Cover image: ©istockphoto.com / Rost-9D
In the male-dominated field of architecture, women struggle to overcome institutionalized barriers to gender equity.
At her eponymous New York City studio, architect Nina Cooke John creates sophisticated spaces through “high-impact” residential architecture.
Nina Cooke John photo by Ball & Albanese; Below photo by Lisa Russman Photography.
Courtrooms are increasingly occupied by women attorneys and even judges, and world-class hospitals have no shortage of women physicians. But, regrettably, the profession of architecture remains nearly as male-dominated as the halls of the U.S. Senate or Fortune 500 boardrooms. In a field that demands both artistic achievement and construction expertise, gender equity has been painstakingly slow.
There are certainly some bona fide celebrity women architects, such as Jeanne Gang who is dramatically redefining the skyscraper, and Elizabeth Diller whose firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro created The High Line in New York and The Broad in Los Angeles. They follow Zaha Hadid, the trailblazing Pritzker Prize-winning designer who passed in 2016. The prominence of these women has inspired a new generation of female architects, but that path is still laden with roadblocks.
Despina Stratigakos, Ph.D., vice provost for inclusive excellence and professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo, states, “Architecture is a male-dominated profession by design,” and explains that there was strong pushback when women first started entering the field 140 years ago. “The justifications given then for excluding them from practice, revolving around women’s negative ‘feminine’ influences, became embedded as core values of the professional culture,” says the professor, who reports that a deep-seated bias against women’s abilities continues today.
Stratigakos’ 2016 book, Where Are the Women Architects? was partly inspired by the emergence of a new movement seeking greater gender equity in the profession. “I wanted to raise awareness of this long-standing question and of the voices of activists pushing for answers today,” she explains. “Women have long advocated for greater diversity in architecture, but too often have been ignored by the profession’s leaders,” says Stratigakos.
The professor cites statistics that reflect approximate gender parity among students enrolled in accredited architecture programs in the U.S. but that is not, however, indicative of women’s advancement in the profession after graduation. “Although the gap has shrunk between the numbers of men and women studying architecture, racial and ethnic disparities are slower to change,” adds Stratigakos, who notes that Black women are sorely underrepresented in architecture schools.
While challenges for women of color can be dispiriting, voices like Nina Cooke John provide inspiration for those entering the field. The Jamaican-born architect, whose New York-based Studio Cooke John specializes in “high-impact” residential architecture — she explains the concept as maximizing and customizing every square inch of the spaces she describes as “machines for living” — and public art.
Cooke John, whose impressive resume includes degrees from Cornell and Columbia, was included in Dwell magazine’s “13 Extraordinary Women in Design and Architecture You Need to Know.” Following faculty positions at Syracuse University and Parsons School of Design, she has returned to Columbia to teach architecture, making the professor well suited to counseling young women entering the field. Informed by her experience as one of the few Black women in her class at Cornell, she advises, “It’s important to speak out and create your own community because support is paramount to your success.” She suggests that if students who feel isolated cannot find that support on campus, they should reach out to practitioners or minority-based professional associations for mentorship.
After practicing and teaching extensively, Cooke John created her own firm with another woman architect — both mothers of young children who appreciated the flexibility most large firms could not provide — and eventually went solo. She reports, “For many women, it’s about finding your voice and creating an environment that’s difficult to find in a male-dominated firm.” Suggesting women tend to approach the profession differently, Cooke John reports, “When women interact with clients, it’s not so often about ego but listening to the clients and responding to their needs.”
“We interact with the built environment constantly, and while some people view it as in the background, it’s really the foreground of everything we do,” says Cooke John, who adds, “When people engage with one another in public spaces, community-building is much stronger.” Her foray into public art installations further advances her philosophy of placemaking, which transforms relationships between people and the human-made environment.
Julia Gamolina is director of strategy at Trahan Architects, an international firm with offices in New Orleans and New York, whose portfolio includes prominent educational, sports and performing arts venues. She is also founder and editor-in-chief of Madame Architect, an online magazine that celebrates the achievements of women in the field and serves as a digital mentor to young professionals. Explaining that challenges for women are exacerbated by influences beyond their own architectural firms’ cultures, Gamolina observes, “Most professions dealing with the built environment, such as commercial real estate, construction and engineering, tend to be even more male-dominated than architecture.”
