Lori Dennis Celebrity Luxury Interior Designer | Blog

A blog about luxury and green living by top interior designer Lori Dennis

Universal Design

The Future of Design: Trending Towards Sustainability

What Does the Future of Design Look Like? Fully-immersive, hands-on experiences like Virtual Reality and 3D-printing are making design much more accessible. As the general public becomes more sophisticated in their aesthetic preferences and understanding of the necessity for quality products, there is a trend towards sustainability and customization. And with more millennials entering the workforce, cities are booming and telecommuting is on the rise, which has many wondering if workspaces and offices will eventually disappear entirely.   SohoWorks Coworking Space in London Having recently spoken on a panel about the Future of the Workplace at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, we'll argue that office spaces aren't going to cease to exist just yet. But one thing is for sure: the line between work and personal life continues to blur and the future of design is going to be dependent upon our ability to adapt accordingly. So what creates structure in a structure-less environment? What does the future look like? Enter more multi-disciplinary home offices, coworking spaces, multi-use and modular, community-centric environments--spaces that are economically and environmentally conscious. These are the design trends shaping the future of a brighter, more sustainable future: The Future is Bright! Sustainability, modern design, and minimalism all share an aesthetic connection. The materials we use and the colors we source them in are often dependent upon environmental necessity. And when predicting design trends, it’s often a good idea to look towards the automobile industry. Take popular color trends, for example: the car industry is worlds ahead of many others in color technology, in creating colors that can withstand weather and last a long time, which is why you might have noticed an increase in bright green cars (outer-borough New York taxis, or on zippy sports cars, for example); or perhaps you’ve noticed more crimson-red colored vehicles that don’t fade into a tomato-red in the sun like older models would (And both Greenery and Marsala-Red were recent selections for Pantone’s Color of the Year).    Brighter colors are also historically used in traffic control, in and around cars for safety purposes (Think Stop signs and car blinkers, crossing guard vests, etc.)  Don’t be surprised if you start seeing a lot of bright blue! YInMN (Yes, you read that jumble of letters correctly)-- the most recent shade of blue to be discovered in 200 years has been synthetically crafted in a lab and has recently become available for commercial use. The Future is Vertical! As a response to advancements in medicine and globalisation, populations are increasing and living longer, which means more vertical building to account for everyone. We’re losing horizontal outdoor spaces: less backyards, less gardens, but as a response we’re seeing a movement towards lots of plants indoors, and vertical wall gardens Lagranja Design Coworking Space in Spain Vertical wall gardens are a wonderful way in which people can grow their own produce or just improve the air quality in congested cities.  As the line between indoors and out is blurred, vertical gardens seamlessly bring the outdoors in. Tesla's solar roof panels have recently become available as well, making it easier than ever to harness solar energy in a sustainable fashion. With a focus on the aesthetic design, Tesla's tiles also make it more incentivizing for home owners to harness the power of the sun. The Future is Flexible! As a culture we’ve become accustomed to fast-fashion and instant-delivery; knock-off products that may look great initially, but are ultimately unsustainable. As a response; however, the general public becomes more aware of the process of creating products and services, we’re beginning to see more of a push back and demand for authenticity. The compromise of the cultural demand for instantaneous delivery, customization, and quality that is economical sound cultivates in the form of technologies like 3D-printing. Take a look at the time lapse below of an entire home that was printed in 24 hours:         Right now there are still limitations: manufacturing 3D-printed products with multiple materials at a time is still being developed, which does mean mixed materials will be out as a trend for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, this will result in more monochromatic, "futuristic," minimalist aesthetics overall, and will generate less waste by using only the exact amount of a material necessary. This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader #DesignForFuture

