ALL POSTS TAGGED "“defend the trend”"

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BRIANA: Since it’s Black Friday, I thought we could rap about blackboards. They’re handy in the classroom, but the trend of using chalkboards and chalkboard paint at home shows no signs of slowing. So, spell it out for me: Are you bored with decorative chalkboards? Do you think they’re cool or should they stay in school?

chalkboard over bar

LIZ: True, it’s not exactly revolutionary decor at this point, but I’m not ready to erase the trend quite yet. I mean, you get to DRAW ON THE WALLS (and refrigerator!) Do I really need to say more?

child drawing on chalkboard fridge

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BRIANA: It’s fall and Thanksgiving is fast approaching, which can only mean one thing to many outfitting their home for the holiday: IT’S DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON, [EXPLETIVE]! (I shant include a direct link here due to the column’s use of strong language, but if you don’t get this reference, I suggest you coughcough search for it on McSweeney’s coughcough).

So, decorative gourds: Festive fall must-have or tacky tradition?

cornucopia filled with decorative gourds

LIZ: Well…this is happening in my entryway:

pumpkins and an owl

So…yeah. As high-brow as I might try to be, there’s just something about buying a bunch of pumpkins and gourds that feels so…seasonal. See, there’s even a bird in my house! All my (alleged) principles evaporate when fall happens. I still skip the shellac and cornucopias, though.


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BRIANA: Lili has pitched it as a Color of the Month in the past…and so have I. This couch caused quite a kerfuffle at the meeting. So take a stand and make it official. Is denim in the home jean-ius (sorry) or is it better on the body?

denim sofa

FARIMA: If you would’ve asked me this question a couple of months ago, I would’ve said no way.  I’m not sure what exactly changed my mind, but I like it in small doses. I voted for Lili’s denim pitch, and I even featured a denim map in my color trends post.

denim map

The sofa is a little too much for me though.


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BRIANA: Kelly Wearstler gave her walls a graffiti treatment, Keith Haring now comes in decal form and people are scribbling all over home accessories. So, what do you think of graffiti-inspired style? En vogue art or design vandalism? [Ed. Note: Check out Kelly also rocking two trends we've debated in the past in the pic below: Hand chairs and animal print! What a design daredevil.]

graffiti in design

MARIANNE: The last time I felt the love for graffiti was the Stephen Sprouse collab with Louis Vuitton. On my walls? Not so much.

GRANT: Ah, memories. This trend takes me back to my street gang days. I say if you’re going to go for graffiti in design, GO FOR IT.

graffiti hotel


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BRIANA: Leopards and zebras and Dalmatians?! Oh my! They’re all over the runways (and my nails), but do you want animal prints in your home? Sharpen your claws and let me hear you roar!

leopard throw

LILI: When I was in college, my roommate and I re-covered a wingback armchair in leopard print velour. It was the best thing that ever happened to that chair, or that apartment.

lili leopard chair

Lili on her leopard throne. "This is what the 90s looked like."

GRANT: We live in a Kardashian world — and the three sisters agree that animal print is in — and that we should be draped in it (on our bodies and in our home). If it was only Kim pushing the look, I’d question the trend. But with Kourtney and Khloe on board too, we should probably just embrace it.
kardashians in animal print READ MORE

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BRIANA: Maps. Ma-ah-ah-mah-ah-ah-ps. Wait.  They’ve been plastered on walls and are now all over accessories. So, are they sophisticated or stuffy? Do they make you feel classy or like you’re in a classroom? GO!

bathroom map from lonny

MARIANNE: I’m hot and cold on maps. I don’t care much for the wallpaper and the accessories don’t float my boat, but I think I will always love an old schoolhouse wall map.

GRANT: Hmmmf. Can globes be included? I’m very whatevs about flats, but I’m especially drawn to spinner collections.

globes and map

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BRIANA: Patchwork is picking up again. So let’s stitch together some opinions on this trend. Homespun sweetness or just a hot mess?

patchwork sofa

LILI: I posted the Oswald Squint patchwork sofa as a Daily Delight a while ago…

patchwork sofa

…and my thoughts on this sofa are essentially the same: I don’t know why I like it! My design style leans toward the classic, mid-century modern, the austere-with-a soft-edge. These patchwork pieces are the polar opposite. I can’t help myself from liking them, though. I think a crazy side chair like this Rug Collective one would make a perfect complimentary piece to my solid gray sofa:

patchwork chair


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BRIANA: We may be through with a trend, but that doesn’t mean a trend is through with us. I spotted a Keep Calm and Carry On tray in a kitchen in House Beautiful’s July/August issue and a mug in this recent Apartment Therapy post about HomeGoods.

keep calm mug

So, where does your KCACO opinion fit on this chart? Backlash? Backlash to the backlash? Have you always liked it? Always hated it? Has it gone so far out that it’s circled back around to being in again? Has it transcended trendiness and gone straight into timelessness? Am I asking too many questions?

