The only two granite choices for your kitchen that are not dated

Before I get to the two granite choices that won’t date your kitchen I want to thank everyone for all the supportive comments that were left on last weeks blog regarding our mission to downsize. It has been more work and more stress than I could have imagined but we are slowly inching our way to getting our house purged of stuff and ready to put on the market. I’ll be sure to update within the next couple of weeks.

Those of us in the design world have seen dark granite falling out of favor for the past several years. I would even go so far as to say most granite counter tops are now perceived as dated. In my part of the country (New England) many homeowners have grown tired of being bossed around by the busy, dark, speckled stone and are incurring the expense of ripping it out and replacing it.

dark speckled granites

dark speckled granites

So what’s trending now? When I attended KBIS (kitchen and bath industry show) a couple weeks ago it is clear that quartz is the new top choice for counter tops. Quartz is an engineered stone that is a composite of natural quartz and a man made resin.The advantage of quartz is that it can mimic natural stone such as marble or soapstone but doesn’t have the same issues with staining and maintenance as those softer stones. Quartz wears like iron and never needs to be sealed. It’s also quieter than granite and the chosen pattern is consistent throughout the slab.

Quartz counter tops

Popular Quartz counter tops

Vendors I spoke with at KBIS told me their most popular sellers today are white, cream, soft gray and charcoal colored quartz.

Silestone suede finish

Silestone suede finish

Silestone introduced a new finish at KBIS called Suede which was so soft and luxurious. Much more natural feeling than the high gloss and shiny granite counter tops of the past.

There is one big drawback to quartz and that is the price. It is a luxury product and although I have several clients desire it, they had to change plans once they received a price quote. Unfortunately, quartz can be double or even triple the price of granite. So what should you choose if you want stone but your budget only allows for granite? There are only two choices I recommend and that is white or black/charcoal granites.

White and black granite is as timeless as you will find and unlike the bossy speckled granite, you won’t be limited in picking a wall color that works with your pink, peach, gold or brown granite. Just as with quartz, you can also choose a leather or honed finish for a softer look and feel.

black and white granite

Arctic white and absolute black granite

Jet mist is a dark charcoal colored granite that I think is a beautiful choice. In fact, it looks very similar to the Silestone quartz that I showed above.

Jet Mist honed granite

Jet Mist honed granite

Different vendors have their own names for their white and black granites but these are the only colors I recommend if you are choosing granite.

So, whether you are renovating or building new, take my advise and steer clear of the speckled dark granite. I guarantee you will tire of it and if you decide to sell, buyers don’t want it.

 

The seven top trends at KBIS 2017 in photos

It’s funny how everyone comes away from a big design show like KBIS (the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) with a different perspective and different thoughts on what is new or trending. I am a color lover so I obviously am going to be drawn to all the color I see. Also, as someone who is beginning the process of downsizing I was also on alert for space saving products. I guess I’m not alone because small and compact seemed to be one of the overall themes of the show. I spoke to many vendors and most shared the same point of view that Millennials don’t want the big houses and the Boomers are dumping theirs (Like my husband and I).

So in no particular order, here are the seven top trends I spotted at KBIS 2017 in photos..

1.COLOR: Color was a big story this year. Skittle colored faucets, ranges and furniture were crowd pleasers and Instagram darlings.

color at KBIS

KBIS 2017:Linda Holt Photo

Here’s the thing though about these brightly colored appliance. I asked reps from multiple booths displaying colorful appliances if they were they selling many of these colorful appliances? The answer was overwhelmingly “not many”. What color are they selling? Stainless steal. Sorry to burst your bubble folks but although everyone says they LOVE color and the fun colors draw show goers into the booth for Instagram photos, very few homeowners are putting these colorful appliances into their homes. Is it fear that they will tire of it? Is it the expense? Probably both but I think after attending KBIS now for the past three years I have come to the conclusion that these colorful appliances are little more than expensive marketing pieces. So for the time being it looks like stainless is still king.

2. Say goodbye to all white kitchens: I didn’t spot a single all white kitchen while at the show. I heard someone say they attended a “how to get published” seminar and the editor of one of the top shelter magazines told the audience their magazine is no longer going to publish all white kitchens. Wow…harsh but I guess since that is all we have seen for the past five years it takes some tough love to get folks to move on. So what was on trend for cabinets at KBIS? Lightly stained wood with visible grain.

