Know Your Roots (and design accordingly)

2016: the year of the Open Concept Floorplan.

Every HGTV show preaches that the key to happiness is absolutely no unnecessary walls. The formal living room, once a standard in American homes, has been reduced to nothing in order to make room for the 15' marble counter island smack dab in the center of the kitchen/dining room/living room.

Shamefully, I am a massive fan of this style. Always have been. However, I am slowly unlearning the countless hours of Fixer Upper and have begun to embrace the beauty in America's architectural timeline. There are so many memories laced in the architecture of older homes that will be completely erased if the house is modernized without any education of its bones. Here's a tip from a designer with a soft spot for historic preservation: always, always, always research the style and trends of an older home upon renovating it. Everything comes full circle when the original intent of a building is somewhat preserved.

What ever happened to sitting rooms? Victorian era homes had these beautifully ornate hallways that also housed the resident's visitors. Thick baseboards with intricate dentil molding, handcrafted cornice work, the imposing hand carved hall tree as a focal point, and, you guessed it, lots of walls. Just off the hallway was typically the sitting room, where one could wait for the owner of the house to retrieve their visitors. Very posh. Modern architecture has nothing of this caliber, so if you are lucky enough to own a Victorian era home, preserve this precious moment in history! So what if your hallway entrance is dark? That adds to the drama of it all! Invest in an antique hall tree. Play up that elaborate detail. Bring back the zeitgeist of one of America's most beloved styles. It's got to feel good coming home to a place that makes you feel like an 1850s socialite.

This is not limited to Victorian home owners--there is a certain je ne sais quoi to every type of style. Preserving a moment of history for a more cohesive design is not just for the elaborate three story Gothic Revival. Look into the history of your home; if you are the first to live in your home, set the trend that I would advise the next tenants to preserve for the sake of keeping our humanity. There are a number of books out there on this subject that would make for some beautiful coffee table pieces if the subject is not as interesting to you as it is to myself.

The point of this post is, if you, like myself, have a passion for design and decorating, it is imperative to get familiar with the architecture that inspired it. I can only scroll through so many bright white open concept kitchen renovations on my Instagram. Those walls you want to demolish have so many stories to tell.