JESSICA: Confession time: I still like it. They had one of these blown up at Target a few months ago and if I had the money at the time, it would be sitting in my kitchen right now:

keep calm cupcakes

I will admit, the KCACO phrase is a little tiring. Good thing people are scraping the phrase and keeping the style though:

i love blogs print

FARIMA: I still love it too, especially when I see a creative one, like this:

keep calm drink wine print

But I think it’s annoying when it doesn’t make sense, like this one:

keep calm and frat on tee

LEANNE: I want one that says “Keep Calm; Take a Xanax.”

GRANT: I don’t like being bossed around like I’m some chump. I see this and think, “Y-O-U stay calm and go away!”

LILI: I like the traditional Keep Calm design and typography. It’s been diluted in the last two or three years. But as a piece of design? I still like it very, very much. Mind the Gap, too.

mind the gap

KAYLA: I loved it until everyone started making it:

Now I’m just exhausted. But I have to say, there is ONE exception to this for me and it’s this.

BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN: I think the KCACO graphic art and the FOR LIKE EVER graphic art defined a certain time in design: The end of the Domino Magazine era and the height of Brooklyn modernism. That being said, I think it’s great as an indicator of interiors circa 2007-2008. But people should just own up to the fact that it’s gonna be a bit dated and overdone.

BRIANA: KCACO feels like the design equivalent of “Call Me Maybe”. Loved it the first few times, but its reign must end. Give it ten years and I’ll probably be sentimental about it, though. Like, I’ll find that Keep Calm mug in a thrift store and buy it for two bucks.

I did like the comment someone made on that HomeGoods post about the true meaning behind it:

I think (and hope) that “Keep Calm and Carry On” will never go ‘out of style’. [...] When I see that poster, I think of the 33,000 people who died in the Blitz, the Londoners who fought, prayed, and barely lived through that horrible horrible war, with a grace and bravery that has never been seen in the general public. [...] I think of my Granny sitting under her stairs waiting for the buzz bombs to pass overhead and spare her street, and her neighbors. And when I am having a tough day, or week, or moment, I think of them and what they went through, and I realize that if they could do what they did, I can get through anything.

Kinda makes me feel guilty for ragging on it.

You’ve heard us carry on about this trend, now tell us what you think:


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BRIANA: Lemme run this one past you. Pedro Friedeberg’s iconic “Hand-Chair”: Crazy cool or just plain crazy?

silver hand chair

LEANNE: I want a set of eight of these around a table shaped like washboard abs.

BRIANA: Washboard abs table sold separately!

hand chairs around a table

CAMILLE: Tee hee! Meh, I’m not a fan of furniture that’s giving me the finger.

FARIMA: I agree with Camille! I think it’s hard to match this chair with any design style.

KAYLA: For some reason this chair reminds me of Legends of the Hidden Temple. (Clearly I’m a child of the ’90s.)

legends of the hidden temple

But, I’m just dying to sit in it, just not necessarily in my own home. Maybe around Leanne’s abs table?

ABBI: Might be worth it to have one around, just for the joke factor. My friend just moved into a new rental house and the previous owners left a hand chair in one of the bathrooms. When first-time visitors head towards that room, she says, “Let me know if you need a hand in there.” [insert groan here]

LILI: There’s a real Beetlejuice vibe to these hand chairs that I can’t get past. Like on a dark and stormy night, if someone whispers the wrong word three times they’re going to come to life and trap their occupants.

beetlejuice furniture

CAMILLE: Yeah, that sounds about right. They also remind me a little too much of King Kong.

king kong posterBRIANA: Ooh, good call! I’m still undecided, because while I think people like Kelly Wearstler handle this kind of sculptural statement well, and I love the hand chair in Emily Henderson’s office (Marianne, your pin reminded me of this)…

emily henderson's office with hand chair

I’m worried I could never stop thinking about the hand chair on Arrested Development enough to take it seriously if I had one.