The editor of Madame Architect not only laments the lack of gender equity in her industry, but suggests progress is unlikely to be swift. “It’s slow to change because architecture itself takes a long time, from financing and government approvals to design and construction,” explains Gamolina, another accomplished Cornell alumna. She reports the numbers of women in leadership positions is more anemic than overall female participation in the industry, but notes some women start their own firms after becoming mothers.
Other women, reports Gamolina, drop out of the rigorous profession when they have their first child because employers do not offer sufficient flexibility. “It’s not a motherhood problem at all,” insists the architect and journalist, who maintains that lack of flexibility applies equally to fathers and even caretakers of elderly parents. One potential dividend from the pandemic was the recognition by employers that staff can be fully productive working outside the office.
Gamolina believes young women need to understand there are exciting roles awaiting them in architecture beyond design itself, and points to her own director of strategy position at Trahan Architects. “Madame Architect showcases all the career possibilities within the field,” she explains, citing specialties in administration, communications and marketing.
Rosa Sheng is a principal at SmithGroup, whose 15 offices create cultural centers, master-planned cities and mixed-use projects around the globe. Sheng also serves as her firm’s director of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and is founding chair of the Equity by Design Committee created by the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Julia Gamolina is director of strategy for Trahan Architects — the Coca-Cola Stage at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre is a signature project — and is also editor-in-chief of Madame Architect.
Photo of Julie Gamolina by Lily Olsen; Theater photo by Leonid Furmansky.
Equity by Design has conducted three pivotal research studies with the most recent, in 2018, involving a survey of more than 14,000 architecture school graduates. For Sheng, therefore, anecdotal stories from her colleagues are supported by hard data. Her research reveals several “pinch points” in the careers of women architects: pathways to licensure, access and opportunities to leadership positions, caregiving navigation/reconciliation, and pay equity for similar roles or positions. Her committee’s early work focused on the “missing 32 percent,” referring to the attrition rate between women architecture school graduates and those who became licensed.
After giving birth to her second child during the Great Recession, Sheng was experiencing one of those pinch points. “I felt like I couldn’t be a good parent or a good architect,” she recalls defeatedly, and adds, “People say there are barriers, but you don’t believe it until you experience them.” In challenging times, women leave the profession, something Sheng herself considered even after years of success. But her work with Equity by Design has provided a new purpose to complement her passion for the discipline. “It’s that feeling of being swept away by the excitement, like, ‘Wow! There’s something here we can influence and help to change,’” explains the activist architect.
Sheng reports, “In addition to Equity by Design, there are many more women in architecture leading efforts to share experiences, celebrate achievements for justice and equity in the profession, and inspiring a more diverse demographic of architectural practitioners.” She cites organizations like 400 Forward, a nonprofit that inspires women of color to become architects.
“Your success will not be determined by your gender or your ethnicity, but only on the scope of your dreams and your hard work to achieve them.” This is not just any motivational trope, but the words of the great Zaha Hadid, who overcame challenges on both fronts.
Rosa Sheng, a principal at SmithGroup — the UC Davis Teaching and Learning Complex is a recent project — was founding chair of the Equity by Design Committee.
Photo by Scott R. Kline; Building renderings courtesy of SMITHGROUP.
Photo by Rick Chaffiotte Photography.
Interior Designer Marissa Stokes aims for designs that are classic and timeless. And says don’t overlook the ceiling.
For designer Marissa Stokes, home has been a variety of places. Home was growing up in New Jersey, where creative parents and a need for change led to an intense love for interior design at a young age. Home was also New York, where she earned a degree from Parsons School of Design and worked her first jobs at elite design firms, including David Kleinberg Design Associates, Victoria Hagan Interiors and Jayne Design Studio. And now as an accomplished designer, home is more than just a place — it’s every threshold she passes, every piece of furniture she chooses, every decision she makes in order to help craft the perfect space for her clients. We spoke with Stokes about her experiences in the industry and how her love of interior design has transformed her career so far.
How do you think living in New York affected your design style and preferences?
You’re just exposed to so many amazing things, being in and around New York City. The architecture alone, having incredible museums at your fingertips. I also went to school in NYC; I think that was an incredible experience, but also had a huge influence on my design aesthetic, just having everything at your fingertips, between different cultures, food, architecture. I feel fortunate to have lived there and so close to there still now. I love New York City.
When was the first time that you ever thought about working in design?
I really have always wanted to be an interior designer from a very young age.… I think it’s because my parents are both very creative people, always doing things to improve our home.… My dad made furniture, we even had a woodshop in our basement. I just had this love for transforming spaces and the process, and I just fell into it very naturally.
