This was an article from today's SFgate http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/01/02/HO5ATTPDU.DTL Designers declare where the money is for 2008 Susan Fornoff, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, January 2, 2008 Bay Area interior designers are looking forward to a busy 2008 - and, odd as it seems, the nation's mortgage crisis may deserve credit for that. In a sample of 11 of the region's design professionals, the consensus was that business is booming, with budgets so unconstrained that increased customization and one-of-a-kind elements are taking center stage. "The design market is thriving, and I think that has to do with the shift in the economy," said Kelly Keiser, who has both a design business and shop, Splendid Interiors, in San Francisco. "People are staying in homes longer, rather than flipping houses. And I feel my clients are now investing in their houses and buying bigger-ticket items." "Every designer I know is busy," said Grant Gibson, whose business took off after he won critical praise for his San Francisco's Decorator Showcases in 2004 and 2005. "I have more work than I can handle, and for the first time I'm not taking on new clients. It seems that, despite what's going on in the world economy, in the Bay Area, people still have money to spend." As Chronicle readers sometimes make a point of reminding Home&Garden, most people cannot afford to hire interior designers to decorate their homes. But as home improvement professionals have observed, the trends that start with wealthy clients and their designers generally trickle down to the wider market and even do-it-yourselfers. With that in mind, here's a roundup of capsules hinting at what trends those Bay Area designers and their clients might be launching in 2008 - along with a few trends that might be making their way to the interior design graveyard. (Hello comfy seating, goodbye shiny lacquer.) Cheryl DuCote (Cheryl DuCote Interior Architecture & Design, San Francisco) Generally: "We're seeing an importance in master bedroom suites. I think it's tied to the fact that the formal living room has gone by the wayside, and everyone congregates in the kitchen-family room, and the parents have no privacy - at a time when, with both likely to be working, they probably need it the most." On the green movement: "There's a push toward green, and so our clients say, 'Give us more green, give us more green.' Then you start to present the pricing to them and it becomes a problem. ... We just looked at a fridge for a client. It was so energy efficient, it uses as much electricity as one lightbulb to run it all day. But it cost as much as $8,000." Hello: Lavastone. Energy-efficient washers and dryers from Miele. Requests from clients to mix contemporary and traditional design elements. Goodbye: The all-granite kitchen and the all-stainless-steel kitchen. P.S.: "We've been doing some very interesting color schemes. We just did a master suite in taupe and pink for a couple. It looks gorgeous, and he doesn't feel it looks feminine at all." Lawanna Cathleen Endonino (Lawanna Cathleen Design, San Francisco and Beverly Hills) Generally: "Original antiques and custom-designed furniture are in large demand from my clients. I bought a charming original Noguchi table from Rue de Grenelle Antiques. My client treats the table like a valuable sculpture." On the green movement: "I had difficulty finding a green textile line that has the right colors and patterns for my projects, so I decided to design my own, with hip patterns and bold colors and using only organic products." Hello: "I'm a big fan of digitally printed wallpaper - it's available in a variety of patterns and bold colors, and designers can design their own to give clients something original ... I also like Decorati.com, a Web site that allows designers to shop showrooms, download tear sheets and get quotes 24 hours a day." Goodbye: "Although I love the idea of creating a space that Marie Antoinette would have lived in decadently, Baroque furniture is becoming last year's style, being replaced by mid-century antiques and reproductions." P.S.: She likes to shop Hedge Gallery and Sarlo Wick. Grant Gibson (Grant K. Gibson Interior Design, San Francisco) Generally: "Things like the Internet, 1stdibs.com, Domino, In Style Home, Real Simple, Oprah's home magazine - these give everyone access to things. In the next years, I see things becoming available to not only the trade but to the general public. In this economy, if someone wants to buy a $10,000 sofa, a showroom isn't going to say, 'Sorry, we won't take your money.' " On the green movement: "I'm educating clients about it, but they're not coming to me with it in mind. I spend all day at the Design Center instead of making many trips; I look for green upholstery textiles and fillers; I tell clients that wool and natural fiber carpeting does less off-gassing. But when I made space for one client to have a recycling bin, he said, 'I'm 74 years old. I've never recycled and I'm never going to.' " Hello: "Kneedler-Fauchere has solution-dyed acrylic fabrics from DeLany & Long that are beautiful and durable. You can spill anything on them." Goodbye: "The chrome-black-leather, Design Within Reach phase is finally winding down. People are going more classic and a bit warmer; they're more concerned with comfort. My client today is in there (at the Design Center) sitting on 25 sofas." P.S.: He'd like to see other things go away - zebra skin rugs and coral, to name two. Cathleen Gouveia (Cathleen Gouveia