Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Jul 6, 2022
84° F Dallas, TX


Fresh variations on tried and true design themes - that seems to be the tune interior trendsetters are humming this year. Whether you ’re talking fabrics, furnishings or finishing touches, keeping up with the beat of the times and yet, not losing sight of the classics that somehow transcend fad and fancy - that is the challenge of Dallas homeowners and designers. And as Dallas’ design industry continues to evolve, the challenge is met with greater and greater success.

Sophisticated comfort, sometimes dripping with luxury but always with an eye for art and lifestyle enhancement, continues to describe Dallas homes in 1987. The concept is nothing new when it comes to fashion or the cars we drive, but the trend is now taking us home to cocoon-like castles complete with computer technology, classic architectural motifs and cozy retreats from the stress-oriented workplace.

Today’s professionals not only have purchasing power, but are knowledgeable and cosmopolitan in design tastes. Their homes exhibit imagination and show much consideration for more than just the basic creature comforts. Although such is not the case in every household, this bent toward the luxurious life is prevalent in Dallas where people take pride in their possessions, showcasing beloved art objects and collectibles in gallery-like living areas.

Most Dallas designers seem to view trendy’ as a dirty word, echoing one designers profundity that “the trend is to not be trendy!” But commenting in light of specific design styles, a group of randomly selected spokespersons from the Dallas design community felt comfortable voicing their opinions and interpretations of the directions this year’s design market is taking. The following five Dallas interior designer/decorators give their personal trend forecast for 1987 as well as some inside Imes on what’s working for them in meeting today’s design challenges.

Although neutrals and pastels will always wear well in Texas homes. Judy Mander-nach, ASID Associate, says 1987 colors and fabrics will see a continued turn toward European-inspired jewel tones-rich, saturated colors of garnet, emerald, topaz and sapphire. It’s also important for the fabrics to be sensual, touchable in texture, she says, stressing a preference for 100 percent cottons, wools, linens and silks that last and work well in any color. Then, an inevitable result of the love affair between color and texture is the pitter patter of pattern upon pattern. The interior experience becomes highly stimulating as paisleys combine with stripes, florals and geometries. Mander-nach enjoys the mix.

Based on the fact that almost all the new furniture trends, color trends or combinations are adaptations of something in history that worked as far back as the Greeks and Egyptians, Mandernach reasons that certain designs have the kind of staying power it takes to work again by adapting to today’s lifestyles. Using the Biedermeier line as an excellent example of how an adaptation of furniture history is working for us now, Mandernach explains, “Biedermeier (a style of mid-19th century German furniture design) has adapted its pieces to work in a contemporary setting by changing the finishes. They have gone from a brown wood finish to using ebony and Olive wood, giving it another definition. They’ve clarified the lines a little bit and are using steel and glass with just a touch of brass and marble, making their pieces work in our styles today. That’s a trend or adaptation of furniture history that’s working for us now.”

Addressing a perhaps overworked design style and admitting it’s a matter of personal opinion, Mandernach feels that, architecturally speaking, “we have ’post moderned’ the buildings to death. When you begin to see car washes with barrel vaults, you know that its time to go on to another kind of architecture and that is happening in Dallas. We have seen just about as many barrel vaults, triangles and circles that we need.” Mandernach predicts a fading out of both post modern and art deco, with an adapted revival of the arts and craft movement that took place in Europe and England at the end of the last century as well as the resurgence of some Bauhaus pieces.

Mandernach also notices a trend in clients no longer content to surround themselves with things merely functional. Surroundings must be artful as well. She explains, “We’ve gone from the 70s flower children and love beads to people that are using power ties and pearls. I think that probably has affected a lot of the design I’ve done for my clients.”

A pet project of Mandernach’s is one client’s 14.000-square-foot home for which a totally computerized system is being designed to control everything from indoor/ outdoor lighting to security, the sprinkler system to the audio/visual center. “It’s just another phase of wanting state-of-the-art convenience in every facet of your home,” she laughs. “Of course, when you’re building a 14.000-square-foot house, you don’t run to the other end of the house just to turn off the light.” Of course not.

