BRIANA: This trend ranks high on the list of must-have amenities for lots of people looking for homes – I’d say it’s almost as popular as stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Yes, I’m talking about open floor plans. Does an open concept give a home an appealing flow and extra light? Or does it make you feel lost in space? (Chad, I’m looping you in because I know you’re moving and in the market. Give us the dirt. Is it a feature you’d specifically seek out, a bonus or a dealbreaker?)
CHAD PARIZMAN: IMHO, it’s a bonus. Very few houses we’re looking at have them, though. Mostly the conversation goes something like, “This is kind of a small space, but I bet we can just knock down that wall and really open it up.”
This is especially true as we’re looking at tiny kitchens with little counter space who share a wall with a dining room twice as big as anything we’d ever need. We’re finding lots of dining rooms that could seat 16 people with kitchens that couldn’t handle more than two people standing in it at the same time.
JESSICA: I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I grew up in apartments where your only option is an open floor concept. I feel super claustrophobic otherwise. I’m also one of those people that has to have every single door in the house open though, so maybe it’s just me…
My family moved into our first house just a few years ago and that has a big open layout as well. I love it – I can be lounging in the living room while someone else is in the kitchen and we are all still together. That’s a luxury I don’t feel in my current home: it’s a very adorable old cottage, but the rooms are all separated and it can make the house feel smaller than it actually is. If I wasn’t renting I’d have already taken a sledgehammer to the walls.
OPEN OR CLOSED? CAST YOUR VOTE NOW!
BRIANA: Dip-dyed pieces have been on our radar for a while, but Apartment Therapy just featured this chair from the 508 Restoration and Design Etsy store with the headline: “Half & Half: New Painted Furniture Trend?” Thoughts? Is this a cool hybrid look or does it seem like someone ran out of paint in the middle of the job?
BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN: I say it rules. It’s a great alternative to painted patterns, plus I have done it myself, so that means I have to like it or risk being labeled a hypocrite.
LIZ: I love the look of natural wood paired with graphic paint designs. With its painted-on flava, this regular old dresser looks almost like a Saarinen table:
BRIANA: Watch your mouth! Or hang it on walls, or adorn your sofa with it. Mouths and lips are popping up everywhere these days, from posters and prints to mugs and more. Is it a hip throwback to the days of The Rolling Stones and Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground album art? A surrealist nod to Dali? Or is it just the feminine equivalent of the mustache? Mouth off…
Photo: Made by Girl/Lips Watercolor: Jessica Rowe
KELLEY: Sorry – all I see are the lips from Rocky Horror.
CAMILLE: Totally. It looks like Magenta is going to eat that Chanel bottle.
DO YOU LOVE LIPS? CAST YOUR VOTE NOW!
BRIANA: Facial hair seems like it’d be a more appropriate topic for a men’s fashion site, but mustaches have been making their way into the design world for some time now. Pillows, wallpaper, mirrors and more have been emblazoned with whimsical whiskers and searches for “mustache party” have been spiking on Yahoo! So, what are your thoughts on mustaches? Do you think the bristles are fun or should they stay where they belong (on Tom Selleck’s face)?
From Kirkland’s, available July 21
LEANNE: I do not understand this trend. At all. Tom Selleck, I understand.
KELLY SMITH TRIMBLE: I love Tom Selleck, but I really hate this trend. Mustaches are meant for men, not pillows and especially not children. I mean, I know the hormones in our meat are messing with kids’ biology, but mustaches on 5-year-olds is just weird. Quit forcing kids to grow up so fast. This little boy doesn’t want to wear a mustache — I can see it in his eyes.
DEANNE REVEL: That picture. Hahahahahaha
BRIANA: If you’ve been holding your breath wondering when we were going to get around to Mason jars, stop waiting to exhale. Crafters and design bloggers have turned these practical vessels for food preservation into: vases, chandeliers, planters, cocktail glasses, candy jars, lanterns and the ingenious organizer shown here, amongst other things. But it’s that very versatility that puts the Mason jar in danger of Pinterest over-saturation, no? What are your thoughts on Mason jars and Mason jar crafts? Are they playful or played out?
