In the world of interior design, trendy and timeless aren’t two words you typically hear in the same sentence. After all, aren’t they kind of opposites? A timeless home is one with design elements that have stood the test of time. Meanwhile, trendy design is ever changing, ebbing and flowing with popular demand. So, can a home be rooted in timeless design while still feeling au courant?
If you look at some of today’s home trends, you’ll find the answer to be yes. Certain design elements are having a moment in the spotlight. But even when they’re no longer the most popular trend on the block, they’ll still feel relevant, beautiful and useful.
We talked with the teams at Habitation Furnishing + Design and Puustelli USA, two companies that reside in The District Edina, about the design elements that are sitting in the trend spotlight but still have major staying power.
Natural wood cabinetry, earthy colors and other natural materials are having a big moment right now. Bianca Hutton, CMO and designer for Puustelli USA, surmises that COVID-19 had an impact on this trend. During lockdowns, people intentionally cared for their mental health by spending more time outside. As a result, they wanted the same calm felt through a walk in the woods reflected in their homes.
This has led to a growing appreciation for biophilic design—a concept in architecture and interior design that’s all about feeling more connected to nature and embracing the positive health and environmental benefits that come with that.
In the past year, it has become increasingly popular to add not only natural materials like wood and stone into your home, but also nature-inspired botanical prints, earth tones (especially green) and plenty of actual plants into home decor.
Speaking of nature: “Greens are big this year,” says Karl Peltier, senior designer at Habitation Furnishing + Design. Emerald, forest, pine, moss—he says that dark, warm green tones of all kinds (from earthy hues to jewel tones) are trending. These shades add warmth and depth to a home and can be used in any room of the house.
In the realm of kitchens, Hutton is seeing a lot of people step away from super bold and dark hues in cabinetry toward softer, earthier tones. With that, Puustelli launched two new colors to their cabinet collection this year: sage and rosemary, both shades of green. “Again, it speaks to that [idea that] when you’re in your house, the house colors reflect and sort of mimic the outdoors,” Hutton says.
Want to level up your kitchen pantry? Rather than just food storage, Hutton says she’s seeing a lot of people add breakfast pantries into their homes. These floor-to-ceiling “hideaway” pantries not only have ample shelving, but they also include a finished countertop for kitchen appliances, like coffee makers, toasters, blenders and even stand mixers.
Hutton notes that this design addition is a great way to streamline your kitchen and calm your surroundings, since the pantry doors hide the clutter of appliances while keeping them readily accessible. “You can just close the doors, and you don’t have those big machines on the counter,” she says.
While brushed silver, black and brass are continuing to be popular choices for cabinet hardware, Hutton says she’s noticed a growing trend of people foregoing hardware altogether. “We’re getting a lot of requests for finger pull grooves. Maybe this is just because it’s that natural [look and] there’s no metal to touch; there’s a groove that is milled into the door,” Hutton says. “That’s a very European look in general.”
Hutton actually believes this is part of a larger trend: “I think kitchens are becoming less flashy, if you will. Like, they’re becoming elegant and streamlined, but not like, ‘Ooo, look at my gold faucet.’ It’s more like, ‘Look at how well my kitchen integrates with the rest of my home.’”
This more minimalist and functional approach aligns with the Scandinavian aesthetic that Puustelli embodies. (After all, they’re a Finnish company.) Hutton defines the Scandinavian aesthetic as a warm minimalism. “It’s minimalist, but not to the point where everything has to be white or hidden away,” she says. “There’s not a lot of embellishments … Everything is fairly simple [and] done with this ‘just enough’ concept.”
Wallpaper is back—and it’s better than ever. With more wallpaper patterns and application styles available than ever before, homeowners and renters alike are turning to wallpaper to add pops of pattern and color to their homes. Some prefer using it in small areas—on an accent wall or as a way to highlight an alcove. Others are going for a more maximalist look, wallpapering entire rooms.
“People are going nuts over wallpaper,” says Greg Rich, owner of Habitation Furnishing + Design. “It faded away for a long time. I think it’s because all of us at one point or another had to [scrape it off] and chose not to inflict that on other generations. But we’ve forgotten about that, so now we’re back to … high-end, fabulous textural, colorful wallpaper.”
While patterns of all kinds are available, vintage-inspired florals and botanicals are having a major moment in the trend spotlight. (Bonus: a William Morris-style floral pattern has a timeless look that won’t feel dated, even when botanicals stop trending.) In terms of patterns, Peltier adds that he’s seeing a lot of “watercolor abstract murals that are printed to scale for a specific wall,” which can offer a highly custom look to a space.
Renters are turning to peel-and-stick wallpaper to get the look without losing their deposit. And Rich says temporary wallpaper has dramatically improved in quality in the past several years. He says Habitation carries a line of peel-and-stick wallpaper, which is a higher grade than you’d find at a big box store. “The lines that we carry are printed on wallpaper presses, instead of digital printers. So you can have some texture and some depth to it,” Rich says.
A lot of people got pets during COVID, and now Hutton says she’s seeing a lot of clients incorporate their pets into their kitchen designs. She says they recently finished a kitchen where the owners wanted to skip a lower cabinetry unit. “They had their remodelers install a pot filler-looking faucet … So kind of like the same thing, but for filling their dog bowls with water,” Hutton says. Many people are also prioritizing built-in solutions for hiding food and water bowls or storing pet food and treats.
