A term we often use to describe materials or design details is “timeless”. Can you really design something and have it feel current and timeless at the same time? The short answer is yes, you can. On occasion we will bring clients to a design showroom and they suddenly become like kids in a candy store. They are drawn to every new faucet, light fixture and finish. We constantly have to reign them in and remind them of the big picture.
Does that mean you can’t purchase the antler chandelier? Sure you can, and in fact a few choice selections such as that can really help make a project pop. Additionally, certain light fixtures and hardware can easily be updated down the road. When designing an interior it’s important to focus on larger brush strokes that will be more challenging to change in the future, such as kitchen cabinet styles, countertops, wood floors, even paints. Choosing a timeless style is possible– think of the polo shirt for example. Made popular by tennis over 100 years ago, it’s still worn by men and women today.
One cabinet design that is truly timeless, as implied by its name, is the Shaker cabinet. Common to Shaker villages of 200 years ago, it is still being sold in showrooms today. We often say the Shaker design can go from traditional to modern with just a few tweaks. A change of hardware or adding a simple bead can help set the stage for your design, yet that door will probably still be relevant 20 years from now.
There are some stones that have passed the test of time. A classic of course is Carrara, used by the Romans centuries ago and homeowners today. Carrara stone, like the Shaker cabinet, can be used in a traditional or contemporary home. Modern Italian designers have been using Carrara for half a century. Other good choices are simple honed black granite or soap stones. These have been used for years and are still being specified today.
Tiles come in all shapes and sizes, and trend a lot like car designs do from year to year. Even here you can make decisions that allow you to lengthen the life of your design. Keeping accents to a minimum will result in a less trendy overall look.
As designers, we walk through homes and can nearly date the project by its use of materials. The really successful ones incorporate tried and true materials that are just as beautiful today as they were 20 to 60 years ago. So wear a polo shirt and start choosing materials that you might still be in love with a decade from now.