KC Home Design
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|KCMag.com: THE FURNITURE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD|
STORY BY Julie Mulhern
Before you overhaul your home décor in the spirit of spring cleaning, local designers want you to know what’s in, what’s old and what will make your home stand out.
New York. Paris. Milan. London. The most stylish cities in the world need to make room for a new capital––the furniture capital of the world, otherwise known as High Point, North Carolina. Each spring and fall, the High Point Market attracts 2,000 exhibitors and 80,000 attendees. Think of it as Fashion Week for furniture. Local designers flocked to Market in October to see what’s on tap for spring design trends.
Patrick Madden, owner of Madden–McFarland Interiors (1903 W. 135th St., Leawood), was one of the Kansas City designers wandering around the more than 10 million square feet of the Market showroom. “Colors that I noticed popping up from showroom to showroom seemed to be what I call the moody neutrals,” Madden says. “These would be colors such as grays, washed purple and a dirty lilac. Using these rich tones combined with very vibrant colors such as chartreuse or banana yellow in very sharp geometric patterns gives a punch of color and pattern to the solids.”
Soft neutrals also are making appearances in colormix reports. But before you paint the whole living room in a sea of beige or taupe, remember to leave room for a color surprise. “A punch of color or funky colors that pop,” is a trend noticed by AJ Cosgrove of Barbara Cosgrove Lamps, an exhibitor at the Market. AJ also noted the importance of whimsy, be it a golden garden gnome or a domino set the size of index cards. “Accessories were huge, be it fabulous colorful pillows, ethnic poufs (think Navajo or Moroccan) or nickel trays with leather handles,” Cosgrove says.
Alan Karlin, owner of Alan Karlin Design (4510 State Line Road, Kansas City, Kansas), echoes AJ’s suggestions. “One response to the economy is that I saw a really big market for lamps, pillows and accessories,” he says. “It’s an easy way to keep all your basic and big pieces (sofas, table and chairs) but spruce them up with the newest colors, styles and trends by accessorizing. It’s just like fashion, where you can update with the jewelry, scarves, purses and shoes.”
Like Madden, Karlin noticed purple, “in all kinds of shades and variations. Everything from pale lavender paired with gray and cream to bright and bold purple mixed with pink, orange, teal and red for an ethnic and bohemian look. I think the real magic of purple is that it is unisex. It’s not just feminine or masculine, so it makes a great selection to use in any room.”
Meg Biram, local blogger for mimiandmegblog.com, saw lots of faux shagreen. “It’s like leather, but it’s from specific sharks and rays,” Biram says. “At High Point, I saw it used on trays, mirrors and surfaces. It’s been around in the luxury world but is now making its way to more affordable items and is dyed in different colors.” Biram also noticed bar carts. They fit into a classic interior, Hollywood glam or even an ethnic-themed design. The carts are a handy bar accessory to make giving guests refills a breeze.
Patterns are designs that people either embrace too much or not at all. This year, think of Charlie Brown’s jersey: Katy Sullivan, owner of Katy Sullivan Designs (1111 W. 46th St., Ste. 40), noticed large-scale chevron everywhere she turned. “Think rugs, lamps, fabrics, pillows and even wall panels,” Sullivan says. Just be sure to put aside visions of mustard and brown. Instead, think bold chevron in preppy royal blue or neutral chevron featuring muted indigo, dove gray and soft cerulean.
Sheen or shine––whatever the beholder calls it––was on display at High Point. Biram noticed gold and silver, platinum and copper in everything from upholstery to wicker to accessories. Madden noticed metallics, as well. “Brass and gold are back in a big way,” he says. “It’s a new splash of the old look, not the ’80s brass. Manufacturers and designers are using mixed metals and patina finishes to add a splash of glitz to a room.”
If sheen or shine is not your cup of tea, says Madden, “Mother Nature is still strong but taking on more of an expressive approach. Think large-scale patterns in textiles and especially in regards to art. Not the perfectly scaled drawing that you would see in a book, but more organic and a flowing interpretation of what Mother Nature is giving us. It is a great way to bring the outdoors to the indoors.” Along those lines, High Point identified birds as a trend, especially in art, fabric and accessories.
Regardless of whether you’re gutting the entire kitchen or just adding a few throw pillows, lessons from High Point can be applied to any home design fancy. “I think design is important in life because your surroundings can help dictate your mood,” Biram says. “It makes life a little sweeter if you are surrounded by things you love and happy memories.”
And maybe a purple pillow, too.