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WHY TRENDY COLORS WILL KILL YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN

I was trained as a fine arts painter.  As a painter I learned that how colors go together deeply affects the way one feels.  I also learned that artists that used the trendy colors and looks of the day never stood the test of time, no matter how popular they were at the moment.

The same is true for quality interior design.

Why is this?

BUT EVERYBODY’S DOING IT
It was while I was in art school that I first recognized that our modern world is a color controlled world.  I later discovered that it all comes down to marketing.  Why are all the cars red or muted green this year?  Why are so many items of clothing dark brown and dark blue?  Why does the color of the shirt I purchased last year look old?

Believe it or not, it’s all  due to a grand worldwide color and fashion marketing scheme that feeds itself off of its own change.  It is self-perpetuating and it has to be for companies to make back the massive money they spend.

DO YOU REMEMBER THE SEVENTIES?
Avocado green appliances?  Avocado cars!  Avocado clothing, carpet, fabrics….!  What was going on in the Seventies? People actually loved the way that stuff looked. Now they mock it.

Trendy colors are a trap.  Most people use them because they subconsciously want everyone else to see that that they are part of the current movement. This is no accident. It’s called branding. The companies that sell these products subtly guide your taste. It happens to all of us.

But beware once you buy into it.  Trends are already on their way out the moment they come in…by design.

You see, most fashion and colors are created by fashion forecasting companies.

When I worked in retail design, I learned that popular fashion and color results from a huge, well coordinated marketing endeavours.

In today’s world, most fashion doesn’t come from some cool kids down the street that show up in coffee shops wearing ethnic accessories.  Even the big time fashion designers are given a general color palate and an outline of the fashion direction for two years down the road.

This phenomenon goes well beyond clothing. The same process holds true for everything that involves color choices, which includes high end interior design.

If you buy fashionable clothing, that’s one thing.  Clothing is relatively inexpensive as compared to quality interior design.

That’s why instead of letting external trends determine which colors you choose, it’s essential to first look inside yourself.

CHOOSE COLORS FROM YOUR CORE
At the core of every person there is a true authentic self that is not influenced by trends or fashions. I always encourage my people choose colors for your home from this place.It’s not always easy. For example, when a color is “not popular”, finding a fabric for your sofa or chair often becomes more difficult and making it all fit together requires more creativity.

It’s well worth it. Because your core is consistent, choosing your colors from that place will make your home timeless rather than trendy.

I would love to hear your thoughts on color trends.  Tell me what you think by posting your opinion in the Comments Section below.


DESIGN TV WITH STEVEN G.: THE 1610 APARTMENT TOUR

On this episode of Design TV With Steven G., we give you an inside look of one of our most recent home design projects.

Let’s get started…


DESIGN TV WITH STEVEN G. – EPISODE 10

Steven G. shows us a piece of the kind of Art Deco furniture that Miami interior design made popular and ties it into his latest lesson that “it’s never black and white in quality interior design.”

5 THINGS GOURMET CHEFS CAN TEACH US ABOUT DESIGNING A HOME

From salad girl to bus girl, hostess to server, bartender to dining room manager, I spent just shy of a decade working in the restaurant industry before beginning my career as a high end interior designer. Now I assure you, these positions were not always the most glamorous, but each one influenced how I approach my work as a designer today.

In fact, there’s a lot anyone making decisions about their home design can learn from today’s top gourmet chefs. Here are a few:

1. START WITH A RECIPE
Even the best chefs start with a recipe. The same can be said for interior designers. When a chef begins his decision making process, he usually starts by asking himself: What kind of dish will I prepare? Beef? Seafood? Pasta?  Is it traditional? Is it eclectic with a hint of Moroccan, etc.?

Similarly, a high end interior design professional will always start with an overall concept of where the design is going. Is it traditional luxury? Is it contemporary? Concentrating on general direction first before getting into specific details makes sure you stay on track later when things start to get hairy.

No matter how involved you are with making design decisions about your home, you should take a page out of these professionals’ cookbooks. If you walk into a design project without a basic guideline, you can expect the results to be all over the place. It should be the designer’s job to keep the project moving forward, but you’re the one who has to live there.

