Sunday, July 24, 2011

Trends and Time Capsules

I've heard this statement in defense of something hideous or outdated, more than once in my time in the industry: "I have classic taste; I don't want to be trendy."

What we're really talking about is the difference between trendy and trending. Let me list a few things that are or have been trendy: pet rocks, parachute pants, the mullet, velvet Elvis paintings, orange-and-black shag carpet, and David Hasselhoff. None of these things should you design a room around.  And then there are trendings, such as popular color pallettes, furniture stylings and restylings, architectural elements -- these things are trending, they're in constant evolution. Do we still paint rooms green?  Yes. Is it Hunter Green? No. Colors are trending.

So when a client defends something unattractive or awful with the words, "I don't want to be trendy," in my mind I hear: A) "I have an emotional attachment," or B) "I am trendy -- that trend has long passed. I have bad taste and don't know it."

Let's begin with A. I totally understand emotional attachments. However, they should never be allowed to cripple or date a new design. When it's first suggested you remove your brass-and-black-laquer sofa table with matching framed Nagle print, your reaction may be, "But I love that piece!" Maybe the questions to ask yourself are, "Why do I love it?" "Would it work somewhere else?" "Would a picture of it in a memory album suffice?" "How does it speak in the current landscape of my design?" The same goes for color. The beauty of updating your kitchen cabinetry, appliances, flooring, window treatments, countertops, can be easily negated if you insist on reusing your favorite mauve pallette, which has long been retired by the rest of the world.

Now let's deal with the elephant in the room, B. It's been said "Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder." Your collection of 3,000 hand-painted miniature garden gnomes might be the most beautiful thing you've ever seen but that doesn't mean you should design a room around them. It's also okay to admit you don't have good color sense or you don't keep up with current trendings.What I'm saying is, among other things, bad taste and time capsule decor can be overcome with the help of a professional. Even as a designer, admittedly there are things within that world where others have more of a gifting. My strengths are space planning, color, cabinetry and hard goods. When it comes to rugs, window treatments and furniture placement, I enlist the help of other designers and decorators. If you need help, get help.

As I mentioned in the previous blog (and I mention this time with a caveat that color trends are tricky), if it's on the market, in a magazine, and available anywhere but Goodwill, it's probably part of a current trending.

So here's a quiz to determine if something should stay or go:

1. Is it an heirloom piece, or is it nice enough to become an heirloom piece?
      A. If your answer is no, it should be gone.
      B. If your answer is yes, now ask yourself:
              1. Should it be put in storage until it becomes cool again?
              2. Should it be moved to another room and enjoyed? Or
              3. Does it honestly work within your new design aesthetic?

2. If you saw your room in a magazine but it wasn't your room, would you question the sanity of using this piece or color in the design?

3. Will my choices -- color and otherwise -- make people entering my home feel like they've stepped back in time?
     A. If your answer is yes, please seek professional help.
     B. If your answer is no, please seek professional help ... to confirm or deny your findings. Mauve, for some reason, is still available.