May 31, 2012

is today’s blue sink … tomorrow’s avocado appliances?

I heart Jonathan Adler!  I mean, how can you not like someone who describes his aesthetic as “happy chic“?  “Happy chic” is so popular that Jonathan’s influence has spread from pottery to textiles to furniture and now to four special-edition colors for six models of Kohler kitchen and bathroom sinks.  Introducing Piccadilly Yellow, Greenwich Green, Annapolis Navy and Palermo Blue!  My color-coded twins would be absolutely beside themselves to have sinks in “their” colors for the upstairs Jack-and-Jill bathroom.  

I can’t help but wonder, however — is today’s Palermo Blue or Piccadilly Yellow sink the avocado appliances or pink tile of tomorrow? After all, someone once thought avocado appliances and pink tile were totally cutting edge.  Yet when I was searching for my first post-college apartment, I started crying — more like bawling — at the idea of moving to an apartment where the dishwasher was avocado green and the stove was mustard yellow.

But today, you are talking to the girl who bought a cherry red washer and dryer … and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Here’s what I think:  Everything gets dated eventually … and if that’s the case, why not do something “fun?”  In the sixties, people looked at the rooms from the twenties and surely thought they were “hideous.”  In the eighties, the rooms from the sixties were “awful.”  Yet today we look at those same rooms from the sixties and think they are remarkably current!  It all comes back around, (albeit with a new spin), doesn’t it?  Heck, I never ever thought I would love a balloon shade again … and I drooled over the Veere Grenney project on the March-April 2012 cover of Veranda.

On the other hand, there are certain looks that seem to last longer than others.  My husband and I custom-built our home almost ten years ago — which coincidentally is about the length of the trend cycle — and I’m still happy with our hard finishes.

As an interior designer and a homeowner — and this is the important part, so tune in  — I am far more inclined to “have fun” with things that are relatively easy and/or inexpensive to change.  In other words, if you choose a sink in one of those fabulously fun colors, you probably don’t want to build your entire bathroom scheme around it.  Repeat the color in your shower curtain or bathroom rug instead of the tile … and — if you decide you hate Annapolis Green in five years — you change the sink and the shower curtain.  Presto, it’s a new look!

What’s your opinion on trends … especially in hard finishes?

Product photos via Kohler.  Laundry room and kitchen photographed by Dustin Peck Photography for Traci Zeller Designs.  


  • Annie
    May. 31, 2012
    That is a great way to think about things. I think sometimes we get stuck in decorating for "resale" that we forget to decorate it for US! I think as long as you keep it as you said, limited to easy/inexpensive things to change, it will make you happy and be easier on you pocketbook. Annie House on Rene
  • Lisa Mende
    May. 31, 2012
    I adore your "cherry red" washer/dryer! good food for thought on all accounts. i tend to be neutral in hard finished and add color where it is easily changed in pillows, fabrics, etc
  • Allie
    May. 31, 2012
    I think a brighly colored sink is a fun way to brighten a bathroom and maybe in certain cases, the kitchen. SInks are relativly inexpensive compared to other hard surface items and it would be easy to change them out if the mood changed. I'm with Lisa on using neutrals, I am old enough to remember the pink and turquoise appliances of the 50's and then harvest gold, coppertone and avocado came along. Give me crisp classic white appliances everyday. Add the color with accesories. Exceptions are the laundry room however, I need all the fun and color pop I can get there. The red W/D's are really cool.
  • Maria Killam
    Jun. 01, 2012
    Great post Traci! And I would still rather move into a totally dated white bathroom than one with a pink sink and tub! Your idea about the sink and matching curtain is perfect! x maria
  • Nancy
    Jun. 01, 2012
    Yep, Im with you. I love your kitchen choices, they are really classic. I wondered about the colored washers, and yours looks spectacular! They don't last as long as a sink anyway! Have a great weekend Traci. Nancy

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