Designing a Fashion-Forward Home – Mansion Global


Each week, Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week we look at how to create a home that’s truly fashion-forward.

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When it comes to decorating, taking a cue from the fashion runways can help you create a home that has a strong point of view.“ A fashion forward home means your home does not always play by the typical design trends but stands out as an original,” said Robin Strickler, founder and principal of Design Works, an interior design firm based in Irvine, California.

To bring the catwalk home, follow these tips from the design pros.

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Details Matter

“For us, a fashion-forward home is about the way we detail things such as upholstery, drapery and even decorative light fixtures. As any fashion editor would tell you, a simple, white button down can be notched up a few fashionable degrees through accessories, unexpected detailing or juxtaposition.

“In terms of decorating, we love a glamorous chandelier that hangs from a beautiful chain in an otherwise staid, white painted closet, a fancy ruffled edge or trim on a simple wool or linen window treatment and dressmaker details on upholstery and pillows. Just like fashion, the details can be more subtle or more obvious, multi layered or a mixture of fabrics, textures and even price points.

“We believe in a classic look for more substantial items—a rich peacock blue mohair sofa for instance—but adding in accessories, like graffiti print pillows, which can be swapped out if they feel tiresome in a year or five.

“We’re always fans of buying art that evokes a desired emotion for our clients. Larger and pricier artwork should be a forever piece—so buy what you love; it will almost always find a place. Smaller accessories or filler pieces, such as framed prints or even bookshelf pieces are trendier and can easily be switched.”

Graphic accents and a printed wall clad with photography give a home designed by Seattle-based Julie Massucco Kleiner, co-founder and principal designer at Massucco Warner, a fashion-focused feel.

Massucco Warner

— Seattle-based Julie Massucco Kleiner, co-founder and principal designer, Massucco Warner design firm

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Focus on Materials and Finishes

“A fashion-forward home is one where a great deal of consideration is given to materials, such as fabrics and wall finishes, and where details are abundant. The interplay between textures and sheens is the key to a successful fashion forward interior.

“While I do not typically follow trends in a literal way, I do find inspiration everywhere, particularly in fashion. I love the way designers today are combining patterns and textures; it is very dynamic. The combinations of colors and the palettes created by designers can be inspiring and make you more apt to take chances in your interiors.

“Art and collectibles should have meaning to the individual. Nevertheless, I find that art in fashion-forward interiors is provocative and offers a note of dissonance with the interiors around them.”

Prints on prints and funky accents take their cue from a fashion designer’s point of view in a space designed by Phillip Thomas, founder and principal of Phillip Thomas Inc. in New York City.

Aydin Arjomand

— Phillip Thomas, founder and principal of Phillip Thomas Inc. in New York City

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Take Trends Into Consideration

“A fashion-forward home means you are right on trend. This could be in the way of color—pink, Yves Klein blue, gray and yellow are all hot right now—or pattern, in small doses, such as a feature wall in a living room or headboard in a master bedroom.

“You want to be careful to get the right mix and stick to one or two trends. Don’t try to do everything in one space.

“For inspiration, I look at major store window displays for how they put furniture together with clothing. Also look at major fashion houses’ ad campaigns and runway collections. We find inspiration now from Gucci’s use of patterns and prints, Versace’s use of bold neon colors and Rick Owens’ use of neutrals, but with statement black overscale pieces of furniture.”

Pops of yellow, modern striping and streamlined decor add a contemporary touch to a home designed by Christopher Coleman of Sanchez + Coleman studio in Miami.

Sanchez + Coleman

— Designer Chris Coleman, Sanchez + Coleman studio in Miami

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Have a Signature Look

“I do adopt certain aspects from fashion; what I love is having an overall arc or a story for a project. I have a specific look I am usually drawn to (military, for instance) and sometimes it will play into my interiors, but I also draw inspiration from contemporary art.

“Lately, I have been looking to the ’70s and ’80s for inspiration, moving away from mid-century. Fashion-forward for me is about following your own idea of what is cool and creating your own personal style.

“Buying less but investing in pieces that you know you are going to love forever is a beautiful way to build a home, or a wardrobe for that matter.

“I tend to look to designers like Halston, Calvin Klein in the ’80s/’90s era and Tom Ford in his Gucci days for inspiration on sexy minimalism. I would suggest looking for the feeling a designer gives you; study it and ask what it is you like about it. Then take those elements and see if they translate to your home.

“Texture on the wall is a big movement and appearing in many contemporary interiors. For example, I covered every surface in a residence I recently designed at 196 Orchard St. [in Manhattan] with either wood paneling or ultra-suede. Blank white walls are becoming less desirable, but I think a white wall in a rough plaster finish looks great.

“For furniture, I always look to Carlo Scarpa and Pierre Cardin in the ’70s. Anything ’80s but especially Memphis, Mario Botta and Kappa. I love Steve Chase, whose style was quintessential desert luxe; think L.A. and Palm Springs in the ’80s, like “American Gigolo.”

Timothy Godbold of Timothy Godbold Interior Design in New York City

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Focus on Timeless Pieces

“The look and feel of a fashion-forward home is ever changing since it is always ahead of trends, but I think right now it is minimally accessorized, letting the main furniture pieces or light fixtures stand out as works of art. It is great to draw inspiration from fashion and have it play out with color, wallpaper, textures, et cetera of the spring/fall season.

“Fashion and design seem to follow each other in some aspects—incorporating patterns or the Pantone color of the year. Looking at fashion trends can be inspiring for home design and might encourage you to consider colors and fabrics you might not normally select.

“Fashion-forward homes are usually minimal and let the furniture pieces, artwork and finishes do most of the talking. Consider investing in statement pieces, such as sectionals, rugs and lighting—and leave the accessories more on the minimal side. We love mixing metals in any type of project we are working on, brass and black, pewter and polished nickel, it’s all about balance.”

A home designed by Robin Strickler, founder and principal of Design Works, an interior design firm based in Irvine, California, features tone-on-tone style with a graphic punch.

Design Works

—Robin Strickler, founder and principal of Design Works, an interior design firm based in Irvine, California

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