Award winning interior designer Christina Couvillion joins me to talk interior design trends for 2023, where she finds her inspiration for interior design and what recommendations she gives her clients when they are beginning to start a new project.
Troy: Hey, Christina, how has your how's your day been going? I hope you had a good weekend and everything was pretty smooth.
Christina: Yeah, excellent. I haven't screwed anything up yet today, so it's a good day.
Troy: that's always the it's always one of the great things about a Monday is like stuff has not gone downhill yet. It's hard for it to go downhill first thing on a Monday. That is for sure. Here with Christina, you have your own interior design company, not just in interior design company, but one of the most recognized ones here in Austin.
So I really appreciate you being a guest with us here. One of the things that. , I always like to talk about early in the year are overall trends of stuff. And the start of the year a lot of people are thinking about maybe buying and selling a home, maybe doing some work on their home.
And so I was curious to from your perspective, what are some of the current design trends that are in place for people that might be thinking about getting some updates or doing some things to their, to.
Christina: Yeah, that's a great question. And we were actually just at the Dallas furniture market, so we got some really good insights from the manufacturers as to what's trending, what's going on, and Two overarching themes, which are diametrically opposed, which was interesting. We have minimalist design, which a lot of clients are very familiar with.
Just a clean, serene, edited design. It doesn't necessarily have to be a stark modern, it could be what we call soft modern. So you have natural, soft elements, but there's just not a lot of it just very edited and discerning design details. So that's one that's still going strong.
But now there's maximalist design, which is more, is. So you do the wallpaper not only on the walls, but on the ceiling, and then you do the pattern on the chairs and, you use vibrant colors, so you just go all in. It's not oh, let's just do one accent pillow and one nice piece of art.
It's everything is saturated and exaggerated. So that was fun to, as a team, to see those two design trends going strong at the.
Troy: you mentioned. Up in Dallas, he said.
Troy: How so are those the kind of places where you go or events that you go to get an idea of where the market's going or are there other things? I'm sure there, I'm sure that's not the only thing, but I guess what are the factors, the news sources, the ideas that help you see where the trends are?
Christina: Yeah, so there are major markets that a lot of designers will attend. Dallas is a small, yet mighty market. The bigger ones are in High Point, North Carolina. Vegas always comes in strong with air market. New York also has a strong furniture market. And Chicago I typically just do two North Carolina and Dallas.
But I'm thinking Vegas might be fun.
Troy: Vegas can be going. Yeah,
Christina: yeah, I'm sure my team would love to go to Vegas with me.
Troy: Vegas does. Definitely knows how to hold a convention, that's for sure.
Christina: Oh, absolutely. But I tell, at night I'm, I'm all up on my phone, Instagram, Pinterest, looking at ideas so that I get a lot of creative insights from other influencers on those markets
Troy: And the, yeah, on the, so on social media for sure. It's definitely a place for inspiration for a lot of different people, for a lot of different industries.
Christina: Yeah, so I always encourage homeowners if, if you're not quite certain yet what your style is, look and pin some ideas you know from those sources, and you'll see that there is an overarching style. You just don't know what it's called.
Troy: What, speaking of the kind of those, the two diverging styles, like how long do you feel like most styles last or stay in place? And obviously it's impossible to know for sure, but it feels like. , the more the kind of that minimalistic style which we've had. I feel like that's been in place for a while now.
Kind of the more whites and grays and less colors like that felt as though it ha has lasted for a number of years. Which. , if you're a homeowner, can be a nice thing because it doesn't feel like you have to update your home quite as much. Where if you do go the full colors wallpaper on the ceilings and all that if you love it, great.
At that point, unless you're trying to sell your home, who cares if someone's kinda oh, that's not in styl anymore. If you love it and you're not selling your home, you do you. But it also does feel like you could ha turn around to be like, shoot, this isn't installed anymore. Now I need to update my home again more quickly.
Christina: I tell clients when we go all in with these fun exaggerated designs, like in six years, you're probably gonna be over. and it'll be hard to redesign, but during those six years you're gonna absolutely love it. People are gonna walk into your home. It's gonna be a wow factor. But yeah, budget in probably six years that you're gonna redo it.
So for me it's job security. For clients it's fun cuz then they can reimagine their home once again. Was something else that really speaks to them at that time. But I think you're right, like the minimalists will always be trend. Yeah, and that's easy to layer up too.
So if you wanted to give it a little bit more color, change out the accent pillows, but your fundamental furniture basics are all always gonna be very neutral.