Mandernach stresses the importance of letting the outside come inside in some way, whether it be with statuary or lighting in a certain spot outside. “If a client doesn’t have a very large garden area or any kind of space outside, I always encourage them to do something with outdoor lighting,” she says. “If you walk in a house, you want to be drawn outside, to know there’s something beyond this house. Even if you never go there, you have a feeling that something wonderful is happening there. That can be done simply with one light in the right place. If you have one evergreen tree or bush, put a light on it. People don’t need to see that’s the only tree in your backyard at night. Your mind Just expands what else might be there. There could be all sorts of wonderful paths and gardens.” There are two strong styles of garden and patio furniture on the market, Mandernach adds, one being a carved and weathered redwood line with an enchanting English garden look and the other a very heavy-weight iron. Both furniture lines hail from California.

Acknowledging the trend toward the demand for comfort, Marguerite Green, ASID, sees a growing emphasis on furniture that sits well and can be used in arrangements conducive to conversation. Even in formal spaces, people are requesting comfort, she says. Green also sees a strong interest in antiques and a growing interest in the art of the old masters, historic interiors and historic decorative art. “There’s quite a revival of accessories or appointments that are antique and I think there is even more interest in the grand and fine appointments, fabrics and styles than there has been,” says Green, who’s lifetime pursuit of interior design has followed in the footsteps of her aunt, whom she says was Dallas’ first interior designer.

“Decorating, as we know it today, started at the beginning of the 20th century and it has always been a mix,” says Green, who can’t seem to emphasize enough that “design leaders have always used a design mixture and it’s always been eclectic.”

As Green sees more and more people making knowledgeable selections in stylistic concepts, she is also quick to point out there can thus be no universal color or design trend that is going to work well in each of the design styles. Design decisions need to be based on what’s appropriate to the style one wants to achieve, she stresses.

Green says there are five or six basic styles, and she has modified them with her own vocabulary, starting with the “humble country style, or poor man’s country style, which is intimate, informal and characterized by primitive things and folkart.”

“The aristocratic country style, which is called the villa or manor house style, is very grand and stately and can be as formal and ceremonial as one desires,” Green says. “Just because it’s country doesn’t mean that it is not formal. It’s very ceremonial. Then there is the palace style which is very dressy and totally ceremonial, and the eclectic urban or townhouse style which is always a luxurious and fashionable mix. The international style is clean, contemporary and minimal with an emphasis on art. Mediterranean is another style that is very popular in Texas and California. It usually features white walls and tile floors.” These styles overlap in varying degrees.

An example of the increasing popularity of collecting photographs as art objects, is the design work done by Green in two distinguished houses this past year where the clients had collections of photographs by famous photographers. Green says there are a number of Dallas galleries that present photographs and they’re not all dramatically expensive.

Fabrics are great this year and Green says she can’t think of anything you can’t find in Dallas-right up to the finest of brocades that cost hundreds of dollars. “For quite a while, I’ve done a lot of houses with no curtains at all except for privacy, and now there’s a lot more interest in the elaboration of window treatments,” she notes.

One of Green’s favorite rooms to design is the dining room as it can stand to be more dramatic than other rooms because of the shorter length of time spent there.

“It’s nice for a dining room to have a real gala feeling and be stimulating,” Green says. “Some of the prettier dining rooms I’ve done have been upholstered with decorative fabric on the walls. I did one recently where I printed a special linen that came out. It was several shades of beautiful, soft Chinese red and I had several colors that ran together printed on a textured linen. It was very pretty and we hung oil paintings.”

Green sees a departure from the country look in the kitchen to more of a clean look with maybe a few things that are references to country but not a set commitment to it.

In furnishings, she’s drawn to the finer woods and historic chairs and tables, while in the same breath remembering a beautiful contemporary table she recently had done in bleached oak that was Just “smashing.”

In the bedroom, the bedspread is being replaced by the European concept of using duvets and shams. American linen houses are making more romantic and prettier linens than ever before and at reasonable prices. Along with the linens comes the European look in bedroom furnishings, says Green. It’s a look that can be contemporary European or classic-very quaint or dressy with lots of fussy detail.

