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Apartment Therapy: Personalized DIY furniture on rise

Want a home that casts your unique personal vision in an authentic way?

You may be among the growing ranks of people around the world who are taking a curated approach to decorating or even turning to do-it-yourself personalization. “Quirky Curators” and “Home Hackers”  are today’s trendsetters according to Apartment Therapy, the world’s most visited independent website dedicated to home advice, ideas and inspiration.

The curated quirk look casts a unique vision

Based on thousands of photos from over 250 home tours published yearly by the most trafficked home tour blog in the design world, more and more people are approaching homedécor like a magazine editor, creating a highly curated mix that celebrates individualism. But these “magazine editors” are not creating a perfect or staged look as is often seen in home decorating magazines; rather, the look they are after has a dash of quirkiness, whimsy and the unexpected. “Home is more like a gallery and the emphasis is not as much on the (monetary) value of the pieces as much as on what the pieces mean to the person,” said Apartment Therapy executive Chris Phillips, who recently presented the “Real Home Report” at a home furnishings industry gathering.

For example, Matt in Houston, Texas told Apartment Therapy how he “started with nothing but a dusty blank space after college, and I slowly sifted through second-hand stores, Craigslist, eBay, auctions and countless estate sales finding each piece of furniture and artwork on a fairly strict budget. Pieces were restored, used for a while and then sold or traded to get something better fitting. It’s been a four- year- long non-stopcuration process, and it will likely continue for years to come until it’s time for the next generation to move in.”

Matt in Houston’s ‘curated quirk’ bedroom

The process of evolution in creating a home is vital. “At Apartment Therapy, we believe that making very small changes can have a big impact on your whole life,” said Phillips. “We believe that beautiful homes can translate to beautiful lives.”

Moving a step beyond the quirky curators are the home hackers. These growing ranks of decorating enthusiasts are “hacking” home furnishings in a somewhat similar fashion to how people might add memory to computers or hubcaps to cars. The hacker makes aftermarket alterations, re-constructing and de-constructing products. The idea is to make the items uniquely their own, said Phillips.

For a real life “before hack” and “after hack”case study, check out this light fixture in the home of Amy Butler, as showcased on Apartment Therapy:

A hacked Ikea chandelier

Here’s what the original “pendant lamp” looks like as sold at Ikea for about $90:

The Ikea pendant lamp in original form

“The home hacker trend sort of springs out of the DIY movement,” Phillips said. “But it is a little bit different in that it involves manufacturers sort of leaving room for people to do something else after they buy the product,” he said.

Another trend that Apartment Therapy is seeing, according to Phillips, is what they call the “New Naturalists.” “We recently launched an outdoor living channel that was our most successful launch ever,” said Phillips. While the outdoors is an overall inspiration for the New Naturalists, some also dub this look “Handcrafted Hippie Home” because it projects a warm, textural, colorful and ‘cozy’ feeling in a naturalist sense. Check out this New Naturalist setting at an Amsterdam design show:

Naturalist look is textural & warm

Notice the orange, gold, gray, green and ecru color palette with dashes of black. Pattern plays a big role in this look, as witnessed by the statement wall here covered in a large scale avian print wallpaper. While the overall style is free-wheeling, mismatched and welcoming, the exception is the color palette—which is restrained and precise. The result is a brilliant mix of haute hippie with a more formal sense of color.

The most fashion forward of the trends that Apartment Therapy is seeing these days is one they call “Cutting Edges.” Cutting Edges is an eclectic mix of pastel pop + geometry & science + shades of gray + ombre. “Cutting Edges is a movement towards 80’s inspired colors such as pastel and neon, with references to geometry,” said Phillips. This look has lots of ombre, such as seen in this desk:

Cutting Edge look features ombre, neon

Some people say the Cutting Edge style is a new reference to Memphis Group furniture from the 80s. It’s fun stuff!

Neon color palette marks Cutting Edge look

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Ari Z July 30, 2012, 6:27 pm

    “Hacking” is a great way to turn something generic into something extraordinary without breaking the bank. It’s a great way for new homeowners or first time apartment dwellers to start to find their own design style on a budget. A little creativity goes a long way!

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