Over-the-top curtains for prom dresses. Wild animal prints. Breezy outdoor craziness we can hide in for days. Like the threads of an exquisitely woven fabric, the trends that have persisted in VERANDA’s history for more than three decades are as strong today as ever, proving once again that good decoration does not last. Here’s a look at the 12 best ideas designers keep coming back to, each as resilient as they are beautiful.
“The most successful covers have a minimum of color,” says VERANDA founder Lisa Newsom. “Green is my favorite – it’s so adaptable, just like nature, and it’s also kind and welcoming. VERANDA covers have always been so powerful because they say, ‘Come in.’”
Couture classic stripes
“These are the silent unifiers of a spaceby connecting different elements together. I think interiors would be boring without them as part of our repertoire.” —James Carter
Painted wicker for informal elegance
“I always say a space doesn’t have to fit together, but it should blend, and Furlow Gatewood is a genius at putting together spaces with the most decorated, undecorated, magical atmosphere,” says the designer Bunny Williams, recalling his celebrated folly in Americus, Georgia. “He never makes his rooms look like a scheme. The antique wicker chairs maintain the relaxed feel of a verandah while being lightweight enough to be used around the table or pulled into the lounge suite.”
Fancy, festive curtains
“This my fair ladyInspired green and white striped polka dot drapes with pagoda valances still dazzle in this Houston living room today.” —Miles Redd
A grand entry stairwell
“It’s a visual salute that sets the tone for what’s to come in a beautiful home,” says Decorator Markham Roberts, who likes to soften the formality with simple but captivating elements such as landscape paintings, richly woven rush mats and patterned runners. “These can enhance the curve of the stair, add texture or remove any rigidity in the architecture to make the entrance more welcoming.”
The modern conservatory
In our Summer 1994 issue, accomplished decorator ArthurSmith, former design partner of Billy Baldwin, led us to a more relaxed indoor/outdoor sensibility—one that reflects the porches and gardens of his adopted home of Charleston, South Carolina. He lived for the “abundance of the city’s white flowers… The entire historic district smells of tea olives at certain times of the year,” and its solarium-like carriage house glowed with garden gestures drawn in. Painted ceiling boards and brickwork, wicker furniture and a stone garden bench as a coffee table heralded a new era of stylish conservatories.
Seating for intimate conversations
“I’ve always loved using a four-chair grid. Good conversation requires comfort, quality materials and a sense of intimacy, especially in large living rooms.” —Richard Hallberg
Transportive dining room walls
“Wall murals and painterly wallpaper can give a space a boundless feel – they tell a story,” notes the designer Cathy Kincaid, who often relies on the “magic” of these artistic scenes to add dimension and perspective. It takes on the craftsmanship of classic patterns but gives them a “modern twist with custom colourways”. Adds Kincaid, “For example, a solid color scheme helps the storyline take precedence.”
High drama neutrals
Neutral spaces are notoriously soothing, but the most enduring dare to bare. “I don’t try to disguise anything in my interiors,” says the well-known neutralist designer Daniel C Cuevas. “Against a clean background, the form and quality of the art and furnishings stand out.” Ray Booth, Another designer, who tends towards calm room compositions, remarks: “There is strength in the calmness of a neutral space.” Cuevas adds: “People become the most important thing in the room.” Design as it should be.
Refined animal prints
“Animal prints don’t take a backseat to anything, so use them sparingly and in quality fabrics – that makes them all the more special and unexpected.” —Karl Spada
Collections in residence
One of the most classic flavor makers to grace the pages of VERANDA, Caroline Rohm tells a common story through all their projects: collections. Whether delicate Canton Blue china in the chinoiserie room of her Charleston home – “That was the first [city] in the colonies to import the porcelain pattern. Talk about the full circle,” she says — or Zinn in Colorado. “Zinn’s consistent simple style seems to fit the less formal spirit of Aspen.” Talk about the power of place.
Escapist Garden Follies
“I see them as places of enchantment,” says Decorator Richard Keith Langham, whose design of a retreat in Pennsylvania with an architect JO Mayfield “sits happily in the garden because the roughly hewn orchard stone and milky woods are natural elements, as is the lush greenery around it.” And Langham selects furniture that resembles the size and weight of what he thinks is inside for ” highest comfort”. Case in point: the mirror above this fireplace to allow “Mother Nature to see herself in all her glory”.
Featured in the May/June 2022 issue of VERANDA. Written by Zoë Gowen.