Luxury makes its presence known espedaily in the master bath, with lots of marble and tile and mirrors. Exercise rooms and spas are popular in this room where luxury and glamour are definitely the trend.

With an admittedly non-caring attitude toward trends. Dan Nelson, ASID, concerns himself with textures. Not big on wallpapers or upholstered walls, he does like to make sure the texture of the wall is appropriate. I’ve been working lately with the painters on getting the proper texture so it doesn’t look like the north Dallas spider wall,” Nelson jokes. “I like a plaster-looking wall, rather than a sheet rock wall that’s had texture rolled on it, which is better I think for art. Art’s real important in my thing so I’ve been working real hard this year on getting the proper texture for walls. What I’ve been doing lately is putting the texture on and then hand brushing the texture so that it becomes slightly lineated.”

Since he also owns a furniture manufacturing company (the Nelson Line) with his wife Chipper. Nelson has definite opinions on furniture trends, recognizing more of the patinized metals with their pretty bronze and copper patinas. Here again, the magnetism is more towards a textural feeling than anything else. Stone is still going to be strong, says Nelson, because stone is such a good texture and it goes with contemporary or traditional contemporary.

“I hate the world ’eclectic.”’ Nelson bluntly remarks. “Its just a matter of putting beautiful things together whether they’re old or new. I don’t use a lot of reproductions in homes. When I use old. I like to use real old.”

Nelson encourages the furniture industry in Dallas, calling it an untapped market. Although he doesn’t see a major influx of Japanese furnishings, he does recognize the Japanese influence on design in American furniture. “Perhaps because it’s so strong in clothing” he reasons, “and I’ve always said that fashion predates furniture trends by about a year. The Japanese have been very strong for the last couple of years. If you look at Japanese clothes it’s all very natural textile and texture is very important to them.”

Believing Europeans still do the most beautiful fabrics. Nelson admits to having always used a lot of them, adding that Europeans have always been very good at designing and manufacturing furniture that Americans can use. Nelson adds. “The Italians have made the most inroads here, but today all you have to do is look at the auctions to see what is doing well. It’s the fine English furniture that is going at a premium.” There is also something that Nelson wishes would “go away” and at breakneck speed. Quick to make some guarded statements as to whether or not he can stomach “one more country English pine cupboard with a T.V. in it,” Nelson predicts pine furniture has hit its peak and is definitely on the decline. Hmmrnm.

Currently involved in several renovation/ restoration type projects, Lloyd Scott. ASID, predicts a continued trend in that direction with some innovative design treatments sure to result. She sees a lot of returns and repeats in styles and colors this year, perhaps for economic reasons or perhaps for the simple reason they worked so well last year.

“Rather than that old discarding mentality of jumping from one house to another, when you’re staying with one project, you tend to purify and embellish it to make it perform better,” Scott reasons. “People are planning for more longevity, at least for a while. The days of buying a house, fixing it up, turning it over-we’re not going to see that as much for a while.”

Scott senses more and more acceptance of contemporary style in design, simply because there are more people coming out with new contemporary things. Because there’s been such an influence of contemporary styles in the office, people are becoming more comfortable with contemporary. At the same time, Scott notes that contemporary furniture has become a little more human, softer, either with actual cushioning or with texture added to it, or rounded edges. “I’m also seeing early contemporary pieces being reintroduced that were perhaps discontinued 10 and 15 years ago,” Scott says. “It’s some of the early pieces that were done by Marcel Breuer and Mies Van der Rohe.”

Although fashion is always going to be trendier just because the investment is more in interior design, fashion design does bleed through in terms of what colors and fabrics are used in interiors, says Scott, sup-porting the fact that we will continue to see chose jewel tones this year, as well as more color combinations. “Instead of straight combinations of black and white with red, You’re going to see black and white with red and pink and royal blue and green,” she adds. “Also, the faux finishes have really taken off. Not only were they once applied to pieces of furniture or to textiles, but now it’s walls and mantel pieces and floors.”

