November 2019 Industry News

    Giving Thanks All Year

One of my favorite holidays of the year…Thanksgiving!
Giving thanks as family and friends gather to enjoy one another's company and a beautiful meal on that special day is so heartwarming. Gratitude is powerful and something wonderful that we can turn to for inspiration 365 days a year. 

Speaking of wonderful, we recently had the opportunity to interview world traveler and market expert Deb Barrett. As High Point's brand ambassador, she shared not only market trends observed during the fall show, but also gives a forecast based on those global trends she's observed at markets around the world.
And one of our favorite television celebrity designers, Vern Yip, recently chatted with us about the concept behind his new book, Vacation at Home. You won't want to miss his insight! 

Happy Thanksgiving!
Natasha Lima-Younts DSA
Designer Society of America

Inspiring and Energizing the Design Industry 


Any of you fortunate enough to have attended High Point Market this fall know what a special event it was. But even if you weren't in attendance, we've brought the best of the show here for you. We turned to High Point Market's Brand Ambassador, Deb Barrett, for a first-person report on market trends this year. 

Deb first notes a lot of nature-inspired looks, silhouettes, textures and materials. “Definitely a softer, rounder, organic block, curved sofas, not a lot of straight lines,” says the noted trend strategist and design and market intelligence consultant. “Some of it's being driven by the millennial market, for sure,” including sustainable and green design that is affordable for designers. Also improved is the design esthetic to match the functionality.” 

Driving interior design on a larger, global scale is health and wellness. “It's a lifestyle choice and part of the culture. Look what's happened in the mattress industry. No one thought they'd be buying mattresses the way that we are now. Tech came in and completely disrupted that whole product category. Along with that is the idea of the sleep revolution―bed linens, mattress, bed pillows, technical textiles, all of that stuff that leads into performance fabrics and upholstery.”

Part of the excitement of going to market is that every two or three markets you see someone that reinvents themselves, whether as a manufacturer or brand, and becomes all the talk of market, she says.   - Room image Global Views at High Point Market-

“The talk of market was (New York designer) Sasha Bikoff, who hooked up with Versace and did an amazing exhibition in Milan (this spring). So Currey & Company went to her and wanted to have not only an Instagramable moment, but they wanted to be the talk of market. They kept it under wraps and opened it up on Friday. Everybody couldn't stop talking about it; it was amazing. And guess what? There were only prototypes of her line that's not coming out for another year. 

 -image Sasha Bikoff-

“So the whole idea was that shock and awe versus selling product. It was genius from a marketing standpoint. That's kind of what we're seeing is that influencers are becoming an important part of market.” 

Also prevalent at market was more of what's being called the “new traditional” or “modern traditional.” Antiques are becoming more and more important, she says, as are one of a kind custom looks, which lends itself in traditional more than it does in modern. “So the modern contemporary manufacturers are reissuing archival things like Marcel Breuer looks or whatever. All manufacturers are going to their archives to see how history and the past can inform the present and the future.”

High Point Market highlighted the fact that the pendulum has swung to maximalism, the counterpoint to minimalism, and so there's more ornamentation, more pattern, more layering, more one-of-a-kind personal touch looks, which again traditional lends itself to, she says, citing curved furniture such as Queen Anne legs and Bombay chests.

“One mega trend we talk about a lot is the personalization aspect,” Deb continues. “Customers want one-of-a-kind, unique, only made for me stuff. They're buying it like an art piece or an investment piece.”

-image Thibaut -

The demand is resulting in really interesting materials and mixed media, and lots of texture. “There's texture to the point of three-dimensional sculptured looks―cabinets, sideboard fronts with really interesting hardware, sort of brutalist, cubist, nature-inspired, rough grooved, you name it. The ongoing sustainable materials trend has sparked the return of caning, coastal looks of rattan and basketry, raw edges. Button tufting is out, replaced by tuck and roll and channel quilting is more prevalent.”

-image Micheal Berman - kravet-

Another category coming into its own, which has been the bane of the designer's existence, is what Deb refers to as “motion furniture,” better known as the recliner. “There's some really interesting motorization and tech things coming out with motion furniture and they don't look like the typical motion furniture or home theater. They're big and boxy and have a sleeker European or Italian look to them. It's a category that's going to take off for designers.”

