Last week, the January 2011 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, a trade show open to design industry professionals, took place at AmericasMart in downtown Atlanta, showcasing new furniture, fabrics, accessories, and more from showrooms worldwide. My friend interior decorator Brian Patrick Flynn of Decor Demon was there to see it all first-hand. Always a trend spotter, he kept his eyes open for emerging design styles, techniques, and motifs. This year's trend titans, he says, were handmade craftsmanship and Old World finishes, seen everywhere from hand stitched bedding to artisan lighting.
Handmade seems to be a catchphrase people throw around a lot, and Old World is a concept that's a little hard to grasp. So I wanted to get a better handle on these up-and-coming trends. Brian was kind enough to enlighten me a little. Check out our interview below!
CasaSugar: How would non-designers recognize something that sports the Old World style?
Brian Patrick Flynn: Traditionally, it's the rich, classic, somewhat relaxed style of decoration you'd find in an old European manor. Aged leathers, antique finishes, traditional lines and nothing too unexpected. This sounds weird, but clocks can kinda-sorta be indicative, especially large ones. Ooh and iron, lots of iron. Think of Old World like a celebrity who's always lovely, well-respected yet never really flashy — like a George Clooney or a Meryl Streep.
CS: What's the new twist on it this go-around?
BPF: From the looks of the January 2011 Gift & Home Furnishings Market, I'd say it's less fancy and more streamlined. Ornamentation is still prominent, but it's a lot more graphic; antique finishes are used on pieces with much cleaner lines than those of the past. Some furniture with super rough wood finishes had shiny chrome legs, a really nice mix. I'd say the best way to incorporate it into your own home would be to edit like crazy. Since it's so textural, I think the less-is-more approach is the best way to go. Also, it mixes well with modern interiors; the juxtaposition is badass.
Continue reading for the rest of the interview!
CS: Why do you think handmade is all of a sudden so popular?
BPF: One word, Etsy. The online marketplace for artisans popped in the Interwebs and BAM!, it spread like wildfire. Perhaps handmade is so in demand right now due to modernism having taken over for so long, especially with the popularity of home makeover shows and new IKEA stores popping up in so many cities. When something becomes super attainable, I think people start to crave its opposite. One of my rules as a decorator is that every space needs at least one main element that's handmade. Oftentimes, the textures and/or weaves from handmade items really warm up a space or offer great visual tension when paired with something sleek and modern. Did I just say that? Wow, I usually cringe when people use the term "sleek and modern." It's just as bad as "pops of color" or "LOL."
CS: Where are some places design lovers can shop for an updated Old World and/or handmade style online?
BPF: First and foremost, Wisteria, for updated Old World. The catalog is packed with pieces sporting classic, European lines with timeless finishes---all at a medium price-point. As far as lighting is concerned, Circa Lighting has to-die-for, traditional and Old World chandeliers, sconces, and pendants. Online consignment boutiques like Savvy Snoot are also a fantastic secret weapon. As far as handmade goes, it's all about Etsy.
BPF: Brass, bronze or pewter nailhead detail on furniture is a huge one; it's also probably my favorite. Nailhead detail can often be pricey due to how much precision it takes to keep the nails perfectly lined up. Tufting and stitched leather are other details seen in Old World; some modern style chairs are covered with hand-stitched, aged leather which is a great mashup of styles. Vintage charts and world maps are a great idea to bring both touches to your walls, especially if the typefont sports a calligraphic look with ink that's is a bit faded. Stamped fabrics, especially linen sporting numbers or words are classic, not to mention a huge trend in themselves right now.