Trendspotting: What's Out, What's In, What's Back Again

Apartment Therapy Design Evenings

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What: D.C. Apartment Therapy Design Evenings
Who: Trendspotting with interior designers H. Alex Sanchez, Eric Kole, and Zoe Feldman
Attendees: 58
Organizer: Desiré Greene

On August 30th, the D.C. Apartment Therapy Design Evenings crew headed to the city's newest art and events space, The Dunes, for a bit of networking followed by a discussion with designers, Zoe Feldman, Eric Kole, and H. Alex Sanchez. As the event's moderator, Desiré encouraged complete candor and audience participation as the group tackled the somewhat controversial topic of trends.

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Desiré is happy to report that there was no shortage of opinions. It wasn't long before the panelists began dishing on the trends they love or, conversely, absolutely hated. The event's official tweeter, @aposhgirl, captured the designers' lively exchange along with their advice for audience members. Here's a glimpse:

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  • Zoe Feldman (http://zoefeldmandesign.com/) ID'ed global touches, distressed furniture, lacquered, and antique finishes as current trends while her number one no-no is a matching bedroom set. She also recommended incorporating popular trends, like ikat prints, in small or innovative ways.

  • Eric Kole (http://vastudc.com/) advised buying pieces with staying power and noted that the economic downturn has created a trend of buying things that are locally sourced or manufactured. He asserted that the job of a good designer is to build off of trends, adding a personal point of view, rather than repeat the trend exactly.

  • H. Alex Sanchez (http://www.renaissancedc.com/) highlighted the difference between "trends" and "fads" and emphasized the need for personalization. Unlike the other panelists, Alex supported trend forecasts like Pantone's Color of the Year because it encourages clients to inject color into their spaces and try something new. He also noted the need to balance design with interior architecture. "Never fight the architecture. Enhance it."

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Following the discussion, each panelist shared details on their latest ventures. Zoe Feldman is launching a blog this fall titled ZoeFrenia, a twist on the word "schizophrenia". The blog will highlight the multiple design personalities of her and her staff, which were there in full force.

Eric Kole gave us an overview of his recent appearance on HGTV's Showhouse Showdown. In the season premiere, Eric and a fellow designer compete in creating the perfect model home for a Virginia development. Eric confessed that the process was a bit taxing but was pleased with his design and the overall experience.

Our last panelist, H. Alex Sanchez had just completed a major transformation of a DC townhouse, taking the property from drab to fab. The renovation provided a perfect example of his earlier advice to consider existing architecture before designing a space.

In short, the evening provided a plethora of design wisdom while maintaining its usual friendly and feisty atmosphere. Desiré received great feedback on the new roundtable format and looks forward to planning September's meetup, Mid Century Madness, later this month.

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Images: Katie Warren

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