Rayan Turner

"A lover of all things both vintage and modern, but utterly obsessed with handmade"

Rayan is the founding editor of The Design Confidential — a DIY and design shelter blog — and a maker at heart. A retired interior designer and a bit of a lazy furniture builder by trade, she is admittedly a hoarder of project supplies and lumber. Rayan can’t manage to part with anything that has even a smidgeon of decor potential so naturally, her ongoing project list never dips below the double digits. A mommy of two crazed little boys by day, and a DIY daredevil by night, Rayan is constantly pushing the DIY boundaries to find the limits of what can actually be done ‘yourself’ and what is perhaps better left to someone else (with a little bit more know-how). She has yet to find that limit, but has certainly come close (many, many times). Either way, it’s sure to be a roaring good time to watch her journey. Though you might do well to keep your distance, or she just might rope you into one of her latest schemes.

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The road less traveled is not in all likelihood in reference to our Silk Road of the Orient, which happens to be not only well traveled, but cycled through often as far as trends are concerned. The good news here for those of you who already own any variety of Oriental rug, or would like to own one in the near future, is that a well-made version never really goes out of style and always looks glamorous in a space.

Orient

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With so many zip codes (or the regional counterpart) calling the Orient as home base, there are quite naturally a great many varieties of rug included under the umbrella term of Oriental. The ever so fabulous Persian rug and many Turkish styles of rug, of which there are more than I can count on my two little hands, are currently enjoying quite a design moment, especially if they happen to be of the vintage variety.

Orient

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I have found that some of these specimens come in some oddly sized pieces, and some may not do much in the way of covering any actual surface area, though virtually all of the designs are spectacular and complex, not to mention typically hand knotted and made from gorgeous natural materials. If you happen to have an aversion to faux fibers, this might be a route you would do well to consider, assuming you can find a size that suits your space. Many styles of Oriental rug actually seem to stick to some semblance of habit when it comes to size. Some tend toward larger sizes on the whole, while others seem to produce a very consistent array of the most beautiful oversized door mats you have ever seen. If you are looking for accent pieces, this might be perfect, but if you need a full sized rug to fill your family room you may need to consider this in your search.

Orient

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While this trend has moments of rise and fall in popularity among the masses and in particular the young, given the propensity for these pieces to keep their ‘cool’, it might be safe to say they are worth the investment. Since you can track down some mighty fine rugs at stellar prices on the second hand market, that investment may turn out to be one that deals more in time than dollars. With such a wide variety of styles, colors, patterns, and regional differences that set these rugs apart from one another, perhaps while one is on the rise and trending, it just might be time to focus your energies on another region’s goods and get your dollars’ worth while no one is looking.

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From slouchy to sleek and safari, oh my! Whether cushy or chrome, and maybe even both, the sling chair runs the gamut, and this hot little number has indeed reentered the design world in a big, big way.  If you like a good romp through a second hand store or flea market every now and again, chances are you will find yourself drawn to these deconstructionist leather supported pieces at some point in the very near future.

Sling

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So when did we last see these beauties? The safari style variety of sling chair, with all of its belts and buckles, was in great demand during the days of the great campaign wars and was made to move and pack with relative ease. To credit the design of the chair, it actually accomplished this with fabulous success. Truthfully it is not such a surprise that this item is on the design radar right now, given the relatively recent adoration of other campaign style pieces. In fact, it seems a rather natural evolution.

Sling

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For the Scandinavian style inclined and vintage lovers the world over, the Swedish furniture master, Arne Norell, designed his own version of the safari chair along with a great many other versions of the sling chair. Most, if not all of them, have similar features with leather or canvas supports that rely on a frame system, which make his pieces strong contenders for those who lean toward this vintage, textural, and luxe material driven style.

Sling

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The sleek chrome or cantilevered versions of the sling chair might play on the industrial and mass produced era of the midcentury or the glamorous aspects of the sixties and seventies depending on the design you happen to be coveting. Regardless, if you appreciate a bit of design history this chair will take you down the lane and back with all of its possibilities, varieties and interpretations. It is quite literally the chair that continues to morph, and I cannot wait to see how modern day designers continue to reinvent this design chameleon. If the past is any indication of how it will change and adapt with the times, then we are in for a wild ride filled with a great many different modifications during this chair’s time in the spotlight.

