Tag : minnesota interior design

Emerging Design Trends from Paris and High Point

Paris and High Point Design Inspirations

We kicked off 2017 taking in the beauty and creativity of Maison & Object—Paris, the annual design showcase in the City of Light.  This year’s show celebrated the appeal of Silence, offering attendees “a soothing invitation to contemplate the beauty of things.”  Here’s what the event’s Inspiration Book had to say about the need to embrace Silence in our lives and in our surroundings:

“A permanent state of cacophony reigns as we are relentlessly bombarded with noises, sounds, words, information and an incessant flow of images. …Silence has become necessary to well-being.”

In response to this this, emerging design trends in the Paris show featured lighter shapes, less material, lighter hues, and objects and textiles with an airiness or transparency to them.  One exhibition room included a stunning display of works created by members of the Ateliers d’Art de France, arranged to highlight four distinct design themes:  pure white, ultra black, super light (meaning luminous, airy or transparent) and sweet colors—the soft, happy color palette of favorite candy confections.

Three months later, April found us in High Point, North Carolina, for the spring market.  We saw some of the Paris themes mirrored on this side of the Atlantic—while other themes were reinterpreted for the US market.   Let me give you an overview of each of these fresh, new design themes, beginning with Sweet Colors.

A Confection of Color

This Paris display of dinnerware exemplified the Sweet Colors design theme.  These are the colors of a confectioner’s decorating tubes, or a box of ribbon candy (if you are old enough to remember that mouthwatering treat).  There is more depth to these colors than you find in their paler pastel cousins.  But the effect is still light, airy.  And, we have to add, happy!

This is a palette that prompted a smile, and a feeling of simple contentment, no matter where we saw it applied—from this beautiful assortment of candles to these inviting bedroom textiles.


Three months later, at High Point, we saw these happy colors again.                                            

Letting the Super Light Shine Through

These light fixtures on display in Paris struck us as the quintessence of the Super Light theme—-open and airy, illuminated and luminous. The lightness of being that underpins this design concept was interpreted in many other ways, and with a wide variety of materials at the Paris show.  For example, these woven throws and pillow covers create the same light, airy aesthetic.


The translucence of this beautiful faceted glass bowl is another interpretation of the theme.  The feeling evoked by Super Light is calm, pure, clean—a simple kind of luxury.  We didn’t see this design theme featured as prominently at High Point—the beautiful light fixtures seen in Paris have not yet arrived, although loose, open textures were on display in pillow covers and other textiles.

Ultra Black Celebrates the Silence of the Night

Ultra Black is the deep, velvet darkness of a night in the woods:  no lights, no stars, deep silence.  We saw this design concept interpreted at the Paris show in beautiful ceramics, featuring strong and simple shapes.  

Or consider this room, which blends the deep repose created by Ultra Black upholstery with the Super Light transparency of a glass decanter collection displayed on a glass occasional table.  At High Point, the look was not black alone.  Instead, we saw Ultra Black mixed with white—for example, the balance of this beautiful room.

The Fresh Feel of Pure White

Perhaps the antithesis of Ultra Black is Pure White—a design concept that celebrates the clean and pure statement that white can make in our surroundings.  Look at the rich variety of color and texture achieved in this still life of books, candles, voile fabric and pillows seen in Paris. 

The feeling here is fresh, peaceful, serene.  There is no clutter in pure white.  It is calmness and order.  Another celebration of silence.  At High Point, this design theme was expressed a bit more conservatively, but still evident, as you can seen in this photo.

We have hundreds more photos, samples, and inspirations to share from the Paris and High Point shows.  Please contact us to discuss how these emerging design trends can bring your home design ideas to life.



Hand-carved Woodwork Today

Beautiful wood flooring, moldings, cabinets and trim details have been central elements of home design for centuries.  Today, the choices of available  materials and machine-produced components are more varied—and of higher quality—than ever before.  Even so, the unique and enduring beauty of hand-crafted woodwork remains unmatched.

We worked with a local woodworker and carver to design a custom wall cabinet and coordinating bookcase to showcase our client’s unique collection of tea pots and their extensive cookbook library.  Hand-carved grape vines on the face of each piece draw the eye and draw out details in the fabrics and rugs near by.  Much like the bone structure of a beautiful face, these hand-crafted cabinets will radiate beauty that endures.  Good investment in home design.

Birds Without a Feather

The songs of birds startled me from my sleep last week.  It seems they arrived with the sudden warm weather.  Though at first I was grumpy at the early hour,  I do love that sound.  A little later that same morning, as I entered my office, I passed by these two beautiful birds, as I do every day, and knew it was time for me to share them with my clients.

These sweet works of art are the creation of Jim and Tori Mullan.  Jim grew up in Southern California and always had an interest in art and history.  He collected vintage toys and objects and used them to create jewelry and natural sculptures.  Tori was the daughter of a jeweler and watch collector.  She often worked with her father where she gained an interest in the intricate interior mechanics of time pieces.  She used these gears and wheels to create one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. Luckily, these two love birds met in 1985 at an art show and have since combined their talents to create whimsical, charming works of art.


Though each piece is unique, they all share a similar feeling of warmth and romance.  Looking at them, I swear each one has a story to tell of things long ago, as if it were born antique.  It was difficult for me to decide which little birds I wanted from the Mullanium collection.  I encourage you to look at their website and see  which one sings for you.  Since meeting these artisans at High Point, I have facilitated purchases for several of my clients already.  They find they like to place their birds in locations where they can see them often.  In this way, they can enjoy the birds whatever the season.

Christmas in Paris!

My family and I celebrated the holiday season, and Spenser’s graduation, in Paris.  We stayed in an apartment in the 16th Arrondissement which allowed us to day-trip to the places we love.  After busy days touring the sights of this beautiful city, we chose to spend some of the evenings preparing homemade, French-inspired meals, completing puzzles of the Tour Eiffel, or watching movies shot in Paris.  In this way, we kept the holiday spirit by focusing on being together.


I realize most ornaments, lights and decorations have been neatly tucked away in storage.  My point in this belated holiday cheer is to help you prepare for Christmas 2015!   The holiday décor in Paris and London was amazing.  Everything was clean, crisp and generally monochromatic.  One large tree was all silver with just a minimal use of red at the top.  Another would be trimmed all in gold, with no accent color.    All lights were white.  In our own homes, we should work towards these simple, singular color-schemes before the next holiday season, buying now while things are on sale.


I suggest using ornaments, lights, and trims of one color, and perhaps accenting with a few pieces of another color.  I would be happy to make suggestions or assist with finding items that would work for you.  I would be thrilled to bring some of The City of Lights to your home for the holidays next year.

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