Did you learn wood craftsmanship yourself?
Yes! I had all the tools at my fingertips in the shop, and I am still able to use them now, a bandsaw, a tablesaw, et cetera. We also had a sewing machine, so I grew up sewing at a young age — we’d be making window treatments and pillows. I was always transforming my personal space, shifting things around, changing them or painting them. Making them look different. It was just something I always loved to do, and still love it.
A bright living room situated in an Upper East Side apartment.
The corner of a library in a Montana lodge.
A Mediterranean Revival home on the Intracoastal in Palm Beach.
Why do you do what you do, what about art and design draws you into doing it every day?
I love making people’s dreams come true. There’s something so rewarding about helping a client transform their space so it’s not only functional, but beautiful. In terms of art and design, there’s so many artists and creatives out there who are doing incredible work, and I’m being exposed to them, just learning and growing. It’s another reason why I love what I do. Every day is different and I just love that.
Are there any activities outside of work that help inspire you or your work?
Outside of work, I’m always trying to get out in nature, go for a walk or hike — nature is always inspiring. I feel like I can always pull things from that. I love to travel as well, even though it’s been a bit difficult to do so.
Where’s somewhere you love or would love to go?
My dream place I’d love to go is Greece. It really offers everything. It has ancient and historical sights, of course, but also beautiful landscapes and amazing food.
What has been your favorite project to do?
I worked on a project for Jayne Design Studio in Palm Beach. It was my first project as a senior designer for the firm. It’s a Venetian-inspired home on the Intracoastal. The clients were art collectors who wanted to enjoy the views and display their art. We designed and decorated a home that was quiet, clean and sophisticated to balance their collection and the architecture. I loved the home, its location and the clients. I will always have a soft spot for it.
When it comes to designing, what is the most important element you have to remember?
Well one thing that tends to be overlooked, I think, is the ceiling. It’s very important to design from top to bottom, to think about ceiling work, a lighting plan, and overall how it’s treated and how it affects the space.
Is there a piece of art in your own home that you would never consider selling?
Everything is here for a reason, so not one specific piece.
It’s always important to surround yourself with things you love, even if it’s a bit eclectic, surround yourself with furniture and art that you love. When you do that, things just kind of work together. There’s no standard.
What do you want people to take away when they look at your work?
I want people to find it classic and timeless, something that could last forever. I don’t want someone to walk into a space and instantly date it. I want the clients to be comfortable in their home for a long time. Keep things sophisticated.
What advice would you give to someone going into design?
Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves, you have to wear a lot of hats in this industry. Maybe start with an internship, but, all in all, do whatever you need to do to learn.
At left: A cozy breakfast room nook with a custom-designed banquette. Photo by Aaron Thompson.
Above: An outdoor terrace overlooks Dutchess County. Photo by Aaron Thompson.
Arabella by Tempaper. Photo courtesy of Tempaper.
Penchants usually gravitate to the latest and greatest, but one tried and true material continues to be a magical catalyst for lifestyle.
Subtle or bold, classic or contemporary, shiny or opaque, wallpaper has evolved to be design’s magic wand — able to add pizzazz, lend a mellow undertone or inject just the right touch of coziness to any room.
Uniquely versatile, it enables consumers to fashion an interior that captures their individuality. It allows for unlimited customization as well as the creation of personalized living spaces, even adapting for children and pets without compromising on aesthetics. And for every budget from DIY to bespoke, there is a product.
“People want to LOVE their home. They want comfort and convenience, but do not want to sacrifice chic,” says San Francisco designer Jay Jeffers.
“There is a strong desire among consumers for original, authentic design that goes along with their vision for their house,” explains Joyce Romanoff, CEO of Maya Romanoff, a manufacturer of luxury wall coverings.
Ask designers about wallpaper and they invariably chorus, “it’s not your grandmother’s wallpaper,” a truism heard so frequently that it’s almost become a cliché. What is truly amazing is how much wallpaper ends up in homes today, adding a visual depth impossible to achieve with paint. Murals are back. So are individual walls showcased with a stunning texture or print.
And walls are only the beginning of today’s wallpaper story. “Trends indicate that the consumer is looking to personalize space through the creative use of wallpapers beyond the walls. Backings for bookcases, shelves, customized furnishings and ceilings all enter the realms of possibility.
While full room wraps, murals and feature walls still dominate the world of captivating designer installations, these small impact pieces allow for strong style statements without huge pattern or space commitments,” explains Carol Miller, content marketing manager for York Wallcoverings, a manufacturer with 125 years of innovation.