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The tides have officially turned, and while a custom experience is still the end goal, the actual manner of getting there is oh so very different. You see, it was not a great many moons ago that tricked out Billy and Besta shelves, made to look like custom built-ins, were all the rage. A “choose your own adventure in configuration and layout with a bit of your favorite trim and some fancy nail gun action,” and truly it was difficult to tell they were not in fact built right in. This current trend toward modular shelving, however, while still entirely customizable in most cases, celebrates that experience in a much different manner.

On Display

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From the iconic String Shelves to some very clever IKEA Hacks, these mod shelving wunderkind let it all hang out, quite literally. In fact for many of these units the parts are in fact a great deal more important than the whole, and are to be celebrated right alongside the clever functionality of the systems in general. From industrial strength brackets to wing nut fasteners that adjust to hold the shelves in precisely the location you desire, the machinery and inter-workings are on display just as much as the items that will ultimately live on those shelves later.

On Display

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So what gives? Are we becoming more in tune with our orderly instincts and honing our color coding skill-set? I would love to think this all stems from a society that simply cannot wait to deck the walls in perfect organizational bliss, but somehow I think we are simply channeling our gypsy inspired selves, wanting a more carefree lifestyle with a few less permanent fixtures holding us down. I suppose the answer could be much simpler for a great majority of us and maybe we only seek a budget friendly option to house our wares.

On Display

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Regardless, while the more DIY friendly seeming versions of these customizable systems might be a bit easier on the wallet, this is not so for the vintage cado shelving units, some of the modern floor to ceiling beauties, or the designer systems from our Danish and Swedish friends from colder climes. So while the style itself may seem less than permanent in all of its adjustable glory, the investment cost for many of these pieces may be anything but. In fact, a few of these systems might actually set you back for something akin to the price of an entire living room set of furniture and perhaps even a bit more. So the question begs to be asked, how do you feel about this style? Does it feel modern and functional to you or solve for your quirky storage and display needs like nothing else has? Or maybe it feels fleeting and not as favorable as a good solid built-in unit? Inquiring minds want to know…

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Yep, it has happened. Rattan is back with something to prove and the trend has spread to every corner of the design world. It has been on the creep for many years now, a slow methodical takeover perhaps, and it has managed to get its spindly tendrils wrapped around virtually every variety of taste-maker out there.

Rattan

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From the scantily clad Scandinavian crowd (ahem, I wasn’t referring to their clothing) to the desert mod movers and shakers, no design stone has been left unturned by this organic material and its clear and present quest for world domination. So what gives? Well, I think this trend is right on track with several of our other recent trends and feeds societies’ basic need to focus on a more gentle and handmade aesthetic after coming out of a more mass produced period of time.

Rattan

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I think the texture that these pieces add to a space is something we seem to be craving right now, and the unique qualities these pieces offer don’t require us to sacrifice that show-stopping nature we have become accustomed to in our recent glam-loving past. If we can’t have those shiny objects, we will at least have a rather tall peacock chair or a hanging egg chair to ease the pain of our loss.

Rattan

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Those who covet that vintage vibe will be excited to know that there was wicker and rattan well before there was the wicker and rattan of the nineties. Normally I might say, “This ain’t your mee maw’s wicker,” but in this case, that’s precisely what it should be. It might just be your mama’s wicker you should avoid this particular go around, depending on her age of course. True vintage rattan furniture will come at a premium, and will be difficult to find for the average person, but the modern take on these pieces can be both fun and budget-friendly with retailers like IKEA getting in on the textural action these days. So what do you think, do you love it or hate it? Will you be partaking in some wicked, wicked wicker? Or is the Papasan chair better left in the past?

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From tie dye to dip dye, the art of hand dying has been enjoying quite a design moment for the last several years. The methods for making some of these intoxicating prints are in some cases quite ancient and absolutely intricate to say the least. Unlike many of the other trends to reemerge in the last decade, the hand dyed decor of today isn’t remotely close to the type of tie dye you might remember having donned in the parking lot of a Grateful Dead concert in the nineties or as a flower child during the days when love was free. Modernity has given much of this artistic expression a monochromatic twist that makes this look quite easy to adopt and bring into the fold of your everyday decor.

Dye

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With their dye resist techniques and hand applied stitching to create these incredible patterns, the artists who practice Shibori have begun to embrace new outlets for their craft in the way of home décor and wallpapers, rather than the more traditional items of the past, and the result is absolutely breathtaking. It brings the art of tie dye into a very modern place when it’s done with such intention and intensity and the detail that can be found on many of these pieces is mind boggling.

