By Kathy Dean
Atlanta residents have a style all their own and, today, they’re expressing their individuality through bold designs in their homes. The city’s mild climate, greenspace and beautiful views allow them to blur the line between indoors and outdoors.
Homeowners are treating the outdoors as part of their living space these days, according to Tiffany Barcik, Architect at Moon Bros. Inc. Architects & Craftsmen. “Screened-in living rooms have become extremely popular. They expand the footprint of the house by incorporating outside space, and they include traditionally interior amenities – stone or brick fireplaces, large screened TVs, comfortable couches, dining tables, kitchenettes and bars.”
She added that there also has been an increase in the desire for courtyard spaces that create a private outdoor experience. Considering Atlanta’s weather, screened-in living rooms and courtyards can be used 10 to 12 months of the year.
Bathrooms have become a focal point in the blending of exteriors and interiors. “A specific trend in bathrooms is to establish a connection with the outdoors through features like exterior showers and hot tubs, expansive windows, French doors to outside patios, and transom windows that lighten and open up a usually bound-in space,” Barcik explained.
Overall, design trends seem to be shifting toward modern and contemporary lines. Barcik noted that it’s unusual for Atlanta residents to embrace contemporary design, even though there are more and more modern infill houses.
“While the architecture design may not be moving toward modern, there is more focus on modern details and materials – less trim and more texture – especially in interior design,” she said. “Textures are rising in prominence, and architecture is being enhanced by the interplay of textured materials.”
As far as trending colors, Barcik pointed out that white is being replaced by subtle, neutral tones with color accents and accessories. Natural wood is also making its way into the material palette, not just on floors, but as accents and design focal points in architectural spaces.
“Today’s biggest trend in home décor is the bolder use of materials and color,” said Jessie LaFalce, Design Director and Lead Designer of Nandina Home & Design in Atlanta. “Our clients are looking for furnishings and design elements that are unusual and make their living spaces unique. They want something that can’t be found online by everyone.”
One of the ways to make an individual statement is to take more of a risk with color, LaFalce noted. Navy is hot right now, she said, but the tone is brighter, so the color falls between a navy and ultramarine with almost a blueberry look.
“We’re still seeing a lot of orange and pink, though the pink is now softer, more of a blush, and it’s often mixed with gold accents,” she added. Gold remains popular for metals, and many items feature a gold leaf or brass finish. However, the brass is more matted and yellow than the brass of the 1970s.
LaFalce said that she’s been noticing interesting applications of wallpaper to add drama to spaces like hallways, stairways and powder rooms. While barnwood and wide planks are still being used in flooring, they tend toward a more refined, less rustic look. “The floors have gotten lighter, too,” she continued. “We’re seeing pale blonde and grey washes, more of a Scandinavian look, as people move away from the deep dark colors like espresso.”
Innovative products, like dimmable LED lighting tape are adding depth to rooms, when installed inside bookshelves or under cabinets. “Homeowners are starting to layer their lighting,” LaFalce stated. “A large light feature, like a chandelier, becomes a focal point, a piece of art, and ambient light is added and layered throughout the room.”
When investing in furnishings, clients are willing to incorporate pieces that are a bit more unusual into their homes, she said. “For example, a bench made of Lucite and leather. In fact, there’s a lot of interest in Lucite right now, but it’s always mixed with something – like leather, hide or sheepskin – to make the Lucite more comfortable.”
Shagreen, a faux material made to mimic the texture of a skate, or stingray, is gaining interest. The textured, leathery material is often seen mixed with other materials, LaFalce explained.
“A reclaimed wood coffee table may have its sides covered with shagreen. Actually, we see a lot of fine textures mixed with rough stone or reclaimed wood,” she said. “While there’s still some interest in the heavy, reclaimed items that have been popular, more refined and luxurious pieces are being mixed into the farmhouse/industrial interiors to create a unique look.”