My Favorite Design Trends 2016

I've wanted to do a post on some of my favorite 2016 design trends for a while now and I'm happy to say I've finally gotten around to it. Perhaps I should call this post "my favorite designs moments", or "design trends that are still going strong", or perhaps even more fitting "design ideas that I like that may or may not be actual design trends" because at the end of the day, these are things that inspire me and influence my style in a tremendous way. 

I think what's really important that's been developing over the last couple of years is that people want their spaces to be a true reflection of themselves. No longer do we want generic homes - god no.  Builder basic? Gross. Cookie cutter? Don't even say those words! We want to add flavor and personality - even if that means doing an all white space (and yes it's all about texture).  I love that normal human beings (not just designers or those with a creative flair) are pushing themselves to experiment. People are finally opening up to different styles, even if it's outside of their comfort zone. We are no longer safely decorating for the sake of simply making sure it's going to work for -- you know where I'm going - "re-sale".  At least I like to think so. It's as if we have unlocked this little design box that we've lived in for a while, and now, finally, we are not scared to be a little different. And you shouldn't be because who wants to be boring anyways?

I'm a bit weary of people that don't embrace change. I know it's easy to get stuck in ruts, but I dare you to casually toss aside what your preconceived notions are of what HGTV has shown you to be "on trend". Sorry, I probably played a somewhat very small role in that, but on shows we have limited budgets and are told to cater to Suzy (or Linda, or Tammy), who's middle aged, shops at Homesense (nothing wrong with Homesense, but you get the idea) and lives somewhere -- and nowhere -- in Sarnia or middle America. Sorry Suzy, Linda and Tammy, but yellow chevron stripes and barn board are just not cool anymore. And "pops of color", especially in teal (unless done well), are dreadful. Ladies - I beg you, please open your eyes, and listen...these awful style decisions are just made for mediocre television shows, based on product availability, fast turn arounds and tight budgets. And often bad design taste from junior designers, who are probably working their butts off but not getting paid very well.

Now that I've offended most of middle America, and probably all women over forty that live in small towns in Canada, and of course, anybody named Suzy, Linda and Tammy.., let's continue, shall we?

How would I define my style? Well that's a good question. With an extremely hard and convoluded answer.  I like simple forms so I gravitate towards Scandinavian and Mid Century shapes. But I also like playful and happy touches so I'm not afraid to play with patterns and colors. And then I also love antiques and introducing unexpected pairings.  I suppose I like layered spaces that are contemporary (the most dreaded style word because it means so many things to different people BUT the true definition would be what's currently on trend, not the sterile and cold spaces you are probably imagining), modern and eclectic, but spaces that are also fun, fresh and playful. Basically, I'm a minimalist at heart who loves things.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's take a look at some design trends. I know there are a million more that I could have added but I'm a one woman show here, and this took forever!

UPDATE: I only got around to doing half of my intended design trends, pop by soon to see part two!

BLACK STEEL FACTORY STYLE WINDOWS AND DOORS - This style has been around for a long time and I don't see it slowing down anytime soon. It's both modern and classic, and works with any interior. I love the idea of using it to separate spaces within the home. Keep in mind that this look works best with light colored floors, white walls and lots of natural light. Absolutely gorgeous.

OMBRE TABLES - This is certainly an interesting trend, but I really like it. The fluid ombre effect gives each piece a cool edge. This is the Proenza Schouler of your wardrobe or Aquazzura of your shoe closet. 

ARCHED DOORS / DOORWAYS - To help offset all the hard edges we are seeing in interiors of the moment, softer forms, often found in the architecture of the home, give spaces a sense of warmth and history.

DEEPLY VEINED MARBLE - I love marble. I understand mining it is not the best for mother earth, but it's so pretty. And I like that I'm seeing more variations in what people are choosing to install in their kitchens, bathrooms and hallways. I love classic white marble, but there are so many other gorgeous kinds out there that add so much more character. Don't be afraid to experiment.

UNEXPECTED PAINT JOBS - I love things that are unexpected. And using paint to add more dimension and interest to your home is a cool and completely affordable option.

PUNCHY YELLOW - Yellow makes me happy. It takes a bold person to add a really strong yellow to their home. This is not soft and mellow country yellow, but yellow on acid. If using this kind of yellow, try to keep other colors on the down low.