Photo: Lincoln Barbour
KELLEY: Considering I have the world’s largest Mason jar on my desk right now (sadly not filled with moonshine, but iced green tea), I’m going to have say I haven’t moved away from the trend. In fact, I’m smack in the middle of it. Though in the South, it was a trend that never went away – the rest of y’all are just catching up. [wink]
WHERE DO YOU STAND ON MASON JARS? VOTE NOW!
BRIANA: Concrete and faux concrete finishes have steadily been gaining popularity over the past year – Stylus recognized concrete as a High Point Trend, and Liz and I spotted these pieces at ICFF. But what do you think of the trend? Is the concrete look cool or does it leave you cold? Is it industrial chic or way too bleak?
BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN: I seldom use concrete due to its lead time and also the finish costs associated with getting it just right; however, when I opt for concrete, I think its success is all about juxtaposition. Usually, I’ll pair a concrete table with super textural seating, like boucle upholstery. Concrete also warms up a lot when it’s paired with wooden pieces, either with rustic or refined finishes. Dammit, all this talk of concrete now has me wanting to use it again.
MARIANNE: Brrrr. Way too cold for me. Concrete counters in a kitchen can work in a lot of spaces, but even that is not my style. Plus I would break all of my wine glasses.
SEE MORE CHATTER ABOUT CONCRETE AND CAST YOUR VOTE
BRIANA: Wicker furniture was big up until the late ’70s, and then it seemed to be relegated to the backyard. Now it’s making its way back indoors, too. (Peep this wicker headboard and bedside table. Double trouble!) Are you pro-wicker furniture or do you think all this rattan looks ratty? Talk to me, people.
FARIMA: I am pro-wicker! I admit, it looks pretty ratty in natural form, but it looks refreshing and springy with a coat of paint.
LILI: This is only okay in a sunroom. And maybe not even then. I think of the wicker patterns smashed into the backs of my thighs as a kid and shudder at the memory. Furniture should never hurt you!
MORE FIGHTING OVER WICKER FURNITURE
BRIANA: Chevron has long been on my list of trends to tackle, but I’m bringing it up now because I see signs of its reign starting to wane. Could straight stripes and punky polka dots be poised to take the throne once again? Or are you still a loyal subject of the zigzags? Discuss.
JESSICA: You know the seagulls from Finding Nemo? They were me – only instead of wailing “Mine!” I was screaming “Chevron!” in every single department store. But as time went on, I realized that chevron was just a novelty to me. I didn’t really love chevron – just the idea of it. All those crazy zigzags just aren’t stable enough for me at this time in my life. We’re on a break.
DAVID HAYNES: Just the idea of chevron? Jessica, that is deep. I’m going to have to think on this for a while.
LEANNE: Enough with those harsh zigzags. Make 2013 the Year of Sensuous, Life-Affirming Swirls. Like in this Gustav Klimt.
MORE SHOUTING ABOUT CHEVRON
BRIANA: Even if you’re not a botanist, you may recognize the fiddle-leaf fig tree from its appearances in design magazine spreads and on blogs. Many, many design magazine spreads and blogs. Fiddle-leaf fig trees are basically the plant equivalent of that Cabinet of Natural Curiosities book, in that people staging spaces love to throw one in the mix. But does its ubiquity make it tired? Or is it just evidence that it looks good everywhere? Would you fiddle around with a fiddle-leaf fig tree in your home?
MARIANNE: Derp derp. Guilty as charged. I grew mine from a wee one-leafed seedling and it is basically my second child.
MORE TRASH TALKIN’ ABOUT TREES
BRIANA: Today’s topic is right in the middle of the Venn diagram that is design and fashion: Fascinators. They made splashy appearances at William & Kate’s royal wedding and the Design Happens crew spotted them all over Alt, so you know they’re hot with the design blogging set. They’re certainly attention-grabbing, but that can be a good thing or a bad thing. So, what do you think? Are fascinators fantastic or frightening?
LILI: People are doing this?
READ MORE FIGHTING ABOUT FASCINATORS AND CAST YOUR VOTE