Photo by Devin Bannister
Everything from our actions to the art and décor we place in our homes is an extension or expression of ourselves.
Inviting a visitor to our home allows the design style we choose, our color palette, furnishings, and most importantly our art choices to speak for us. Immediately, aspects about you are revealed: your aesthetics; your experience; your awareness; your world.
Speaking of art choices, there are myriads of them.
“There is so much to select from, and it can be very confusing and frustrating, which is why it’s imperative and helpful to have a professional guide and educate you,” says George Hakimeh, owner of Outrageous Gallery, in Austin. “The average layman is not expected to have his finger on the pulse of the gravitating moods and latest explorations in the art world.”
Photo by Devin Bannister
The trends and media in the art world shift as quickly as those in society.
“Those creative little artists out there are always changing the program; jumping out of the box, coming up with something new,” says Hakimeh.
According to him, that “something new,” and the medium of interest today, is glass.
So forgotten for centuries, so fragile, so functional – it is no longer restricted to a fruit bowl or a flower vase, no matter how colorful or artfully crafted it may be.
No person who has wandered into an art gallery in the past decade sees glass the same way anymore. It has finally jumped off of the dining room table and exploded into fulfilling its own creative potential; it has come into its own.
Glass is made from a variety of methods and techniques, and offers everything that is wonderful about art: vibrant color, amazing light movement, infinite shaping possibilities, three dimensions, alluring textures, and transparent layers of mood.
“We are drawn to glass with a hedonistic wantonness,” he says. “Our environment must have it!”
Photo courtesy of Rookwood Pottery
Once a household name among the wealthy, but crippled by the Great Depression and nearly forgotten, Rookwood Pottery has begun to rise from the shadows and into the spotlight.
Everyone enjoys a good comeback-against-all-odds story. Rookwood’s rise to fame is filled with monumental victories. Perhaps the most extraordinary, easily missed fact, is that it was founded in 1880, in Cincinnati, Ohio, by Maria Longworth Nichols, and was the first U.S. manufacturing company to be owned by a woman.
She had a vision and passion for pottery. However, the international art community did not share her sentiments, believing pottery to be inferior. This negative appraisal only succeeded in intensifying Nichols’ resolve, as she set out to prove otherwise. A few years later, she silenced the skeptics by taking the Grand Prize at the 1889 Paris Exposition. This launched what has become known as the American Art Pottery Movement.
Rookwood Pottery became so recognized that everyone who was anyone had at least one Rookwood piece in his or her home. It began appearing on the shelves of high-end retailers across the nation. Even museums started requesting pieces for their permanent collections.
“Nobody did or does anything quite like it,” said Janet Bottomley, owner of Antique Floors, Inc., in the Dallas Design District.
A couple of years ago, you may have walked into a room and been struck odd by the fact all the walls were white except for one, which popped with color. This décor trend, often referred to as an “accent wall,” quickly caught on, and is popular among homeowners and interior designers.
What accent walls do for a space
“It helps to anchor and define a separate space within a larger space,” says Komal Sheth, owner of Spaces Designed, Interior Design Studio. “With a large, open plan layout in a home, an accent wall can help define a smaller area, be it a reading area or a dining space.”
An accent wall can also help to highlight a certain piece of furniture that is against a wall versus displayed on it, such as a bed, entertainment center or a fireplace.
Even stand-alone divider walls can be used as an accent wall that helps your eyes transition through a space.
“It’s how we, sometimes unknowingly, as people and deliberately as designers, look at a space when we enter a room; we are looking at a space and seeing where should you anchor your eyes, and where your eyes should go,” she says.
But, much like a pattern that goes from pleasant to busy, accent walls are in danger of becoming more of an eyesore. According to Komal, avoid that décor nightmare by balancing various finishes (i.e. paint, wall covering, tile or a faux finish) that complement each other and the space.
“Change it up by using different techniques throughout your home,” she says. “When accent walls are overused their power is lost in too much movement, texture and color, which result in them competing for the eye’s attention.”
When it comes to purchasing artwork for a home, owners and designers alike far too often approach it in the same way they approach buying the sofa, the chairs, the table and selecting the paint color. As these things are subservient to the overall design concept of the room, so they believe is the choice of artwork.
Amanda Still, director and interior designer, Hill Design + Gallery, rejects this approach. Instead, she advises her clients to become art “collectors,” not art “consumers.” According to Still, the fundamental difference is this: for an art “consumer,” artwork is an afterthought; for an art “collector,” artwork is unique, central, substantive, personally defining, individualistic, self-expressive.
“I want to focus on encouraging my clients to become art collectors rather than art consumers,” she said. “This means, thinking from an art collection standpoint, creating an interior that accommodates the fine art instead of having the space dictate purely decorative, mass produced pieces.”
Transitional style seems to be in the spotlight, when it comes to the feel of homes. Clients are desirous of a comfortable yet a classy look that negates the more museum-type showcase of a more traditional home.
“When it’s all said and done, everyone wants their space to be customized and unique and really say something that they can identify with,” said RSVP Design Services Principle Designer Rhonda Vandiver White.
The texture in the reclaimed wood wall treatment gave an opportunity to take a rustic finish and show how modern details could prevent it from feeling "lodge-y"
Life is full of defining moments. For Designer Denise McGaha, it was when she told Dallas Renovation Group CEO Ralph Stow, “yes,” to tackling “The Remodeled Home of Tomorrow” project at the 2011 Texas State Fair. Because from it, due to the unexpected twists and turns, and the short deadline of the project, she envisioned and created her new line, “Designing with a Deadline.”
Originally, “The Remodeled Home of Tomorrow” was going to take on the form of an actual little residence between 1100 – 1200 square feet. Architectural and exterior plans were in place. But in September, McGaha received a phone call, while she was in New York that those plans had fallen through. The house was now going to be built under a tent with just the sheetrock to make up the interior.
Motorized shades. Luxury at home everyday. The blinds have been lifted to reveal that these window treatments have quickly become quite the prevalent trend across the homeowner board.
In past years, motorized shades have primarily appeared in and appealed to the luxury home.
“We have seen a huge shift, in the market, where consumers at all price ranges are asking for motorization. They want it for their ‘high use’ areas, in shades and in draperies,” said Curtain Couture Designer Mary Ann Young. “Right now, it’s all about the little luxuries for families. That’s really important to them. It’s more expensive, but they’re willing to invest. Even if it means sacrificing in other areas, they want their every day lifestyle to be convenient.”
Interview with: Paige Sowden
National trends in interior design have trickled down into the rug industry bringing originality, vibrant colors, and eco-friendliness to rugs. “Designers are no longer looking for rugs to simply fill a space. They are craving bold, artistic statements, to brighten a room from the floor up”. Paige Sowden of Interior Resources, a Dallas based flooring company most known for its unique rug inventory, discusses the most outstanding trends in the rug industry.
Interview with: Dennis Teague
There are several ways to redefine a space in your home. From contemporary to traditional, designers are finding creative ways to mix the two styles to form a unique, eclectic space. Dennis Teague of McGannon Showrooms in Dallas discusses this latest movement in home design.