Dye

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Perhaps a reason for such a long moment of celebration in the design world is the chameleon like nature of the designs themselves. One pattern might lend itself to a more global boho scene while another brings a decidedly edgy rock n’ roll mood to a space. Virtually all of them suggest something of a slightly vintage quality, and whether that will be interpreted as a seventies or eighties leaning vibe is utterly dependent upon the context.

Dye

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This is one of those trends that is difficult not to like in some form or another. If the eighties with its neon and bedazzled jeans wasn’t quite your thing, then perhaps you are the more cultural variety who prefers their long walks on the beach in a more exotic locale? Well lucky you, because it just so happens that this hand dyed trend caters to a global inspired look just as beautifully as it does to a young and vibrant look. These hand dyed pieces bring a bit of that well-traveled yet effortlessly chic style to any space whether it be modern and minimal or retro chic and cozy, these pieces seem to fit right in regardless.

So, I’m curious, have you tried your hand at any of these dying techniques? I would love to know how it turned out and which style is your fave, or if you have yet to find the fun in this trend.

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The cowhide rug — definitely masculine, supremely rugged, a little bit sexy, and surely something I never thought I would be drawn to.  Yet all this week I thought about little else but these asymmetrical beauties in pale hues. As a kid who grew up in the southwest, the recent past of these rugs is a style I’m all too familiar with and frankly assumed I could live without for a great many years to come. But, as is often the case, a style becomes reinvented in a way that is difficult to ignore given the current design climate, and suddenly I find myself drawn to the most curious of objects. Does this happen to you?

Cowhide

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Truly it’s not so surprising that this item is experiencing a resurgence in popularity at the moment, especially given the current obsession with all things vintage sixties and seventies. Lest we forget the popularity of the cowboy and the Wild West during the days of disco.

Cowhide

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A surprising array of designers are drawn to this unusually shaped creation. From those who tend to lean toward a more traditional aesthetic to those who embrace a full-fledged vintage mid-century mod look, these rugs are popping up in decor everywhere as a unique option to add some unexpected visual interest and texture to a space.

Cowhide

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Have I mentioned their durability? This might just be the deal maker for me in that they are naturally stain repellant, to a certain extent. Being of the bovine persuasion and coming from nature of course, this likely has something to do with the natural oils in their skin. After all, it’s not very often you have the chance to witness a grass stain on a cow’s hide in the wild. For a household that experiences a high volume of traffic, this is perhaps a nice option to consider. Those of you with children will know precisely what I mean… but is this enough of a reason to head back to the southwestern style so soon after its demise?

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You might be willing to tolerate a smattering of the seventies here and there, from some of the more glamorous light fixtures, to a few of the iconic furniture pieces that have begun a new day of celebration, but I’m curious how you feel about the resurgence of fiber art and weavings that have become the trend du jour? Quite often, as we see trends reemerge there is a slight trickle-down effect and the end result only hints at the original. Once in a while we see the full look and style revisit under virtually the same terms and conditions it did previously, and this is definitely one of those times.

Fiber

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Big, bold, and utterly handcrafted, the vintage varieties of these pieces are highly sought after by a crowd that happens to include the likes of the designers sourcing for ACE Hotel, and always on the forefront of the design scene. Where they go, many a designer will follow, but it seems this is precisely where the design world was heading regardless.

Fiber

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The seventies appear to be back in full swing for the moment, right alongside a few of the other decades that are still enjoying a bit of their prime.  In fact it seems much of the second half of the last century is up for grabs right now and designers and makers alike are flocking to the past for inspiration if not directly for the resources themselves.

Fiber

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While all things vintage are current for the moment, it’s interesting to see the skillset behind these works become a target for the more hands-on community. Weaving and the arts surrounding the loom are taking an upturn in the world of craft and I for one can’t wait to see where this particular aspect leads.

More From Rayan’s “Past Meets Present” Series:

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Making its debut as early as the 1930’s but not truly popularized until the 1960’s, this former military application isn’t so much an emerging trend as it is a look that seems to be habitually hip. Perhaps with an occasional ebb and flow in mainstream popularity, Lucite remains on the design radar and readily available in decor and accessories, even despite some of its less than stellar uses in the past. This barely there material never ceases to bring that sense of coolness to a space, and designers are always finding new and clever ways to add this stealthy staple to the mix.

