VIDEO 6 – 2018 – Vera’s Dispatches from the Art Studio – Visit to Houzz’s “Houzz of 2018”
Below is a blog that is based on my vlog about my visit to Houzz’s “Houzz of 2018” where I share my thoughts about interior design, top trends, and one criticism. Please note, I’ve edited this blog from the original video version for clarity and brevity :-) . To see the full video go here for Facebook and here for Youtube.
Hi everyone! Vera here! I’m a London-based, nature-inspired abstract artist. Welcome to my weekly video series “Dispatches from the Art studio” where I share about my life as an artist, what I’m working on in the art studio, and my influences and inspiration.
Houzz – presenting the top interior design trends for 2017 / 2018 in Soho
This week, I’m here in Soho, one of the more creative spaces in London. I’m here around Greek Street to visit the Houzz “Houzz of 2018”. You might wonder why I’m making a point of saying “Houzz” as opposed to “house”… if you have never heard of Houzz, it’s an amazing resource for anybody who loves interiors and homes – both interior design and landscape design. Houzz is a community (online and offline) that connects design lovers with people who provide design services, or who create work for interiors, such as myself for example. I am an artist who is on Houzz (you can see my profile here). There are lots of craftspeople who are on Houzz as well, in addition to interior designers and landscape designers. It is a wonderful resource and community for interior designers, for people who love interiors, and for people who create artworks or products for people’s homes.
You might have heard of Houzz in the US, where it is quite big and is a huge community. In the UK, it’s still growing, but there’s still quite a lot of people who are using it on a daily basis. And as part of that effort to grow in the UK, Houzz is doing a pop-up for a few days only and it’s quite an interesting space. It’s a five storey townhouse in Soho that they’ve specially designed, renovated and decorated to showcase some of the interior trends for 2017 and 2018. The event is on until January 31st, so you have just a couple of days to catch it.
For somebody like me, who creates artwork that often ends up in people’s homes, it’s really interesting to know about what the interior design trends are and what people are particularly loving… not necessarily in order for me to incorporate that into my own work in a very mechanical way, but instead, to have an idea of what’s going on in the interior design world. At the end of the day, I create my artwork because I love certain colours and textures. But my artwork also needs to speak to the context in which it is shown, and often times, that context is homes.
My highlights – the blank canvas floors
I wanted to share with you today some of the trends and other aspects I noticed visiting the townhouse today. The first element I noticed, which might be more from a practical perspective, rather than a design choice, is that there were a lot of floorboards that were painted white everywhere. Perhaps, this is because the house a pop-up space that the team at Houzz has renovated. But actually from a purely visual perspective, it is a very striking look that works really well, because they’re wide floorboards (so the eye doesn’t get caught by too much detail) and because they’re so light coloured. It’s a fresh clean finish to have white painted floorboards. The result is like creating a nice white canvas for all the other elements to shine in the house – rugs, wall colours or other décor items.
My highlights – greenery and plant life
The other element that I noticed being a keen plant lover myself is plants and greenery everywhere. Whether it’s the “living wall” that they’ve created in the upstairs café space, little accent plants here and there (little succulents and low-light loving plants), or full on trees. There are lots of live plants in the home. They have the fiddle leaf fig – the ficus lyrata, which is one of my all time favourite house interior plants. The whole look of the house was very green, not just because of wall colours, but also other design elements - they even had botanical prints on some of the cushions. It seems that the trend of bringing the outside world in and particularly focusing on green plants, does seem that it will continue, which as a plant lover I’m very happy about.
My highlights – bringing the outside world in and textural details
The other element I noticed, in terms of bringing the outside world in, is that there are a lot of natural materials - wood, leather, jute, and wool. There are a lot of stones – granite, marble, and other natural stones. The result is a very luxurious and polished look, but also very natural, very raw, and very organic.
The other aspect that I noticed in terms of bringing the outside world in and adding more interest is texture. There were many texture elements in the house – some were in the form of natural materials - wool or jute elements. A lot of the leather goods that I noticed (particularly a chair and a bench), weren’t just plain leather but were textured leather. Artisans had taken a material that is quite flat and maybe one dimensional and created texture by weaving it. There were also some heavily textured tapestries and textile wall hangings. Adding interest to your home décor using texture seems to be quite key.
My highlights – rich colours –
The colours in the house, were very dark, but not in a negative way. The colours were dark in the sense of being saturated, adding drama and presence in the room. A while ago, the home interior design look tended to be very light and minimalist and everything was white. The floors were white, the ceilings were white, the walls were white… everything was just white. Thankfully, we’ve moved away from that look and at least what Houzz is presenting in terms of interior trends is sumptuous colours on the walls. People hopefully aren’t afraid to put colour on the wall anymore. The kitchen in the house was an earthy rich sumptuous green colour. Other wall colours included really dark blues and an almost inky blue black. The other wall colours, particularly in the bedroom and the kid’s room, were a dark rose petal and a misty mauve. These are all very elegant, grown up colours, but still colour – not just white. This addition of real colour on the walls is one of the trends that I particularly love in interior design right now.
I remember at some point, the popular look used to be this uber minimialist, uber clean look. Then to go away from that extreme, there was a very maximalist look, “just throw everything in there”. And I might be in that eclectic camp in my own home. But it seems that now, we are in that middle space, where some people call it the “lived in” look - it’s not purely clean lines and white spaces and it’s not a ton of stuff everywhere but it’s in between. There are accents and well-thought-out pieces, and a lot of texture. There are velvets highlighting the fact that the choice of fabric really matters. And there are lots of colours – rich sumptuous colours. Lastly, there are many details including plants, books, collections and other decorations. It seems that people aren’t afraid to add details and texture, which is fantastic.
My highlights – atmospheric lighting –
Lighting is such an important part of creating a feel and look for the home. It’s not just a matter of choosing one big statement chandelier in the home and “that’s it!”. Instead, there are different types of lighting for every mood in the room. Houzz had this ceramic porcelain white pendant-style chandelier, which was very modern, but still very soft and beautiful. There were lots of accent and corner lamps. There was also a multi-pendant style lighting fixture with tree bark, which again complements the trend bringing the natural world in. A lot of the different elements influence each other and speak to each other in terms of creating a look that Houzz thinks people really want in their homes.
My highlights – my one criticism…
For me, there was only one slightly sad element where I can be critical. This criticism is of course because of my work of being an artist to who creates original artwork. That one criticism for the interior design of the house is that all the artwork in the home was prints. It might have been limited edition prints, there was some photography, and other prints, but at the end of the day it was prints. Prints certainly have their time and place, but for me, some of the could have been improved with more “wow” factor in terms of the artwork. Often people say that artwork is the final polish, the final jewellery of the outfit. The final item in the room that gives it that presence, that importance, that gives it its character. For me, particularly as somebody who creates art, who loves art, that’s the one thing that was missing.
As it is getting very loud (background noise), I am going to finish the video, but thank you so much for watching me this week, I really hope that you have a chance to visit Houzz, if you do, it’s on until 6 pm on January 31st in London on Greek Street. So thank you very much again and I hope you enjoy these weekly video series! Bye!
Ps. I apologize for cutting the video off a bit abruptly, as a scaffolding truck suddenly parked right next to me and it was suddenly super loud! It’s difficult ot find a quite space to do a video in central London! J