I got a call yesterday from a top editor at a top publishing house (do they still call them publishing houses?) who I have worked with before. She's writing a book (yay, I'll be credited!) and wanted to talk to me about my life kitchens. Where the trends are going. She was ready right then and there to plunge in and chat, and it was good timing for me, (to procrastinate) and I think we talked for an hour!
What I talked to her about is based on one fundamental feeling I have, but I only connected that puzzle piece later on. What I told the editor is this: I think that trends in the future will not be as strong to pull one into their clutches as they have been in the past. It used to be that a trend would be so blindly followed, really blindly. I see the internet as being responsible for this sea change.
The Blogosphere is huge, as we all know. Now, too, there are more social networking sites popping up, like Curbly and Houseblogs.net for those who want to remodel their spaces. I see the fundamental (let me use that word twice!) difference between now and previous internet message board use, as being one major aspect. It's the use of images BY those who are remodeling. Now, they can put up their images and view other homeowner's images, and create a continuing story that goes with it, by publishing blogs, mini websites, etc. Images give knowledge, power, and confidence to those who are remodeling. They were the missing link to the text, and the two have been combined to create an easy to understand, and (usually) interesting, story. Understanding and new ideas are greatly sped up. Sure, some joined flikr right away, but the mainstream, I think, is now beginning to move on this in a big way, like a lava flow, it's moving, and it's unstoppable, nor should it be.
We still have trends, yes. So, if I were to predict, I'd say, a relaxed traditional style will continue to increase, sort of that Hamptons look (but NOT all shabby chic, maybe a touch here and there). There was a HUGE response by my clients to the kitchen in "Something's Gotta Give" which was set in the Hamptons. Many of my clients talked about it. It resonated with them. Relaxed, white (always classic, not going anywhere) and the interest of contrast, darks and lights in terms of surfaces. I call it a "butler's pantry" kitchen style. I also call it "Kennedyesque" or "Cape Cod Kennedy". Do I have one drop of an idea what the Kennedy's Cape Cod kitchen is like? Um, no. But, I have this feeling about it....
I also see people becoming more comfortable with simple, soft, and not so soft, contemporary styling. This style, or any, would feature an increased interest in textures. I think we can finally begin to see a "less is more" understanding and appreciation.
As a result, I see less trend following and more confidence in following one's own sense of style. I see more of a confidence in exploring and using new materials and new ideas, based in part, on the power of social networking.
There will always be the straight "themed" design focus, and of course, the other pieces to intertwine with this new found awareness is to consider the architecture of the home and decor of the home.
As a secondary result, I think people will be comfortable to be more eclectic in their styling of the kitchen, to move toward fun, different, and WOW, to even make up their own style, and to put more of themselves into their kitchen. More soulful touches in terms of bringing in meaningful objects, "living room" objects, to "soulify" the kitchen. Oh, I made a new word!
I also see the distinct possibility of consumers making their own trends, as they communicate with others online. The viral power of a good idea going from one to another, until it becomes something significant, perhaps a movement. I see that as an interesting piece to all this, which is happening now in small ways, and will grow in the future. Trends coming from all of us rather than from corporate powers. Hmmmmmmm....
I think trends will be less powerful overall, the individual expression more important, and the human spirit will become more exposed in kitchen design and planning. Me, I think it's about time, I've been telling my clients that forever and it's often been tough for them to dislodge from the trend monster!
What do you think?