The holidays are for kiddos, so let’s talk about what is happening in children’s rooms. What’s not happening: pink and blue balloon curtains with the occasional cow jumping over the moon. Happening: friendly, sophisticated rooms that are adaptable.
The best designers are creating rooms that grow with your child, and the colors are fabulous: deep blue, cool lavender, bright orange, and apple green. New York architect Charles Muse says, “Let your child have as much open space as possible and give him a voice in furniture placement. Be sure the baby’s room will eventually accommodate a toddler table and chairs, a regular-sized bed, a desk, outlets for future computer connections (that Etch A Sketch will morph into a laptop before you know it), and a sturdy low chest of easy-to-open drawers to encourage independence. A child will take more pride in his room—maybe even keep it neat—if he has a sense of ownership.” Bravo, Charles, except for that “keep it neat” part. (Charles is child-free.)
Another (not so) common sense point: Ergonomics are for children, too. I asked Sandra Edwards, head of CHILDESIGN, the nonprofit advocacy group that pioneered this flexible approach, for her take on children’s furniture. She likes multifunctional, multigenerational furnishings, such as Techline’s storage/ desk unit that holds toys or office papers, seen here in her latest design demo project. Edwards also urges parents to invest in a good ergonomic chair that can be adjusted as a child grows. If you’re thinking holiday gift, this is a brilliant idea.
On to grown-up matters—like design innovations I love. KnollTextile’s creative director Suzanne Tick created quite a stir when she encapsulated KnollTextile’s famous fabrics in resin. The result is Imago, a revolutionary surface that combines the qualities of glass, fabric, and high-tech resin. Like frozen fabric, Imago changes its appearance with the amount and direction of the light cast upon it. This material can be cut, drilled, even heated and bent into soft curves or hard angles. I am thinking tabletops, marker boards, screens, wall-coverings, lampshades—even vases.
Do you have your floor medallions yet? Whether it’s stone, mosaic tiles, or a simple hand-painted design on a rich hardwood floor, floor medallions are it. (I see them in foyers—everywhere—but I also love them in covered terraces and master baths.) In truth, I love tiles, period. Not since pre-Depression days have we seen tiles used in such abundance and so well. My personal favorite: old-time relief tiles, using ceramic designs in master baths, kitchens, and fireplace surrounds. Walker Zanger has oodles of relief tiles from rustic Balinese designs to rich European carved moldings to organic ceramic accent pieces. Waterworks has a unique blue-tinted glass tile, which I love; their Oystershell is one of the few whites available in glass tile. (If you want color, no problem: There are 27 colors available in several sizes and trim with shiny or sandy beach finish.)
Just as fashion has gone to leather coats, vests, and skirts—as in, you can’t get away from it—so, too, has the home furnishings industry gone to leather, as in leather tiles. Amazingly beautiful, a leather-tiled room is a versatile base for either traditional or contemporary looks. Use in living rooms, music rooms, studies, home theaters, and executive offices. Look to Edelman Leather out of New Milford, Conn., as a leader in leather floor and wall tiles. Promise me that, whatever your home project, you’ll consider something unusual and creative in tile.
Finally—and I know they warned us about flashbacks, but this is ridiculous—remember Mom’s avocado kitchen? It’s ba-a-a-ack. This time it’s been translated into “dusty avocado.” Now playing in kitchen accessories, fabrics, paint colors (see Benjamin Moore’s pale avocado, 2146-40) and “cool” contemporary chairs. Shame on you, trendinistas! And just around the corner: Danish modern. I’m serious.
Until next time, ciao.