If the mention of wallpaper conjures visions of the flat, one-dimensional rolls common little more than 10 years ago, it’s time to refresh that image. “For many years wallpaper was something many of our clients avoided, but today, it is being rediscovered as an exciting way to introduce the color and patterns many homeowners are now embracing. And there are more wallpaper options out there than ever, thanks to advances in technology,” shares Elissa Morgante, founding partner of Chicago architecture and design firm Morgante-Wilson.
Dating back to decorated rice paper in China as early as 200 B.C., wallpaper has a long history that continues to evolve, with each century, each decade, adding innovations in materials, finishes, production methods and artistry. The most recent reinvention of wallpaper began more than a decade ago, but changes over the last few years have been especially remarkable. Old-school techniques such as block printing and silk screening continue, but the end result seems entirely new. Modern machinery creates precise designs, and new dyes impart richer vibrant hues. Diverse materials from wood and sand to crystals, shells, fibers, beads, even glass add depth.
Left: Jewel Tones; Middle: Metallic; Right: Soft Organic
Wallpaper sample photos courtesy York Wallcoverings.
“Manufacturers can now digitally create the beautiful, luxurious look of expensive hand-painted or hand-blocked papers, or embed wallpapers with materials such as mica, glass beads, or even capiz shells to add interest and texture,” says Morgante.
“Over the last decade, we have diversified our product mix by expanding the types of materials we use. We have focused on making our processes more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable, while maintaining our handcraft and luxury appeal,” explains David Berkowitz, EVP of product development at Maya Romanoff, the largest manufacturer of handcrafted wall coverings in the U.S. Their gallery includes wool, burlap, silk and other natural fibers as well as precious metals and wood. Designs are often intricate, requiring an artisan’s touch. For example, papers in the precious metals collection often employ a time-honored method in which metallic leaves are hand applied to a paper backing with chopsticks. An ultra-modern topcoat prevents tarnishing or oxidizing, allowing for easier maintenance.
Textural papers continue to be in demand. The effect can be rustic or refined. In addition to traditional hemp, jute, sea grass, bamboo and raffia, grass cloth might integrate a variety of other materials. Additionally, says K. Tyler, partner and designer at Morgante Wilson, there are woven papers that look like linen on the wall or a variation of silk.
Schemes inspired by traditional designs (dare we mention chintz) have returned, but today’s execution is nothing like the dingy muted tones of yesteryear. Colors are vibrant, often using multiple shades of the same hue. Botanicals have also blossomed into an important trend, inspired by a growing passion for nature and biophilia. Look for splashy leaves and fronds or impressionist-inspired trees and flowers in soft tones. “I am also seeing a change from the crisp, bold large-scale patterns into a more abstract brush-stroked look. But with some of these styles, you’ll need to be aware you won’t have a side match, and each panel is distinguished,” says Christopher Grubb, president of Arch-Interiors Design Group in Beverly Hills.
Top left: Precious metal inlaid; Top right: Hand-finished wood veneer, Ajiro Fanfare. Bottom: Tribal Print from Ronald Redding Handcrafted Naturals collection.
Photos of wallpaper production and sample by Maya Romanoff.
“There are so many things technology has allowed us to do today. We can do wall covering now that looks like the real material, but it’s made out of vinyl,” says Tony Sutton, owner of Est Est, Inc., an award-winning design firm in Scottsdale. Sutton illustrates with examples of wallpaper made from ultra-thin cork or micro-layers of slate. Additionally, he says, “I can take any photograph and then make a giant custom wallpaper out of it.”
Options today range from rugged vinyls to bespoke designs and hand-painted silks with prices that can exceed $1,000 a roll. “Vinyls are typically less expensive, but super durable. Many of them are rated for commercial use and sold in wider widths,” says Mondi.
“I am a huge fan of using vinyl wall coverings,” says Grubb, who does commercial as well as residential projects. “The color palette is enormous. There are silk and grass cloth looks, wovens, textures and embossed patterns. It’s incredibly durable and easy to maintain.”
“On the other end of the spectrum, you would find hand-painted wall coverings. There are custom made, high-end and truly artisan products that typically replicate a faux finish or mural. In between is where most wallpapers reside. Digital printing is typically very affordable and can often be done on different background materials,” says Mondi.