Design, Tiburon) Generally: Gouveia sees the design trade veering away from the traditional hours-plus-commission billing structure to hours-only because clients have become so shopping-savvy. "Many clients will shop a designer for specifications and then cancel their contracts so that they can have a buying service do the purchasing for them with the specs they have gained." On the green movement: "Wealthy clients aren't yet affected by this trend. They have an affinity to items that are custom made for their homes and reflect their travels abroad and the hobbies their affluent lifestyles afford. ... I believe we are on the cusp of a major revolution as American habits and lifestyles are affected by the need to slow global-warming trends." Hello: Bathroom vanities being replaced by "spa boxes with open shelving and exposed plumbing below." The impact of solar technology. Room focal points shifting from floor to wall, with the advent of flat-screen TVs, and designers doing more home-for-sale staging, in light of the dismal housing market. Goodbye: Trade-only showrooms. "I believe that, outside the immediate San Francisco Design Center arena, suppliers who once catered only to the trade will respond to our weak economy by offering products to consumers directly online. Designers will need to restructure fees to maintain profitability." P.S.: As the Baby Boomers age, she said, "furniture forms, mobility, access and affordability are going to be more tailored to the late-middle-aged and elderly." Christel Heinelt (Lushart Decorative Painting & Murals and Christel Heinelt Design, Pacifica) Generally: With all of the exposure to Internet and magazine design expertise, said Heinelt, clients are more educated and more passionate about their spaces. "The designer is the expert, the professional in the field. Some clients want those clear roles, yet others choose to challenge your ability to interpret the scope of the project to a certain extent. ... I choose to embrace the present, ride the constant wave of change, and educate my client to make the best choices for their space." On the green movement: "There are so many wonderful organic products on the market for interiors. We will definitely see more and more in 2008. ... Lighting is also an exciting element, with more use of natural and diffused lighting, as well as alternative bulb sources and wattage." Hello: "A huge trend would have to be specialty decorative wall finishes and wall coverings. The materials today are amazing. ... I worked with a company out of the South Bay called S2 Design that creates digital wall-scape imagery. With this medium, the sky is actually not the limit; the possibilities are endless. The S2 team can take any image and translate it into a permanent wall or floor covering." Goodbye: "I think the trend of the poured-concrete kitchen and bathroom countertop has wound down. I think clients felt that, though beautiful, it was not stain resistant enough or as durable as slab marble and stone." P.S.: Heinelt says the rebirth of Venetian plaster has kept her busy with her Lushart partner, Thad Warren, on the labor-intensive process she describes as "expensive, long-lasting and very beautiful." Jay Jeffers (Jeffers Design Group, San Francisco and Los Angeles) Generally: "People are using more color, which of course I love. And as the world gets smaller with the Internet and increased travel, interiors are becoming much more worldly. People are collecting decorative objects, art and antiques from all countries and periods." On the green movement: "I'm not really excited about the aesthetic qualities of a lot of the green furniture out there, but I like the fact that businesses like upholsterers are starting to look at the materials they use and are trying to incorporate more green products." Hello: Multiple looks for a single room - summer/winter for example, or casual/formal. Waterworks custom metal finishes on faucets. Textural finishes on furniture, such as limed oak or bleached walnut. Goodbye: "Dark finishes on furniture. I've been lightening up those dark brown, wenge colors on custom furniture, but those dark finishes just won't die in the world of retail furniture!" Also, Hollywood Regency. "Large, overscaled patterns on fabrics and wallpaper are getting smaller and more elegant." P.S.: "I love that antiques are considered green, and I use them as often as possible in my interiors." Kelly Keiser (Splendid Interiors, San Francisco) Generally: "Everyone is in search of the calm right now. They mostly want a relaxing environment, and that applies to color, texture, everything. Living in the city, as most of my clients do, there's a lot of stimulation out there." On the green movement: "We are ahead of the game for the United States, but behind as designers. I read somewhere that we dump 6 billion pounds of carpet into landfill a year as designers. That's a lot. We need to be aware of what we install and what we uninstall." Hello: The Kravet Green collection of eco-friendly textiles, Benjamin Moore's low-toxicity Affinity paints. "I've also been installing a lot of fireplaces in the city." Goodbye: Toile. Damask. "I also see people reusing their old pieces - maybe the new is also winding down." P.S.: "Sometimes it's hard to tell the designer from the client, but people are more informed, and I don't think that's ever a bad thing." Catherine Macfee (Catherine Macfee & Associates Interior Design, Orinda and Tahoe City) Generally: "Interior design is returning to the hallmark of our culture by helping clients