trade tales | Jan 5, 2024 |
What are you hoping to try in the new year?

For many, the new year is a time of planning and anticipation, so we asked 11 designers—Janelle Blakely Photopoulos, Andrew Howard, Leslie Kale, Chris Kempel, Sarah Lederman, Jo Littlefair, Jodi Mendelsohn, Donna Mondi, Erich Ploog, Megan Prime and Phyllis Taylor—what’s on their 2024 bucket list.

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Sarah LedermanCourtesy of Sarah Lederman

In person over online
“I’d like to prioritize in-person sourcing more. It’s so easy to fall into the routine of shopping online when sites like Chairish and 1stDibs offer everything at your fingertips, but there’s nothing quite like seeing and touching something in person! Plus, leaving the city for the day to shop in Hudson, Sag Harbor and all of the little antique-filled towns surrounding New York leaves me feeling refreshed and inspired.” Sarah Lederman, Sarah Lederman Interiors, New York

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Andrew HowardCourtesy of Andrew Howard

Bringing the Indoors Out
“I want to start treating outdoor rooms with a little more care and thought. With the durability and versatility of fabrics, there is no reason we should continue to settle for furniture sets all in one fabric. Outdoor rooms will start to feel more layered and interesting, like their indoor counterparts. Curtains, trims, tapes, upholstery details and great rugs should become the norm outside, not the exception. It is something we have neglected for far too long.” —Andrew Howard, Andrew Howard Interior Design, Jacksonville, Florida

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Phyllis TaylorCourtesy of Phyllis Taylor

Working with ai
“We are looking forward to mastering the art of collaborating with AI in order to bring our creative ideas to our clients in a more impactful way. There’s no denying that AI is going to be a revolutionary tool for all of us in creative fields. Embracing it and collaborating with it is what my team and I are excited about this coming year and beyond.” —Phyllis Taylor, Taylor & Taylor, Miami

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Jo LittlefairCourtesy of Jo Littlefair

Appreciation for the Past
“As we move into a new year, I think we’ll continue to look to the past for inspiration and comfort. This is also linked with the connection between our search for happiness and the rise of ‘dopamine dressing’—in design, we see this in pattern and color and joyful art.” —Jo Littlefair, Goddard Littlefair, London

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Erich PloogCourtesy of Erich Ploog

Exponential Growth
“Our firm is going into the new year with a mindset of growth. Although there are challenges out there with the economy, upcoming election and higher interest rates, there is also unlimited potential for firms that are doing great work. We’re actively looking for great talent to add to our team, knowing full well that it can take one to two years for them to fully learn and embrace our company processes and culture. We’re looking out much further than ever before and setting goals for 2024, 2025 and even 2026 for revenue growth, launching our firm’s first coffee table book, adding licensed collections to our portfolio and even building a new office building for our growing team. Each of these goals is years in the making, so we have to take concrete steps each and every quarter between now and then to make them happen.” —Erich Ploog, Benjamin Johnston Design, Houston

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Chris KempelCourtesy of Chris Kempel

Inspiration From an Icon
“My personal [goal for 2024], as it pertains to the custom residential estate design and interiors, is repeated pattern relief. There’s something beautiful about Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of patterned blocks. It’s organic yet structured at the same time. It gives the interior of rooms and exterior of homes alike a richness of character that simple, modern, flat-surface boxes lack. It’s ornament without feeling excessively ornamental. Our work has modernist roots, but we have yet to explore pattern and relief as modern technologies, like 3D printing or cut (metal) surfaces, allow today. For example, we’ve used textured stone and repeated wood slats before, but I’m suggesting something beyond that. Wright did it with a concrete block. I’d like to try it with some unique RKA [Rockefeller Kempel Architects] medium in the new year.” —Chris Kempel, Rockefeller Kempel Architects, El Segundo, California

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Jodi MendelsohnCourtesy of Jodi Mendelsohn

Calm and collected
“Lately, I’ve been very focused on wellness. The world is in a very unnerving, unsettled place, and I think that we need a space in our homes to feel calm and relaxed. So, I’m turning the ever-popular reading nook into a relaxation-wellness nook! Before I begin this process, it is important to understand the client’s lifestyle, preferences and their own vision for this space. Not all clients have a big enough space to have a designated room, so [it’s about] finding a … special place to retreat to, meditate, do vitamin and mineral infusion sessions, read, and perhaps just close your eyes and recharge. I’ve thought about even suggesting it be a no-social-media zone! After all, the goal is to encourage mindfulness and rejuvenation. This space is filled with natural light, which studies have shown can improve mood and reduce stress; soft muted tones that promote relaxation and balance; and organic materials with ergonomic furniture that promote good health and comfort.” —Jodi Mendelsohn, JM Design Studios, Los Angeles

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Donna MondiCourtesy of Donna Mondi

New Explorations
“In the coming year, I’m embracing my identity as an intentional maximalist with a love for modern elements. My 2024 design dreams involve indulging in more decadent details—cord welting, bullion on drapes, and tassel tiebacks. Surprisingly, a modern take on skirted sofas has sparked my interest in reimagining our seating designs. Venturing further, I’m always excited about incorporating large-scale, exaggerated millwork into our projects and plan to do more. Shifting away from waterfall countertops, I’m exploring thin profiles and standard thicknesses with captivating edge details. After nearly two decades of silver, gold and black metal finishes, I’m exploring bronze tones to complement the warmer neutrals dominating the scene. An upcoming collaboration with Material Bespoke Stone + Tile will unveil a collection of stone kitchen hoods, blending classical concepts with modern forms. I eagerly anticipate finding the perfect project for one of these statement pieces.” —Donna Mondi, Donna Mondi Interior Design, Chicago and Denver

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Janelle Blakely PhotopoulosCourtesy of Janelle Blakely Photopoulos

looking internationally“I’d like to further expand our team’s knowledge of European vendors and attend an international market. At the top of our list is Maison&Objet in Paris! High Point Market has been our mainstay for the last decade, and we love it, but we’ve been actively pursuing new resources for more unique, standout pieces for our luxury projects in progress.” Janelle Blakely Photopoulos, Blakely Interior Design, North Kingstown, Rhode Island

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Leslie KaleCourtesy of Leslie Kale

Art World Talent
“With such a diverse and exciting roster of projects lined up for 2024, I’m eager to discover new creative talent in the field of art and finishes. My former experience in the film industry seemed to be a revolving door of passionate creatives, each with their own interests and value to bring to the table, no matter the request. I’d love to expand our already amazing pool of talented craftsmen to include current art students and seasoned industry experts—and everyone in between—to broaden the possibilities when designing a space.” —Leslie Kale, Studio Collective, Venice, California

What are you hoping to try in the new year?
Megan PrimeCourtesy of Megan Prime

Creative Endeavors“Now that JAM Shop, our studio’s new destination for hand-sourced vintage furniture, lighting, decor and art, has officially opened—both in person and online—we’re thrilled to expand our list of destinations for sourcing trips! Similarly, the studio is eager to delve even further into producing special commissions for our clients, partnering with both long-standing favorites and new vendors we have yet to explore. Amid all of this, we see a lot of skilled arts emerging front and center for 2024, including marquetry, eglomise and more.” Megan Prime, JAM, Brooklyn

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