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PostHeaderIcon Favorite Things for 2012 - December Designers Log

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It's time for the third annual Designers Log Favorites of the Year and what's going to be hot in interior design for 2012.

Favorite individual piece - Kolkka Furniture, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, designs and custom constructs unique metal and glass tables, consoles and other pieces.. Recently they introduced tops of fabric, recyled leather, rubber and spandex that are hip, sophisticated and maintenance free. My personal favorite is the Paris Cocktail Table, a round, clean, uncluttered classic design. Usually shown in clear glass, a client has recently suggested an antique mirrored top, which will be a real show stopper when matched with a champagne colored, hand applied finish. With its timeless style, this piece works in any interior. Kolkka's drinks tables are a must for any decor.  Just the right size for a book, cup or martini.

Favorite color - White is this years black. From traditional ivory to stark "art gallery," you can't get more out of any color than white.  It can hold its own as the only color in the room or be the background for bright primary prints and patterns. I love the way white morphs as the light in a room changes. It's always moving, never a static color. White can be as soft as milk or as intense as the sun on snow. It can evoke a period like Art Deco, and be used anywhere from a bathroom to the exterior of a Moroccan palace. There is something about the way white speaks to us, as a beginning or just harkening back to a time when life was simpler.  It's clean, fresh and inviting. For the new year, mix white with organic neutrals like khaki, caramel or sand.

Favorite fabric - For 2012 my favorite fabric is actually wallpaper, or in this case, wall coverings. The popularity of wall coverings dwindled for a few years, but it's back bigger and more diverse than ever. Think grasscloth on steroids. Your walls can look like stone, wood or even an Italian fresco. Mica gives the appearance of sparklling diamonds. Bamboo and hemp look so organic you won't be able to resist touching. The new textures are tactile and low maintenance. Need bling in the room? No problem. Want a scene of the Tuscan countryside? Done. Paint and faux finishes are great, but nothing matches the sophistication and drama of the right wall covering. This is one trend that is back and long missed.

Favorite style - Summer may be over, but not forgotten. Beach chic is the design style that transcends season and location and is timelss and comfortable year around. Think Hamptons, St. Tropez or Laguna Beach. The look is easy to achieve, just be careful, this is a real less is more situation. Pared down works best. Start with clean, basic, off white or neutral walls. Throw in colorful pillows, pictures, lamps. Orange is the perfect compliment, it's modern and bright. Sky blue, sea greens and ochre completes that indoor/outdoor feeling. Woven furniture and minimal window treatments are needed; it's all about letting the natural light in. I like to add family pictures, sea glass and shells scattered around a table top and a throw for the cool beach evenings. The best thing about beach chic is that you can do it on a minimal budget. The best pieces will be the ones you find in consignment stores or second hand shops. Some great ideas can be found in my favorite publication, Coastal Living.

Favorite comeback look - The reemergence of Swedish design.  Another great look that is classic and clean is Scandinavian. This is where white really does its thing. The look goes back to the 18th Century Gustavian Period in Sweden. It hasn't changed much over the years, but is rapidly gaining popularity again. I love the painted, slightly distressed wood pieces, the neutral pale upholstery and the woven or rag rugs. For the more traditional look, throw in botanical and animal prints. For something more modern and slick, use minimal and clean lined furniture, black framed pictures. Swedish Design is ultra stylish and practical whether you like it old or new. The uncluttered, almost spartan feel works perfectly for those of us looking for a simpler lifestyle.

Favorite retro look - 1980's. Before you cringe at the thought, just consider it's been 30 years since the 80s began.  Still thought of by many as a time of ugly design, over the top trends and bad taste, its cheeky approach and use of color really works in todays design. Combine pastels with the splash of neon colors. Re-imagine the practicality of black and white patterns or the classic combination of preppie pink and green. These were staples of the interior design of that decade and are familiar to us still. The 80s were themselves a re-imagining of the 1950's. Mixing the metallics of the earlier time with graffiti graphics gave birth to a candy colored retro/modern era. Colors like lemon yellow and Cadillac pink can add that punch you need to update your rooms with a bit of 80s whimsy. Add in a mirrored wall, a ficus  tree, put on the Go-Go's and you will be on the cutting edge.  Maybe stay away from that one color combination that doesn't need to be resurrected: mauve and teal.

Favorite place for inspiration - California. I've traveled all over and there are many places that are inspiring, but there is no place like home. California has always danced to its own drum and you don't have to go far to be blown away by the natural beauty of the state. The ocean, the mountains and deserts, the cities and small towns, everywhere you look, there is something new to discover. The color is special, the variety of greens alone, from cactus to palm trees, is unique. Californians are explorers by nature, always looking for the latest and newest. We embrace the outdoors, the arts and diversity.  So whether you prefer a mountain cabin in Tahoe, a Mid-Century ranch in Palm Springs or a penthouse view, the splendor of the state is never ending. Nowhere else will you find so much to pull from in creating your personal design style.

Looking forward to 2012, embrace the things that are your personal favorites. Make your home a statement, the place you love to come home to and most of all your inspiration for the new year. Take the time to explore and learn new design concepts, ideas and trends. You'll be glad you did. Happy New Year. - SEW

Steve Wallace lives in Danville, California. An established Interior Designer for 25 years, his work has appeard in Palm Springs Life and he is the author of a soon to be published book about design and the way we live. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated (Tuesday, 04 February 2014 04:38)



0 #2 Phillipp Pabst 2012-02-03 06:33
The sofa is good... i love to collect different kinds of modern living room furniture....
0 #1 Jane Joyce 2011-12-16 20:49

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