JESSICA: I need some more nap-based functionality out of my creepy hand chair.
hands sofaMARIANNE: Whew, I’m late to this party. Do I even need to say that I would totally put one of these in my house?


You’ve heard what we think, now we’re handing it over to you…

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BRIANA: Ready for another super smackdown DEFEND THE TREND hot topic!? The word is BIRDS. Robins, owls, pelicans, seagulls, hummingbirds, what have you.

We know where Portlandia comes down on the issue, but what say you, design elite? Are they still hot or not? Or to put it in magazine terms, are they “wired”, “tired” or “expired”? Is there a particular bird you’d like to see go extinct in the design world? Are there some you’d like to see MORE of?

Penny for your snarks.

MARIANNE: I was ready to jump in all “thumbs down,” but if someone gave me an Eames House Bird, I’d put him on my mantle and name him Fred.

eames bird

LILI: Every time I think I’ve seen enough birds to last me a design lifetime, one or two pop up that I think are cute. I’m done with them on bed linens. But I can’t say I’m over them in bookshelves:

emily henderson shelf

Except for owls. If I never see another owl figurine, it will be too soon.

FARIMA: Birds in real life = Scary (I have slight ornithophobia). Birds in design = Cute, because they can’t fly (or give you the evil eye). Vintage birds are definitely my favorite.

bird illustration

BRIANA: I’m on the fence. I’ll say that I’ve had my fill of chickens and ducks because my mom had that classic ‘80s country motif thing going on. And I’m all “HOO HOO” is not over the owls at this point? But I still kinda like parrots. I blame Anna Spiro.

parrot figurine

And blackbirds or ravens. (Hello, Eames beauty.) Maybe it’s my inner Hot Topic-shopper talking?

BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN: [The trend is] Expired. I love a good aviary-ish fabric print or a bird-related oil painting, but I’m sick of bird silhouettes. Owls are nostalgic and fun, especially in an early 1970s way.

LIZ: Unless it’s designed by Charley Harper, you won’t see a bird inside my house.

charley harper bird

LILI: I will admit that I bought all of these Breezy Singers when DWR was selling them about 10 years ago. They would’ve scared you bird-a-phobes since they sang when you walked by.

breezy singers

GRANT: I like birdies in design — but I say “absolutely not” to hoot owls. My grandmother had this clock in her kitchen when I was growing up. I haven’t been the same since.

owl clock

BRIANA: Yeah, the duck phone I included as a link? Pretty sure we had that exact same model. Try talking into a duck butt for your formative years. It does something to you.

duck phone

MARIANNE: That explains so much.

KAYLA: I love birds in design and otherwise. However, my grandparents were strangely obsessed with ducks, so when I was little and would visit, all I had were these duck figurines to keep me occupied for hours. (I feel your pain, Briana.) And if you know me at all, you know I love owls and will always love ‘em.

One thing I can’t handle, though:

antonios birds

Sorry, Antonio.

LIZ: I also have birds-on-a-wire fatigue. We know: They sit there! They don’t get electrocuted! But I wish the endless wall decals would. In related news, just, no.

ABBI: I am sitting in a random house in Pennsylvania — Kellie Clements from Design Star is doing a design consult. The home owner is really open to all the suggestions, but just totally freaked at the idea of getting rid of some of her chicken figurines and paintings. She loves them. People be crazy about their birds.


LIZ: Okay…these are pretty amazing. I guess my bird-hating ways only go so far.

We’ve chirped enough about birds. Now, tell us how you feel…


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It’s time for another installment of Defend the Trend. Find out what happens when HGTV editors stop being polite (“That’s cute, but not my style!”) and start getting real

BRIANA: I’m totally sneaking this one in while LILI is away because I know she hates it, but how bout this ‘70s brass étagère?
70s brass etagereI don’t want to put words in her mouth, but I bet she thinks it belongs in a musty old wood-paneled rec room/basement. I see hypothetical Lili’s hypothetical point, HOWEVER I love it as a bar or bookshelf. What say you to the étagère – or the ‘70s glam thing in general?

MARIE: If somebody held a zucchini to my head and said, “You must put this in your house,” I’d stick it in a walk-in closet and pile sweaters and jeans on it.

CAMILLE: Ugh. Mr. Furley called and he wants his bar back. Not in my house; however, covered in some cheap orange shag, it would make a rockin’ cat condo. For cats that are swingers, obviously.

