15 June 2010

Anybody want to call out some current bad trends?


The online magazine ShelterPop ran a really, really great article on bad trends yesterday. The piece was painstakingly researched by Jane Dagmi and she interviewed a host of people who really know what they're talking about. One of those people was me.


As usual, I ran my mouth and no doubt offended even more people than I do ordinarily. I derided cheap, shiny granite; pot fillers; professional home kitchens for people who don't cook and on and on. I better get some traffic out of it because I may never land another retail client. Hah!

Anyhow, the conversations I had with Jane about her article got me thinking about the sort of thing I do for people. I tell myself that the designs I come up with will still look good in 50 years but I wonder.


So what do you guys think are current bad trends? How long will faux zebra rugs look good? What about platform beds? Or how about the Carrera marble I love so much? Every scrap of floor tile sold in my market these days is a porcelain tile that imitates travertine. How long do you guy think that will look good?

I kid myself and tell myself that bad trends are things that other designers design, but I know I've endorsed my share of bad ideas. So again, anybody want to call out some current bad trends?

48 comments:

  1. You were GREAT in the article.

    But this made me want to rip my hair out:

    DIY's Matthews, however, advises eager home remodelers with an eye on selling, to avoid over-personalization and kitsch in the kitchen. She recommends relegating the ego to easily removable décor such as dinnerware, window shades, or peel-and-stick wall decals, rather than semi-permanent elements like tile and wallpaper. Matthews believes, "It's all about sustainability." Her no-fail solution for a goes-with-everything-keep-it-simple background is white subway tiles.

    Subway tile is the Dockers of kitchen decor.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Subway tile is the Dockers of kitchen decor." ha ha ha - belly laughing right now at Raina's comment. My mother was recently picking out tile for her kitchen backsplash and came home with white subway tile samples. My father (who is an accountant) said they looked like what someone who couldn't make a decision would choose. I thought that statement was perfect.

    OK here I go ... industrial pendants in the kitchen. I'm still voting no on those.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Dockers of kitchen Decor, that's hilarious. I'll never see them again and not think of that phrase.

    Industrial pendants is a good one Sharon. How about graceless Chinese blown glass pendants that pretend to be graceful Murano blown glass pendants?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The place my wife and I moved into 3 years ago has an all white kitchen (cabinets, counters, appliances). There isn't an inch of space in that room that reflects anything aside from how much we abhor the thought of putting a perfectly functional, all white kitchen in the trash (where it belongs). It takes a considerable amount of restraint to keep from listening to the voices in my head that tell me to take a bucket of paint and unleash my inner pollack.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Unleashing your inner Pollack" sounds like what most of HGTV's programming should be called. Hah!

    ReplyDelete
  6. LOVE the post! Ugh - I'm calling out too much stainless steel, specifically - the stainless steel farmsink. Too clinical

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good call! Keep 'em coming. I'll call out distressed finishes on cabinetry and furniture.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The 'too-small-to-be-useful' countertop wine cooler that only holds like six bottles of wine. If that's the extent of your collection that needs to be acclimated, well...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good one. How about the $3000 built-in espresso machine? This coming from someone who loves espresso by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  10. my head is exploding right now! I don't know where to start and have entered mental lock down (I'm typing this with my nose because my fingers are refusing to cooperate). Maybe I will be able to enter from the fringe later and list some items but for now, I will say that I hope all arched glass vent hoods go to hell.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That's a good one. Whose idea was it to position a piece of glass 24" above a pan full of snapping bacon in the first place?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I second or third or fourth subway tiles -- HATE them. They're so boring, and literally remind me of all those long trips to and from University on the Metro in Montreal.

    Not a fan of stainless steel either.

    My biggest pet peeve is the boob light -- who came up with that stupid design?? Seriously, big-nippled boobs hanging from the ceiling are NOT attractive.

    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  13. LED lights or, better yet, lighting panels in a kitchen - so you can match the color to your mood. Which button do I press for surly?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Okay I hate Microwave hoods. I know in smaller kitchens it is a space saving thing, but.....Reaching over a frying pan to get my dish out of the microwave only to have my shirt get splattered or worse yet catch fire.....not a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anything tumbled.

    Anything done for a "resale" that may happen 10 years down the road anyway. Put what you want--even if you do the best gosh darn neutral kitchen ever for all those buyers, guaranteed they will still rip it out; so why not do the kitchen you love?

    Some things I believe are classic, but when everyone is using it, it just becomes "Blah, not again." So then I wonder why, if someone likes subway tile, why not do it in a different material, or a different color? Classic, but different.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Keith: Man Cave drives me crazy too. Generalizations based on gender really irk me. Weren't we supposed to have moved past that by now?

    Sue: Perfect.

