Transitional Style – the new black or just plain boring?

Transitional style design is an emerging trend gaining momentum in furniture and interior design circles. It is neither traditional nor contemporary but a blending of the two. Definitions for this vary …

Traditional with a twist. A bridge between traditional and modern. Postmodern. Contemporary for people who don’t like the word “contemporary.”
- McClatchy-Tribune article

Transitional style is hot because it

takes the stuffiness out of traditional styles and the coldness out of modern to create an environment that is personally meaningful.
- tidg.ca

Transitional style is clean, serene, minimalist, and inviting. Simple, uncluttered, and sophisticated. Timeless, classical, and tasteful.

Neutral Colors & Contrasting Textures

Colors are neutrals and earth tones – ivory, taupe, beige, and tan. If you don’t like the word beige (it got a bad rep in the last century), try vanilla, pewter, wheat or sandbar. Color is actually very important but subordinate to the neutral. Isolated splashes of color are common: “There may be bright orange, but only in the bookshelf or on a pillow or a piece of sculpture.”

This “absence” of color creates more opportunity to work with texture in terms of fabric choices for accents, etc. Typical transitional fabrics?

  • Chenille
  • Corduroy
  • Mircofiber suede
  • Leather
  • Cotton
  • Twill
  • Denim
  • Raw silk
  • Tweed
  • Woven reeds
  • Woven rope

- interiordesign.lovetoknow.com

Clean Furniture Design

Transitional furniture design combines both straight lines and curves.

The look balances both masculine and feminine attributes for a comfortably contemporary design. The scale of the pieces is ample but not intimidating. A lack of ornamentation and decoration keeps the focus on the simplicity but sophistication of the design.
- HGTV online

Which brings me to …

Comfort

Yes comfort. Transitional style is “inviting”. “Transitional is about lifestyle, not design for its own sake.”

Minimal, Tasteful Accessories

Carefully chosen. “Transitional rooms always have art – good art…” albeit in an understated context.

The new black? Or just plain boring?

See HGTV’s transitional style interior design portfolio for more examples. I like this slideshow better as it leans more to the contemporary. Boring or the new black? You be the judge. My verdict is that it’s smart. The smart homeowners decor choice, one that will both age and show well, especially if you are interested in selling your home in the near future. The trend may be to make a personal statement with your decor but …

Catlin worries these personal statements will date quickly and alienate future buyers. “You have to think how it’s going to translate for the next owners,” Catlin said. “You may love your dark green countertop, but the next owner’s favorite color could be yellow.”

That’s why Catlin advises homeowners who care about resale to choose more neutral colors for floors, countertops and other hard surfaces, using easily changeable paint and accessories to infuse personality.
- The hottest remodeling trends for 2011

Sounds transitional to me …

The latest remodeling trends

Found an interesting report on Remodeling Trends from the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors Conference

Spending on Remodeling

The experts are predicting a slight and short-lived decline in renovation spending, in line with other national reports and studies.

Tips for working with renovators

  • don’t be afraid to vet your contractor – go ahead and ask the tough questions,
  • specify everything in your contract, and
  • check your contractor has the proper insurance — including workers’ compensation – else you could get saddled with the liability.

Remodeling Trends & Homeowner Demand

“Nearly every panelist mentioned the pervasive influence of TV design shows”. In other words, the media is heavily shaping and influencing consumer demand. Popular trends include:

  • the rise of the outdoor living space
  • home kitchen and bathroom remodels are taking longer because of the selection process – more choices = more time
  • radiant heat floors
  • green flooring (cork or bamboo)
  • more cultural diversity in color schemes
  • pot-filler faucets, and
  • energy-saving appliances or accessories

But the single most striking trend?

“the urbanization of cities”: in essence, more and more people are moving out of the suburbs and into cities … [and] the new urbanites, apparently, are renovators.