Old Mixed With New
Antiquing is not just your parent’s retirement hobby. People of all ages are enjoying the unique personality and collected look that antiques can add to a home when mixed with modern decor. Plus, antique furniture and decor have the dual benefits of being sustainable and readily available. (No production delays here.) But Peltier notes that finding the right antiques for your space does require some searching and patience.
And where does he turn to source antique pieces for clients? “Some of our mid-century places like findfurnish, MidModMen+friends and Golden Age Design are all really great if you’re looking for mid-century modern antiques,” Peltier says. He recommends H&B Gallery if you’re looking for more traditional antique furniture. And if you’d rather shop online? Peltier turns to 1stDibs.
Welcome to the District
When you turn off of Washington Avenue in the southwestern corner of Edina and down the driveway of The District Edina, you’re suddenly transported as you wind your way down a wooded drive and cross a bridge over Nine Mile Creek.
“I just love this building, and it is such a gorgeous environment,” says Rich, who’s not only the owner of Habitation Furnishing + Design but also the founder of The District Edina. “It is perfect for what the vision is when you come in.”
Rich opened The District Edina in the fall of 2021. His vision for this three-story, 21,000-square-foot building in the Braemar Hills neighborhood of Edina was to curate
a collection of building and remodeling showrooms, resulting in a single destination for clients undertaking design and remodeling projects.
“The rarest commodity that people have right now is time,” Rich says. “When people are doing larger-scale projects … to have to run from Edina to Bloomington to Maple Grove to look at all these different [showrooms and stores] is time-consuming and wasteful. So the concept was, let’s take the primary segments of a project and house under one roof the showrooms that can fulfill those needs.”
A lot of comparisons have been made between The District and International Market Square (IMS), and Rich says he understands why, acknowledging some of the similarities. However, his vision for his space was to create a more curated collection of tenants, as well as a more client-friendly environment, whereas he sees IMS as more of a resource for designers and tradespeople.
“We encourage anyone who’s working on a project, whether it’s with a designer, whether it’s with an architect or builder, or they’re just doing it themselves, to come in and experience the building [and showrooms],” Rich says.
So, what businesses and showrooms can you find within The District? Rich’s own Habitation Furnishing and Design, for one. Habitation has a joint showroom and central office operating out of the top floor of the building—a space where they can host client presentations, look at materials, and showcase some of their designs and a sampling of custom furniture clients can use to furnish their new spaces.
Clients will also find two different kitchen showrooms on the main floor of The District. “We knew the kitchens were critical,” Rich says. “The kitchen is the center of the house and it's something that you have to spend the most time … working out. So, the reason we put in two kitchen showrooms was to kind of cover the full gamut of [styles and price points] clients might be looking for.”
Rich says Satoree Kitchen & Bath typically creates a range of designs, including more traditional and transitional designs, while Puustelli Kitchens has a more European, Scandinavian Modern aesthetic. (Satoree also does countertops and flooring.) “So, whatever style speaks to you, we've got someone who can accomplish it for you,” he says.
Puustelli moved to Edina from Lake Street in Minneapolis in early 2022. “We like this concept of being a designed destination rather than just a showroom,” says Hutton, of Puustelli’s space in the District. “There's some fantastic businesses with incredible design talent [in the building].”
Hutton says Puustelli has also enjoyed collaborating with other businesses in the building. They recently collaborated with Peltier from Habitation, who was working on a home remodel and design. When it was time to tackle the kitchen, he connected the client with Puustelli. “It was great because we could have the client, with Karl, [visit the showroom] … and do the design of the kitchen to match with the interior. It's all in the same place, it's all in the same destination. And that kind of client experience is what we want more of,” Hutton says.
Rich also brought in a building and remodeling company (Vogl), flooring and window covering specialists (Immerfall Windows and Floors), and a hardware showroom, as well as a custom closet company and a high-end audio and smart home installation company (Home Media Innovations). Within The District, you’ll also find a State Farm office and even a title company. Though an insurance and title company are both outside the initial scope of what The District was going to house, Rich says they have been great tenants and partners, bringing many new people into the space while also supporting the full scope of home projects.
A tour of The District isn’t complete without walking through 9 Mile Gallery which features original art by a variety of local and national artists, including artist-in-residence John Gerber. Not only is original art available to purchase, but Gerber also often collaborates with the Habitation team to create bespoke pieces of original art that complement the design and color scheme of a client’s home.
Outside of showrooms and offices, The District contains an outdoor conference room and an expansive lounge with a kitchenette and bar for meetings, parties and events.
Rich stresses that these shared spaces throughout the property are for clients and outside designers to enjoy. “If you're an interior designer, architect or real estate agent, sometimes you don't have a great location to meet with people,” he says. “We want you to feel like The District is your home away from home. You don't need to set up an appointment. You just bring your client here, show them through the various showrooms, if there are showrooms that you're looking for. But even if you're just looking for a meeting place, pick one of the outside areas, come up to the lounge … and treat the place like you own it.”