Design is only part of what consumers want. Sustainability and ease of use are equally important. Upmarket to DIY consumers demand sustainability, which includes efforts to minimize the footprint of manufacturing, observes Miller. Beyond no VOCs, ozone-depleting chemicals or cadmium or mercury, York Wallcoverings also uses water-based inks and coatings and smokeless, non-polluting inks. Additionally, there is a push toward sustainable materials, including cork, natural grasses, leaves, wood veneer, even glass beads made from recycled windshield glass.
Ease of Use
“Now every level and type of wallpaper concerns itself with ease of application and removability,” says Miller. “Even nonwoven unpasted backings used most often by designers remove in full strips.”
A potential game-changer for the industry came with Tempaper, which has revolutionized the concept of peel and stick papers. There is nothing stodgy about these designs, which run the gamut from traditional classics such as chinoiserie to glam to bohemian. They also tap into creations by well-known designers such as Bobby Berk and Genevieve Gorder. The company also offers panels and murals as large as 8 feet by 10 feet. Some designs such as Arabella, part of the Zoe Bios collection, are inspired by artists such as Jean Michel Basquiat.
Founded by twin sisters Jennifer Matthews and Julia Au, Tempaper is an ideal solution for someone renting, as designer Jewel Marlowe discovered. “Recently we rented a high-end beach home in Jamestown, Rhode Island, for 10 months. This was just long enough that I wanted to add some personality to some of the spaces in order for it to feel like home. However, I was very aware that whatever I used needed to be quickly removable. Luckily, I found some beautiful Tempaper designs to personalize and beautify some of our rooms,” she shares.
Birds are flocking to wallpaper this year. Graham & Brownexpresses this theme in Tori Teal.
Photos courtesy of Graham & Brown.
New additions to Tempaper’s line up include designs from Wright Kitchen and holographic decals from Bobby Berk. This year, the company also introduced a collection of vinyl floor rugs.
Tempaper does seem to add a “now you see it, now you don’t” ability to wallpaper’s extensive resume, making it a truly magical material.
Ask any stylist the key to a successful shoot and you’ll find yourself in a conversation about lighting.
More than just aesthetics, it possesses its own emotional language, writing atmosphere and warmth into contemporary interiors. If you or your home are feeling a little under the weather, consider experimenting some with some new lighting. You might be surprised at the life it brings.
To help you get started, Chaplins Furniture has created a shortlist of the best new launches this season…
On the Move
Freed from the shackles of cables, today’s best designer lighting its portable, fun and ready to move. Opt for the comfort of a time-honoured lantern or keep things contemporary with a colourful new BELLHOP.
Ideal for study nooks, reading or outdoor soirees, these versatile luminaires reimagine the intimacy of candles for the modern age.
All clean lines and essential silhouettes, sleek Scandi finds beauty in the bare minimum, offering a serene reprieve from the clutter of contemporary life. Leading the subtle style stakes are the new POST WALL LIGHTS by Muuto.
Thanks to a system of magnetic wall brackets, they can be arranged in striking linear configurations, with 360 degree swivelling bulbs and touch-controlled dimming.
Back to Black
In 2020, designers are experimenting with classic drama, revealing a host of iconic designs in sleek matt-black colourways. Seductive and bold, the new palette feels fitting for this time of year, updating winter homes with a little monochrome magic. A new favorite? The New PH Artichoke in BLACK, a daring design statement if ever there was one.
We couldn’t sign off without mentioning a handful of new retro lights that are making waves in maximalist circles. Boasting everything from 70s fringe through to art deco prints, these funky designs pack a serious punch, with island culture inspiring the creation of the new ARCIPELAGO LAMPS and CONTARDI’S extended CALYPSO collection.
All photos courtesy Chaplins Furniture.
What could be easier to give your own home personality than with the right photo?
Whether it’s a memorable quote or drawing, sophisticated or playful — the right wall decoration can give a home that unique touch that helps further showcase you and your style. When finding the perfect picture, there are some tips that can help to skillfully stage the personality of your space. Katarzyna Kolenda, interior expert and managing director for Dekoria GmbH, reveals which wall decorations suit which type of home decorator and gives tips on how to arrange them perfectly.
Your Natural Habitat
From natural wood to walls of stone, untreated natural materials have once again become the focus of many interiors today. The comfortable, light effect that natural designs have on a room’s style is undisputed and can even be proven to reduce stress, from images of greenery and nature itself to a simplistic color palette of softer greens and whites. So what would go better with an urban jungle look than botanical motifs and photos full of vibrant greenery?
