Bou­tique ho­tel chic trend comes to an end

Time has come to in­ject more per­son­al­ity into our spa­ces

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Paula McCooey

WITH black lac­quer, bam­boo (be­fore it was deemed “green”), and astrol­ogy prints dom­i­nat­ing the ’90s, Cana­dian de­sign­ers — and con­sumers — were ea­ger to clean the slate for the mil­len­nium, turn­ing to clas­si­cal neu­trals for their homes.

Bou­tique ho­tel chic quickly be­came a move­ment, trans­form­ing the way peo­ple dec­o­rated their homes, of­fices, and busi­nesses over the past 10 years.

“Peo­ple re­ally loved (the bou­tique ho­tel look) and man­u­fac­tur­ers re­al­ized that it was easy to repli­cate in a cheap way, so the Zen and bou­tique ho­tel trend just kept rolling along,” says de­signer Wil­liam Mac­Don­ald, adding the Martha Stew­art blue-and-white striped East Hamp­ton’s style, as well as loft-in­spired spa­ces and souped-up kitchens also made a big im­pact dur­ing the last decade.

The last 10 years were very much about clean, modern, mas­cu­line de­signs with mi­crofi­bre ev­ery­thing, says de­signer Ernst Hu­pel.

“Then it slowly mor­phed when we re­al­ized we wanted a lit­tle bit more per­son­al­ity,” says Hu­pel, who has ap­peared on HGTV’s De­sign U. “It went into that whole bling stage where peo­ple were still do­ing clean and modern, but peo­ple thought ‘let’s throw a chan­de­lier in here.’ ”

These trends were form­ing in uni­son with the pro­lif­er­a­tion of de­sign me­dia through the In­ter­net, mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers and tele­vi­sion.

This re­sulted in a more de­sign-savvy pub­lic with a fierce ap­petite for ren­o­va­tion and decor.

“There was the tele­vi­sion, which ex­ploded with de­sign chan­nels. There must be 10 de­sign chan­nels now,” says Mac­Don­ald, who has ap­peared as a fea­ture de­signer on HGTV de­sign shows and is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Cana­dian House & Home mag­a­zine.

“Mag­a­zines and blogs and web­sites and ev­ery­thing, there’s even stores, like Home De­pot or Lowes, (that) have their own mag­a­zines on de­sign.”

So why this shift? Mac­Don­ald thinks we should thank Ikea for get­ting the gen­eral pub­lic aboard the de­sign train, which in turn prompted the change in how big-box hard­ware stores and even gro­cery stores op­er­ate. In ad­di­tion to sell­ing paint, tools and food, they added aisles for espresso-stained fur­ni­ture and vinyl and faux-suede club chairs and ot­tomans.

“I think all the man­u­fac­tur­ers in North Amer­ica re­al­ized what Ikea was do­ing, and Ikea sort of had this Scan­di­na­vian con­cept, ac­ces­si­ble good de­sign at a rea­son­able price. And North Amer­i­cans, Amer­i­cans par­tic­u­larly who ran Wal-Mart and Lowes and Home De­pot, said ‘Oh, these peo­ple just don’t want Bling and a re­turn to ’80s deca­dence Mac­Don­ald en­vi­sions the next decade as one of deca­dence rem­i­nis­cent of the ’80s, with smaller spa­ces with the glitz of gold, vel­vet and jewel-toned colours.

There will also be a more hy­brid ap­proach, he pre­dicts — pos­si­bly a blend of coun­try kitchens with stain­less-steel coun­ter­tops, zinc coun­ter­tops on a red­painted coun­try is­land or halo­gen pen­dant lamps over a har­vest ta­ble, while uti­liz­ing unique nat­u­ral floor­ing such as co­conut, bam­boo and even leather.

And of course, tech­nol­ogy will play a huge role.

“That’s what I am most ex­cited about,” says Mac­Don­ald. “At the In­te­rior De­sign show last win­ter in Toronto, they had an in­ter­ac­tive back­splash. It All about me, plus other pre­dic­tions Hu­pel’s Swarovski crys­tal ball says it’s time to in­ject more per­son­al­ity into our spa­ces and em­brace in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

This may in­clude raw wood and iron fur­ni­ture, more art, and in­dus­trial light­ing. And if you have a spe­cial col­lec­tion, throw that in too.

“We were stripped a bit from our in­di­vid­ual per­son­al­i­ties in the last decade,” says Hu­pel. “We copied ev­ery­one last year. This decade, if I have a great cookie jar col­lec­tion, it’s mine and it’s go­ing to give some­one a smile when they see it. It’s not some­thing I’m go­ing to see on page three of the cat­a­logue.”

Hu­pel also sees peo­ple mov­ing to cre­ate a real and ro­man­tic flair in their homes, blend­ing raw woods like white oak and Amer­i­can wal­nut, and nat­u­ral fab­rics such as li­nen, silk, union cloth and cot­tons, which tie into the sus­tain­able move­ment.

“I don’t think you are go­ing to see a lot of mi­crofi­bre,” says Hu­pel. “There will still be a very large per­cent­age of peo­ple’s en­vi­ron­ments that will be neu­tral, but it will be neu­tral in a more real, tex­tured, en­vi­ron­men­tal way.

“So wood is go­ing to be wood. It’s not go­ing to be stained any­more. You are not go­ing to make wood into some­thing that it is not. You are not go­ing to try to force things to be what they are not.

“If you live in a small turn-of-the­cen­tury home, you are not go­ing to force it into be­ing a bou­tique ho­tel.”

— Can­west News Ser­vice

Ot­tawa’s Arc Ho­tel helped spawn the rage for bring­ing bou­tique ho­tel chic to the


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