As a trend strategist, Deb travels the world to develop design intelligence and interior forecasts and has design focused travel planned next year to Paris, New York, London, Provence, Portugal and The Netherlands. Deb says she finds that consumer driven mega trends are fairly universal, though adapted in different ways to different cultures. 

“Health and wellness, maximalism, design exploration, self-care, technology, identity, personalization and privacy…all those issues facing everybody…that's the universal aspect of it. We do see when we travel to these trade shows abroad that they are a bit more forward and takes some time to come to the US and be translated into the mainstream, but that time cycle is definitely compressing,” she says. 

Deb says next year will bring additional sustainable and green design components. “The materials, the technology, all of that is moving so fast, and we have to adapt to that as designers. Our clients are seeing it in everyday life, and they want instant gratification. They're looking at brands based on transparent supply chains and where the source is coming from.”

Designers are now becoming editors and curators,

telling a story in a design narrative to sell the product, she says. “The client wants an experience, no matter what that means to them, and we have to define what that is. So that's where telling the story, the process, the authenticity of the artistry…all those things play into green and sustainability and recyclable and upcycling.”

-image Wesley Hall High Point Market-

Color trends at play at High Point were warmer jewel tones, says Deb. “Not so much about individual colors as it was about color palettes and color schemes, whether they were interesting and certainly that they fell on the warmer side of the color wheel.” Those colors were then were combined with bold patterning, also trending, and layers.

“The counterpoint was upholstery in a champagne, gold, almost bridalesque, with some slight shimmer in the fabric. I think the next move from rose gold, which was one of the hot metallics for a long time.”

Blush is still around, as are soft pinks, as evidenced in a couple significant launches, such as the line by super model Miranda Kerr for Universal Furniture and Ben Moore's new color, First Light, basically a softer blush version of millennial pink, she says.. 

“Black and white as a color palette was strong, mixed sometimes with pops, so black and white, black and gold, that timeless, high-contrast, dramatic combo. Greens were everywhere, from bright greens to more olivey, khaki, almost army greens. Gray, not so much. We're forecasting brown and camel are going to have big upswings in 2020. Animal prints were always there, not only in fabrics, but lighting, upholstery, rugs, sculptural shapes.”


-image Restoration Hardware-

Deb saw a lot of cozy materials―faux fur, sheepskin, chunky textured sweater knit, the looped boucle, called teddy bear fabric in fashion. “Everyone had a chair done in that look,” she says, also noting finishes in the warmer walnut, some blonde, marble, mother of pearl. “And a lot of terrazzo looks, which we saw a year and a half ago in Europe and now we're beginning to see it in High Point.” 

Last but not least in the market report, performance fabrics are gaining strength, and Deb anticipates seeing more entrance in competition in 2020, driven by both voids in the marketplace and customer demand for function and great looks, including mid-weights and drapery weights. “It's part of this whole smart home, technical textiles, health and wellness culture.

That's what's driving it.”

For more information on décor tours with Deb Barrett,     

visit .

"the eye has to travel"                                  

 diana vreeland

One of Deb's favorite quotes!


It's Like a Vacation…At Home!