Nature lovers can live out their great passions when choosing frames and photos. For example, canvases that display green or wooden elements give the room a rustic, creative charm. “As [if back] in the forest, the botanical motifs should find their perfect place on the wall,” advises Kolenda.
More than Words
The home is a place where you most feel comfortable, a perfect place to organize your favorite thoughts and feelings and give them a place of importance visually, such as a framed photo of a quote or life motto. If you frame a motto of life on the wall, it not only looks modern but also conveys a message to visitors, whether it’s to “Be brave!” or to “Find the beauty in every day.”
“Statements and sayings no longer just belong in the notebook or on a T-shirt,” says Kolenda. “You can give rooms a new mood in just a few moments while looking calm and trendy, especially when combined with other pictures.”
The Art of Change
Each photo or art piece reveals a lot about the person who puts it on display, whether it’s floral patterns for nature lovers or action heroes for die-hard cinema fans. “When finding the right picture, people should simply listen to their gut,” summarizes Kolenda. With passion comes the potential for change, so do not be afraid to change your art or photo style over time. Like art itself, style is never truly static and therefore has the potential to show growth and change.
All photos courtesy Furniture Choice Ltd.
The color green symbolizes life, renewal, harmony and growth and is set to steal the limelight for the year ahead. With people getting busier and the increase of screen time for work, this calming color is a gentle nudge to unwind and rejuvenate.
Reminiscent of nature and the outdoors, using green in the home also serves as a reminder to be more eco-friendly and sustainable where possible.
Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture Choice Ltd., shares 4 ways to bring this color into the home.
Use green as a feature wall color
Serene and soothing, green makes for a great feature wall color. From darker shades like emerald green to brighter hues like apple green, the color offers many psychological benefits. These include helping to induce relaxation and serenity, as well as giving off feelings of optimism and growth.
Because of its benefits, this color and its many shades can be applied to many different rooms.
For example, home offices can benefit from a green feature wall as it helps soothe tired eyes. Similarly, sage green is a relaxing color that’s perfect for a bedroom feature wall, as it creates a calm and airy atmosphere that’s lighthearted and uplifting.
Some other accessories and textures to consider are jute, leafy plants and candles for relaxation. And where there are windows, choose sheer white curtains to allow sunlight in while maintaining some level of privacy. “The natural light will also cast a lovely glow on the sage green wall and give the color a little pop,” Snowden says.
Pastels are the perfect lighter alternative
On the pastel front, neo mint is set to be very fashionable in 2020. “It’s young, fresh, energetic – great for pairing with an equally sunny color like coral,” says Snowden. “Brighten up a small space or designate separate functional areas by way of color blocked walls.”
Balance the boldness of neo mint walls with simple, neutral furniture like a white bed. Select furniture with slim legs and clean silhouettes to achieve a clean look. Alternatively, layer on rugs and cushions within the same palette for a maximalist approach.
Statements pieces are key
Make a statement for the new year and invest in larger green pieces, such as an elegant green velvet sofa. The sumptuous material enhances the richness of an emerald green and adds depth to a space. To those anxious to make such a bold choice, Snowden notes that “a green velvet sofa is easier to pull off than you might think. It is incredibly chic and luxurious yet laid back enough to suit most interiors.”
Style with brass finished planters or side tables for a lavish look, or matching dark wood furniture for something classic and cosy. “Bold yet versatile, a green velvet sofa is easy to dress for the seasons and set to become a talking point of the home,” she says.
Houseplants are a designer’s best friend
Live green plants are the best accessories for decorating the home in shades of green. Some help clean the air and release more oxygen for easier breathing while others bear fruit for eating. Mix and match plants of different green shades for depth and interest in the home.
“Leafy, trailing plants inject a little wildness for an urban jungle feel while demure little succulents are adorable and easy to manage,” Snowden notes. “Plants are quick additions to the home that make a big impact on our wellbeing – a big focus for 2020.”
With this new year comes change, especially when it comes to home interiors. As 2019 comes to an end, we are looking at trends for 2020 and how our sense of style is bound to change.
From playing with both bold and neutral palettes to prioritizing minimalism and living clutter free, it’s time to celebrate the new year with a new aesthetic. With advice provided by top brands like Alexander Joseph, Pantone, and others, ring in the new year with these expert design tips!
The Bold and the Neutral
As people are becoming more daring when it comes to designing their living space, the use of vibrant home accessories will no doubt be seen far more. Bold colors, such as jewel tones, are a feature of design that we believe will be used increasingly in the new year.