KBIS 2017 Linda Holt Photo

KBIS 2017 Linda Holt Photo

3. Mixed color cabinets: Besides stained wood cabinets, mixed color cabinets also had a very strong presence at the show. White with blue, white with black or gray and even white with stained wood.

two toned cabinets

KBIS 2017: Linda Holt Photo

4.The return of the statement back splash: Oh PLEASE say it ain’t true! This is one trend I am not a fan of. I always say to my clients, “nothing dates a kitchen faster than a statement back splash”. The vendors at KBIS though embraced the statement back splash it in all it’s busy glory! Similar to the mind set of no more all white kitchens, I think this is a revolt against the ubiquitous subway tiles. In looking at my examples below there is not one back splash I would want to live with for more than a few months (okay weeks).

backsplashKBIS

KBIS 2017:Linda Holt Photo

5.Black finishes: Black was very on trend last year at the show and I saw even more of it this year. Matt black faucets, hardware and even sinks.

Black finishes at KBIS: Linda Holt Photo

Black finishes at KBIS: Linda Holt Photo

6. Organized kitchens and baths: It seems all of North America is on the decluttering and get organized band wagon…I mean EVERYONE! We are stressed and pressed for time and having a well organized kitchen and bath with a place for everything is a luxury we are willing to spend on.

oraganization

KBIS 2017:Linda Holt Photo

Drawer insides that resemble jewelry boxes and pull out shelves that eliminate the need to fumble around inside the cabinet for pots and pans. Clutter has become a dirty word and the trend in kitchens and baths is to have a place for everything and clear clutter free counter tops.

7. Wall mounted vanities and toilets.This trend was impossible to miss. I have never seen so many wall mounted vanities and toilets.

KBIS 2017: Linda Holt Photo

KBIS 2017: Linda Holt Photo

Getting the vanity and toilet off the floor allows for a more open feeling and with the trend toward living in smaller homes, more visible floor space gives the illusion of a bigger space. (Note too the black toilet, sink and fixtures in the bottom right photo)

KBIS 2017: Linda Holt Photo

KBIS 2017: Linda Holt Photo

So there you have it my friends. A summary of seven trends I spotted in the day and a half I was at the show.

What’s your favorite or least favorite trend?

 

Friday’s Photo: Is it wall art or wallpaper?

While visiting the London design shows in September, I discovered so many inspiring and innovative products. One product that caught my attention was this 3D art form from King Kong Design based in Barcelona Spain.

King Kong Design merges traditional manual paper folding techniques with the latest in digital technology to produce objects in a variety of design fields, mainly architecture, furniture and lighting.

moduuli

King Kong Design: Linda Holt Photo

The design above is called MODUULI and can be used as 3D wallpaper or wall art. It was created from individual modules folded in to shape from Canson paper.

Depending on the designer’s vision and the budget, MODUULI can be used as a single piece of decorative art or used to cover an entire wall. Everything is custom to size, color combinations and applications.

I thought it was fabulous. What do you think?

Four fabric trends from the London design shows

As a decorator one of the things I like most about design is choosing fabric. I think most designers do because it’s one of the fun parts of design. Fabrics can be the inspiration and starting point for the whole project.

While I was in London with DesignHounds we attended four different design shows and invariably it was the fabrics that caught my eye. Some of it was really unique, some of it was traditional but with fresh colors and some of it was just plain “out there”.

Here is a sampling of four trends I saw at the London design shows.

  1. COLOR: Rich saturated color was on display at many of the booths and I noted Orange is still going strong.
Backhausen: Linda Holt Photo

Backhausen: Linda Holt Photo

Bluebellgray (show below) displayed brightly colored water color fabric and you can purchase their bedding through Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

Bluebell Gray

Bluebellgray

2. Graffiti inspired fabric has been trending for awhile now as I wrote about here  and I saw plenty of it at the London shows. One of the largest displays was Blackpop.

black-pop-2-red-decorex

Blackpop is a UK company that creates “fabric and furniture that punk up the rich tapestry of the past to create opulent richly figured patterns”.

Blackpop: Linda Holt Photo

Blackpop: Linda Holt Photo

Although the designs are contemporary the fabrics are traditional opulent velvet.

This settee from Dare studio reminded me of an artist’s drop cloth.

