Ann Sacks Editorial Ambassadors, Clinton Smith and Sophie Donelson, share the top five emerging design trends on their radar this year. Bottom Line: Make It Memorable!
Decorative fluting is the newest trend that seemingly came out of nowhere, but its origins stretch back centuries. As the saying goes, what’s old is indeed new again. The texture is appearing on everything from hanging glass pendants and wood dining table bases to credenzas, even kitchen and bath cabinetry and surface materials. At times, it appears more ribbed or pleated, but the effect is still the same: simply eye-catching. Its revival is due, in no part, to its versatility and timelessness. It can appear as something classical (think Doric, Ionic or Corinthian columns), or exude a more modern mood (think Art Deco vibes and sultry, 1920s curves).
Jennifer Boles, the noted design author and historian and founder of ThePeakOfChic.com blog, says that fluting is one those designs that translates across a spectrum of styles.
“With its strong, vertical ridges and softening curves, fluting is the best of both worlds, both visually and tactilely,” says Boles. “Its lines are upright, but shapely, too. On the one hand, fluting is as classic as the Greek columns frequently partnered with it, and yet, those clean, sculptural lines are also very modern, which likely explains why some of the most innovative designers over the last century are credited with fluted furniture designs, including Paul T. Frankl in the 1920s and ‘30s, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings in the mid-twentieth century, and more recently, John Saladino.”
Interior Designer Barbara Howard of Marshall Howard Interior Design loves the texture’s understated elegance. “Fluting elevates, without overwhelming, architectural elements, furnishings, and well—just about anything to which it is applied,” says Howard. “From ancient Greece to the contemporary home, the detail adds a timeless, elegant note that always feels right.”
Gone are the days that a simple deck or patio outfitted with a grill (gas or otherwise), would suffice as a top-notch outdoor living space. These days, terraces, loggias and verandas are bestowed the same attention to detail as any interior room, and have, in fact, become extensions of indoor living spaces. Resort-style amenities have proliferated, and features that used to be only commonplace in locales such as Southern California or Florida—where four-seasons outdoor living has long been the norm—are now de rigueur across the country.
Design: Jean Liu Design, Photography: Lisa Petrole
Stone fire pits and fireplaces are great for gatherings, especially in the time of social distancing. Even if a swimming pool isn’t in the plan, some sort of water feature adds life and ambient sound to a space. Outdoor kitchens are now complete with all sorts of specialty appliances, including drinks coolers, sinks and dishwashers, each impervious to extreme conditions. Wood-fired brick pizza ovens are a coveted addition to any cooking space. Covered porches now have the option to be outfitted with screens that simply disappear into the ceiling with the click of a remote. Cooling misters for hot days and integrated infrared heaters for chilly evenings can help balance large fluctuations in temperature. There’s even a cottage industry specializing in TVs made especially for watching in the out of doors that counter bright light and extreme glare. When it comes to furnishings, sofas and chairs are now as plush as their interior counterparts—quick-drying, and resistant to the harshest of elements.
Design: Jean Liu Design, Photography: Lisa Petrole
Interior designer John Bossard of John Bossard Interiors—who has worked on numerous indoor and outdoor spaces from Los Angeles to London, Palm Springs to Palm Beach—offers these additional stylish tips of the trade:
“Outdoor plaster walls can be hand-painted with a decorative design to coordinate with any indoor scheme. The lines between inside and out are increasingly blurred.”
Go for Drama
“If you want to go all the way, build a pavilion. Playful or formal, it’s like an adult’s doll house.”
Soft to the Touch
“Today’s beautiful outdoor fabrics rival indoor fabrics with their quality. It’s no longer just about the awning stripe of yesteryear.”
“Lighting is remarkably important. Hang a statement lantern or chandelier outside—make it special.”
“Stone terraces are made all the more special with either complimentary or contrasting borders of brick or decorative tile.”
We’re still watching the rise of the “un-kitchen” — the concept of outfitting the space with art and stand-alone furniture in addition to — or in lieu of — the expected built-ins and island. Concurrently, bathrooms seem to be enjoying a dose of decorative gusto, too, an idea long embraced by the Brits with their natural aptitude for collecting and arranging and perhaps always making room for another engraving should you stumble on a good one. But it’s a sensibility more than a heritage concept, i.e. BYO DNA to this party.
Design: House of Brinson
The folks behind House of Brinson decorated all the bathrooms of their 1850s Greek Revival home in New York State, including one with an impressive gallery wall of vintage art and a fine mahogany chest standing proud. “We have a lot of art and wooden furniture in the ‘regular’ rooms of the house," explains Susan Brinson. "But when you’d enter a bathroom, it felt really different – a bit disconnected. The art helps it flow better — now everything feels like it’s part of the same design story.” For those of us who love shopping and decorating, this is just another room for self expression.
Product: Liaison by Kelly Wearstler, Design: Veronica Soloman, Casa Viloria, Photography: Colleen Scott
Sure a working room these days could mean a home office, or office-gym-living room-classroom for that matter, but it’s more likely to refer to one of the many throwback utility rooms now solidly back in style.
The return of the scullery, butler’s pantry, larder, or walk-in pantry is less an inspired riff on Downton Abbey living and more of a testament to how hard we’ve been riding our homes these past two years. As soon as “work from home” and “distance learning” came on the scene and for the months where every meal and snack happened, you remember, at home, the concept of an overflow kitchen or dedicated snack storage doesn’t feel so deluxe. (A larder is really just a proto “Costco closet” after all.) This was the year that a games room, gift-wrapping room, or man cave seemed off base, but a mudroom a must. The scullery, funniest of all, was originally meant for drudgery deemed too dirty for the kitchen — dishes, mops, laundry — but in the hands of some designers are now so delightfully decorated, you might as well write your most arduous emails there, too.
Sure, color trends are cyclical but who among us doesn’t revel in spotting a theme out there; or identifying an old love that suddenly feels fresh again. If green is on your mind as we launch into 2022, you’re not alone.
Product: Savoy, Design: Katie Rosenfeld & Company, Photography: Read McKendree
Olga Naiman is a longtime A-list magazine stylist whose design firm specializes in taking an emotional, empathetic, human-centered approach to interiors , i.e. the decisions you make at home can help unlock the life you want to lead. She’s not at all surprised to see the swelling interest in green citing that in ancient meditation practices — stay with me here — the color green is associated with the heart chakra. “The more chaotic things are out there, the more we crave the grounded, centered-ness of our hearts,” she say. “Notice our greens are deep and solid. No airy-fairy chartreuses these days. We want earth. We want stability. We want a safe haven. We want more heart-energy in our homes.” Expect to see moss and malachite and emerald in a space near you; and if you’re breathing easier in your own green space, now you know why.
Product: Liaison by Kelly Wearstler Mulholland Large in Verde Blend, Design: Tracy Hardenburg, Photography: Pär Bengtsson
The Textural Impressions launch proves stunning visuals are just the beginning.