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Furniture Trends That I’m Loving

I was recently on a business trip in Hamburg doing some consulting for a top magazine here and was able to break away a bit from the boardroom to pop into some favorite shops like Eden Living. I spotted lots of furniture from Italian design firm Gervasoni that I really liked and wanted to highlight so you can see a few of the local trends in my part of the world.

Furniture finds

First, I see rattan, wicker and cane in furniture and lighting again this year — especially since it’s nearly summer and we’re having an amazing spring ever since mid March with warm temps and sunny skies. Most are out shopping for furniture to “spring-up” their home, balcony, patio, garden… and rattan and other nature materials curated from nature, in addition to synthetic “faux” versions that are water-safe, are all the rage. You see them used both indoors and for outdoor furnishing. It’s common to find them in grey-brown finishes, or just gray, or natural, but also black or white — you’ll occasionally see them in bright colors like red, yellow and hot pink, too. I love the chairs shown above that are both white and natural… that’s a look you don’t see very often is it? Oh, and rattan and metal combined is something you can see too.

I’ve also notice seating (sofas in particular) with unusually high backs (seen above, bottom right). Have you spotted any of those in your part of the world?

Furniture finds

Another pretty trend I’ve noticed more and more is relaxed, cozy seating in stone gray, white and black with exposed seams. You can spot this “exposed seam” trend in both modern sofas and seating as well as the more country styles. If you look at the images above, notice the gray and eggplant chairs with the exposed seams — I love this look. When you sew, it’s normal to hide the seams by tucking them in and then sewing on top but for this trend, the edges are sewn on the outside for a rough “exposed seam” and I totally love this look right now, especially when the sofa has clean lines and is kind of squishy or the chair has nice lines like the one shown above.

Furniture finds

Chunky tables, gray-brown and gray wood, exposed seams, rattan, round backs on chairs, rattan lighting painted in high gloss black or white (or gray), these are things that I’m liking at the moment in the world of interiors trends. Of course, that gray headboard with the white edging is gorgeous too – wooden headboards with exposed boards are also a trend – though mostly kept natural and left with a straight edge — but I love how the one above is so fancy – quite a nice look I think, especially if your bedding is kept simple yet layered, with the focus more on texture and materials over pattern. Stripes would look amazing on a bed like that!

What trends in home interiors are you spotting where you live? Do you like any of these things shown above?

(images: gervasoni)

Posted in furniture, trends on May 24, 2011

The Crate Trend: Hot or Not?

I’m sure you see them popping up all around blogland, the crate trend is hot — and I don’t mean milk crates but gorgeous, rustic wood ones. Crates that range in size and color and are making their way to homes everywhere… There are lots of companies who sell them, even more who find vintage ones and resell them, and then there are homeowners who choose to make them.

Crate Trend

Kjerstis Lykke is a blogger who likes to use crates to store things in on the countertop in her kitchen as well as in her living room as a bookcase on castors.

If you want to make crates into something functional and good-looking try popping on some castors and roll them around as storage (great for magazines and kid’s toys), stack some for a bookcase, or mount one or several to a wall as shelving. If you can’t seem to find crates then try hitting a craft store or one of those natural wood shops. Retropolitan found her crates below at the Jo-ann craft store for $9.99 each (currently on sale for $6.99) and she shows exactly how she turned her boring find into a fab one with an A-Z how-to right here. Tip: You can also get sturdier crates from Target for $28 and make them look weathered by adding some stain, paint, sanding them in spots, hitting them with a chain or hammer… I’m not kidding! Crates that look vintage are all the rage.

Crate Trend

Crate Trend

Another homeowner who chose the DIY route is Ana White who happens to have a hammer on her hip for this tutorial. I love her crates that she has handmade shown above. Great work! Learn more here.

Crate Trend

Bailey’s Home & Garden and The Selby

Crate Trend

Three Potato Four shop

Crate Trend

Images above are from an unknown source but if you are clever and know their origin please tell me so I can give them link love. :) Looking for vintage crates? Take your pick here on eBay!

Zakkamate on Etsy has them too.

Ironically, I couldn’t find one single wood crate at Crate & Barrel. Did you follow Will & Grace when it was hot? I loved that show, Grace Adler was my idol at the time! I wanted to BE her, red hair and all. :) Anyway, Will said in one episode, “Do people not know how long it takes to pickle something? I had to buy a barrel, for God’s sake. Those aren’t easy to find. You’d think they’d sell them at Crate & Barrel. But, guess what? They don’t. They don’t sell crates, either. Hey, next time, save me the trip and name your store Ottomans & Wicker Crap!”

