Despite advances in building and technology, many architects and designers say they are frequently asked to preserve existing floorplans while adapting interiors for modern living. Additionally, they are designing smaller kitchens, smaller footprints, even small lot developments.
Looking forward, designers anticipate more sustainability, increased transitional spaces and adaptability. Here, designers offer their take on the year ahead.
John Bertram, architect, Bertram Architects
"My work is no longer about doing additions. I've had a series of midcentury projects over the past two years where clients didn't want to add square footage. We were charged with the task of reasonably and sensitively integrating these dwellings with modern living. It is more about an interior remodel. For all intents, it is about maintaining the original and iconic look of the houses."
Heather Ashton, principal, Heather Ashton Design and creative director of HD Buttercup
"While attending Las Vegas Furniture Market last week, I got some nice validation after seeing some of my favorite new elements on display: Rose gold accents, barely-there blush pink and navy blue lacquer were shown everywhere! The rose gold was seen primarily in hardware, and, lighting accents and the blush pink were seen in everything from fabrics to lampshades. The navy trend is in full force, and the lacquer case goods sporting the look is both edgy and elegant. I was pleased to see manufacturers finally moving away from reclaimed wood to a more finished look and warmer tones. Hooray for walnut!"
Cassy Aoyagi, landscape designer, FormLA Landscaping, Inc.
"Drought tolerant big-box store inventories and incentives will improve L.A.'s sustainability and change our look. My hope is that the aesthetic changes reflect our innovative, diverse, design-conscious culture. Xeriscaping is so unnecessary! Sustainable designs can be as vibrant and varied as L.A.'s architecture. Our high-end clients want distinctive, eye-popping foliage that is also optimally drought tolerant, which usually means using California natives. They may respect LEED and happily earn grants, but their goals extend beyond those measures. They want design that minimizes their footprint while maximizing their lifestyles."
Jeanine Centuori, architect, director, ACE Center, Woodbury University
"The small-lot ordinance that was enacted about five years ago in the city of Los Angeles is one of the most innovative planning tools affecting both home ownership and lifestyles in the city. This ordinance allows lots to be subdivided into small parcels for individual townhouses. Because the ordinance encourages small parcels, the architecture tends to have tight, structured spaces with a synergy between interiors and green spaces. Many are row-house-like with pedestrian-friendly porches along the street face."
Kishani Perera, interior designer
"One big trend I'm seeing for 2015 is very unique and artistic details where in the past you traditionally would not find them. Specifically, the character, creativity and detail you can now find in kitchen and bath surfaces are astounding. We're currently pitching tiles shaped like cassettes (from Clayhaus), others comprised of vintage leather belts (Ting London), and all sort of other imaginative products to our clients for their home renovation projects this year."
Elizabeth Lowrey, principal and director of interior architecture Elkus Manfredi Architects
"Whether the residence is small or large, the kitchen is disappearing. In apartments, the micro-kitchen is en vogue, since they take up less square footage. In luxury housing, the kitchen is still the gathering spot, but the appliances disappear, overhead cabinets are removed and the feeling is more open plan, an extension of the dining and living area, with room for its own kitchen table."
Michael Lehrer, founder and principal of Lehrer Architects
"The ascent of sustainability bodes extremely well for the housing industry and interior design. It takes architecture back to the basic elements, the rudiments of place and design and quality and life: fresh air, massive natural light, strong visual and, if possible, physical indoor/outdoor connections."
Rebecca Rudolph, architect, Design Bitches
"We see a trend toward a more all-in-one approach to programming commercial spaces, where you find places to relax, work, eat, drink and shop in one structure. These are still on a much smaller and more organic scale than a shopping mall. Some made up of different vendors in a shared space, or more often the vision of creative entrepreneurs who see a niche to fill in the way people spend their time."
David Rockwell, architect and interior designer, Rockwell Group
"Transformative spaces are IN. The sharing economy is redefining how we design environments and objects. Homes and work spaces need to be flexible and transformable, while furniture needs to be nimble and lightweight, almost like set pieces for a theatrical production. A home office morphs into an entertaining space in the evening. Mobile carts allow people to share food and drinks, transforming a work space into a makeshift cafe and remind us of a more glamorous era when mixology was a form of theater. Big lounge chairs are OUT. People want flexible, modular seating that allows for perching."
A.J. Bernard, interior designer
"When it comes to hardwood floors, either go big (nine to twelve-inches wide, preferably at least seven feet long, though ten feet or longer is better) or small (two inches wide or less) nailed down old-school with rows of brads every six or seven inches across the entire floor). And lighten up! Enough with the ebonized floors already."
Natasha Baradan, interior designer
"I'm seeing an increased appreciation for 21st century decorative artists and artisans. Up until now, vintage pieces were really the star of the show, but now contemporary pieces of makers such as Herve Van Der Straeten and Mattia Bonetti are being coveted and collected more than ever."
Louis Navarrete, interior designer
"19th century American and English Regency antiques are poised to make a comeback. They're extremely undervalued and wonderful quality and they could be mixed in with just about anything if you know what you're doing. For paint, soft, rich, saturated color in flat finishes are coming into style. Much grander than gloss, chalky finishes are elegant and so much richer than the plastic-looking 'lacquer'; we've been seeing the past few years."
Kerry M. Howard, interior designer, KMH Interiors
"Lots of wall-covering and fabric houses are offering custom colors for a nominal fee. That keeps you away from accidentally having the same look as your neighbors and is a great way to make sense of that vintage sofa you can't let go of."
Susann Thomason Tunick, interior designer
"Carpeting is returning in a big way, especially in private quarters. We are using wool carpeting in lush colors for our master suites."