Dare studio: Linda Holt Photo

Dare studio: Linda Holt Photo

Below is one more example from Arley House of digitally printed graffiti inspired  fabrics.

Arley House: Linda Holt Photo

Arley House: Linda Holt Photo

3. Kaleidoscope inspired. Besides graffiti inspired fabrics I saw a several booths with kaleidoscope inspired fabrics. Printed on soft velvet the colorful fabric below is from up and coming textile designer Ewelina Mlynarek for Designers Atelier.

I have memories of owning a kaleidoscope as a kid and this fabric drew me right in.

kaleidoscope-summer-design

The designer told me the fabric was indeed based on a Victorian kaleidoscope.  Here it is below shown on a chair.

kaleidoscope-chair

Linda Holt Photo

More kaleidoscope inspired fabric was spotted at Ana Romero. This one almost has a kaleidoscope meets snake skin vibe.

Ana Romero: Linda Holt Photo

Ana Romero

4. Traditional fabrics in updated colorways. After seeing all the wild statement fabrics it was refreshing to come upon the fabric company Moon. Established in 1837, their traditional Scottish wool plaids and tartans were displayed in updated and fresh colorways.

Moon: Linda Holt Photo

Moon: Linda Holt Photo

Moon: Linda Holt Photo

Moon: Linda Holt Photo

4. Technology. At the London shows I spoke with several designers who use the computer to aid in the creation their fabric designs. One designer has taken computer aid a step farther and has the computer determine the design!

BeatWoven is a fabric company that creates fabric based on a computer program that translates and then weaves musical notes directly into the fabric.

BeatWoven fabrics :Linda Holt Photo

BeatWoven fabrics :Linda Holt Photo

Each of the fabrics is woven from a different symphony or song. The fabric below is Tchaikovsky’s composed works from The Royal Ballet’s  “Sleeping Beauty”.

1-pasdedeuxthesleepingbeautytchaikovsky

and this one below was created by translating Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2

8-rachcushions-2b

Pretty cool…right? Imagine how perfect this fabric would be for a musician or music lover.

No matter what your taste in fabrics, there really was something for everyone at the shows. Which one is your favorite?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fromental: High end couture for the walls

While in London with DesignHounds, I had the pleasure of getting up close and personal with Fromental wallpaper. In case you haven’t heard of it, Fromental is pretty much the gold standard for exquisite, luxury wall paper.It is high end couture for the walls.  Hand printed, painted and the top of the line is hand embroidered as well. Obviously it’s not for everyone due to the expense but for those with the budget and the right space it is truly jaw dropping.

While the DesignHounds toured the showroom, everyone was “oohing” and “ahhing” over the large sample panels. It really was a treat to see the artistry that goes into creating such exquisite paper. Here are a few of my iPhone photos from the show room.

Fromental embroidered wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental embroidered wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Can you imagine the skill and patience it requires to hand embroider wallpaper? It was mind boggling to me. Here is a close up of one of the birds.

Fromental detail:Linda Holt Photo

Fromental detail:Linda Holt Photo

Look at the detail in those tiny embroidered flowers.

Frometal :Linda Holt Photo

Frometal :Linda Holt Photo

The orange branches and flowers on a charcoal background was so striking. It almost seemed to be glowing from within.

Fromental embroider wallpaper:Linda Holt Photo

Fromental embroider wallpaper:Linda Holt Photo

A slightly more “affordable” option is to skip the embroidery and choose the hand painted only papers.

Fromental hand painted wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental hand painted wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Still as beautiful and because it is all custom the designer can specify any colors and pretty much any pattern they can dream up.

Fromental hand painted paper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental hand painted paper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental is known for their exquisite chinoiserie wallpapers but they have many other designs and options as well.

Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

A similar wallpaper to the one shown above was applied to a door in the showroom. I thought that was such a great application. It had a big impact and since you would not need very much it would be something us “normal folks” could do. Here is a close up.

Fromental applied to a door:Linda Holt Photo

Fromental applied to a door:Linda Holt Photo

Below is a new design I saw last week while at the Boston Design Center. The iconic chinoiserie pattern but in a fresh blue colorway.

Fromental panel:linda Holt Photo

Fromental panel: Linda Holt Photo

After visiting the Fromental showroom the DesignHounds visited the Goring Hotel in London where Fromental was commissioned to create a very special wallpaper for the lobby. It was not what I had expected and was thoroughly charmed!