Love of Lucite

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From commercial signage applications in a residential space to fully stocked bar carts that are light on their feet, this industrial strength ‘upstager’ is constantly turning heads. Once a game changer always a game changer I suppose, since the general design of Lucite pieces doesn’t seem to have changed much over the years. In fact, aside from the more extreme examples from a particular era, it would be quite difficult for the average person to guess which pieces were made in the 60’s and 70’s and which might have been made today.

Love of Lucite

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So what is it about Lucite that remains forever young and timelessly chic? It might be the modern vibe it brings to a space, or its weightless and futuristic nature, maybe it’s that extra bit of unexpected something special that ties it all together — I really couldn’t say, but I know I enjoy seeing it happen — as often as possible, for now. So how about you? Do you have a love of Lucite or could you leave it at the door?

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It’s no secret that brass is back. From hardware to lighting and decorative accessories, this luxurious leaning metal has gained a firm foothold amongst design enthusiasts everywhere during the last 5 years. Regardless of which side of the fence you happen to stand on in regards to this trend, there can be no doubting the brass loving design sprawl that has taken place. It seems to have enamored everyone from your neo-trad trend setters to your vintage loving mid century connoisseurs. Those of you paying attention may have noticed that more permanent fixtures in the home have made their way onto the latest list of things to don a brassy finish.

Brass Fixture

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Given the somewhat close proximity of our last go around with this phenomenon, I must admit it’s not entirely surprising that this option hasn’t been leaping off the shelves in droves, just yet. Many of us are still fresh from the experience of ridding our homes of the last remaining vestiges of those 90’s builder grade fixtures and trimmings, with all the orangey gold shine you could hope for. Not to worry, this most recent and modern take on this recurring brass theme doesn’t have much in common with our last gold laden fling. In fact, they are hardly recognizable as being related when you take finish and context into account.

Brass Fixture

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That’s right — this go around hearkens back to the more Victorian variety of brass fixture adoration, with more muted, almost antique tones, and a definite nod to antiquity in terms of shape and style, yet with a decidedly modern manifestation of these traits. Many of the brands touting a brass finish for their fixture product lines have gone with a matte or brushed finish in similar fashion to how we have seen stainless or nickel most recently. It’s not as bright, certainly not as garish, and happens to have the absolutely modern added benefit of being much less apt to collect fingerprints and hard water stains.

Brass Fixture

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The modern accessibility and functionality of these pieces gets my vote right out of the gate, but is it risky to choose a definitive color for such a permanent fixture in your home? I suppose the shades of silver found in the abundance of stainless steel appliances and brushed nickel fixtures are more common today, are also a specific color, yet somehow over the last many years of society adopting this finish as a general standard, we have rendered this particular metallic a neutral. Will brass fixtures be the next neutral, and will they follow suit by expanding into high end appliances? Or is brass perhaps destined to be kept at arm’s length, and remain solely in the world of hardware and decor with merely a momentary dalliance into fixtures for the kitchen and bath?

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If there is one thing we know for certain, it’s that trends are cyclical. Just how frequently those trends cycle seems to be a matter of how often popular sentiment shifts back and forth between excess and simplicity. Following a period of excess, it’s only natural that people tend to seek a more organic and handmade aesthetic, along with a more minimal lifestyle. That is precisely what we seem to be experiencing in the world of design at the moment, as we recover from the glitz and glam that ran rampant during the previous years.

Potted Plants

As we nurse our shiny object hangovers we can revel in our hoarder tendencies and rejoice that we didn’t toss out our early attempts at ceramic crafting from school-aged art class. It just so happens that those oversized, bulbous and haphazardly glazed creations are trending like Justin Bieber’s mugshot pics.

Last seen in the years following the infamous Summer of Love and encompassing all that was both loved and hated about the 70s, this trend has definitely morphed over time to include some very modern takes on this relatively ancient craft. Yet, it appears as though this fabulously retro-inspired accessory seems to be enjoying a moment of almost exacting similarity to its original predecessor. Of course, this means those vintage versions, commonly overlooked during your visits to the local thrift stores, are now going to become something of a highly sought after addition to your decor. What is old becomes new again, inevitably, and this trend is no exception to the rule. The question is — are you ready to embrace this trend in its new form, that isn’t actually new at all? Or do you prefer to avoid anything that even remotely hints at lava rock and gold-flecked faux marble surfaces?

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