Calabasas Style Article - January/February 2015

I believe in noble spaces -- not necessarily fancy spaces, but noble spaces. Spaces that help us, well, be noble. A version of our higher selves, if you will. Spaces that assist us in our daily routines to be more organized, inspired, and productive. Spaces that allow us to gather as friends and family and nurture our own spirits as well as the ones we love. And last but not least, I believe in spaces that allow us to grow and learn. It might sound a bit esoteric, as we are only discussing interior design, but sometimes it’s helpful to consider the big picture or purpose and then work backwards, remembering that the goal is ultimately to create spaces that serve and inspire.  Then, the conversation of personal style within those spaces can truly be off to a meaningful start.  

The Santa Monica Arm Chair in Chateau Blue Croc Leather and Copper Frame by Sarreid Ltd.

The Santa Monica Arm Chair in Chateau Blue Croc Leather and Copper Frame by Sarreid Ltd.

In 1994, I founded Interior Archaeology, a comprehensive interior design firm specializing in creating exquisite spaces with the same attention to detail that captivated me on the Hollywood sets I grew up on.  We’ve spent much of the last 20 years discovering those secret sources and special details that help Interior Archaeology create its brand of simple elegance that serves real, everyday living. In these quests, we’ve forged relationships with an impressive array of furnishings manufacturers, tradespeople, artists, custom workrooms, auction houses, architects, and builders that we rely on to help us create the looks we are known for. And we’ve learned so much along the way. 

I was thrilled when the editors of Calabasas Style approached me to share our insights and perspectives on interior design.  But oh my, where to begin?!  So many areas of interest impact the subject of home design and creating this nest that informs everything we do. It involves many elements that I am interested in -- everything when it comes to home, real estate, architecture, what’s trending, styles, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. I like to know the history of things, how they’re made, what they’re made of, how to get them, how to use them, and how to preserve them. 

“Market,” as it’s called in the home furnishings industry, refers to The International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., that takes place every April and October. Like Brigadoon, every spring and fall, this quaint southern hamlet -- the capitol of the U.S. furniture industry -- bursts into life with vendors and buyers from all over the world descending upon it to do business. Bustling permanent and temporary showrooms are festooned with the latest trends, collections, and achievements displayed by vendors in every category of home furnishings. 

The Henry Deck Mounted Lavatory Faucet with Teak Cylinder and Metal Cross Handles in Antique Brass by Waterworks

The Henry Deck Mounted Lavatory Faucet with Teak Cylinder and Metal Cross Handles in Antique Brass by Waterworks

One development that’s undoubtedly here to stay a while is the arrival of the warmer metal tones -- hand rubbed brass, burnished gold, worn bronze, and even copper. These metals flooding into designs today are the pendulum swinging opposite the cool, polished nickel and blackened bronze we saw emerge and dominate design 15 years or so ago. We’re seeing the use of these warm metals pop up in everything from bathroom hardware, cabinet pulls, and lighting to spot tables and chair legs. Don’t groan; this is not the yellow-tinged, thin, lacquered brass plate on the doorknobs of your first condo. This is a rich, higher-quality interpretation with a handsome restrained aesthetic. These are the metals to try and
incorporate into the choices you’re making today. 

The Blackland Cabinet with Burnished Brass Hardware by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair

The Blackland Cabinet with Burnished Brass Hardware by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair

You will also notice another aesthetic evolving among these examples. It’s a reach back to The Art Moderne, the streamline style that arose out of the late Deco period in the 1930s. Informed by machines whose arrival into everyday life had forever changed the American experience, industrial-age designers stripped Art Deco of its ornamentation in favor of the aerodynamic, pure-line concept of speed, motion, and scientific thinking. This period epitomizes the entire concept of modern; the fact that it happened 80 years ago gives this style the patina and charm of history. So, if you’ve been reticent to embrace the sea change towards modern furnishings that has occurred in recent years, you might find your happy medium beginning to emerge now.

With Suzanne Kasler in her stunning new space featuring her fall collection at the Hickory Chair showroom in High Point. 

With Suzanne Kasler in her stunning new space featuring her fall collection at the Hickory Chair showroom in High Point. 


I love the idea that these warm metals and streamlined silhouettes “mix” or “play nicely with others,” as I jokingly like to say. They lend themselves to almost any style. The trick to livable, interesting design, I think, is assembling pieces that although disparate, find commonality together in one space -- perhaps through tone, texture, or silhouette. How you choose to put these characters together is your voice coming through, telling your story. As a designer, I love finding bridges that help me unite the pieces that make a home a noble space. The tones and lines within these current design trends allow me to build bridges between all of the styles we work with, which is why I think they can be considered more than trend and equate to timeless style.