CANED FURNITURE - Caned furniture has never been viewed as sexy. You don't often go "if only I had a caned furniture piece in here it would make the room".  It makes me think of grandpas or libraries and a nice wool cardigan over a gingham button down.  And yet it has a special place in my heart. Most caned furniture is both timeless and classic. Today, caned furniture has had a subtle but fresh update. Lighter woods, upholstery and leather additions have re-imagined these forms, allowing each piece to either become a showstopper (take a look at the geometric high back chair below) or an instant classic, like the long bench, which would be a welcome addition to any entry.

ROUND MIRRORS - Circular mirrors are having a bit of a moment. Not sure why, maybe because square mirrors have been dominating the home for so long. I love brass and gold, so those are the ones I gravitate to the most. These days, you can now find large circular mirrors at a majority of retailers like CB2 and West Elm.

SLEEK BUILT IN STORAGE SOLUTIONS - I have been fascinated by built ins ever since I can remember. Most homes in Europe had them and I always thought that they were so elegant. I can still recall the entire wall of built in cabinets we had in our apartment in Athens, it was the most beautiful thing ever. Today, build ins are quite sleek and minimal, with few even having any hardware. It's a seamless look that is essential if you hate clutter and want to tuck most of your things away.

SHADES OF GREEN - Green is a beautiful color in any shade. Forest green has such a regal quality, while lighter shades of mint feel cool and fresh.  I love that all kinds of green are popping up in kitchens, furniture and even flooring. I may die of green envy any day.

WINDING STAIRCASES - I find winding staircases to be so sexy. They add plenty of movement and are often the highlight of any room. I mean, have you ever been inside a home that had a winding staircase and it wasn't the first thing you were drawn to? I didn't think so.

PATTERNED TILE - I know, patterned tile has been around for literally ages, but then Pinterest came along and all of a sudden it's the next big thing. Bold geometric shapes have taken the design world by storm, but there are still plenty other ways you can add patterned tile to great effect. I will do a whole blog post on my favorite pattered tile when I can, but in the meantime, enjoy these beauties here.

BLACK AND GLASS DISPLAY CABINETS - This is a great example of a trend (see black framed steel windows and doors above) that's been filtered down and made more accessible. Those wanting to bring a touch of the look can do so by adding a black framed glass display cabinet to their kitchens, living rooms or even bedrooms.

SHEEP - Yes - sheep! If I had the option, I would probably have a strange animal object in each room in my house (on second thought, we do actually, but they are rather quite small and unobtrusive). Unfortunately, I don't think my husband would allow it, nor would my dog appreciate it or find it cute and hilarious. I've been loving the quirky addition of sheep in interiors for a while now, it makes such an oddball statement and a unique conversation piece. Design is supposed to be fun and it doesn't get more fun than sitting on a flock of sheep in your living room.

PLAYFUL LIGHTING - Who ever said you have be serious about lighting? I like adding a dose of quirk to any interior, and the lights below prove that playful lighting is sure to bring a smile to your face every time you turn on the light.

LIGHT WOOD KITCHENS - I've wanted a light wood kitchen for forever. I don't know what it is about it that speaks to me, but they just makes me feel calm and peaceful. Design trends come and go, but whether it be in oak or birch, these kitchens prove that natural wood will never go out of style.

NAKED FURNITURE - This trend is sort of tied to the one above. I remember years ago when it seemed like Ikea was the only retailer putting out any light colored furniture. I think naked unstained, birch or oak furniture has had a bit of an uphill battle over the years, not wanting to be slotted into that Ikea mindset, of cheap and cheerful design. Not all furniture needs to be stained - even if your grandma thinks so.

QUIET BATHROOMS - When it comes to bathrooms, simplicity truly is the ultimate in luxury. I love clean, zen type spaces where you can escape the hustle of the every day and take a quiet moment to yourself. I especially love the idea of limiting your materials here -- you don't need a lot going on to really appreciate the thoughtful design behind all of these bathrooms.

The Hip World of Artisan Crafts Featuring Ariele Alasko

If you like unique, handcrafted, charming yet skillfully designed products, you are probably already a fan of Ariele Alasko. And if you are in the design world and religiously follow design blogs or read magazines like DesignSponge or Kinfolk, and you've have never heard of this amazing woodworking artist, you probably live under a rock. For the rest of you, I will give you a pass and hope to inspire you to start following her on Instagram (and join over 369K people that do) immediately.

