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Hearth & Home July 2014

Trends 2015

By Richard Wright

In a few short weeks, patio retailers will head for Chicago and their first look at furniture and fabrics available to them for the 2015 season. The wisdom of Maxine Lauer is their best guide.

People are not afraid of color,” says Maxine Lauer. “Historically, we’ve had all of these neutrals and browns on the floor – and they sell. They sell because people don’t love them or hate them. They’re just there, right?     

“When people get them home, they get very bored, very quickly, so they are looking to update them. They want more color. We can see people are more in love with color than ever before, and it’s time for us not to be afraid of it. The consumer is in the driver’s seat, but we’re not letting her drive.”

Trend & Colors of Historic District

“This trend is still traditional. In the late ’70s into the early ’90s, the number-one style of home building was Colonial; right now it’s Modern Craftsman. This classic style has broad appeal, particularly to Zoomers.

Def. “A Zoomer is a no-limits Baby Boomer who sees retirement as the fast lane to a more energetic, new life characterized by healthy living, a high level of physical activity, a quest for further education and who possesses technological and financial savvy.”

“The Colonial homes are either still owned by Boomers, and they haven’t been able to sell them, or they’re remodeling them. Or if Gen Y is moving to the suburbs and buying these homes, they are updating them and don’t want the same kind of home they had in the past when they used to live there with their parents. So we see the influences here in fashion and architecture and, of course, from the Great Gatsby, Ethan Allan collections and Williams Sonoma Homes.

“These homes are up to 30+ years old now. They’re classic. They’re traditional. The exteriors have formal attributes to them. Little courtyards exist in many of the spaces. It’s now becoming much more a tailored classic look than it is ornate classic. This trend has some very crisp, clean looks to it. Outdoor fireplaces, of course, are important.

“Here, red is a key story with blacks and grays, and there are some blues as well. Once again, we have black finishes, some with highlighting or see-through color. Walnut is being used to give it a move to modern. Then there are blond burls that are going wider and very oversized. Champagne stainless, the influence of gold and antique silver detailing with a little touch of black are part of this trend.

“We’re starting to see a lot more copper. Then there’s the smoky quartz. That’s a really important statement, where it’s gray and black and brown all being put together.

“Marble continues. Herringbone is very masculine. This has got a lot of masculine detailing to it as well with some feminine touches. Fleur-de-lis is making a comeback for next year, but much more open. Upholstery, sweetheart shaped backs, elegant loops are all part of this trend. Lattice work is still there.

“Here’s the color. It’s really a poppy red. It’s the base cloth, not just red accenting. A lot of times it’s being combined with the blues. Pillows are large scale, and much more modern. Sisal motifs are replacing the mattes. We’re still seeing some damask, but the sisal is more important and the damasks are more unusual. So they have to be anchored with a stripe or large scale or aged or distressed.”

Trend & Colors of Neo Nomad

“This is a global trend. It is very much a Gen X and Zoomer trend. It’s very African inspired, but there is a bit of Asian, and bold patterns and safari here. Think about these environments as modern, but bold. The look can be found on the West Coast, Northwest, Southwest and in various urban areas.

“Curves combining with angles are an expression of the Neo-Nomad home. Stone, of course, is a natural here, as are big beams in the home. Earth, fire, water. We’re seeing more fire and water combinations. Not just a fire pit, but it’s a fire and water combination.

“Simple geometry is a theme that is carried throughout the interior and exterior environments. Hand-forged metals bring us back to our primitive roots – deeply textured for a warm earthiness. Speckled patterns are inspired by sunbaked earth. It’s very earthy in the palette, but grounded with a teal so we see the okra and teal green. The teal is a key color here. Textures are very rustic, some with blacks. Again, copper is creeping back into the finish palette.

“There’s a new look for metal – pairing cool and warm side by side in the same piece. Lots of color contrast. Faux teak. Natural bone. Circular angles. Bold bases. Bold kinds of platforms and curves. Clean, simple lines for chair backs take on a streamlined feel. There are a few British Colonial aspects coming in, but I would say the bolder, more modern, is the dominant style here. Sea grass is very important, and updated by braiding and weaving entire pieces of furniture.

“The drum shape is huge. Scraped wood with a metal coating on top. Ropes, wovens, semi-gloss blacks. Black wicker gets an update with a semi-gloss finish. Large scale modern caning.

A lot of detail. Curved. Angular. This is much more modern, very subtle if it is a geometric. But the softened angled shapes are a bold African influence. There is bone and resin together. Charred teak. Bleached and distressed teak.

“There are very bold, striking color combinations and they really are earth tones, but used in a different way. Azurite is bold when paired with black, white and spice tones. Rich yellow pairs well with warm gray and rich, golden shades. Geometric medallions are taking on a loose, hand-drawn tribal look. It’s very African influenced.

“Stripes have either a dimensional texture or a geometric pattern. Rope, jute and other natural fibers are a key material for Neo Nomad. Tribal motifs adorn walls as well as furniture.”

Trend & Colors of Structure

“The trend we call Structure is represented by the soft modernism of homes in areas such as Portland, Oregon, but their popularity has spread to cities such as Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas. All generations may appreciate this clean, modern design style, but Gen Y and Gen X are drawn to these homes for their open floor plans and affordability for young families.

“This is a lot about gathering spaces in the outdoors. Not huge spaces, but they will take a small space and make it work. They add a backdrop. They add a fire pit. They’ve built in the seating. They’ve got plants in there. The key here is about living larger.