Scott makes note of one trend that will have a direct impact on future business and just how that business will be conducted within the interior design industry. Predict-ing noticeable changes in the days to come, she explains how designers are coming lead on with some pretty heavy legislation his year. “We’re going for licensing,” she says. “Right now we may be affiliated with an association, or we may be independent, but we are not registered by the state and we are not licensed and as a result of that we are basically not recognized. The archi-ctural community is lobbying for legisla-on that will say that any interior design me m the state, and this is a national move well, must have an architect’s seal on it. either we all have to become architects, rich is something I have no wish to do, or have to be hired by an architect or we have to hire an architect on our staff. The is that it’s two different businesses, pending on what happens, we’re going just registering. We’ll see what happens in there.”

oining the ranks of these self-proclaimed “trend busters,’ Cyndy Severson, AIA Associate, is “definitely not a (ad designer. I dont believe in fads, not even in fashion,” she claims. “I think they’re great fun and wonderful to look at, but I think when you’re investing the kind of money that you invest in for interiors, that you should buy real good quality-classic things.”

Severson has clients from all economic brackets, but even for those with limited interior design budgets, Severson strongly suggests the purchase of a few really wonderful pieces. “If they like contemporary design, go buy the classical pieces,” she says. “Go buy the pieces that are in the Museum of Modern Art because they’re not ever going to go out of style and will look good with anything! If you like traditional, go buy really good pieces-fine antiques. 11 you can afford period pieces, go out and purchase one good period piece, whether it’s French or English or whatever,”

Severson shows enthusiasm for a number of products on the designer’s horizon. One thing is Japanese furniture. There are a couple of new lines right now in Dallas and that’s very new, “The Japanese are like the Italians,” Severson says. “They’re incredibly artistic and where in the last few years we’ve seen lots of wonderful Italian design with Memphis and that whole trend, I see that trend going out. The other thing I see going out is post modern architecture. They’re still doing it, but to me it’s over. Although its nice to look at, it. doesn’t work very well at all because the decor becomes more important than the pieces themselves.”

“The Japanese design is very sophisticated, with real clean lines. The Haitians also had clean lines but then they went wild with all the coloring and craziness. The whole sense of what the Japanese do is very understated, serene and simple. The pieces are all black lacquer and for the most part contemporary, although they’ve brought back a contemporary version of the Windsor chair.” Another of the Japanese pieces that sounds dramatic is “a wonderful coffee table that’s real low, with simple black legs and a black leather top “

One thing that Severson likes to see in dining rooms, no matter what the decor, is a mixture- a really contemporary table with old chairs or vice versa. ’I think that’s a lot more interesting than your basic Queen Anne dining room set,” she quips, “I also have a thing about round tables. Everyone should have a round table m their dining room if they entertain – it’s the only way you can get all those people around to talk. People Just dont do round tables and they’re the best! Since most dining rooms are built long and narrow, you have to plan ahead tor a round table.”

Severson says tile is the magic ingredient in the kitchen-traditional as well as contemporary. It’s a great item no matter what you do with it; giving color and texture that is compatible with any design, lending itself to today’s cleaner, more function-oriented kitchens.

Fabrics and colors? Severson feels strongly about real fibers. One hundred percent cotton, linen and wool are still the best fibers to use, no matter what, she assures, adding that they last, look better and feel better. “I wouldn’t trade cotton sheets for all the polyester in the world.” she says. “And I don’t care that they cost twice as much, because they last twice as long! Leather, linen, cotton velours, all those textures feel great and they’re real long lasting.”

Somewhat of a trend for at least the last three houses Severson has remodeled, has been getting all of the walls clean and white.’ That can be anything from a light gray to a soft ecru, for the purpose of creating a clean background for beautiful pieces.

Severson stays architectural on window treatments, something she’s always done as a big fan of plantation shutters. She also reports major low voltage lighting is becoming more affordable. It gives a very high quality of light corning from a small source. All the galleries are going to low voltage and a new lamp called a quartz lamp which gives off an ideal white light-excellent for showing the true colors of whatever is on display.

Speaking of true colors, the general concensus entering into 1987 seems to be that no matter what style is chosen, this year’s interiors are colored with comfort and that should sit well with just about everyone.

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