No-Rules Design

Refresh your home with the hottest trends for spring.
By Susan Peck

When it comes to our interior decor, we live in an exciting world where it’s OK to mix primitive with modern, mid-century with minimalist and everything in between. And there’s no better way to beautify and energize your life than with a professional home refresh.

The best design trend for 2016 may be forgetting about the old rules and creating a beautifully appointed living space that’s uniquely and personally your own.

We asked some interior designers extraordinaire to weigh in on the top five design trends that should be on your radar this spring to ensure a home transformation you’ll adore:

White on White

Both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams selected a version of white for their Color of the Year 2016 — (Simply White and Alabaster) — demonstrating how wonderfully white interplays with light and textures, creating a layered beauty.

The look of the moment is toward warm, enveloping whites that are more soothing than crisp, yet still fresh. The trend for this color palette cleanse is growing as the need to find a quiet simplicity during our daily chaos rises.

“White is timeless, and we’ve had more requests for white interiors recently than ever before. White walls show off art work and don’t limit you in changing decor and being adventurous in other parts of the interior,” said Michelle Mio of Rariden Schumacher Mio Interior Design, Birmingham. “The white on white enables light to bounce around beautifully, which makes it a wonderful environment to live and work in.”

What’s different now is that all-white does not mean the same white because variations add a rich depth and visual appeal. White can go from stark white to creamy and beyond to the palest blue-gray. This can apply to everything, including wall color, furnishings and cabinetry.

Artisan And Natural Elements

Serba Interiors, located in the Rail District in Birmingham, houses a beautiful collection of hand-picked and curated antiques and artisanal pieces from around the world to give an interior a more personal signature.

“Clients seem interested in owning one-of-a-kind pieces that aren’t out of a catalog or a retail store,” designer Kevin Serba said. “I combine my expertise and passion for art and antiques when I go on buying trips to get interesting and extraordinary pieces that will reflect their unique style and personality.”

Jimmy Angell, principal designer at James Douglas Interiors in Birmingham, says he’s drawn to working with luxurious natural textures and elements.

“I love working with a neutral palette and a mixture of textures and fabrics like linens, jutes, cottons, wools and cashmere. My favorites now are nubby, heavier fabrics and thicker yarns for the furniture upholstery and accents, coupled with floor coverings made of broadloom and natural-colored wools that aren’t dyed,” Angell said. “It’s stunning to pair neutrals like camel, beige and oatmeal with inky-colored blues, muddied grays, smoky lilac or a classic black and white.

“I try not to be trendy and instead craft interiors that will exude taste for generations to come. People want practical interiors. They want the ‘wow factor’ but also something they can really live in. They want a home that they can entertain in and that works for a family with kids and pets,” Angell said.

Luxe Laundry Rooms And More

With creative planning and a little organization, secondary spaces in your house can become a showcase of style and design. Laundry rooms can include customized cupboards and cubbies, statement backsplashes and pet grooming stations that add to the beauty of your home.

“A well-designed laundry room can become a multi-functional statement room that includes a craft area, built-in TV and custom cabinetry,” said Amanda Sinistaj, designer at Ellwood Interiors in Birmingham.

“Mudrooms used to be just a bench and coat hooks, but now that space can be filled with built-in cubbies and shelves and beautiful design elements. You can also make your powder room a standout with a large statement mirror, bold wallpaper with patterns that are bigger than ever and over-sized tiles as large as 30 by 30,” Sinistaj said. “The only caution is that it’s important to use the expertise of a professional eye when you are manipulating scale in these ways because it can go very wrong, very quickly.”

First-Class Kitchens

As the main hub of the house, today’s kitchens are expected to out-perform in both style and function. Robert Zebrowski, kitchen designer at Extraordinary Works, Troy (and Wixom), shared trends that will define kitchen design this year: Fusion of traditional and contemporary styles, furniture-like cabinets and islands and muted color schemes are just a few of the things that are sure to take the lead.

