So I get asked random design questions by friends, family, even strangers (once they find out what I do for a living) pretty much all the time – it comes with the territory! Interior design is a bit of an art form, and I don’t blame people for feeling slightly intimidated when it comes to making big – and often expensive – design choices for their homes. Inquiring minds want to know, so I’ve complied several popular Q&A’s in the hopes it can offer some helpful and insightful expertise with your own projects come decision-making time…
Q: Grey is everywhere, but I’m not entirely sold. Do I have to use grey to be “in-style?”
A: Heck no. Grey is definitely classic and ultra-calming, but it’s been ramped up as the “it” colour for the past few years – everything from floors, to cabinets, to furniture can be found in 50 shades of grey – and it’s created mindless design when it comes to pulling different finishes and materials together. I love finding materials and fabrics that layer to combine hints of grey with tan and cream, and even walnut and deep charcoal. Bringing in some warmer undertones will eliminate the cold and sterile feeling aesthetic you get when you pick everything in grey tones.
Q: Granite or Marble?
A: Both! But keep in mind marble is mega-porous and will stain if you spill red wine, pasta sauce, makeup, and anything acidic on it.
Q: Are painted feature walls still popular?
A: In a word, no – however, you are your own judge when it comes to your spaces, and if you really love the look of a bright or richly painted feature wall, who’s going to stop you? Ten years ago every client I worked with wanted a feature wall (or several) somewhere in their homes, but now, the trend is to paint the whole house out in only one or two versions of the same colour, and infuse colour in your accessories and décor.
Q: Is running hardwood through my kitchen a bad idea?
A: This depends on the style and finish of the hardwood. Choose something with more colour and grain variance, and perhaps something with a hand-scraped finish to help camouflage the gradual wear and tear any natural product will start to show over time.
Q: What’s your go-to, no-fail suggestion for art choices? And how high do I hang it?
A: Framed black and white photography… every single time. It can be sculptural, abstract, and timeless all at the same time, and can fit into any design scheme. 8”-10” off the back of your sofa, or center the piece at 5’-6” on an open wall so the middle of the piece is at approximately eye-level.
Q: Do I really need to pull a permit?
A: Yes! Or almost always yes. You want to be insured after the fact don’t you? When in doubt, check with your local city planning department.
Q: What inspires you to always be coming up with new design ideas?
A: Honestly, in the digital and accessible world we live in, I don’t believe there’s really such a thing as a new design idea – I’ve honed my craft, so a lot of my design ideas are organic and derived from my client’s needs. But there’s a lot of inspiration designers take from concepts and visuals found on sites like Pinterest and Houzz, online design blogs and sites like Elle Décor and House & Home, and from other well-known industrial and interior designers in the industry. Scour magazines, and start collecting images of rooms and spaces that inspire you, and you will begin to figure out your own aesthetic over time.
Crispin Butterfield owns Urban Theory Interior Design, a full-scale design firm with savvy projects spanning Western Canada. Get in touch! www.urbantheoryinteriordesign.com