Troy: Sure. Yeah. Saying that I've heard, and of course I'll probably mess it up now, but like to do to try to do traditional with say your staples and then your accents can be more trendy, right? So if you, the expensive pieces, if they're a little bit more traditional, mainstream, that those are the expensive pieces that you can get.
and keep for longer periods of time and then throw in trendy things for accent pieces that are less expensive thing. Again, paint's not super expensive. Wallpaper's not that expensive. And so sometimes with some of those things, you can be a little bit more throw your personality in there and not have to worry about it being such a costly change down the road when your tastes change in five, six.
Christina: Yeah. That is the most Brilliant strategy to have that kind of conservative, fundamental approach within fun layers on top of it. But when you go all in with the, the purple sofa, you know that one's gonna, you're gonna trend out. So yeah, you're better off with a much more neutral sofa or maybe navy and then layer up from there.
Troy: what for design trends as a whole, like again, is it something where you've seen a lot of changes in the last, say the colors definitely seem like a little bit last year and then this year seem like they're getting more and more steam. How often do you feel like those trends change?
Is it more of. , again, a shifting trend change or a shifting person at personal preference for a lot of people. When those changes happen
Christina: so there, there are two answers to that. So the, certainly the manufacturers and Marketing companies, they make money by changing outta the color. So it's, it's like in fashion. So the new, the new fashion color is this. Because that way, they're always selling fresh merchandise and fresh colors.
So like in market we saw a lot of emerald greens, and. And then some mix with some pinks or, some neutral tones. But emerald green, probably next market is not gonna be the hot color.
Troy: It's trying. It's trying to capture that FOMO for.
Christina: Exactly. Exactly. You, the second thing that you touched upon was, people are relating to their homes differently.
I think post pandemic, like they, they wanna feel a certain. and their space. I was talking with my team about this, cuz in my home, like as you see behind me, I have some, fun, vibrant colors. It stimulates my creativity. But there's also some white there, so it's, just not super saturated.
But throughout my home they're like bright, colorful paintings and access. , but my bedroom is very neutral. Just soft, serene, layered colors and just a lot of nice textures cuz I want my, my bedroom to be quiet and serene. But the rest of my house I wanted to be activated and, welcoming for.
But when I go to bed, I just need to shut down. So I think a lot of people are looking at their homes very differently cuz you know, some people have very stressful jobs, so when they come home, they don't want their home to be activated. They want it to be
Troy: They don't want their sensors overwhelmed with
Christina: Yeah. Yeah. So those are conversations that we're having now with our clients.
Like, how, how do you wanna feel when you come home? Do you entertain a lot? Does your home need to reflect that? Or is this. Your calm place where you tune out the world. So it's, I love having those conversations because then the design is all that much more successful cuz it speaks to what they need.
Troy: Nice. What From a pricing quantity or from a pricing availability standpoint? Are you seeing changes in the market that way? Because I've known, I've had clients that have had to wait, a year for a sofa to come in because of shipping li limitations over if. For products overseas or obviously with the pandemic, because everyone was spending every waking minute at their house.
There were a lot of pe people were starting to spend a lot of money to make their homes more functional. More inviting because you're having to spend so much time there. And so that, on top of it, Making for an increase in home prices. It also really shot up the price for home design remodeling.
People in those spaces were super busy and so prices went up on top of the material costs. Are you seeing any softening or any changes in the demand or in pricing in AVA and availability of products and stuff?
Christina: Yeah. So furniture lead times are definitely a lot better. They had shot up, some of 'em, like you said, like you'd be lucky if you got this sofa from Europe in a year. Now it's definitely more normalized. So eight to. 24 weeks really depending upon, what the furniture design is and where it's located.
But that's lovely cuz a lot of our clients usually can wait that, that time lapse for something that's custom. But materials have come down a lot. So when we're doing renovations, the price of wood and tile has come down significantly. And it almost would cost people double to do a renovation or a new home build during the pandemic cuz you know, all the material costs were, and and freight costs were just so escalated.
But appliances are still a bugaboo. Then as you're still for certain appliances like. Wolf or a lot of the European subzero fridges, those still have a almost a year and a half on some of those appliances,
Troy: You say, we're talking about design trends coming and going with some of the delays in getting pieces like a purple couch. By the time you actually got it from overseas, the. You could be over the trend or the trend could be over at that point in time. If it really was taking that long to get
Christina: Oh my God. God forbid. That would be awful. Oh, they forget. Usually we forget and they forget by that time, even though we have the mood boards and everything, so when it comes in it's kind like a fun surprise. They're like, oh gosh. Yeah, I
Troy: you're surprised. Kitchen. You're surprised Living room furniture. It's also funny you're talking about with again, how places have changed. You're talking about your space behind you. Mine has definitely changed just
Christina: Yes. I love
Troy: has gotten more and more of things. So I've been like, oh, I need to update stuff differently.
