Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


Thinking About a Decade

Whenever I hear the Cardigans sing Lovefool, I'm instantly transported back to the 1990s. Likewise, I think in the future when I see certain design elements I will remember the last ten years. I never jumped on the antler bandwagon, bought an oh-so-popular poster, or flipped for skulls, but I did have some dalliances with beautiful "it" fabrics and trims.

They weren't "it" fabrics when I selected them, and most of the patterns were rooted in centuries-old designs, but nonetheless they spread like wildfire spawning numerous copies. The designers behind the striking prints deserve credit for producing something that resonated so powerfully with legions of design junkies.

I suppose the silver lining to working with a relatively modest budget is that one is more likely to do small projects, like a footstool or side chair, rather than envelope an entire room with a particular fabric. There's a certain flexibility to that.

Personally I enjoy pieces that can move around easily and I prefer a room that slowly evolves, as opposed to an interior that screams 2006. Just because a fabric receives intense exposure for a few years, that doesn't mean it won't endure and transition to classic status. (Being an "it" isn't a negative thing, it's simply a phenomenon.)

I'm not sure if I'm going to end the year with a big official decade-in-review post, but I'm having fun looking at the fabrics that generated the most email. My passion hasn't really waned for any of the prints, although some have gone on to live with somebody else. ( Fig Leaf is definitely still with me.)

Speaking of reviews, one of the more enjoyable things I was asked to do in 2009 was contribute to a slideshow of timeless elements for Canadian House & Home. The designers and tastemakers included in that round-up definitely have a grasp on enduring style. FYI: The magazine's publisher, Lynda Reeves, recently launched new 12-to15-minute online television shows airing here.

For last minute holiday decorating ideas, watch the Christmas House Tour. I love the boxwood in an urn.

When I'm out and about wearing my 21st-century Frye boots, women often come up to me and say, "Those were the 'it' boots of the 1970s and now they are icons." So one decade an "it," three decades more perhaps an "icon."

All photos shown before the screen grab are mine. Steve Pomberg shot the second image. Fabrics shown from top include Emerald Cut and Imperial Trellis, both by Kelly Wearstler for Schumacher. A sliver of Rubie Green's East Village shows up in picture three, followed by Dzhambul from Brunschwig. The pillow in the center of the loveseat is covered in Lulu DK's Chant. Last is a bench covered with Fig Leaf. Boot image via Frye.


CashmereLibrarian said...

Love me, Love me, SAY that you love me! :-)

Style Court said...

Cashmere, once it's in my head...can't shake it for the rest of the day :)

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Now it is in my head too! I love all your fabrics Courtney!

Pigtown-Design said...

I put a couple of bunches of boxwood in my window boxes, so that they look like wee bushes.

Cardigan fan, too!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I have to agree with you. I think the thing though, about 'it' items, is that it's only a VERY small percentage of the public (us 'design' people) who get exposed to them so much we burn out. They still look fresh and new to those not 'in the know'. You pick and chose which trends fit your tastes and then carry them with you your entire life. I don't believe in interiors as 'fashion' per say -they should reflect your growth, through time, with items from different periods and interests of your life.

Style Court said...

Stefan -- Amen. You said it perfectly!

Style Court said...

Thanks Laura :)

Meg -- Boxwood sounds great.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Such great advice for us novices to let your rooms 'evolve'. I have a huge dislike for rooms that you can pinpoint when it was designed in a split-second. A joyous weekend to you ~ deb

Style Court said...

And to you too Deb!

Jane said...

Good lord that song, I did love it at the time but now it is back in my head!! Your comments are very true. It can be hard to step back and be objective and separate fad \ instant datedness from something which is truly stylish and will not date. As you say of course, if it is an update of a classic style, technique or print then it is much more likely to stay the distance. Also agree about small items. Much more bang for the buck.xoox

home before dark said...

I have been thinking about this a bit. About the "in" fabrics, the designer fabrics and how I really spend my money on fabric. I think because I like to upholster walls and make curtains that are full and theatrical, (my neighbor's word for them), I tend to go for the best look at the best price because there is so much yardage required. Not being in the design business I don't have to act like I am "in the know." It's nice not having to have live with that "professional" pressure.

Style Court said...

It's really an interesting phenomenon. As Stefan said, most people don't worry about "highly exposed" fabric. And we should all stick with what we love anyway.

Also, just as certain actresses go through a period where they are labeled "it girls," some go on to be among the most respected in the biz. Their talent endures and they become known as great actresses not simply the "it girls" of a given decade.

I definitely think a fabric can be extremely hot for a while yet still endure to become a beloved classic. And like Kathryn Ireland says, have fun -- don't take decorating too seriously :)

HBD, you've got me curious about your theatrical curtains!

Karena said...

Be true to yourself and let your surroundings reflect your own sense of style and panache. Some things are truly classic.