The new version of the Chicago classic, Dream Home, opened its doors at the Mart this month. I always enjoy this compact, idea-packed, citified version of a show home, and this current incarnation is no exception. Here are five trends spotted from the quick snaps I took during my press visit:
Bringing the Folding Screen into the 21st Century: A padded upholstered screen is the show stopper in the foyer, designed by Jillian O'Neill. The combo of the dramatic height along with the daring mix of pattern with the striped wall behind is striking. This is a classic piece of furniture translated into a very on trend look by the strong geometric print and touch of warm gold metallic in the fabric, sourced from Pierre Fey.
Handmade Fabric Patterns Move from Hippie to Haute: Beautiful free form fabrics, used here as wall art and for accessories, adds a touch of our current collective infatuation with the handmade to a sleek and elegant corner of the study, designed by Robyn Shapiro. The fabric colors, while strong, don't overpower the surrounding creams and beiges, as they read more as warm rather than bright. The textures resulting from the handmade process blend with the highly tactile nature of the wallpaper, wood side table and fur fug.
Classic Elegant Upholstery Work Using Durable Tech Fabrics: The living room, designed by Richard Abrahamson of RJA Design, includes this small ottoman covered in a smart, hard wearing fabric sourced from Holly Hunt. The coated woven fabric is designed for indoor/outdoor use but looks fantastic in this very traditional upholstery application. The fact that it is super tough, slightly unexpected and has an attractive low sheen makes this choice work on lots of levels. And, of course, nailhead trims continue to show up everywhere - firmly back in vogue!
Goodbye Hidden Wardrobe: I was surprised to learn of this open closet trend, which takes the concept of clothing "storage" and opens it up wide to more of a concept of "display". According to the designer of the dressing room, Smartrooms, more and more pro closet customers are opting for a door-free system, choosing instead to dedicate space to dressing where they can keep everything open, easily viewable and accessible.
Hello High Gloss Wallpaper: The bedroom (a beautiful, very realistically lived in, yet lovely, space in the Dream Home - go see it!), which was designed by Vincere, LTD., featured this memorable wallpaper from Gracie. It was the first time I've seen a high gloss finish on a traditional painted Chinoiserie paper. It is a glorious mix of the current love of lacquer like finishes and a classic pattern, unique and very pretty.
The DreamHome (benefiting Almost Home Kids) is open for your own trend scouting expedition from 10-3, Monday - Saturday at the Merchandise Mart. Through December 7, 2012.
Make a double design dip out of it: This weekend (4/27 - 30, 2012) is also the International Antiques Fair at the Mart, featuring more than 120 dealers.
• International Antiques Fair
(Images: Janel Laban)