I stumbled upon her work a couple of years ago, during one of those Instagram binges where one thing led to another, and I ended up following over 20 new feeds. Probably not the kind of binge most people are used to, but in my world, yeah, things got craaaazy.

Besides her immense talents in woodworking, Ariele is a great photographer who knows what her style is and can really speak to her audience. You like teepees? Check. Beautiful horses? Check. Desert scapes? Check . Rustic flowers? Check. Cute Brooklyn apartments? Check. I could go on and on but you get the idea. She also features her new creations as well, and if you don't spot these goodies and scoop them up right away, chances are they will be sold out by the time you look at her website.

Ariele is sculptor by trade, who gathers discarded strips of wood from old NY brownstones, cleans them up, and uses the materials to create intricate patterns that grace tables, headboards, and wall hangings.  In addition to her furniture pieces, she excels at hand carving spoons, trays, and serving bowls, and has inspired many more artisans to start working in this field. But we all know who started this trend. And unlike some of her imitators, you can see the love and time she spends on each item, ensuring it will be a treasured family heirloom hopefully passed down for generations.

Couple of things to keep in mind if you want to score one of her pieces - she doesn't do wholesale, so you have to buy direct. But like I mentioned, if you don't jump at the immediate opportunity to buy it as soon as you spot it on instagram, good luck my friend.

Staying Hydrated in Style

When I'm on the hunt for a new product, it's never as simple as walking into a store, presenting my debit or credit card, and going home to unwrap my new package. How I wish I was one of those people, but no, unfortunately, I spend weeks looking for that perfect item, reading reviews, weighing props and cons, finally making my purchase, and then agonizing over my decision. My husband thinks I'm crazy, and he's probably right, but I can't help caring about all the little details. Why on earth would I spend money on something that I don't like? 

One of those types of purchases was our coffee maker. Ours was a basic old model, and when it finally broke down, we desperately needed a replacement. After weeks of research, of which we heavily relied on our Nespresso machine for our daily caffeine fix, I finally decided on the Krups KT600 Silver Art Collection Coffee Maker and I've never looked back. The thing is sexy, sleek, and the wood handle really warms things up. Literally.


But sometimes there are purchases you make, in the heat of the moment, that you instantly regret, or perhaps, you were gifted with something that is practical, but aesthetically, ehhhh. While I adore my SodaStream (received as a gift for a show I worked on) for fizzing my basic tap water on a daily basis, we really could never part, as soon as I saw the gorgeous Yves Béhar designed version, I wanted to chuck mine right out. Unfortunately, as much as I like beautifully designed kitchen products, I hate wasting things just as much. So for now, my old model sits beside my Krups coffee maker and they still hang out. But just imagine how good my Krups coffee maker would look sitting next to this guy.

Now onto my real dilemma. I'm looking for a new water filtration system, and I don't want a simple Brita. Nothing wrong with Brita....but I've never been a huge fan. I hate putting in those Brita filters, they always leave a residue and when you put them in they constantly pop up and down, the plastic handles are super annoying, and no matter what model I've tried, there's always something awkward about the spout. Are they even BPA free now?

We currently have a glass carafe from DWR, which came with it's own Binchotan charcoal stick. It's a beautiful design, and I love that it's glass, but unfortunately it doesn't hold very much water, and since you have to wait at least 6 hours for the charcoal to filter the water it's a real time suck.  So for now we've taken out the metal piece that fits inside and use it as a regular table carafe.


I wish I could do an under the sink model, but since we rent, that idea doesn't quite pan out. I've found a couple of doable ceramic models, but they would take up a massive piece of real estate on our already tiny countertop. I really thought that I might have to settle for something I didn't want, but then magically, I found the incredible Soma Water Pitcher. It comes in two different shapes and size, and really, I have to ask myself, how have I never seen it until now?

It's immediately wooed me with it's simple design. The only thing I would change about it is that it's plastic, and while shatter-proof and BPA free, I really wish it was glass. Granted, the smaller size is glass, but I know we would get tons more use out of this one. For the Soma pitcher and one filter (which is made out of coconut shell carbon and a plant-based casing), the price is a measly $39 US. If you want enough filters for a whole year, you can upgrade to a package that includes 12 filters for $149.

But since nothing is ever easy, I was really dismayed to learn that they don't ship to Canada. Yet. Apparently. That's what they have up on their website.

Come on Soma, hurry up! I need you in my life! I will happily be your first Canadian customer, so please, figure it out!