Popular colors that we will be seeing more of include dark red, olive green and classic blue. Classic Blue has been chosen as Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020. This color is ideal for interiors as it symbolises trust, confidence and intelligence among other things.
One of the most common concerns of using bold colors is that it will be overpowering. To help ensure a balanced color scheme, try using a few different colors that complement each other well. This helps to make more of a statement as opposed to a room full of just one color.
If your decorating style is more neutral, there are ways you can add warmth and character to your room, without using color. Using a neutral colour palette doesn’t mean plain and dull, and there are plenty of ways to add even more to a simple design.
Use texture, patterns and layers to add depth to you room. If you have a beige seat, use a fur or knitted blanket for layering, and with cushions, add a pattern, or detailing, such as tassels or fringe, to make the area stand out more.
Plants can also be used as the perfect accessory. Not only do they look aesthetically pleasing, but they are also beneficial to your health. Adding plants gives you a reason to let in more natural light, a great way to boost happiness within any space.
Top photo courtesy Satara Australia. Bottom photo courtesy Alexander Joseph.
Geometric shapes have always been popular in the interior design world. Patterns and shapes are found everywhere, from walls and floors to prints and fabrics – no matter where you shop, there will always be something with a geometric print on it.
An appealing feature of geometric shapes is its diversity. There are so many different possibilities with patterns, colors, shapes and designs. For a funky and unique look, you can use bold colors and a thick-lined pattern on your walls. If you want to stick to a simpler and more traditional interior, patterned cushions work well.
Photo courtesy Wallsauce.com
Vegan Home Décor
Home decor and furnishings are one of the more forgotten about areas when it comes to switching to vegan for the first time, with options from many high end boutiques and manufacturers. Although going to a well-known store may be your first option when buying new home goods, there are many small brands/companies who sell from larger retailers, such as Etsy, who have created new and unique products, due to the increasing demand of having vegan/animal-friendly goods.
It’s not only individuals who have started to switch to a more animal-friendly way of living, as large companies have also made the change. Bentley Motors have recently announced that they will be offering vegan leather in their vehicles, a decision inspired by the increase in veganism in LA and Hollywood. Luxury brand Alexander Joseph will also be using a vegan leather to create bespoke lampshades for their new limited-edition cordless lamps.
Photo courtesy Alexander Joseph.
Clutter Free Homes
A minimalist look is increasingly popular, as people are choosing to have a clean-cut home, rather than a heavily decorated one. With minimalism comes the ideals of staying organized and free of clutter, a task that people find either a joy or a challenge. Whichever one you are, there are always ways to make it easier to have a tidy home.
Make the most of the space you have! If you have a small surface area, use the height of the room. Tall storage is a great way to save space in any room. Clothes rails can be pulled down, small ladders can be secretly stored and using a good method of putting the items you use the least in the harder to reach places, are all great ways of optimizing your space.
Having a place for your belongings gives you a tidy home, and therefore a tidy mind. Knowing where your items are gives someone peace of mind when searching for things in their home. It is well known that a tidy environment has a positive impact on the mind, including significantly reducing stress. After all, a clean house is a clean mind.
Photo courtesy Chaplins Furniture.
From holiday gift giving to to keeping your home’s style fresh in the dead of winter, finding the perfect inspiration can sometimes seem impossible. What if the perfect source was just across the pond?
These collections showcase a passion for design and creativity, all inspired by a European country or the style of that nation. May these sources of inspiration spark your own!
Procook’s Oslo Collection
ProCook’s Oslo range brings Nordic cool to the table this winter, continuing the dining trend for reactive glaze stoneware. Oslo tableware embraces the Scandinavian hygge trend with its organic shapes and cool grey tones with a subtle salt and pepper look. Easily dressed up for more formal dining, the Oslo range is also perfect for everyday use. Oslo includes dinner and side plates which have flat bases and a sharp vertical lip, complemented by gently curved cereal and pasta bowls.
Photo courtesy Procook.
Photo courtesy Reformations.
Living in rural Mid Wales, designer Craig Anthony is surrounded by the shifting patterns and colors of the country’s multiple landscapes, from open moorlands and mountains, to the woods surrounding lakes and rivers. All of this landscape inspires his creativity, which in turn helped him to launch his decorative arts company Reformations, an online gallery of handmade glass clocks and modern glass wall art.
His pieces that boast functional elements combined with highly decorative and abstract attributes. Additionally, many of his works also feature ambient lighting that creates a dramatic display when seen in darkness.