    MLC: I'm right there with you. Tumbled marble back splashes are cheap and cheap is usually the fasted route to bad trend.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great one Jane. What would the LED color be for surly? Flashing red?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Kelly: I don't hate subway tile automatically, although it's usually used inappropriately.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is probably an old one by now, but those stupid signs you can buy at TJMaxx that say "Live Laugh Love'. WHoever came up with that should be garroted.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm nervous to say this, but the trend I can't stand is ... HGTV. Sorry, I know others love watching, but what I've found in a lot of cases is that it tends to set unrealistic expectations for some clients.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Melody: I'm getting the piano wire ready to make that garrote.

    Israel: You will get no argument from me. One of the regulars around here swears that HGTV is an acronym for Holy God That's Vile.

    ReplyDelete
  22. One word: the proliferation of those cheap European bar pulls. They are starting to make the nice ones look bad. It's for people that want to be "contemporary" but would like to do it without the personality or design sensibility.

    You made that article!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Is there nothing holy? Is anything or anyone immune to the vitriole of this man? Legions of the great unwashed (read "average joes") are writhing under the biting glare of this critics scathing inspection, their kitchens withering, and their everyday lives painted into a bitter corner. Mercy sir! Let the people live, and perhaps learn the error of their ways - and hire a professional.

    ReplyDelete
  24. When I was first starting designing cabinet layouts the hot trend in Boise was a Knotty Alder kitchen perimeter with an island accented in a painted black finish. I sold this kitchen hundreds of times! I was so excited when I was my customers were moving towards flush doors, and wide drawers, or anything new. I ended up moving to a smaller city in western Washington and I feel like I've gone back in time. I've sold a handful of alder kitchens with black islands. So for 6 years I've been selling the same kitchen.
    Someone please tell me after awhile this trend will be laid to rest!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Saucy: There are no nice ones and they all look bad.

    Rich: If I didn't judge haughtily I wouldn't have a career.

    T&M: Sounds like a western thing to me. The big thing here was glazed cherry with a black island. It seems to have gone away these days in favor of all white paint all the time. That will pass in time too. I feel your pain.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Without much thought and just off the top of my head....huge handles on refrigerators that more often than not extend well past your counter depth. Also; over-sized toasters that eat up your counter space. Who needs either? :) -Brenda-

    ReplyDelete
  27. OK with the white subway tile but they cost 21 cents each and it could be worse! But why someone would lay out for the hand cut ones when you could obviously get something far more awesome for the money is beyond me. Almost any mass-produced home decor stuff sold at TJ Maxx, Home Goods, etcetera, behemoth stainless steel range hoods, wine coolers with glass doors as a kitchen centerpiece. But OK- all of this design snark creates a "need" for something, which really isn't a need. And isn't all this need to reach for the latest, coolest just about lead us straight to that debacle in the gulf?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Amy: The reason subway tiles are being hated on so much is the very reason you used as a reason for why they're OK. They cost 21 cents apiece. That makes them the equivalent of a Live, Laugh, Love tea towel from TJ Maxx. Once something gets to the point of mass production cheapness, it loses any longevity. Not buying cheap stuff is how you get a kitchen renovation that lasts a long time. And that feeds right into my claim that the Gulf Oil Debacle unfolding in my back yard was brought about by shopping for cheap prices instead of high quality. There's more to it of course but $1 bottles of shampoo and 21 cent tiles made in China paved the road.

    ReplyDelete
  29. But that's the problem. And its not just cheap stuff. Its most clothing or at least components, its the granite expensive or not, its the hardwoods from Indonesian rain forests converted to beautiful furniture, textiles which almost without fail are produced in the third world and so much more. Yes much of the issue is the cheap stuff, but the cheap stuff is following on the expensive stuff that helps create the culture. From a design aesthetic, you can definitely compare the tile to the tea towel, but from the will-it stay-there-intact-until-I-die perspective, I don't think the tile is going anywhere. Its a different question if you're going to walk on it every day. One thing for sure- its not a simple thing to put together a locally sourced sustainable kitchen on a modest budget.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I hear you and I don't mean to put you on the spot. It is tough to put together a locally-sourced kitchen renovation on a tight budget. I run across it all the time. And yes, it's hard to be a thoughtful consumer when your surrounded by a culture that tells you that new and cheap is the key to happiness. But it's those same cultural messages telling you that you need a new kitchen in the first place.

    Bear with me here. I know I play a role in all of this, Lord knows I play a role. Maybe the answer isn't to be found in a locally sourced, budget friendly kitchen remodel. Maybe the answer comes from rethinking the whole idea of what's an adequate kitchen.