What do you think of crates? Do you have them in your home? Do you want them in your home? Love? Hate? Somewhere in between?

(images linked to their sources above)

Posted in trends on December 09, 2010

Danish Decorating Trends

Lots of people ask me now that I live in northern Europe what I consider in style here in the world of interiors. It’s hard to point to a few looks and say this or that is the norm just as it is impossible to pinpoint true American style these days. Fact is, Europe is a big place with tons of cultures and influence making each country quite unique but on the flip side, Europe is much more diversified than ever before (a topic that some are uncomfortable discussing and for good reason, the fear of homogenization). I think that fear is something most of us who grew up in 1980s America where we watched borders slowly fade can relate to… Exciting at first, but today many of us long for the days when travel from one state to the next was exciting — it meant being exposed to all new stores and restaurants, even chain stores were different, and that was pretty darn cool when I was a kid.

Danish Style

I guess that is why so many of us cling to handmade and flock to small shops even if it means paying more — and why we support local restaurants — we are trying to hold on to that feeling of uniqueness that we remember from our childhood. My observation entirely  but what do YOU think?

Danish Style

Truth is, those living outside of Europe have long admired it for maintaining its uniqueness, from country to country… and that it maintains a special old world charm. However, as you watch the Travel Channel and see show hosts wander from city to city, you can’t help but notice recurring store signage. Borders here are fading in some ways too. I think the difference though is that countries are not so quick to allow products in from other countries unless their is a real demand or interest but also because you are dealing with different governments and languages, it just takes longer to negotiate deals and import/export goods. It’s not as easy to set up shop in another country.

Also, new brands from “outside” are not so easily adopted with a smile. And yet it is exciting to see the good stuff leak over the borders to Germany, I can’t deny this, especially since Germany doesn’t have a strong identifiable “style” post WWII like the Danes, French or the Italians maintained throughout the years. Oh yes, once they did, in fact their design and art movements spawned many other movements worldwide, just look at the Bauhaus and it’s influence. However, since the second world war, function trumped beauty in many respects because so much was destroyed here and people were forced to build quickly to recover part of their life that was lost. But lately the tide is changing and younger Germans are starting to move and shake things. Functional products are looking really good to me and the overall future of German design (interiors, handmade arts & crafts, decorating) feels bright once more. Outside influence is definitely helping, as I see more and more Danish design here (and some Dutch) which excites me as these are two of my favorite places when it comes to design that I personally relate to.

Danish Style

Given that Germany and Denmark share a border to the north, it’s natural that Danish design would start to creep over and influence the modern German home especially here in the north. You can see this in many shops and some cafes in Hamburg, the influence is there for certain. Pick up any good German decorating magazine and you’ll see some of the hallmarks of Scandinavian design being highlighted more and more, particularly the Swedish and Danish stuff. Scandinavian design is very easy to classify but also to like and I’m guessing Danish goods appeal to Germans because the design is not only practical for everyday use and the lines are clean for the most part, but there is a rustic, natural feel to it that Germans as a whole like and can identify with as they are a culture very close to and respectful of, nature. Germans are known for being extremely brand loyal. It takes time for them to warm up to something (or someone) but once you’ve won them over you have a customer/friend for life. This is especially true of northern Germans, and since I’ve been visiting here for the past 11 years and now live and work here as well, I have an outsider’s opinion based on the changes I’ve witnessed over the years when it comes to design in this country. This tells me that Danish companies who win over the hearts of people here will gain a loyal market that will stay in place for a long, long time.

Danish Style

If you are curious to see some examples of current Danish designers who are making some of today’s top trends come to life, just flip through the e-pages of a TineK Home catalog, check out House Doctor, Ferm Living, Normann Copenhagen, HAY, Noa Noa (fashion brand but still), DAY, Greengate, Rice, Madam Stolz, and you’ll definitely find many beautiful things that are very clean, some colorful and quirky, others more streamlined and modern with a neutral palette.

Danish Design Trends

In my mind I tend to group some of the Danish styles that I’m seeing quite strongly here where I live in three key categories: Danish Pretty (Greengate, Rice), Old Meets New Danish (DAY Birger et Mikkelsen homeware, House Doctor, TineK Home, Madam Stoltz) and New Danish Modern (Normann Copenhagen, HAY). This post is more about Old Meets New Danish, as you can clearly see in the images I’ve selected. And by the way, these terms are all “Holly made” so they may or may not be how these individual companies classify themselves!

