Sunday, January 9, 2011

What’s Trending? - Past Meets Present In Interior Design

A Walk Down Memory Lane:

I remember, while in my early high school years, we had just moved into a “new”, older home.  The bathroom off my bedroom was done in a pink tile, combined with turquoise accents.  My first reaction was to wonder - What on earth were my parents thinking?!  Didn’t they know these were not the “colors du jour” for 1974?  We were into the “earthtone” period of design . . .  rust, tan, brown, olive/avocado green and harvest gold.

pink sink1

(What a déjà vu experience it was to see this bathroom photo!  It could have been a close cousin to mine. Courtesy of No Pattern Required .)

At the time, the “updated” bathroom should have looked like this. – Bathroom carpet, wallpaper, and all!


(Photo courtesy of Active Rain)

1974 was during the heyday of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, with its optimistic jingle and a focus on a whole new time and a different lifestyle.  We were more “modern”! 

6t5uido0rw8uodr5 mary-tyler-moore-show--c10039379 

Looking at Mary’s apartment reminds me of having to use a shag carpet “rake” to keep it fluffed.  No telling how many lost pennies were found when that was replaced!  (The characters of Phyllis Lindstrom/Cloris Leachman – on the left, Mary Richards/Mary Tyler Moore - center, and Rhoda Morgenstern/Valerie Harper – on the right.)  Now that I see the pop of turquoise, from Mary’s jumpsuit, I have to smile.  My new company logo will feature similar colors.  Does it mean I’ve gone retro or moved forward with a color trend, or just worked with what looks best for me?  (Rather than wait for a big reveal, I’ll give you a sneak peak at the bottom of the post.)


Mary is modeling a dress in one of the popular 70’s colors, an orange-rust.  Did you know the Pantone Color Institute was helping to influence these colors, even then? They’ve been around since the early ‘60’s to help create an accurate color format, for the graphic arts community, and that has translated across the board from runway fashion, to the automobile industry, to home design, and beyond!

A history lesson of color:






(Forty years of color brought to you by Pantone.  Click on one of the swatch boards for the fascinating details.)

Fast forward a few decades later, (sigh), plus a four-year degree in interior design, over twenty-five years in the design world, and I’m now answering questions about what’s “new” in the world of interior design.  My answer is pretty consistent, these days.  What was once “old” is new again.  (And as a baby boomer, I think that gives me a bountiful bag of experience to share!)

Reinterpreting Retro:

Even with “retro” rebounding, there are options open for interpretation.  Just as a woman might have a particular hairstyle which is her most flattering, she always likes to “freshen” it up a bit, with a tweak or a twist. 

Here are some great examples:

Cottage Living 1702630-cottage-bath-r-x

Instead of using a sink skirt, this retro wall sink had a small table added for the base.  Leaving it open made this small bath feel larger.  The overall white palette allows for the color to be added in the accents.  Timeless and far from boring!  (Courtesy of “Cottage Living”.)


What could be more retro than subway tile and marble?  Remember the days of medicine cabinets?  Even these faucets and the cabinet hardware harkens to the past.  The trick is the wall color and the clean accents.  Not kitschy at all!  (Courtesy of “Sunset Magazine”.)


In some cases, a total gutting just isn’t in the cards.  Changing a shower door, to a frameless version, re-grouting tile, replacing counters, bath fixtures, and adding a new coat of paint might be the answer.  (Courtesy of “Coastal Living”.)


Old cast iron tubs can be refinished.  The feet, on this claw foot tub, were accented in chrome for a little more “bling”.  (Courtesy of “Southern Accents”.)


If you are a purist, when it comes to the using the original fixtures, restoration can be the answer.  You wouldn’t be “neutral” on the subject of this color! (Courtesy of “Sunset Magazine”)


Here is a new bath, featured by the Apartment Therapy blog.  While somewhat futuristic, it does bring up images of being a room I could picture The Jetsons having used.  (I’m telling on myself, now!)

And now in 2011:

It was announced, a few months ago, the 2011 Color of the Year is Honeysuckle.  Have I really lived long enough to be seeing trends swing full circle?!  Is the bathroom of my teenage angst coming back? 

Well, perhaps, but in a different way.


Although referred to as “lilac”, these fixtures from Aqua Solutions Plus present as pink to me!


Courtesy of  (The sink stopper is even pink!)

I guess you could say, “We’ve come a long way, baby!”

60kohlerfixtures 4753

I love vintage ads.  They give a glimpse into the history and reliability of a brand.  Both Kohler and “Standard” aka American Standard, are still operating today.  Eljer is also part of American Standard.

Eljer bathroom

Mmmmm.  Now you’re talking!  Basic black can compliment almost any brilliant hue.


The Eljer poster reminded me of this ‘tween bathroom I did for a showhouse, a few years ago.  Notice the hint of pink.  It was a favorite from girls to grandmothers!

Looking Before You Leap:

If you love to keep up with the latest in interior design, be sure to take a few minutes to decide if what you are following is a trend or a fad.  There is a difference! 

Fads are usually fun, but short-lived.  They come and go almost as quickly as they make their appearance.  Trends tend to be more proven and can last for years, depending on public acceptance.  It used to be that the life of a trend was predictable, if moving from high-end design to mass marketing venues.  Such is not always the case in today’s world of technology.  Ideas and concepts move much faster through the world of communication to production. 

In some cases, when a trend is overdone, as in too much being used in a home or a room, it can feel as if it’s a fad.  It creates a glaring, “This was done in such-and-such a year”. Classics usually always have us heading in the right direction, and they can be adapted to stay current and relevant.  My role, as my clients’ interior designer, is to help to discern the difference.  I’ve walked this road a time or two, as you can probably tell!

And so now, as promised, here is the new logo reveal:


I think Mary and the girls might approve! 


All my best! ~ Wanda


Storibook Designs said...

Wanda, the new logo is great. The thoughts that came to mind: sophisticated, feminine, luxury. Very nicely done!!

I grew up with a very similar pink bathroom and I also remember "raking" our shag rug. Too funny!!

Great post as always!

marcy said...

Lovely post. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. As a rule of thumb, Irwin and I have always prided ourselves on picking up on trends without being trendy. That paves the way for long-lasting style whether in the fashion world or interior design.