    The model we work under now where a middle of the road kitchen remodel costs $50,000 and has a life expectancy of 10 years is unsustainable. Anyone with any sense knows that. But the alternative, a $5,000 kitchen from Ikea is a terrible substitute. It's even less sustainable. So what's left? What's the better idea? I don't know but whoever figures it out will get a Nobel Prize.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I was just putting it out there. Agree that the real deal is probably around what an adequate kitchen should be. Going to stop, have a beer, watch the Lakers and argue with my husband about who the next Commandant of the Marine Corps should be.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm just thinking out loud too. But now you have me rethinking my whole career. Kidding. I didn't expect this when I wrote this post last night. Thanks for the great comments and keep coming around AmyM, you are welcome any time. Subway tile or no subway tile. Enjoy you beer, enjoy the Lakers and enjoy your argument with your husband. Are both of you Marines?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Can an adequate kitchen (or any interior) just be a THOUGHTFUL one? Isn't that how trends really get started - people are thoughtLESS about a certain design decision? Designing a 'thoughtful' space evaluates cost, source, materials, etc. and makes the best decision for the needs of the person at that time. It may not always be the best decision for the macrocosm that is the world economy but a designer can only control what they are thoughtful of within their own limits and resources.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you! You just brought me back from the edge of an existential abyss. And yes, thoughtlessness and shortcuts are the handmaidens of a bad trend. Think and be saved.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Okay, I'm a day behind and most of what I was thinking has already been mentioned, but I'm going to say them anyway.
    *Knotty Alder cabinets. I'm in UT, so I totally know what the Boise guy was talking about! I want to vomit when I see a knotty alder cabinet with Baltic Brown countertops and cream tumbled travertine backsplash.
    *Tumbled travertine backsplashes.
    *Vinyl words on the wall (like the Live, Laugh, Love mentioned before).
    *Shiny, cheap granites.
    *Clients asking what everyone else is doing....and then they do it too. No matter if THEY like it or not.

    Okay, that felt good. I can't bitch about shiny, cheap granites or tumbled travertine on my own blog!

    ReplyDelete
  36. The existential abyss- if you don't hang out there once in a while, you probably aren't thinking. Husband is a former Marine. I am so not.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Steph: Live a little! I'm glad to be your release valve. Hah!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Amy: Comb through my archives some time, I have a timeshare on that abyss.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Paul, back to what you said a few comments ago about an average kitchen remodel costing $50000 and lasting 10 years--do you really see a lot of people who rip out a kitchen every 10 years and spend another $50000 to redo it simply because styles have changed? I know if I spent that much money I'd be looking to keep the kitchen indefinitely. Or are you saying at that price it will only LAST 10 years before it starts to fall apart?

    ReplyDelete
  40. MLC: That's an average figure based on group behavior, not individual. It gets skewed by the fact that most people move every couple of years. Once someone's in their forever house they renovate once and they're done. Most people however, don't live in their forever house. A well-done, well-made set of contemporary kitchen cabinets will last a lifetime. Lifetime cabinets cost a lot of money. A $5,000 set from Ikea or Mill's Pride at Home Depot will last for ten if you're lucky before falling apart.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I woke up in the middle of the night and remembered the one thing I was going to mention....
    Oil rubbed bronze. Fixtures, plumbing, hardware, tile, etc. It's SO overdone here in Utah.

    ReplyDelete
  42. It's already petering out, but cheap-looking ORB fixtures. You know, the ones that look more red than bronze and really don't look anything like any natural metal would.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Steph: Hah! I thought I was the only one who woke up in the middle of the night over stuff like this. ORB is today's antique brass. I warn people all the time. Oddly enough, real bronze was and always will be. I think there's a lesson there.

    Mom: I read you loud and clear. Add to it every light fixture available in the lighting aisle of any home center you can name.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I saw a magazine recently that raved about a stunning splashback in a kitchen. It was impressive to look at. Except that you can't clean it or the paint will come off. (I read it three times to make sure because I couldn't believe my eyes! Why would you put something in your kitchen that you can't clean?)

    ReplyDelete
  45. I don't get it either, but people do it all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  46. honestly, pointless total structural remodles are my pick as a bad trend. now, ive emailed you an idea of my kitchen, that i think could warent knocking down a wall or two but these two-car-garage sized kitchens having walls knocked out just to 'open up the space' is rediculous to me. if you want to see the dinningroom from the kitchen PUT THE TABLE IN THE KITCHEN! My dad has one that size with a four-seater island bar and managed to EASILY get an 8-12 seater hardwood dinningroom table in the other half of the room. Yes, half of the room would be otherwise empty if not for that table and chairs.

    oh...and walk-in-pantrys.....no one needs that much food unless there are 6 teenage boys in the family and uncle lary moved in. Im just sayin...

    ReplyDelete
  47. er...btw, I'm sara/Unintellegent_designs@yahoo.com...just got an account on blogger and forgot i was logedin lol

    ReplyDelete

Talk to me!

Related Posts with Thumbnails