Goring lobby: Photo from Fromental website

Goring lobby: Photo from Fromental website

The owners of Fromental treated us to champagne while explaining the design concept behind the mural paper. The website sums it up better than my memory.

“Classical, idiosyncratic and quintessentially British, Fromental’s scenic portrays an Arcadian landscape enlivened with an anthropomorphised menagerie of wild and exotic beasts, some of which represent members of the Goring family past and present. Entertaining portrayals include Goring founder OR with second in line OG as walruses in bejewelled splendour; the family’s favourite pet pigs engaged in the Battle of Trafalgar, as well as legally trained Goring MD David Morgan-Hewitt as a gorilla in a judge’s wig.”

Within the wallpaper are allegorical animals that all have special meaning which the staff will gladly explain to curious visitors. It was such fun to walk around trying to find as many hidden animals as possible.

Details from Goring Hotel Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Details from Goring Hotel Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Then if all this fabulousness was not enough, the DesignHounds headed over to The Dorchester Hotel to the China Tang restaurant. Besides being treated to an amazing five star meal, the restaurant is covered in…you guessed it, Fromental wallpaper.

China Tang at the Dorchester: Photo from Fromental website

China Tang at the Dorchester: Photo from Fromental website

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of these beautiful papers as much as I did.

 

 

 

What were those designers thinking? The Hampton Designer Show House

Before I was in the design business I would visit show houses and look at the rooms simply from a personal perspective. If the room happened to be decorated according to my taste and done up with colors I liked I would declare it a hit. If it was anything else, I would immediately dismiss it as ugly. I was quite the critic!

Now that I am educated to the design process and I have friends who participate in show houses, I look at the rooms with a totally different perspective. Such was the case at last weeks Hampton Designer Showhouse. Some of the rooms were simply beautiful and appealed to the masses. They were decorated in soft soothing colors with tasteful accessories that were appropriate to the Hampton location.

Design by Kate Singer, Linda Holt Photo

Design by Kate Singer, Linda Holt Photo

Some of the other rooms were very well done they just happen not to be my taste. Ironically it is those rooms that I give the most thought and attention to. I try to guess what the designer was thinking. I want to know what their inspiration was for the room. There are so many moving parts and decisions that go into creating a show house and sometimes the designer has to use what is available even if it’s not their first choice. I learned this when I participated in the One Room Challenge which was a virtual type of show house.

So no matter if I was a fan or not, I studied the rooms and here are a few of the common threads I observed within all the rooms of the Hampton Show House.

TEXTURE: This was my number one observation. Rich luxurious textures were a major theme within the house. I keep hearing opulence in interior design is making a comeback and many of the show rooms proved this to be true.

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

Giant over scale chunky throws were in many of the rooms adding luxurious layered texture as well as thick textured carpets, fur, grass cloth covered walls and sumptuous fabrics. This room, designed by Melanie Turner, was my favorite room in the house. The fabric she chose for the window treatments was riddled with holes which added even more texture to her all white room.

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

pillows

Get out your giant knitting needles and get to work!

How cool are those giant cable knit pillows against the faux bois wallpaper?

Mabley Handler Design, Linda Holt Photo

Mabley Handler Design, Linda Holt Photo

The master bedroom designed by Mabley Handler was a sumptuous retreat filled with luxurious textiles as well as a shiny silver dresser, sleek leather chairs and textural grass cloth clad walls. Notice too the statement chandelier which looked like a wedding cake. The layers hanging down are fabric. I loved this room and had to use restraint because I wanted to touch everything, lay on the bed and roll around on the rug.

The black and white bedroom below designed by Elsa R. Soyars was interesting. Not only was it filled with lot’s of different textures like the sculpted rug, a velvet bench with a fur throw, linen and silks, it also featured a black macrame hammock directly next to the bed. This was one of those instances where I would have loved to ask the designer her thought process on the hammock (as well as her placement of a life size deer on the opposite side of the room).

Elsa R. Soyars

Elsa R. Soyars

STATEMENT LIGHTING:Big statement lighting is nothing new but this show house had some very unusual pieces.

Notice the big chunky macrame table skirt adding even more texture to the mostly all white room. Speaking of white rooms…the majority of the walls in the show house were either painted white or covered with grass cloth.

