Interior design writing and editing are among my favorite pastimes. Whether editing design manuscripts or reporting on interior designers and design possibilities, it’s rewarding to interview subject matter experts and learn about the professional aspects. Heaven knows, I need the tips and appreciate the perspective!
Alicia Nicholas of Alicia Nicholas Design and Micah Tipler of Monarch & Maker are two professionals who shared their thoughts on interior design from an interesting angle — neither follow trends. The write-up is featured in The Woodlands City Lifestyle.
Interior Design Writing
Article by Melanie Saxton
Photography by Becca Wood
Originally published in The Woodlands City Lifestyle
Thoughts of cooler weather and a new fall season bring opportunities to re-envision our living spaces. A good question is, “Where to start?” We invited two experts to weigh in on how best to navigate design options and curate color choices, fabrics, finishes, and other elements. Their insights might surprise you!
Alicia Nicholas of Alicia Nicholas Design notes that trends used to have a five-to-seven-year cycle. That’s changed due to instant access to Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz. Today, homeowners are inundated with a certain look … until there is a pivot. Then it’s off to the newest fad.
“Find a professional designer who operates above the trends to achieve a timeless ambiance that can be enjoyed for years.” ~ Alicia Nicholas
“Thoughtful design moves away from instant gratification, impulse purchasing, and disposable décor,” says Alicia. “Find a professional designer who operates above the trends to achieve a timeless ambiance that can be enjoyed for years.”
Room décor should be arranged around large items, purchased with quality, functionality, and longevity in mind. Furniture can be reoriented to freshen a space, taking into account the family dynamics of children, pets, or retirement.
Warmth and Depth
At the height of the pandemic, many families hunkered down within grey and white walls (trending at the time). Recently, Alicia has noticed a preference for the opposite. Homeowners are gravitating toward warmer tones of gold, brown, bronze, and desert hues of sage and coral — not necessarily a trend, but perhaps an organic response to happier times in the present. Natural wood elements are increasingly popular, and she foresees a strong interest in wood-stained cabinetry, alongside black cabinets, to bring contrast and depth to kitchens.
Walls as Art
Original artwork can significantly impact living areas, as can floor-to-ceiling wall treatments. Alicia points clients past traditional wallpaper to more natural options such as cork, grass cloth, and silk, which are artful in themselves. Textured paper is another exciting alternative with endless possibilities. Vinyl wallpaper is quite durable and can incorporate interesting graphics, perfect for dens and home offices. She also recommends murals, a popular choice that can be created from digital prints to exact dimensions and specifications. “Murals are great for statement dining rooms, game rooms, and even interesting ceiling applications.”
“Absolutely, there can be a theme of unique pieces, décor, and style throughout a home. As a whole, the design aspects should tell a story and make sense, but above all, evoke a feeling that ‘home is haven.’” ~ the Monarch & Maker team.
According to Micah Tipler of Monarch & Maker, a home is a reflection of personality and experiences. The key to interior design is to make it meaningful — a representation of the family.
Several years ago, she became a staunch advocate of individuation. “There should never be a moment when someone enters a room and says, ‘Oh, I know who designed this.’ We don’t strive for a ‘house look’ that presents the same things over and over again.”
She notes that in The Woodlands, interiors are trending towards more contemporary with very edited spaces. Accessories are specifically chosen based on what the homeowner loves. Personal preferences can be tastefully incorporated when a client is drawn to a particular hue, pattern, or texture. Art, accenting, and layering are emphasized, with colors building off of that.
It Takes an Expert
Discovering a personal aesthetic may mean stepping beyond the conventional into the unexpected. Often homeowners have a concept but lack the tools and know-how to execute the full vision. With a design professional’s help, an atmosphere that maximizes comfort, nuance, and customization can be attained.
For instance, a full spectrum of finishes might involve a tasteful mixing of metals. Handcrafted chandeliers, extraordinary sconces, and interesting light fixtures can function as pieces of art in kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas, pulling these spaces together and flowing from room to room.
Another option is paint. A black accent wall in a neutral space might not be a homeowner’s first go-to thought, but this pop of individuality can serve as a stunning backdrop for a wall covering or collection of art.
Home is Haven
“Absolutely, there can be a theme of unique pieces, décor, and style throughout a home. As a whole, the design aspects should tell a story and make sense, but above all, evoke a feeling that ‘home is haven,’” says the Monarch & Maker team.
This leads to the question, “Why wait?” Some families reside in a home for decades and only contemplate renovations when they plan to sell. The best advice, according to the team at Monarch & Maker, is to make the home comfortable and well-appointed “in the now.” For instance, upgrading the heart of the home — the kitchen — for flow and utility makes everyday experiences more pleasurable year after year. Beautifying bathrooms, styling communal spaces and decorating with a personal flair bring joy to the journey.
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