truly defining who they really are and how they want to live. Our clients want timeless, not trendy, interiors ... solving the current needs of our families." On the green movement: "Europe and many other countries have been living this lifestyle for ages by investing in high-quality items that last for years and are passed through the generations. Some designers that have been in the business for a while seem overwhelmed with the concept of incorporating sustainability into projects because they feel that is something they have not learned." Hello: Golden harvest yellows, rococo pinky red and snorkel blue. "I see pattern expanding into a larger scale, almost simplifying things in a classic way." Goodbye: The wild and the mod. "I think people are looking for timelessness and not flashy, trendy interiors." P.S.: "I'm excited about taking something that is old and creating something that is new. I recently found a pair of red gothic church window frames that we are making into a bed headboard and footboard." Steven Miller (Steven Miller Design Studio, San Francisco and New York) Generally: "The design climate seems still a little provincial, but with younger people becoming more moneyed and doing things in different ways than their parents did, it's becoming less staid and more adventurous." On the green movement: "I'm noticing a definite trend with wealthy clients moving toward green design and green products. These can be kind of out of reach for many people and can add 20 percent to the cost of building, but wealthy clients can go there. It's very trendy though, and it makes me nervous that, like most trends, it will die. It really needs to be sustained." Hello: "Photovoltaic panels have come a long way in 10 years; they're much more attractive, smaller, more efficient. ... I'm impressed with Gary Hutton's new furniture over at Therien ... great new wallpapers by Studio Printworks." Goodbye: "Asian modern is really tired and we're all sick of seeing it. Bamboo is a great product, but I'd like to see it used in new ways. Ebonized wood is waning and middle-value woods are definitely stronger, with even maple making a comeback." P.S.: "When you look back on this period and can identify trends with some distance, ebonized wood will be the one we identify with this era." Caitlin Moran (Caitlin Moran Interiors, San Francisco) Generally: "It's a rare Wednesday that I don't get a handful of items e-mailed to me from 1stdibs.com for treasures clients have spotted and want for their homes. The language of design and decorating is not reserved for only the professionals, and I really enjoy the synergy of working with those in love with my craft." On the green movement: Clients definitely are more aware. "One practice I am really encouraging is to consider reinventing existing pieces, whether they be from clients' own homes or antique fairs, estate sales or flea markets." Hello: Mokum fabrics from Australia and Raoul Textiles from Santa Barbara, which "inject not only a graphic element into my work but a feeling of the exotic." Moran also sees a move away from high-gloss lacquer finishes to more aged looks. Goodbye: "I am hoping that Hollywood Regency will take a nap. I love it, but I think the market is a bit oversaturated." P.S.: "I am seeing a trend of glamorous natural: faux bois wallpapers, silhouettes of lighting and furniture referencing natural forms - trees, animals, botanicals - and natural linens reinvented in a sexy, shimmering way." Kendall Wilkinson (Kendall Wilkinson Design, San Francisco) Generally: "Design can be either very traditional or very contemporary, but in recent years it seems that it's going more toward the middle. We're mixing the two. This might mean using one or two antiques in an otherwise clean-lined, linear room in order to add depth. ... More people are taking even traditional Victorian and Edwardian interiors, stripping down the finish work, and adding in more modern furniture or doing things like painting the walls and trim the same color instead of in contrast." On the green movement: "People are definitely very conscious of it, but it typically costs more money. A trend we'll probably see in the design world over the next few years will be figuring out how to incorporate green design into our clients' lives for less cost." Hello: "Venetian chandeliers and Lucite furniture-like tables, headboards, vanities. They have a bit of shine and a bit of sparkle to them, and are a great bridge between classic design and modern design." Goodbye: "I see the trend of too much of one thing - too much of one look, style or color - disappearing. ... People don't want their homes to look like a showroom or a master suite, they want the unexpected. Things aren't so subtle anymore." P.S.: Clients are customizing rooms - "TV rooms or home theaters that are very lounge-oriented, wine cellars with an adjacent dining room, home offices that don't use traditional built-ins or office furniture but look more like libraries or sitting rooms." NOW: Custom furniture and antiques, energy-efficient appliances, Lavastone, limed oak, eco-friendly and durable fabric, "glamorous natural." Hello: Palecek's Woodland collection is crafted in mahogany veneer from plantation-grown trees; upholstery is organic hopsack, a green fabric. LAST YEAR: Ebonized wood furniture, the steel-and-leather look, granite/stainless steel kitchens, Hollywood Regency, poured concrete countertops, Baroque. Bye-bye: The comeback of the LC4 Chaise Longue, Le Corbusier's 1928 design produced by Cassina, may be over.