“The color palette is very much blue again and the finishes are matte black, oxidized stainless, a slate finish and

oxidized charcoal again. The browns are very blackened. Seared/burnt techniques add a rich and blackened appearance to woods, such as Douglas Fir and raw Oak.

“Natural oak provides a clean, softened wood grain; we’re still seeing a lot of oak. End cuts of oak create a stacked, gridded effect while showcasing the wood’s grain. I always look at reclaimed woods as being very important here.

“Concrete is being used, or the look of concrete. Corrugate still continues as a detail and accent. This is where the industrial look is working. These are simple forms, yet a bit industrial. You’re actually going to see industrial work even more in 2016, which is interesting because it’s been out for a long time. It has really morphed and continues to morph into other trends.

“For textiles or wovens, strong lines appear architectural in nature. Weaves have a striated textural effect, with a slightly nubby or chunky textural effect for sling fabrics. The texture of linen offers a tactile feel to textiles as well as finishes on hard surfaces.

“Denim conveys the modern ease of Structure, ranging from chambray to mid-tone denim. This shade also works well with neutral hues. Linear striped patterns appear in regimented formats. Modern grid-work repeats as pattern options for textiles or sling. Cross-hatch patterns are rendered in free-form. Worn and weathered leaves and florals make a statement here.

“Patterns of the ’50s continue here. Blurred and tonal chevrons look new. Basic stripes are re-invented with irregular lines.”

Trend & Colors of Rumba Rhythms

“Rumba Rhythms is an interior and outdoor living story, rather than a particular architectural style. It’s influence will appear in urban and suburban areas. It’s appeal is particularly with Gen Y and Gen X cohorts. This is fun, fun, fun. As the economy rebounds, optimism and colorful playfulness are key.

“It’s a bit more Central American this season, but it still has some South American approaches to it. With the soccer World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and the Olympics in Rio in 2016, this is a big deal; Latin America will be in the limelight. Increasingly, our attention is being focused on the growth and development of Latin America’s economies, architecture, design and international sporting events.

“Patterns here are bold, inside and out – on ceilings, walls, floors, fire pits, stair risers, etc. There’s a sense of undulating and kinetic patterns; spaces are textural, dimensional and tactile. Colors are used to contrast against nature’s elements and make a statement. It’s bold. It’s saturated. It’s very modern tropical.

“Distressed cream with time-weathered white and sand-brown keeps this neutral on the warm end of the spectrum. For finishes, there’s a warm bronze with red undertones and burnished details, organic surfaces with a hand-hammered look, antique silver with black speckled effects.

“Of course, there’s burnished brass, again a distressed color. Flowing, beautiful, exotic wood grains. Exposed braiding. Exaggerated weaves and details. Very large-scale sea grass. Basket weaves. Open and airy woven looks. Intricate patterns using natural woven materials. Lot of nubby fabrics, lots of wavy textures.

“Sea glass becomes a lot more important here, or the replication of sea glass. There’s lots of color contrasting. Lime mojito is a key color here. It’s a softened, muted take on lime that plays well with neutrals, as well as in playful combinations. It’s being used with blues and grays, but a very strong use of blues. It’s not gentle blues.

“Lots of tropical touches coming into play here, such as leaves, fronds, stripes and birds. There’s lots of bright, tropical flora and fauna. There’s a lot of rhythmic motion to the patterns, even taking the chevron, blowing it up and giving it texture and movement. Lots of fun accessories. Lots of fun shading. Lots of fun dividers.”

Trend & Colors of Picket Fence

“This casual American Cottage architectural style can be seen across the U.S. in various interpretations. Gen X and Zoomers, in particular, gravitate to this livable design. Porches, decks and patios all help extend living spaces into the outdoors. This is an unfussy, practical style and design. It’s an informal and playful nod to simpler times.

“This is quite a feminine style, and very much about living outdoors. Porches out front, porches out back. A pop of color against a backdrop of white. An open plan. Suspended seating on the porch.

“Color palettes: Here you can go red or you can go yellow, either one, but it’s really a feminine, fun color story. There is so much color going on. I know we’re (the patio industry) in a sea of brown but, oh goodness me, let’s try a bit of a change here.

“Here we have weathered oaks again. Oak is continuing. Tea stained finishes are here. A washed zinc and a brown nickel. Pearl white onyx patinas. The green family is going to take center stage going forward for the rest of the decade. We’ve been in the brown family, but expect green to make a return. Filigrees, boucles, ironwork, botanical elements, feminine textures of florals and leaves. Birdcage effects.

“Here the color story is red, and it’s red with blues and greens. It’s accented with white so it’s clean and crisp. Or you can do yellow with the reds and greens, and it’s crisp against the white. Feminine florals are appearing in a new way, kind of a patchwork. Branches and nature come into play. Clean, classic gingham is here in oversized variations.

“Casual, beachy surfer stripes are seen in varying widths. Oversized floral patterns are updated with hand-sketched overlays. Loose, casual prints with a watercolor flair. Leaf patterns. Ferns. Birds continue. Radiating tile patterns. A lot of botanical ogees. Seersucker or the texture of seersucker. Lots of lace and feminine detailing. Very simple, feminine leaf patterns. Porch swings with rope supports. Ceramic lanterns, and that’s it for 2015.”

Maxine Lauer, CEO, Sphere Trending, Waterford, Michigan, (248) 681-3945, or visit

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