Identity Crisis

About six months ago I went to hear Tom Dyckhoff, the presenter of BBC Two's The Great Interior Design Challenge, speak about The Home of the Future. He discussed how throughout history, people have always looked for the next hot thing for their home. Somehow this both fascinated me and slightly saddened me. 

I love design innovation, and it excites me both as a designer and a home owner. Since my time in college, the changes that the interior design industry has scene have been vast and have ranged from us all scoffing at the outdated idea of patterned wallpaper as we revelled in the beige craze to suddenly using loud wallpapers as accents when the feature wall smacked us in the face. Then the feature wall inevitably led us to start again papering entire rooms. Right now, I’m moving my designs away from conventional wallpaper and toward wallpapered murals and I'm especially loving Surface View's Ready to Roll Murals. Surface View partners with the UK's best museums to create a selection of mural wallpaper that is truly fantastic and allows you to turn a wall into a striking piece of art. With each Surface View mural I select for a client, I do a lot of reflecting to make sure the look we create will stay fresh and stand the test of time. As we all know, it doesn’t take long for something that is the coolest thing to suddenly become a cliché. 

Surface View brings a whole new meaning to putting art on the wall with these pieces from the Natural History Museum and National Gallery collections above and the National Gallery and V&A collections below.

Technology has also altered how we can run our homes. With the iPod came the death of CD storage and flat screen televisions gave designers so many more possibilities with lounge design; instead of accommodating a T.V. the size of small car, we can now wall mount a television and tuck them away almost seamlessly. Our relatively new-found ability to steam films and television shows is changing our need for DVD players and disks and soon, like the VCR and video cassettes before them, they too will be gone from our homes. 

Our access to design has also changed drastically in the last decade. Instead of purchasing a handful of home magazines each month, images are pumped at us constantly from Pinterest, Houzz and Homify. Bloggers lead discussions on decor trends and create in-depth DIY home decor projects faster than we can keep up. Design analysis and new furniture and accessories aren't sealed off in glossy publications and showrooms anymore, instead they're a click away on the computer with next-day delivery.

We now have access to an array of visual inspiration online, including Homify, Pinterest and Houzz.

These aspects of the current state of design fascinate and excited me. What is around the next corner? Will the Apple Watch change things as much as the iPad did? I’m sure it will and it won’t be long before a klutz like me accidentally switches all the heating on while trying to tell the time or check my heart rate.

Yes, I'm excited! So what is it that's making me sad about these revolutions? It’s the fact that with so much information about building our homes, I’m worried that we are missing the very core of what our homes should be, which is our havens. A home should be a place that represents us, a place where family histories and stories are locked away in each art work, piece of furniture and ornament that we select to fill it. These things that come with a tale of how we found it, who we inherited it from, or what made us fall in love with it aren't the kind of stories that come from blog stalking and internet shopping.  

Some personal details integrated into Smartstyle designs in a dining room in Sevenoaks above, and a family home in East Finchley below.

With so many trend reports and ideas coming at us, are we losing our sense of who we are and what we like because we feel more of a need to be doing something to meet the design approval of others? I can’t answer that, but when I asked Tom this same question after his talk, he smiled and said that this has always been the way it is; every house-proud person through the centuries has followed on-trend design. He continued by saying that if a person likes a trend and decides to follow it, it then represents what they like and who they are. A wise man indeed! 

Are you looking for an interior designer to help your home better represent who you are and what you like? Whether you want something more on-trend or something uniquely your own, we're here to help!