2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO VEER OFF COURSE
Gourmet chefs recognize when magic is happening and follow its lead. An unexpected hunch may lead to an ingredient that takes the dish to a whole new level.

Don’t be afraid to do the same.

Once you and/or your interior designer have established a plan, don’t feel like you are bound to it. Even if you think you know what you want at the beginning, keeping your mind open to all the possibilities will let your project evolve and progress organically.

If you’re making interior design decisions for your home, learn to think this way.

3. COMBINE VERY DIFFERENT FLAVORS
Some of the most memorable and flavorful of dishes combine ingredients from different cultures and styles of cuisine.

I happen to live with a chef. Sometimes he works magic with flavors that I never in a million years would have thought to put together.

Now as a high end interior design designer, it is fun and exciting for me to tap into my creativity by combining pieces and styles that “the rules” say we cannot combine. This is the beauty of so many things–cooking and design included–that there really are no rules.

Taking a chance and being bold with our flavors and choices can often result in a quality interior design that cultivates all the different aspects we desire.

4. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT HOW IT LOOKS
Gourmet chefs create individual works of art that come out on a fantastic plate and are presented beautifully before being savored by each of us. I know I have certainly seen dishes so beautiful that I actually felt bad wolfing them down. I didn’t want to ruin the presentation. What a shame! Because when it comes down to it, food is really about eating.

This is a concept we deal with in the high end interior design world as well, but we must learn to take a different approach. Some interiors look so picture perfect that you feel you wouldn’t want to even sit down on any of the furniture for fear of ruining the look. This is not real life.

When making decisions about home design, remember it’s where you’ll be spending a good deal of your time. As such, it has to be comfortable and provide a safe and happy atmosphere for you and your family.

5. DISCIPLINE IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT
We all know the best results come from hard work. Some of the most innovative, beautiful and delicious meals begin with a small idea that takes long hours, sweat, and many tries before the perfect combination emerges.

This is no different than the most innovative, beautiful, functional, highest quality interior designs. It all begins with an idea, and it takes the right team— including the designer, the client and all supporting crew members to do their part to make it happen.

No matter what your role is in the process, have fun, but also take it seriously if you want a home you’re proud of.

Bon Appétit and Happy designing!


DESIGN TV WITH STEVEN G. – EPISODE 9

In this episode of Design TV With Steven G., our favorite Miami interior designer kicks back and talks furniture for the second week in a row.

4 WARNING SIGNS THAT YOUR HOME INTERIOR IS MESSING UP YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

It’s in our nature to be affected by our environment.  We can’t help but be influenced by the world that surrounds us, and that includes the interior of your home.

As an interior designer, I consider the most important part of my job to be learning about how my clients live.  I cannot design a quality home without knowing who my client is as a person first.  High end interior design is only high end when it has been tailored to suit the individuals who will be living there.

A family with small children and dogs can want a white fabric sofa, but will I tell them that it isn’t right for them?  Definitely.

Sure, I have seen bad design where everything just doesn’t “flow” right. Worse, however, is when I see a home that is gorgeous but has nothing to do with the personalities of the owners.  Your home should reflect you and be filled with things that make you feel comfortable and content.

If you don’t feel this way in the place where you are supposed to be most at ease, your home could actually be harming you.  Here are four easy ways to tell if your interior design has the potential to hurt your mental health, along with a few tips on how to get back on course.

1. IT’S NOT CONNECTED TO YOUR PAST
Your home should be connected to the things that make you who you are.

For example, one of the things that I treasure most is my grandmother’s quilt.  Each patch came from one of her childhood dresses, and the quilt was sewn with love by her mother, my great-grandmother.  While most of my home is modern, this one item draped over my sofa keeps me feeling close to my loved ones and reminds me of the bigger picture of life.

This example is very literal, but you can achieve attachment to your history through your interior design in a variety of ways. Maybe you incorporate a piece of memorabilia from your hometown or some material from your country of origin. Perhaps you simply display personal photos or feature a new piece of art that you connect with feelings from your youth.

