Ten Decorating Trends That Are Over (or should be)

DomesticArts, Interior Design, New Year

January is a great time to really examine your personal spaces and think about how you want to live and feel throughout the year. After holiday decor has been stored away, take some time to edit your belongings. Donate items that don’t speak to who you are. Take this opportunity to rotate things you love to different locations for a fresh look and feel.

1. Kitchy Farmhouse

When you start seeing home decor items pop up at discount stores like TJ Max or HomeGoods, you know the trend is dwindling (or more likely, has dwindled). Tasteful farmhouse style is tricky because the market is flooded with low-end objects. Keep things simple and use authentic pieces for a genuine feel.

2. Heavy Metallics

We’ve seen lots of mass-produced metallic home accessories in the last few years. A little bit of metallic in any room adds interest and a playful, reflective quality. Just be careful to balance it out with other textures so it doesn’t look to trendy or over-done.

3. Subway Tile With Dark Grout

Subway tile is a clean, simple, inexpensive material that works in a variety of settings. Unless you live in an urban loft or industrial type space, subway tile with black grout doesn’t work. If you still want to try the trend, use it in a small space like a bathroom wall so it can be replaced inexpensively if you don’t love it.

4. Kitchens Sans Top Cabinets

Many designers have eliminated top cabinets in contemporary kitchen design which is supposed to give a space a light, airy look. Just be honest with yourself about whether your life-style suits the trend. If you are able to be highly selective/disciplined about your kitchen wares, a kitchen with limited kitchen storage might work for you. If your kitchen cabinets are filled with a mish-mash of stuff you don’t necessarily want displayed on open shelves, upper, closed cabinets are still best.

5. Tiny Pendant Lights

Small, inconsequential pendant lights do very little to make a statement. When choosing lights to hang over a bar or island, keep the scale of your bottom piece in mind. Don’t feel obligated to go with the new trend of using huge pendants (which is a look that won’t be lasting either). Choose pieces that will give you adequate task lighting. Don’t go for tiny and precious or huge and trendy. Select something in the middle that provides a comfortable, visual balance.

6. Fake Flowers

While some high end silk trees are well-made enough to look nearly real, I implore anyone out there who is still decorating with silk flowers to abandon ship. No matter how lovely a room, silk flowers stand out like a bad nose-job and can simply ruin your space. You’re not fooling anyone with silk flora. Imitation  flowers look fake, are horrible dust-collectors and generally make a room stodgy.  Silk flowers are to real foliage as Velveeta is to an artisan, aged Manchego. A single bloom in a bud vase is far more lovely than the most elaborate silk arrangement.

8. Faux Art

You and your home deserve original art. Reproduction posters or mass-produced prints available at chain furniture stores won’t  inspire you or anyone else. But one of a kind art pieces don’t need break the bank. Consider custom framing old postage stamps, vintage vacation photos, kid’s art, a meaningful letter you’ve received, a gorgeous scarf… When you surround yourself with interesting pieces that communicate a personal narrative, your home will feel instantly enriched and unique.

9. Shower-Only Bathrooms

I’ve come across several beautiful homes lately that feature big, fancy showers but no bathtubs. If you truly hate baths and plan on staying in your home forever, certainly customize your space to reflect your personal needs. Do keep in mind that for re-sale value, you will attract lots more buyers if you have a master bath-tub (and tubs in guest spaces as well). The ritual of bathing is very important to lots of people and tubs are a pure necessity for anyone with small children.

10. Wall Decals

In reference to the anti-faux art note above, avoid decals like the Black Plague unless you are decorating a child’s room (although… still questionable) or maybe a dorm room. It’s better to leave a wall blank while you search for the right piece of art than to hastily use a sub-par solution.







Get Your Hoppin’ John On, Ya’ll

DomesticArts, New Year, Recipes, Southen Food

If your family is from the American South, a New Year’s Day hasn’t gone by you haven’t feasted on a nice warm bowl of Hoppin’ John. It’s not only delicious. It’s nutritious and is said to bring good luck for the new year. It’s also incredibly easy to make which is always a huge plus.

If you shop today, the fresh black-eyed peas you can find in the refrigerated section of your market may be sold out but not too worry. It’s still early enough in the day to buy dried black-eyed peas. You can soak them this afternoon. I like to put everything in the crock pot on low before I go out for the evening and let it stew all night.

This is a basic recipe. Keep in mind, some folks add kale, spinach or other veggies to enhance the nutrition profile. Like most family-styled Southern dishes, many liberties can be taken to alter or add to the fundamental recipe. If you don’t eat pork, try browning chicken thighs as your meat element — just remove the skin and dice the chicken meat just before serving.

Brown one small, diced white onion, one stalk diced celery and two diced carrots in olive oil. Place golden veggies in the bottom of your slow-cooker. Add a ham hock (or some kind of pork product — you can use about 4 -6 ounces of  sausage, bacon, pancetta, etc.). Add about 12 ounces of black-eyed peas (fresh, canned or previously soaked). Add a clove of garlic, a dash of onion powder, one bay leaf, salt, pepper. Cover with about 4 cups chicken broth. Cook on low/simmer all night. Serve over cooked white rice. Potential toppings include chopped parsley, chopped green onions/chives, diced red onions, grated sharp cheddar cheese, Tabasco.

We like to sleep in on New Year’s morning. Then we enjoy a yummy brunch of Hoppin’ John with corn bread and greens while watching the Rose Parade and Bowl Games on TV.

Wishing You All a Safe New Year’s Eve and lots and lots of luck throughout 2019!