Renovation and remodel project planning is in full swing in spring. Inevitably, we turn to the icing on the cake, the stuff you see at the end, the pretty: interior design.But it’s important to remember that form and function play a huge role in the final result—the feeling. Our interior designer, Stephanie Morris uses those big three—form, function, and feeling—to guide all of her design decisions. For example, A mudroom can be designed beautifully, but if your kids just throw their jackets on the floor instead of hanging them in a closet, something is not functioning for your family. Solve that problem—is it open lockers with easy-hang hooks instead? —and allow the finishes and design to shine. With those guidelines in mind, here are a few of the things that have sparked Stephanie’s inspiration for 2020 design:
Wood You?A strong frontrunner on the wood front is pairing oak flooring with white oak cabinets, including a couple of projects she’s working on right now. “We can blend with the current floor,” she says—for a stunning result. The takeaway? Don’t write off white oak if you’ve got oak flooring! And then there’s walnut, which came roaring back a couple of years ago. Stephanie has added it to her classics list. “Walnut is just plain beautiful, period. It will never—or should never—go away.” Bring in nature—that will never go out.
Thick and ThinChanges in manufacturing and in materials have brought about a change in how we think about finishes, Steph says. Larger slabs of stone or manufactured stone as opposed to smaller tiles are starting to take center stage on fireplace fronts, backsplashes, bathrooms, and more, in both matte and polished finishes. Speaking of tile—Stephanie says that grout, which was once considered “a swear word” is now seen as a tiny, important detail with tons of choices. “Now it’s an accent! There’s gold grout and contrast colors,” to choose from. And then there are countertops, once dominated by thick stone slabs. Advances in manufacturing have improved manmade materials and clients are beginning to embrace the options that thin, manufactured countertops can offer. “We think that because things are a certain way forever, that’s the way it is. For example, we always thought countertops had to be thick, but they don’t. Now we have thin kitchen counters with well-manufactured products. It’s fun to play with different styles after being forced to think a certain way for so long.”
Get on the Color WheelAll-white has taken over Instagram feeds and Pinterest for years and shows no signs of slowing. “I think white will always be classic and never ever go out. White reflects light, making things happier and lighter,” she says. “But if we mix it with warm stains, then it makes a timeless look and you’re not stuck in a white world.” Plus, she says, there are hundreds of whites. “Maybe you want yellow-white, gray-white, one with a little blue in it. A variation of white can set the tone for traditional, transitional, or modern style.” But for those craving something more saturated, color is making a comeback. Still many are opting for jewel tones that can act as a neutral backdrop. Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy is still hot, as are a bevy of forest greens—which work on the wall as easily as cabinets or other painted furniture. Benjamin Moore also has an excellent online tool for picking colors and getting inspiration for your project. Those who are fearlessly committing to color can select appliances in a rainbow of shades, from Smeg to Lacanche and more. And geometric or paisley tiles can add pattern and color, too.
The Elements of ArchitectureArchitectural details can really set a room apart. Stephanie is extra excited about repurposing commercial use pieces in residential homes. Three-dimensional wall panels, such as those from Solberg, grills and room dividers from Tableaux, black metal open shelving from Elements, inside-out pocket doors (such as barn doors) and more add visual interest and new twists on old favorites. Many of these items are still available only “to the trade,” which means that Steph is our go-to guide on the latest.
Make It YoursAt the end of it all, don’t let re-sale guide your opinion, Steph says. “I don’t believe in re-sale. There are key things every house should have like a tub but it also depends on the style of the house. You look at it, clean it, and pay for it, so why be concerned about strangers at some moment in time? Live today. Enjoy memories with family. Love your house. Make it important to you, not a stranger.”
Get good design within your walls now. Schedule a call to consult on your pending project. (952) 746-7817
Written by Scott Rajavuori on March 24, 2020