddled to the masses by design professionals. It may sound like I am pessimistic about the future for the design professional. On the contrary, I believe that there will be a resurgence in demand for designers who can understand how a client thinks and feels and is able to translate this into a room that sparks joy for the client. Because as much as we would like to believe that there are no rules and it is easy to create something that works, there are, in fact, rules and things that work and things that don't. The trick is to know what they are, how to bend them and when you can break them. That is where perspective comes in.
Happy Wednesday everyone!