“My work develops organically, a reciprocal relationship between the materials and my imagination,” Anthony says. “Every piece I create feeds the design of the next. Created using paints with a high pigment content on specially prepared glass, and embracing a sense of natural chaos, my work is guaranteed to make a bold statement in any, contemporary setting.”
Started in October 2019, Shekåbba consists of a small, visionary team of people who originate from all over the United Kingdom, all who share a love and passion to introduce others to the people-centred happiness of the Danish home. “We believe that thoughtfully crafting a home environment of warmth and beauty, sets the stage for a lifetime shared with those we love most,” according to company founders Dan and Rosanna Chapman.
Inspiration behind the company’s founding starts within the Danish culture, specifically the Danish homes model which focuses on time with family and friends. To introduce others to such a rich, happy culture, Shekåbba helps customers discover more of Denmark’s gifted home decor designers and artists, to bring an authentic and broadening Danish home experience.
Photo courtesy Shekåbba The Danish Home.
Starting January 25, 2020 is this year’s Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat, associated with such characteristics as wealth, cleverness, creativity and midnight hours.
If your looking to freshen up your interior style, perhaps its time to ring in the new year with some Chinese New Year-inspired design tips and tricks. From oriental furniture and art to luxurious fine finishes, you can find all the inspiration you need to start this new year right!
In Chinese Zodiac culture, Rats are clever, quick thinkers; what a way to reflect that in terms of furnishings! The best way to reflect this choice is through pieces that serve multiple purposes.
Take the Markus Multi-Functional table, designed by Marco Pozzoli, which features a gas-powered structure that lifts and divides, quickly transforming it into a comfortable desk/table with extra bench seating and generous proportions — a superb home-office desk or dining table.
Or even these beautiful Urban Chic nest of tables. The tables slot inside each other to minimise the amount of space taken up when not in use.
At Left: Markus Multi-Functional table.
Photo courtesy Go Modern Furniture.
Above: Urban Chic nest of tables.
Photo courtesy Wooden Furniture Store.
Because of the cleverness of Rats, the year of the Rat is said to encompass wealth and rich fortune. Rich tones, such as reds, deep blues, and metallic shades like gold are perfect color choices to represent this characteristic.
According to Chinese culture, the Rat is also associated with “midnight hours,” which in design terms can be interpreted as the color black, a great complementary shade to the other rich tones.
Whether these colors are utilized in furniture, accessories or painted walls, showcasing these tones throughout will help create a cohesive look throughout your space.
At left photo courtesy Maison Valentina.
Above photo courtesy Orchid Furniture.
Because of their independence and imagination, Rats often display characteristics of creativity and artistic excellence, as well as an affinity toward fine details.
To accompany the overall color palette, pieces should showcase creative design and fine, intricate detailing.
This can be found in a framed artwork or a handcrafted piece of furniture, no matter its style.
At left photo courtesy Orchid Furniture.
Above photo courtesy Artisanti.
Cuba’s capital, Havana, is celebrating its 500th year anniversary in November this year, a legacy that has led to a delightful cultural atmosphere, one that has drifted into the design sector. The style of Havana decor is a wonderful, bright and fun, as well as easy to replicate with a few simple touches. Here are some key trends that easily bring Cuban decor into your home.
Cubans love vivid colors, from bright hues faded under the sun to simple pastels. Ocean-inspired blues and greens marry well with terracotta oranges and vibrant yellows. Use these shades on large walls and contrast with different colored trim.
Photo by MindtheGap.
Weathered and Rustic
Cuban homes often feature textured layers of paint and plaster and rustic furnishings. Use a lime wash paint to give the walls a weathered look and, for furnishings, introduce some texture with chunky wood pieces and rustic metal.
Photo by The French Bedroom Co.
Colorful, patterned cement tiles are a great way to bring Cuban inspired patterns into your home. On the walls, floors, bathrooms or patio, these tiles add interest and contrast in any room.
Photo by Original Style.
Nothing says Cuban style like large leafy, tropical plants. Inside or on the patio, it’s all about volume to create a dramatic lush look.
Photo by Tesalate.
Cuba’s 1950’s cars are iconic and still grace the streets today. Use vintage adverts, car photos and licence plates to add this fun look to your Cuban styled home.
Photo by The French Bedroom Co.
Havana is full of beautiful Art Deco buildings at every turn. Introduce a few Art Deco antiques or replicas as key pieces to fill spaces and to add interest and charm to a room.
Photo by Sweetpea.