Before & After: Kitchen & Bath plus Master Closet

 Are you ready for some Make-Over Magic? We know you love Before and After shots, so we'd like to share a few of ours with you. The first few images below are from one of our Aging in Place / Accessibility Remodels. Our goal was to not only make this space functional, but a happy and beautiful home to live in and thrive.  Hallways and doorways were widened, the carpet was removed, and a serene and peaceful blue and white color scheme was introduced throughout. Along with brightening up the kitchen with new white cabinetry, blue counters and small subway tile backsplash, we replaced the floor with a wood-like porcelain tile throughout.  The florescent lights in the ceiling were removed and we added a beautiful chandelier, floral drapes for privacy as well as a built in banquette with table. Fresh, clean and up to date!  Our little secret was this accessible vanity cabinet.  Nobody wants to see the undermount of a sink and plumbing in this case, so we concealed it.  It's safe and easy for anyone in a wheelchair and looks finished and beautiful when not in use.  The home is now easy to move around in, free of obstructions, and transformed into a lovely home that feels comfortable and relaxing. And now....one of our favorite makeovers is this closet. Can you believe this is the same room? As you can see, the door was widened to showcase a stunning view room from the master bathroom into the custom built, Sex in the City inspired, master closet for her.  We've wallpapered the ceiling, added a ribbon glass chandelier and mirrored armoire that makes the space feel even bigger. And now for a Cost Effective Do-It-Yourself Make-Over... In general, one of the easiest and most affordable ways to transform a space is by simply painting the walls.  In this case, add white molding to bring in a more traditional feel.  A new upholstered bed with nailheads and white linens really make it clean and beautiful.  Matching lamps bring in the balance and symmetry.  If your nightstands are different sizes, that's ok, just make sure your lamps are at the same height.  You can accomplish this by placing one lamp on top of a few books.  Sprinkle in a few decorative items like a rug, table, or even a chair and voila!  You've transformed your space from drab to drama!

It’s Universal Baby!

At this month's Design Camp Seattle, we had the pleasure of hearing Jason McNeely of Hansgrohe/Axor talk about the importance of Universal Design.  Not only do the beautifully, aging Baby Boomers need to plan for life’s inconveniences, but everyone.  Jason gave us a great perspective on how a space can make or break someone’s living situation.  This doesn't mean we have to install tacky looking grab bars, railings and ramps all over our magazine ready projects.  It does mean we think about our client’s holistic life experience and how they use their space now and in the future.  It’s our job to create a space that is easily usable, reachable and accessible for anyone without it being totally obvious– shhhhh it’ll be our little secret! Notice how this kitchen has various counter heights and work spaces, making it easy for a person in a wheel chair to enjoy cooking. It's also a breeze to clean this space. It’s preferable to have at least one all-access bathroom on the first floor.  A person with physical disabilities may come to live in the home, or maybe someone has an unexpected surgery that limits their mobility for awhile.  Having a curbless shower makes an easy transition when someone uses a wheelchair or can’t lift their legs higher than a couple of inches off the floor.  Creating less barriers is the optimal goal. This is a gorgeous example of various counter and storage heights. The Porcelanosa shower hardware allows for flexibility using the hand-shower and reachable control levers. Ginger also has a great line. These aren’t your grandma’s grab bars anymore!  Getting’ classy Kohler!   Ginger also has a great line. HansGrohe/Axor lever hardware and Rain Brain touch screen control are easy to use for anyone.  This unit can skip the warm up phase to avoid “bath blast” which shoots out freezing cold water and can knock someone off their balance.  It also limits the temperature to avoid getting splashed with scalding hot water.  No thanks. Put your fist to the test. If you can operate a door or faucet with a closed fist, anyone with arthritis or limited strength can do the same.  Single lever handles are the way to go. Any excuse to rip out that old nasty carpet is fine by me.  In addition to creating a floor that is aesthetically pleasing, easily cleanable, a flat even surface makes walking and wheeling easy breezy! Jason gave a great example of ways to be creative with a limited space and budget.  One of his clients has a mother-in-law who comes to the house regularly.  Rather than building a permanently accessible bathroom vanity, he built a modular under cabinet.  Whenever she comes by to visit, they roll the cabinet out of the way so that she can easily use the sink.  When she leaves, they roll it right back. With an aging population that has the means and desire to enjoy their golden years in their own homes, interior designers have a new calling and prosperous future in the field of aging in place and universal design. What have you done or seen in a space that makes it easy for everyone to enjoy?