By KK Snyder
Atlanta-based interior designer Vern Yip has thrilled fans with the release of his new book, Vacation at Home. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Yip, who shares some advice for our members and explains why he chose this particular angle for the new book.
“It dawned on me that, for me and for so many of my clients, at the forefront was this goal to create a nurturing feeling at home. The minute I walk into my home, I immediately feel rejuvenated, relaxed, reenergized. I feel like my home is the most special place on the planet, and that was the request I was continuously getting from so many of my clients.”
Yip realized there is a great deal of interest in this topic because so many people come home to chaos everyday―shoes on the floor, coats on the bannister, mail, catalogues and magazines stacked up on the nearest surface. 
“As frenzied and busy as our days have become, we're yearning for that ability to come home and immediately feel like we're in the most special place on the planet that's been tailor made to take care of us functionally and esthetically.”
He attributes the recent desire for such home surroundings to the popularity of minimalism such as that promoted by Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and others with a similar message. “People were just sort of looking for someone to give them direction on how to come home and not be overwhelmed by the mess, the stuff,” he says, noting that while minimalism has some positive aspects, he knew those strategies wouldn't work for his home long-term. 
“For example, I love my old family photographs and could never just reduce them to five. I love my books and could never just pick five and dispose of the rest,” he says.
So, he sought a different method and began thinking about why he loves coming home. “I determined that, first, you have to get the foundation right, and then you have to keep up with the maintenance of that foundation, which can be simple to do if you enlist a few basic principles.”
First, determine what your clients really need and what they really love and then keep only those things that fall into those categories. It either has to serve a function or be something really meaningful. For example, it might be a special piece purchased on a vacation that brings back those memories versus something picked up because it was on sale and fit a space that needed to be filled. 
“Instead of pining for the couple of weeks a year you spend at your favorite resort or hotel, I want people to be pining to get back home,” he says. “Ultimately, home is where the most important moments of your life unfold with family and friends, so why not make it a relaxing, wonderful, nurturing retreat and enjoy all that time that you're actually spending in it?”

It's been his mission with both Design Wise and Vacation at Home to apply the concrete step-by-step ways someone can get there. For example, he shares in this newest book 18 strategies for simplifying home life, such as finding the right pieces of furniture with closed storage to help make a place for everything in the home.
“When you see stacks of mail and magazines, along with the keys and the dog leash, sitting on the countertop, every single one of those items creates a shadow line. Your eye picks up on it and you process it as a piece of information that needs to be acknowledge,” explains Yip, who advocates finding a piece of furniture with closed storage or a hinged box with a lid, a dedicated place where everyone in the home knows things keys and the day's mail belong 
“Another point is taking advantage of advancements in materials we use so we can take things some of the maintenance off our to do lists,” he says, such as using LED lighting that lasts for 20 years or his indoor outdoor fabric line that is soft to the touch yet stain resistant. 
“It's the idea that if I want a white sofa I can have it, even though I have kids and dogs. I can spend time on it conversing with family or with a friend versus worrying if they're going to spill their drink. Or use white quartz countertops that emulate the look of marble but won't scratch or stain or need to be treated with kid gloves. It's the implementation of materials that allow you to relax and allow you to be with people instead of just being with your stuff.”
Being an informed designer and knowing what materials are out there for you to use allows you to offer clients options that will meet or exceed their needs. Often designers think their eyes are they biggest asset, but it's really the ears, says Yip. “You always have to start off doing more listening than talking. Your goal is to give your clients the space that they can live their best lives in, that will take care of them and reflects them functionally and esthetically.”
Ideally, people want to be able to enjoy their space rather than spending a lot of time maintaining it, he continues, adding that many of us spend hours, even days, getting ready for company. “The way we live is the way I like to design homes for my clients…someone could just pop in unexpectedly and your home would look the same. The most important person who walks through that front door is you. Instead of spending all that time getting it ready for someone else, it should be ready for you. 
“If you help your clients determine what's important to them and you help them find a place for those things and you get them into a strategy to kind of chip away at the maintenance of it every day, you're going to give them the kind of environment where they can come home and just feel greeted and relaxed as if they were walking into a five star property or a five star resort and not just their home. Those two things should be one in the same.”
For Yip, having a background in architecture allows him to not only generate ideas but be able to implement and understand them from a structural and numbers perspective. “It's a different way of thinking. Every designer brings different skill sets, and I've just been really fortunate in being able to embrace the side of me that's much more practical. 
“I think I'm the most evenly divided left-brain right-brain person out there. I have a degree in chemistry and economics, I was a pre-med student, I have an MBA, and a master's in architecture, but I also really love the creative side of things, obviously. It's been nice to play on having that duality and using it as a strength. 
  “One thing I always say to designers is that we all have gifts that we bring to the table and it's not about you emulating someone else; it's about celebrating what makes you special, what makes you unique and letting that be an advantage for you when you work with clients.”