Again, quality interior design means expressing who you are and who you have been.  Neglect this and your internal state will end up suffering.

2. IT’S SEEMS LUXURIOUS…TO EVERYONE
While I occasionally enjoy going to a fancy restaurant with china and crystal, I could never live in a place that resembled one.  For me, luxury means having a place where my friends and I can put up our feet up and drink a glass of red wine without worrying we are going to ruin anything.

My personal definition of luxury at this time in my life is about comfort, so my home reflects that.  For others, fine china at home makes them feel the way they want to feel.

The point is just to make sure that you are focusing on your personal definition of luxury instead of the idea of what everyone else thinks is luxurious.  Let that be a guide for the design of your home instead of making your home perfect for everyone but you. If you look outward first, your internal state will feel the brunt of it.

3.  NO ONE THOUGHT ABOUT THE SQUISHY STUFF
Some designers are extremely creative and talented but still can’t help but make all of their projects scream their style instead of their clients’.

Take one of the best, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Amazing man and designer, but he was so enthralled with his own work that he even “designed” the clothing of the homeowners for parties so that they would coordinate with “his” space.  Thanks Frank, but I would prefer to dress myself.

Let’s not let that happen to you.  Looks are not the only part of what drives the entire mood of a space; things have to feel right.  Your designer has to be sensitive to these feelings and make sure to incorporate the elements that make you happy or you will never enjoy your home.  It may seem obvious, but not when you don’t actually enjoy spending time in your own home, it makes it a lot harder to enjoy your life.

4.  YOUR FAVORITE COLOR IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND
Interior design in Miami is known for being all about white on white on white… all the time.  Living here, we encounter the trend every day.  While we are fond of this clean look when appropriate, we also love color.

There are all sorts of scientific tests that show the different ways that color affects our moods and attitudes. So make sure to incorporate your favorite color or colors (even for those of you working with Miami interior decorators).  This does not mean that your home needs to look like a Skittles commercial, but even whites have shades of color.

All of these need to be customized for you personally.  While lots of people like blue, there are millions of blues. Which shade is going to make you happy as well as look good with your environment and your thousands of other design choices?  Color is a great way to show who you are and to make you smile, even if it’s just small accents.

Quality interior design starts and ends with the person who will be living in the environment. There are so many beautiful spaces in the world that I love looking at yet have very little connection with personally. Keep an eye out for these 4 signals to help you achieve a home that expresses who you are. Because you never can be too (mentally) healthy.


DESIGN TV WITH STEVEN G. – EPISODE 8

In today’s episode of Design TV With Steven G., the pasha of Miami interior design departs from fine art and luxury materials.

Come inside to see what he thinks about the central element of quality interior design…furniture.


4 MOST INSPIRING HISTORICAL PERIODS FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

Premium interior design is always a result of myriad influences and sources of inspiration. In my own work, I’ve always drawn on history.

You can do the same. If you try to copy a period’s look wholesale, it will come across as an imitation. The trick is to get familiar with a broad range of historical periods known for fabulous high end interior design and to pick, choose, and combine your favorite parts to come up with something new.

Here are four to start with…

1. 17TH CENTURY FRANCE
The French have always had a flair for style. Nowhere is this better reflected than in their high end interior design.

Romance is an important part of this era. Typical of French style is ornate designs using intricate patterns from talented craftsmen. Think of Baroque ornamentation in ceiling  and mirror molding applications. Colors are subdued to reflect a conservative setting.

Typical are light interiors dominated by white, cream, light grays, light blues greens, and pink. As the French would spare no expense in their furnishings, we also see large “French” doors, high ceilings, and ornate pattern work, expensive tapestries, and elegant fabrics. The high end interior design style from this period in French history is extravagant in the best possible way.

Your eyes are immediately drawn to the importance of the fireplace, mahogany doors, limestone and lavender touches equally share in deign and incorporates the elegance of the other furnishings. Today, by incorporating elements of this style with modern furnishings, you can do amazing things.

2. THE ROARING 20’S

The Roaring 20’s, also known as The Jazz Age, was the period in American history; beginning shortly after the end of WWI and lasting until the beginning of the Depression.