Marie-Christine Design, Linda Holt Photo

Marie-Christine Design, Linda Holt Photo

Another primarily white room with a chunky throw, pillows, a thick textured carpet and a geometric statement chandelier.

Statement lighting was in every single room including a powder room so small I couldn’t get a photo of much more than the light and a tiny glimpse of the ceiling and wallpaper.

Steven Stolman design, Linda Holt Photo

Steven Stolman design, Linda Holt Photo

LACK OF BRIGHT COLOR AND PATTERNS: With the exception of the powder room above and the master bathroom (below) there was very little color or pattern in the house. I would say the master bathroom though had plenty of both color and pattern for the whole house!

Tilton Fenwick, Linda Holt Photo

Tilton Fenwick, Linda Holt Photo

I will leave you with my final image of the kitchen. Just like the proverbial wedding gown at the end of the fashion show, the kitchen is the room that set the tone for the whole house. White, bright, beautiful and a wonderful mixture of textures.

Bakes and Kropp Design, Linda Holt Photo

Bakes and Kropp Design, Linda Holt Photo

Bakes and Kropp, Linda Holt Photo

Bakes and Kropp, Linda Holt Photo

So there you have it. My take on the 2016 Hampton Designer Show House. I hope you enjoyed my virtual tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is this new fabric trend fabulous or hideous?

Recently while in at the Design Center I saw another designer with her client flipping through the newly introduced fabrics. I heard the client say, “EWW… that is hideous, who on earth would want that in their house”? I was obviously curious what fabric had repulsed her so as soon as they left I went to check it out. It’s either a love it or hate it fabric pattern but I am seeing more and more of it so I am declaring it an official trend. It is street art or graffiti printed fabric.

Street art fabric from Pierre Frey

Street art fabric by Toxic for Pierre Frey

 I laughed to myself because about five years ago I had plans to create this exact same thing. I spent a week in Barcelona and was fascinated by all the graffiti in the city. Truth be told, I became obsessed with it (we don’t have much graffiti in Boston). In my eyes some of it was masterful works of art. The colors and patterns were amazing. Once back home I sent off some of my graffiti images to custom fabric printer Spoonflower and had a few samples made. I had planned to make pillows but life got busy and I dropped the ball and never went forward. Plus, there was a question of copyright issues with the street artists and it began to become complicated.

So to see “my idea” a reality was somewhat thrilling. High end fabric house Pierre Frey has partnered with world renown graffiti artist Toxic to design their street art fabrics.

Graffiti artist Toxic

Graffiti artist Toxic for Pierre Frey

Pierre Frey graffiti fabric

Pierre Frey graffiti fabric by Toxic

Romo fabrics has partnered with another artist named Kirby. They had a pillow on display in the showroom.

Kirby Design for Romo fabrics

Kirby Design for Romo fabric

Kirby’s designs are much less “gritty” than Toxic’s with the use of bright happy colors.

Kirby Design for Romo

Kirby Design for Romo

Duralee has introduced their version and although it is a bit less graffiti like it has that random paint spatter feeling.

Duralee

Duralee

This one below is actually paint splatters.

Duralee

Duralee

This trend is not just seen on fabrics. Walls are also showing up sporting large coverings of graffiti as well.

Webster and Co. Boston Design Center

Webster and Co. Boston Design Center

Even fashion is embracing the street art look.

Graffiti leggings from Etsy

Graffiti leggings from Etsy

So before you dismiss this trend, keep an open mind and let me share where I think this street art look would look fabulous, and where I think it would be hideous.

FABULOUS!

A hip loft with either a graffiti accent wall or drapery..fabulous!

A graffiti pillow or two in a teen’s room or a young child’s room depending on the pattern…fabulous!

A graffiti wall papered powder room…fabulous!

A play room or basement with an accent wall… fabulous!

A wallpapered ceiling  in the right room…fabulous!

A “statement” chair…fabulous!

HIDEOUS!

All four walls covered (unless it’s a small powder room)…way too much!

A country home..the look is much too urban

A traditional suburban home…same as country home

Leggings (unless you are under twenty and adorable).

SO…I would love to hear from you…fabulous or hideous?

Oh, and just in case you are curious, here are a few of my graffiti images from five years ago in Barcelona.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Some would obviously transfer better to fabric than others but the dream is still out there. Too bad someone beat me to it!

 

 

 

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