Danish style

Old Meets New decorating, Danish style anyway, is clean and bright (when you live in the north, white is essential!) but there are definite French, Asian and Moroccan influences in surfaces, shapes, colors and patterns. There is also an industrial edge making this style accessible to city loft dwellers in addition to those living in country homes. Think rustic pottery, straw totes with leather handles, metallic (mostly silver) surfaces, linen, jute, wool, metallic linens, rustic wood, industrial, vintage Moroccan tea trays, metal bases on tables, metal lockers, wheels on rustic wood coffee tables, etc.

Danish Design Trends

If you want to recreate this look in your own home, consider keeping your foundation pieces clean and fuss-free, mixing in a few statement pieces that may be painted in gray, blue or black for instance or you may choose to bring your statement pieces in using metal furniture – lockers, metal cabinets on wheels, wood tabletops with metal pipe bases… Also pay close attention to texture. This is what makes this look work. The Danes are naturals when it comes to making people feel at home, I felt very accepted and at home in Copenhagen earlier this year when I was there to work on my book. They are also effortlessly stylish, which I admire so much.

Danish style

This style is a well-edited look appearing to be effortless, but in reality it is very well thought out. If you are trying to recreate the look use some of the images in this post as your inspiration. No matter where you live, no doubt you can find objects in your local neighborhood that can be used to create this look if you don’t have access to the companies that I’ve mentioned above.

If you like the photos that appear in this post, they are from the Danish brand Madam Stolz, run by husband wife duo Pernille and Peter Stoltz since 1995 who live and work on the island of Bornholm in Denmark. They also run a delightful shop during the summer in Svaneke that I would love to visit as it appears as though everything they stock I would consider owning! If you are interested in Madam Stoltz products, please visit their website to see their online catalog or contact them directly to find a sales rep nearest to you.

(images: madam stoltz)

Posted in Decorating Tips, trends on December 07, 2010

Barbara Coupe Pillows

I spotted these gorgeous pillows today from Barbara Coupe, a textile designer in London who specializes in hand-embroidered goods that are made in England, and had to share them. The typography-as-decor continues to be a strong trend here on this side of the pond — in fact, it has enjoyed quite a long run both in parts of Europe and in the US. Certain trends definitely have staying power and end up running a lot longer than others, which is of course largely due to supply and demand so if consumers are drawn to a certain trend and don’t tire of it easily, it can endure for some time — and rarely, though it has happened, even becomes a classic style, a must-have in every home.

Barbara Coupe

Other trends disappear forever once they’ve had their run, but then others circle back — like the revival of wallpaper. After it’s popularity waned in the 1990s, it made a huge come back about five years ago and today it’s a staple in some of the most drool-inducing rooms in the world. With growing options from hand-blocked to hand-painted, eco, and beyond wallpaper seems to have staying power so if it is does start to lose its mass appeal in a few years, no doubt it will circle back again for the next generation of young designers to embrace as a hot new trend all over again.

Barbara Coupe

Barbara Coupe

I find trend watching quite fascinating, especially now that I live abroad, because lots of what we see over here makes it to the states a year later but also vice versa as the US starts many trends on its own — like the whole blogging trend and handmade market trend — I credit them mostly as being largely promoted in the states before the rest of the world caught on so it’s not always Europe dictating movements in fashion, art and design like so many assume, America plays a huge role in up-and-coming trend movements as well.

Barbara Coupe

But back to lovely Barbara Coupe, who made these stunning cushions that definitely have anglo-appeal. Many people, even those who have no English ancestry, love the Union Jack as a motif and of course this has been a trend in decor as well hasn’t it? I’ve seen Union Jacks popping up in design for some time now. I don’t think we have a US-equivalent using the flag, if we put a US flag on anything it is usually attributed to either the Fourth of July, being a fan of the New England Patriots or associated with the Ralph Lauren/Polo brand. To me anyway. It would be cool if a designer could modernize the US flag somehow, if that is even respectful to say, and make it more interesting to show in the home because currently it just doesn’t seem to find it’s way to sofas in our favorite magazines as cushions or wall hangings like the Union Jack, does it?

Lovely work, Barbara!

I’d like to thank new blogger, Emily Peck, for writing about Barbara Coupe and pointing me to her blog today – it was nice to hear from you! Thank you for the tip!

(images: barbara coupe)

Posted in trends on November 15, 2010

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Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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