This era is reflective of good times, increased prosperity, and brand new high end interior design trends. The recent movie version of The Great Gatsby captures the essence of interior design that was typical of this age.

What is called the Contemporary style of high end interior started in the Jazz Age, both in its streamlined elegance and use of new materials like linoleum.

Some of the elements I like best from this era are the colors of the time, such as the striking highlighting use of  black, white and gold in combination with pastels like pink, purple and light yellow.  I also love the use of glass and mirrors to reflect lighting, provides a hypnotic effect.

One of the most enduring interior design legacies of the Jazz Age is the Art Deco style. As Miami interior designers, we’re fortunate to be near the Art Deco capital of the world—South Beach.

If you want to get some really great ideas from this era, then South Beach is the place to go. You can even take a guided tour and spend walking around South Beach and read the many books that have been written about this vibrant area to get some ideas.Art Deco style hotels welcome visitors inside their lobbies.

You’ll encounter terrazzo floors and neon signs—chic, eclectic, vibrant and airy interiors with tropical flare that is reminiscence of our proximity to the ocean. Light color pallets on walls and stones flooring are are favorite choices. I’m thankful that this historic part of Miami interior design has been preserved for us to admire and to learn from.

Here are a few ways you can start incorporating Jazz Age interior design into your home:

Try linoleum flooring. A black and white checkerboard pattern would be a good start. Classic furniture typical of the time can be found in thrift stores for a good price or at your local antique stores. Use plenty of mirrors and chrome to get that extra edge.

3. MID CENTURY MODERN

 I really enjoy the mid-twentieth century interior design style. It’s a modern look with streamlined looks and organic shapes. Scandinavian furniture is a favorite trend of this era and influenced the American way of design thinking for years to come.

The style gives everything an open, airy feeling. It’s a fresh look that is soothing and comfortable. Visitors to homes from this era are always impressed by people who can maximize the look of this era with carefully placed fixtures such as lighting, and clever use of decorations such as animal skin carpeting.

This era shows that you can do a lot of design with just a little input. Exotic woods such as teak and mahogany are incorporated in all aspects of the furniture and in wall units.

Truly this is a classic look that remains very popular to this day. 

4. 21ST CENTURY NEW YORK

There are fantastic things happening in design right this minute. And just as in so many other things, when it comes to interior design New York City is making it happen.

When I think of New York, the first thing that comes to my mind is a place that is historic, iconic, timeless, diverse, artistic, evolving, always fashionable and a relevant cultural capital of the world. In one place, we find classical, avant-garde, eclectic architecture and design style that combines vintage and modern elements.

And that New York is prime real estate, they tend to be masters at maximizing every single inch of a space.

Here are some elements of New York interior design you might be able to borrow:

Spectacular views of the City are enhanced by the use of large glass windows that give an open airy space providing a feel that more space actually exists.  As a nerve center to the arts, interiors reflect an artsy, intimate surrounding that tune out the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Hardwood floors, counter stones like marble, granite and onyx, brick , and concrete walls expose the building structures’ popular design elements. Neutral palettes accessorized with vibrant colors on the walls can make artwork stand out but not so much that would take away from the spectacular views of the City.

By looking beyond your on era for inspiration, there’s a great chance you’ll end up with a home that you’ll be thrilled with for many years into the future.


OUR NEW FAVORITE HIGH END INTERIOR DESIGN SERIES

For those of you who drop by often, you probably know that I regularly sing the praises of high end interior design blog Quintessence. Stacey Bewkes and her crew have a knack for pairing the most stylish images with some of the most insightful commentary about the premium interior design world.

Well, they have truly outdone themselves this time.

The folks at Quintessence have just launched their brand new “International House Guest” video series, and it’s a real winner.

The first episode is hosted by high end interior design expert Susanna Salk, who receives a personal invitation from designer and author Timothy Corrigan to his restored Chateau du Grand-Luce.

You’ve got to watch this video if you want to find out what true luxury means. As Timothy says, “any home can be the coziest of homes, it really is all about making it a place of comfort.