… city dwellers are willing to spend freely on their smaller spaces. “A survey we did a couple years ago,” Wilkinson said, “noted that people who live in condominiums spend the same amount of money renovating their homes as people who have driveways and backyards.”

Source: Remodeling the American Dream, Inman News.

Open concept more cost effective than a home addition

Homeowners wanting to add living space to their homes are turning to ‘open concept’ style renovations over home additions to achieve this goal. Read the full article Walls tumble in home remodeling.

Too much of a good thing: the 5 dumbest renovation fads

Playing catch up on the news … came across this timely slideshow on CNNMoney about the 5 dumbest renovation fads.

They are:

Good pictorial that demonstrates how overkill killed some great renovation ideas, and how to do them the right way.

New laundry rooms do double or triple duty

The new oversized laundry room is an “all-in-one” space for work, rest and play. No longer relegated to the “crowded mudroom” or “dark basement”, the laundry room is both upscale and ready for prime time.

Big, beautiful laundry rooms are cropping up in homes across the country. Experts say it’s a result of homeowners’ ongoing desires to revamp their living space to better suit their lifestyles.

“You try to fit all these things in your life and still spend quality time with your kids,” says Dubs, 44, whose laundry room upgrade cost about $30,000. “Now, I can multitask with him.”

Multi-functional and easily accessible, the new laundry rooms have:

  • more room,
  • more storage,
  • better organization,
  • space optimization,
  • workflow optimization, and
  • ergonomic design

… all designed to help take the “work” out of the chore.

But the biggest differences between the new and the old are the customizations to integrate with other lifestyle needs. Play room for the kids (complete with integrated toy storage), gift-wrapping and crafting stations, built-in ironing cupboards, recycling centers, computer workstations, you name it.

For more, read the source article New Laundry Rooms Are Multi-Purpose.

For design considerations, read Laundry Rooms Move Upstairs and Upscale on HGTVPRo.

Want more? Try Dress up your laundry room decor tips from HGTV.

Hot Bathroom Fixture Trends for 2007

See a full review of new model shower heads on Trendir

Large round shower heads that simulate the sensation of rainwater are one of the hot trends for this year. For a full run down on what’s hot read Shower Head Trends 2007 – The most desirable shower heads on Trenddir.

Not surprisingly, showers are getting bigger (faster than we are getting bigger anyway). There seems to be less interest in adding whirlpool tubs; although they add value, people don’t have the time to enjoy them. Instead, homeowners are enhancing the experience they have time for, the shower, making it a more luxurious, spa-like experience with pulsating and multiple spray options. Hand held showers are also very popular because of their flexibility.

Read more from the original source article: April Showers – The latest trends in bathroom fixtures.

5 Surprising Home Remodeling & Building Trends

From a recent survey of real estate execs, agents and brokers, here are the surprising features people are asking for:

  • Upscale garages
  • “Caving” – more personal space, a room of one’s own
  • Rejuvenation rooms
  • Heated patios
  • Snoring rooms

Read Five Home Trends We Never Saw Coming for the full story.

When Green Products & Green Design Don’t Measure Up

Came across a post on AbbeyK’s on interior design blog that referred to this Interior Design Magazine article When Green Products Don’t Perform.

Non- or under-performing green product alternatives are a concern for every designer and specifier. I posed the issue to some of my colleagues and heard horror stories—bamboo flooring that comes apart in high traffic zones only after a couple of years, low odor and fast drying concrete sealers that do not adhere well and chip, scratch or stain easily, cork that fades relatively quickly under UV rays.

Failures such as these sour both the designer and client on green products and green design in general … we have found that it is incredibly important when a building is beginning its ‘journey’ towards sustainability that the first green products are successful.

My thought isn’t that this isn’t just a problem for designers, it’s a challenge for anyone interested in “going green” and promoting environmentally friendly alternatives. The green product is supposed to be “the good guy” – you want green products and green design to succeed. After all, you have to go out of your way to find and research green products, buy them, and usually pay more for them. Maybe you even tell your friends about them. To have them turn out to be a bust, well, it’s disillusioning.

