“IN” or “OUT”

With my 8 year old son I recently completed a re-read of Lemony Snicket’s book #6: The Ersatz Elevator– where the absurdly obnoxious character Esme Squalor constantly makes sure everyone is aware of exactly what is presently “IN” and more importantly, what is “OUT”. The beginning this New Year continues to mark troublesome times as we launch into 2024 with the continued global inflationary climate still raging. It’s hard to embrace fleeting trends when people around the world are having a harder time affording their homes, gas for their cars and quite simply just the basics of putting food on the table. So in this New Years let’s focus less on what others have and not worry if the house you perhaps just spent your lifetime savings purchasing or remodeling is suddenly “IN” or horror of horrors… “OUT”. 

With trends as our focus, all too soon everyone will know the Pantone color of the year and color forecasts for 2024 from all the major paint manufacturers (whether they realize/want to or not) because we will begin seeing them prominently featured on the Rubbermaid totes and leftover containers at Walmart & Target- time to change your storage bins and laundry baskets folks because they aren’t the right colors this year. Oh by the way, and if you haven’t heard, Gray & White are most definitely “OUT”. But you can breathe easy now that warm neutrals are back “IN” – perhaps you’ve even heard of the Sad Beige Mom trend. https://www.today.com/parents/family/sad-beige-rcna65116 

All snarkiness aside and full disclosure, I’ve been designing gray & white kitchens (and baths!) for the better part of the last TWENTY years, though it wasn’t considered a mainstream “trendy” color palette until just a few years ago. What gray & white done well actually are is classic, or better yet- TIMELESS.

On a personal note we’ve been wanting to fully renovate our primary bath pretty much since we purchased our home 25 years ago. Please someone tell me why putting carpet in bathrooms in the 1970’s was “IN”, I just don’t understand. The minor refresh we did pre-kid on a limited newlywed budget has more than served its purpose and with a rotting subfloor, stained & worn out carpet in the vanity area and rusting tub it’s certainly without question long overdue for some alteration. You can read more about  the behind the scenes of our ongoing renovation in Russell’s blog posts Joys of DIY – Custom Dwellings, The Surprises of Remodeling – Custom Dwellings and Bathroom Update – Custom Dwellings

As a designer, it is often assumed that my house is up to date and amazing, that’s simply not the case, but rather it’s an ever evolving project, a laboratory if you will. So that brings me to a very important question…. Would our current (personal) bath renovation choices be considered trendy? I don’t know, and quite frankly I don’t really care if they are either. Good design is timeless and coincidentally that is the goal for all of the projects we take on at Custom Dwellings. If our portfolio wasn’t organized by completion date you might not even know just how old some of the projects really are. Just for fun I could pull out projects from 15-20 years ago that are also still perfectly relevant and would be considered “ON TREND” even today. 

Back to our bath renovation project. I adore richly detailed linens, wallpaper and patterned tile, my husband Russell sadly does not have a fondness for the same. Are all of those “IN”? Well yes, and they have been for a few years now. Are we putting a patterned tile in our bathroom currently under renovation? Also, Yes. Absolutely. (He wants to stay married to me!) Wallpaper? Nope. (I also want to stay married to him so we had to compromise somewhere! But just maybe I can sneak some peel & stick into the laundry room….) What we are doing is utilizing materials and colors that speak to us and create a sense of calm in this private area of our home- with four kids there aren’t too many places we can call ours.

To start, an 36” height medium brown stained wood cabinetry will replace the 32” pine one – closely matching the existing 1979 stained pine doors and a smidge of floating wood shelving to leverage an otherwise useless corner. (Again questioning things from the past- why were vanities for primary baths 32” in height? Sure we are tall people in our house but still!) I’m hoping we can afford the Cherry cabinetry but will settle for another species of wood if necessary. We are also adding in a desperately needed linen storage cabinet with laundry hampers below- it will be painted to coordinate with the soft green penny tile being used on the shower floor. An in-stock Matte White 2×8 subway tile will be used as field tile throughout the shower and we are also incorporating a soft green accent tile pulled from the colors in the patterned tile of the main floor to picture frame an area of the patterned tile which is also being used on a shower feature wall.  (It’s actually kind of like using permanent waterproof wallpaper but Shh! don’t tell Russell). Oil Rubbed Bronze plumbing fixtures in a transitional style with matching accessories and decorative lighting will complete the aesthetic This character finish is technically, probably most definitely “OUT” according to all the trend forecasters because it is so dark. Why would we use them you ask? Because it is what WE LIKE and it’s OUR HOME. Oil Rubbed Bronze is a forgiving finish and continues to age and patina over time and that works for us. Whatever we do will need to make US happy for the next 10-15 years (at a minimum) and whomever we eventually sell our home to will either love it (I hope) or choose to renovate again to make it theirs and that’s OK! Sneak peek below of the tile.

The beginning of a New Year is a time when we do discuss trends though… So then, exactly what is OUT this year? The pressure to spend-spend-spend just to keep up with ever changing home-styles that’s what is OUT. For our clients we offer this sage advice-  Love what you have, buy quality pieces that mean something to you and curate your home as the years go by to uniquely tell YOUR STORY. Have a favorite color? We can help you incorporate it into your home. Want to build in features that will allow you to age in place? Let’s have a conversation about it. And let’s stop playing the what’s IN or OUT Game in 2024. And agree that perhaps making a house a home is the best trend ever- and one that endures. We hope you will join us weekly this quarter on Facebook and Instagram as we touch on what is ALWAYS IN, and how we navigate the tricky “TRENDS” topic with our clients and work together to make “a house” into “their home”.

P.S. To save you from googling… the 2024 Pantone color of the year… it’s  “Peach Fuzz”. PANTONE® USA | PANTONE 13-1023 Peach Fuzz | Pantone Color of the Year 2024 A fresh Georgia Peach in the summer sounds pretty fantastic to me and that’s where it belongs with all of its juicy goodness as it is enjoyed. 

P.P.S. And if you wondered, Sherwin Williams’ Upward is a soft gray blue Color of the Year 2024, Upward SW 6239 | Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore’s contribution to the fray is Blue Nova- a lovely shade of Periwinkle Color of the Year and Color Trends 2024 – Blue Nova 825 | Benjamin Moore. Perhaps Blue is the new Gray after-all. 

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