Trend Alert: Succulents

We’ve seen this one coming for a while: Succulents. All the beauty of a bonsai tree with almost none of the upkeep. With no pruning or picking, and less frequent watering, sales of these prickly plants have grown steadily since 2012.

“Succulent” is an umbrella term for plants with thick, rigid fronds or stems meant to store water in climates with little rainfall. Most of us think “succulent,” and immediately think “cactus,” but there is a wide range of species that fall into this category. Large to small, simple to complex, there is a succulent out there for everyone.

This versatility is probably why so many people keep succulents at home or at work. Successfully growing a houseplant can show that you are a responsible adult, but in today’s fast-paced and mobile society, we might not have the time to care for traditional shrubbery. With water shortages and drought, you might want to be more conscious of your use of h2o. Succulents offer a solution. They require less frequent watering than most houseplants, but about as much light. As long as you’re careful about placement, these prickly plants are pretty easy to please.

In fact they’re trendy to the point that they started a new art form. Succulent sculptures are becoming popular among hobbyists, creatives, and collectors.

Wait back up… was that a tiny cactus? Yes “micro cacti” are quite possibly the cutest creation to come out of this cactus trend.

Venturing just beyond our world of interior design, landscape design is also seeing an increase in succulent use. Less fertilizing, watering, and pruning means more time spent designing and expanding.

Trend Alert: Smart Sleep

If you’re having problems getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking up in the morning, this article is for you. 

Two months ago we talked about “Smart Lights,” an easy way to “smarten” up your home without taking any drastic steps. One improvement we mentioned but didn’t go into detail on was a light that replicates the natural progression of the sun, allowing for more comfort and better sleep.

Following up on that, we have this month’s topic: “Smart Sleep,” or ways you can use technology to improve your sleep quality. Installing smart lights in your bedroom is one way to achieve this.

Our bodies operate on a circadian rhythm, meaning pretty much everything we do is according to the sun (or light that our bodies think is sunlight). Every single one of us will sleep, eat, work, and sleep again depending on the time of day. Poor sleep leads to poor feelings the next day, then to health issues if the problem continues. If you’re having problems getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking up in the morning, this article is for you.

Everyone sleeps and wakes according to different factors. Some might prefer silence, some might prefer noise, some complete darkness, some light. That being said, sleep solutions have to be adjustable in order to work. Pretty much every sleep-related product we’ve seen recently can be adjusted.

Take blackout shades, for example. Traditional blackout curtains were “one-size-fits-all,” bulky and unattractive. Modern ones can be thin, lightweight and nearly unnoticable, able to be used in combination with any style of curtain or shade you choose. This gives you complete control of your look and lighting simultaneously.

Next is noise. Most people can achieve sleep despite natural, chaotic sound, but a large percentage of people need some sort of white noise or noise-cancelling effect in order to sleep restfully. Thankfully modern technology has brought us noise-cancelling headphones and white noise generators. You can find efficient white noise generators online or purchase a standalone device to keep near your bedside. Most higher-end wireless headphones are now also outfitted with a noise-cancelling feature, meaning you can have quiet wherever and whenever you need.

It may not seem like it but aroma plays a huge part in our mood and physiology. Certain aromas can induce feelings of relaxation or stress. Lavender, vanilla, valerian, and jasmine have all proven to be effective in helping people sleep. An aroma diffuser is an easy and affordable way to maintain this control.

Finally we have the covers. Your choice in sheets and blankets will directly impact your bedtime comfort. Breathable, high-thread-count sheets are a must for those who possess a tendency to overheat in their sleep, while weighted blankets can influence your nervous system into a more relaxed and restful state.

All-in-all there are many factors that affect our sleep. Finding your personal preference is a process that can take a very long time, but restful is sleep is absolutely worth it. Not everyone needs blackout curtains and fancy noise machines to sleep well, but most everyone could use a higher quality of sleep. For more tips on healthy living, check out this blog post, the first in a series by our founder and principal designer, Richard L. Ourso, CKD, CAPS.

Trending Alert: Honed and Leathered Finishes for Stone Counter Tops

Honed and Leathered finishes for Granite and Marble counter tops are being chosen more often than the once popular polished finish.

What is Polished?
A polished surface finish is smooth, shiny, and reflective. The full color, depth, and crystal structure is visible.


What is Honed?

A honed surface finish is a smooth surface without reflection. It varies from a matte like appearance to a very low sheen.


What is Leathered?
A leathered surface finish starts with a honed finish, with a matte like appearance to low sheen, and adds texture to the surface. Additionally, it closes the pores (compared to honing) and retains the color better than honing.




Some benefits when choosing honed or leathered finishes with marble or granite include:

  • little to no reflection
  • “soft” and “natural” look
  • marble and granite with honed or leathered finishes are good alternatives to slate or soapstone when compared to pricing and durability

Trending Alert: Gingham

Black and White Gingham printed fabric and patterns are showing up everywhere.  From interior design accessories to the runway.

Both Ethan Allen & Schoolhouse Electric offer furniture covered in this graphically intense and bold fabric. Apartment Therapy states:

“These distinctive checks are popping up everywhere, even in interiors that are decidedly non-country. Big checks feel bold and graphic; smaller patterns have a springtime freshness to them. Gingham is especially versatile, too — pair it with florals for a quirky, unexpected look, or use it to lighten up a dramatic interior. “

The Ethan Allen Parker Chair

The clean lines of this Ethan Allen Chair are amazing. Its a modern twist on the wing back.

We love the juxtaposition of the fabric on the camel back sofa.  The modern artwork above really makes this eclectic space interesting.
High Street Market- Big Check Throw Pillow

A throw pillow is a super easy way to bring a little of this fabric into your space without make a huge commitment. 

Chair Re-do by Vanhook & Company

Who doesn’t love a Louis XVI chair?  What I really love about this chair is that the folks over at VanHook & Co. decided to leave the wood unpainted–instead of slathering paint all over it. Its masculine but soft–very well done.

Schoolhouse Electric Jack Chair

Schoolhouse Electric is a super cool company with some pretty progressive furniture designs.  We love everything on their website.

Quilt by CB Handmade

We love this quilt and all other quilts made by the lady over at CB Handmade.  Read more about her quilts by viewing her blog.

Gingham patterned flooring designed by BHDM Design

Alternating tile colors to create the look of a gingham fabric is a fabulous idea!  Especially in a commercial setting, this floor is beautiful, interesting, cost-effective, and durable.  A great way to take a simple, affordable tile and kick it up a knotch.