So how do you prevent Green product failure?

The Interior Design article recommends you

  • Use green products in established categories and that have a track record
  • get “word of mouth” recommendations
  • request product testimonials from manufacturers
  • ensure proper installation & maintenance
  • try before you buy – ask for product samples
  • find a forum where green products are discussed, such as list serve Big Green

From personal experience and other research:

  • don’t use green alternatives where they won’t perform well
  • don’t go low end – “you get what you pay for”.

I would also suggest look for ratings and reviews on green products. If you are interested in trying green products, you are probably an early adopter and may well be the one writing these reviews … but they are out there if you look …

Do Blog Searches for products you want to try

You may stumble on a houseblogger who has tried it out and learned from the experience. Keywords to use would be the brand name and type of product. Then ask questions on the blog posts.

Visit Green Review Sites

The Green Home Guide offers editorial reviews on green products & services – “unbiased reviews and advice from professionals and homeowners like you”.

Five Limes – community / consumer reviews and ratings on green products and local stores and services.

Finally, back to the blog post that got me on this topic, AbbeyK makes a good point: if your green design product ends up in a landfill before it’s time, it “can end up not being green in the long run”.

Ikea as the Mother of Invention

Came across an interesting blog the other day – ikeahacker. The challenge: take existing Ikea furniture, components or accessories and make them into something new. Each blog post features a new Ikea “hack”, either by the author or other Ikea fans.

The blog was started in

may 2006, i did a google search on ikea hacks and saw that there were so many wonderful ideas floating in the www. how great it would be if i could find them all in one place, i thought.
jules, the ikeahacker

Before: unassuming hemnes daybed

So he did. Projects range from the simple – transforming a roll of Ikea rationell drawer mat into a set of modern contemporary placemats and coasters to the complex.

After: cozy banquette for 2

Ikeahacker recently published its top ten and awards for 2006. The nominees ranged from using akurum kitchen wall cabinets to make a terrific sideboard to making sliding wardrobe doors into an ultra cool room divider.

Voted the best Ikea hack of 2006? The hemnes daybed turned banquette … wherein a mild-mannered daybed (above) is transformed into a cozy dining area for two (right).

Sometimes the hacks are about just making dodgy Ikea products actually work … there’s even a forum where you can ask other hackers for help. If you have a tip on “how to finally stop flimsy forby stools from wobbling”, ikeahacker would love to hear from you.

Eco-friendly stylish furniture from sustainable wood, twigs, reeds

Furniture made from reclaimed wood, sustainably harvested wood, and twig inspired pieces & accessories and are very fashionable right now. In the home décor world, green is the new black, so to speak. “Green” furniture was once only found in trendy, cutting edge stores but now more mainstream retailers like Crate & Barrel are taking notice.

Lockport Chair from Crate & Barrel

“I think it’s all part of this back-to-nature movement,” said Betty Kahn, spokesperson for Crate & Barrel. “Now, it seems very important that people just feel, inside or outside, that they’re going back to nature. People want to live green and this is part of that.”
Julie Young, Times-Dispatch

Crate & Barrel have just introduced a new line of furniture made from sustainably harvested wood and recycled fill.

Twisty Stool from VivaTerra

If you enjoy the look of wood, you should check out the VivaTerra catalog online. It features a wide range of striking pieces made from sustainable wood (the Twisty Stool made from Monkey Pod wood is a favorite, right), reclaimed woods with a more rustic feel (weathered hardwood salvaged from old houses, railroad ties, teak planks, barn beams), and twigs. See more at VivaTerra …

Looking for custom and one of a kind pieces? Or feeling crafty enough to make your own? Then check out the Twig Furniture Directory which features unique furniture made by artisans and how-to resources. Also check out this tutorial on How to make twig furniture on instructables.com.

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