But, if we did a tour of my home, it wouldn't look anything like this. Cause I was like, oh, you need to make this very specific for video and trying to add some, what are some things that I would wanna show off or have, just add. Personality too. So it's funny how you say how spaces have changed in such a short period of time for a lot of people.
Christina: Oh indeed. Oh yeah. We definitely get a lot of, Hey, I do a lot of Zoom calls. Can hook me up in the background here,
Troy: Yeah. Try to make it a little more inviting for people.
Troy: what have you gotten any, kind of crazy design requests or for either pieces or complete, total redesigns and stuff lately at all?
Christina: Yeah, so two very intriguing three actually. Okay. So sometimes clients will come up with themes that I'd never heard of before, but I'm all in. So one was called Swanky tiki. So inspired by Bally, so they love, tiki hus or anything bally inspired. So we did this whole home in Rockport with a swanky tiki theme.
So there was bamboo, there were tiki totems running around. There was a lot of wood tiles, like Tik tiles that we had fabricated. So that was one unique theme. We have a project that we're gonna do starting in a couple months where the client works for this family trust and they were Tasked with buying a dinosaur.
So I think it's called Peter, the T-Rex. So they bought this dinosaur for the, this museum that the family has that in Tampa. And so we're gonna do a 3D model of the dinosaur and put it into a wall unit that we're doing in his office. So a little miniature T-Rex model inspired by the.
Troy: and so the museum got like the full fossilized, like skeleton T-Rex for their museum. Okay, interesting. And they want, they, they want his representation of that in his office.
Christina: And the wall unit. That was a neat, and the last one is we're working on a property which we like to call the compound. So it's this huge property, probably a shy of a hundred million dollars on Lake Austin that we're building, like a full on day spa there, just as a private building for the compound with a cold plunge spa, which I would never be that ambitious to jump into.
But I'm all about
Troy: That would be awesome to be able to
Troy: have a There are different So you can buy like small, like cold plunge,
Christina: All right.
Troy: and like almost turn or turn like a chest free freezer into one a little bit too. So there's different ways to do it.
The one is the space and then how say the frequency of how often you're gonna use it, right? There's a tricky thing again, if you have. A hundred million dollar property on Lake Austin. You probably have the space and the money regardless of how frequently, but it's similar to a lot of health clubs these days are really incorporating the recovery portion of,
Troy: health and fitness instead of just like lifting weights.
It's, about the sauna, it's about, the hot tub, cold plunge and different things. that are popular in a lot of other countries around the world and kind of things that are more and more people are taking under consideration. Just as obviously health and wellness and fitness have become bigger things for bigger important, more important factors for kind of everyone in life.
Christina: Yeah. Yeah. And I see and in this property we're doing a spa a sauna in a steam room and a massage room. But a lot of our project, a lot of our remodels, we get requests for saunas. So either building one or doing an infrared sauna or something. So like you said, like a, people's wellbeing and, really nurturing themselves in their homes really become a big trend.
Troy: One, one, a couple of the different homes that I got to tour in the last couple weeks. One had a infrared sauna that they had. It was definitely a, by, it wasn't built in right, it was by the box kind of thing, but they had. Gotten it up onto the second floor of this home and had left it like the current owners had moved all their stuff out cuz they had already moved someplace else, but they decided we're not dealing with moving the sauna.
So whoever is gonna buy the place, hopefully will enjoy the sauna. Cuz it was just big enough that it's like trying to deal with the stairs and the doorways
Christina: Oh goodness. Yeah. I.
Troy: Wouldn't, didn't make. Sense for 'em that way, but I did see that in there. And then another, you're talking about the, like the having the spa built in and there was another property that had the full hair salon room, like right off from the mud room.
There was literally a hair
Troy: hair wash a, a stool for somebody they can cut their hair at. My guess is that they stylists come into their home, into the home to do their
Christina: My hope is that they did. That's my like dream big
Christina: life. You're talking about
Troy: a home is yeah, me, lemme just, I just, lemme go away from my computer.
Go get my, yeah.
Troy: Yeah. So that was, again, not something that you don't see. In every home even in a lot of very expensive homes, you don't necessarily see that. But it was an interesting feature. So it's always fun when you, it's always fun to see, in your case, to be able to do designs and do things that are d outside the norm.
Christina: Oh, exactly. Yeah. That's always a fun challenge for our team to take on.
Troy: Nice. We'll have to come up with some other stories for next time, but it's always fun to talk to you and I'm sure we
Christina: Thank you.
Troy: Hear about some great things going on next month.
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