“The quintessential kitchen in 2016 will focus on convenience and luxury for families,” Zebrowski said. “It will include state-of-the-art appliances — like steam ovens, built-in coffee machines, hi-tech communication stations and wine refrigerators.

“Also many premier kitchens are including double appliances — two dishwashers and two or three ovens — that all perform differently. If you entertain a lot or are an avid cook, these give your kitchen the ultimate upgrade.”

Zebrowski said you’ll see more streamlined designs in which the kitchen converges with the home’s primary living space. “It will become part of the main living space even further, by using hidden and integrated appliances. And those who are choosing to keep tables in their kitchens — pub tables and counter-height tables are trendy choices for 2016.”

Bringing The Outdoors In

With the increasing popularity of outdoor entertaining spaces, one of the most stylish interior design trends is to incorporate outdoor fabrics inside your home. We’re talking table linens, decorative pillow covers, window treatments, rugs and more.

The big draw is they are generally easier to keep clean than indoor fabrics. Most outdoor fabrics can be wiped clean of a spill simply with some soap and warm water. For this reason alone, outdoor fabric is a wise choice for a family with young children or those who enjoy entertaining. You don’t have to sacrifice a bit of style, as outdoor fabric designers like Waverly, Link Outdoor and Bella Dura are bringing you the same stunning choices you have from interior fabric designers. NS

For More Information
Ellwood Interiors Inc. – 360 Hamilton Row, Birmingham, (248) 703-7157, ellwoodinteriors.com

Rariden Schumacher Mio – 231 S. Old Woodward Ave., Suite 219, Birmingham, (248) 723-9160, michelle@rsminteriors.com

Serba Interiors – 2233 Cole St., Birmingham, (248) 593-8411, serbainteriors.com

James Douglas Interiors – 2007 Cole St., Birmingham, (248) 593-1630, jamesdouglasinteriors.com

Extraordinary Works – 1700 Stutz Drive, Suite 93, Troy, (248) 669-1300, ewkitchens.com

Ask The Designer  (See quiz on page 122.)
Linda Shears
Linda Shears Designs Ltd.
1538 Wrenwood Drive, Troy, (248) 642-5473, linda-shears.com

Interior Style Trends: What’s In, What’s Out, What Should Go:

Rosy metallic: Rose-gold metals were big in 2015, but, alas, the rosy-gold hues may have been a fad that’s already seen better days. The good news — all other metallics are on-point and fabulous.

Sisal and jute: These two types of fiber rugs may have overstayed their welcome in home decor. They don’t feel soft or cushy on bare feet and are not very child or pet-friendly.

Granite: With stunning alternatives like quartz, ceramic, concrete, marble and wood, granite is no longer the go-to for counter and cabinet tops.

Faux Paint: Natural materials are in; faux finishes are out. A solid coat of paint in one of the new colors like Pantone Colors of the Year 2016 Rose Quartz and Serenity — a warmer embracing rose tone and a cooler tranquil blue — are a better alternative.

What Should Grow:

Sustainable Design: Turning toward a greener, cleaner and a more planet-friendly lifestyle, nothing needs to be wasted when you repurpose items, find vintage pieces and shop eco-friendly without sacrificing style.

Retro designs from ’50s, ’60s and ’70s: In minimalist style — using sculptural and textured designs that add character and interest to modern interiors.

Open living spaces: The social kitchen is connected with the backyard. The lovely dining space opens up into the patio — it’s another year where outdoors will meld with the interiors. Try a glass wall to turn the view into the real showstopper of the living room or try to bring in more natural light to give the room an open feel.

Black metals: No longer sidelined as the metal for overwrought outdoor furniture or bed frames, the decidedly unflashy material is appearing as simple hardware, bathroom fixtures and even flatware. Black metal is also being blended into wood and glass.

Layering rugs: Mixing rugs of different palettes, textures and sizes to create a visual symphony that anchors your room. On-trend are Scandinavian designs that work with both contemporary and traditional interiors.

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