LIZ: I want to like this, as I generally like elements of ’70s glam…but no.  It’s too freaking big. Empty, the giant piece reminds me of a throwback treadmill for gerbils (they’d run to an endless loop of Saturday Night Fever, obv.) Camille’s swinging cats would be there, too:

I hate it much less in the office with the larger items and the memo board to offset its giant-ness and the gray background.

KELLEY: Dude. I just bought a ’76 rancher. You couldn’t move this into my dining room fast enough!

MARIANNE: I’m having a major brass/’70s moment, as both my house and myself were born into this world in 1977. I say yay.

GRANT: I’ve stared at it. I’ve come at it with a quick glance. I even grabbed my feel-good potato chips and revisited it with a happy stomach. No matter how I come at this thing, I can’t make myself like it. Honestly, I detest it in a full-body shiver kind of way.

LILI: Only email I’m responding to from vacation. This is the kind of piece that only Emily Henderson can make work in very narrow conditions. But dear God! I hate it so.

KELLEY: Emily, eh? You really wanna throw down that gauntlet?

MARIANNE: Lili, I both agree with you and think I COULD TAKE THIS ON.

BRIANA: Marianne, please take this on!!! New hallway installation!!!

Haters gonna hate.

MARIANNE: The next six months of my job are now devoted to wearing you all down until you love the Etagere. BOW DOWN!

So, basically, Kelley, Marianne and I are the only ones standing for this retro number. Guess we really are Three’s Company (as our coworker Leanne described the piece). What do YOU think?


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While we all loved the launch of HomeMint, one particular item from Justin Timberlake and Estee Stanley’s line caused a little email chain controversy over here at HGTV.

GRANT: Expensive skulls! Geez.
homemint skulls

BRIANA: Because they’re REAL.* Dun-dun-duuuuuunnnnnnnn.

LILI: And also blessed by JT.

BRIANA: Do we like the decorative skull thing, or no? Opening this thread wiiiiide so weigh in, pls.

LILI: I keep waiting for the trend to die.

MARIANNE: I’m torn on the skull thing. It’s just hitting mainstream which means it will feel played out in about three minutes. On the other hand, SHINY. Also, those are for-real skulls?** Meep.

BRIANA: Yeah, see, I’m torn. Because on one hand it’s like cool and glam and John Derian and Paxton Gate-y and I dig it, and on the other hand it’s all ALAS POOR YORICK.
poor yorick

CAMILLE: I’m tired of skulls. Gilded or otherwise.

MARIANNE: This is the only skull I’d want in my house.
damien hirst skull

That said, Grant and I couldn’t walk around High Point without bumping into a pile of bones.

LILI: Agree on that skull, for sure, but I might have to put a shroud on it. This is how unedgy I think skulls have become:
skull nails

LIZ: Why is only one available? Is Justin killing off less-successful boy band alums and passing the remains off as decor?*** If so, I support this. (Ahem…BLACKstreet)

MARIE: Skulls are dead to me. Seriously, I thought they were going out when they were on rings about 10 years ago.

FARIMA: I like the skull, maybe because it’s shiny…? It’s very pricey though, so maybe people wouldn’t be interested because skulls are everywhere.

KAYLA: I dig the HomeMint skulls. I don’t get why they’re $300-something, but I’d put one on my bookshelf, maybe.

GRANT: I like the skulls, but I can spray paint Halloween decorations and get that look for a lot less.


We sounded off, now tell us what you think…


* I’m kidding. Pretty sure the skulls are not real and serve a purely decorative function.
** I mean, it’s a joke. You guys know that, right?
*** Wild speculation for humor purposes only! Mr. Timberlake is a talented artist that we very much admire and respect, so if you are his legal counsel, please do not contact us!



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We’re an opinionated bunch here at HGTV, and while we all know taste is highly personal and beauty is in the eye of the beholder and yadda yadda yadda, sometimes you just gotta engage in a rousing design debate/discussion with your sassy coworkers. We keep it friendly, but we also KEEP IT REAL, y’all. In that spirit, allow me to present an actual email thread we shared over this little filly, a Maison RAMSAY cabinet, circa 1940.
horse hoof dresser

KELLEY: I’m a little freaked by the hooves but I love the color:

LILI: Beautiful!


CAMILLE: I’m completely freaked out by the hooves. I’m all about a lion’s paw, tho.

KELLEY: I’d just be afraid the dresser would gallop over to my bedside during the night, and I’d wake up staring at it, totally freaked out.

MARIANNE: The hooves kind of make it for me.

So, you know where WE stand, now you tell us…



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