DESIGN GRATITUDE: Thanksgiving for Interior Design Professionals

several thanksgiving and fall photos Although the origins of Thanksgiving are disputed by various historians, we do know that it was President Abraham Lincoln who made it an official holiday in 1863.  Since that time, Thanksgiving has evolved into the celebratory feast that most of us enjoy with family and friends. Regardless of its history, we appreciate the opportunity to pause and reflect about the many things for which we are thankful.  We’ve asked a few members of our interior design team to share something they are thankful for that relates to their profession, whether a current trend or timeless design element.

Gratitude for Green

Liz Koch is thankful that dark greens are coming back as a design trend.  This darker tone is more sophisticated than Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, greenery, but is every bit as relatable to nature and works well with all the whites, neutrals and grays that continue to be popular.

kitchen with dark green cabinetry
Liz is thankful to be seeing more dark green like this example from Houzz/Teddy Edwards.

roycroft bottle green color swatch “My favorite approach is to see it used as a bold piece of casework with a white stone or quartz countertop and brushed brass accents, Liz says. I love the color so much that I am repainting my entire living room dark green with a lot of white trim!  It also works great for accent pieces like accessories!”

Liz has selected Sherwin Williams “Roycroft Bottle Green” sw2847 for her recent living room project.

dark green accessory samples
If you are not ready to commit to cabinets or wall color, dark green also works well for accessories like these from House Beautiful.

More examples of contemporary interiors featuring dark greens used for walls, cabinets, furniture and accessories can be found in a 2017 trends forecast from Studio McGee. The shiplap painted dark green in the powder room by Kate Marker Interiors is another great use of this tone. They’ve even included examples of green leather chairs for those who may be “feeling particularly wild.”

For more about dark green’s increasing popularity and other current trends, check out Country Living’s article on the Fall 2017 trends. This article also highlights a few trends the authors believe are on their way out, such as all-white interiors and copper interiors.

fireplace examples
These fireplace examples from Houzz illustrate the wide range of styles complemented by a fireplace. L to R: Apropos Design, Rustic; Pizzale Design, Contemporary; Solcorp Developments, Modern Chalet.

Appreciating the Warmth of a Fireplace

Kristin Novak is particularly thankful for fireplaces as the weather turns cold in our part of the country.

“Fireplaces are the heart of the home, and as we approach Thanksgiving I know my family will be gathered around ours,” Kristin says.

electric fireplace in a senior care residence at St. Vincent's Seminary in Philadelphia
Electric fireplaces provide a nice option for senior care residences; St. Vincent’s Seminary; Philadelphia, PA, Nathan Cox Photography

Fireplaces are a great opportunity to create a focal point in a room and are of course, the literal hearth of a space.  Fireplaces come in many styles, designs, and functions from wood burning to gas to some new electric and now even water models that are much more realistic than their predecessors were.  It’s a great alternative for commercial or senior care settings where a wood, gas or other “burning” fireplace is not an option.

venn circles fireplace screen from neiman marcus
A contemporary screen can provide an updated look for an existing fireplace. The Venn Circles Fireplace Screen pictured here can be purchased at Neiman Marcus.

The flexibility of fireplaces also extends to design style.  They can be rustic and natural or elegant and sleek.  Those with mantels provide an easy solution for introducing accessories that can be updated frequently to change the feeling of a space and create the desired aesthetic. Dress it up or let it stand on its own – no matter what you choose it will provide warmth to the heart and the home not only for Thanksgiving but also throughout the year.

Dimplex Opti-myst Water Vapor Fireplaces and Lumina Products Aquafire are just a couple of the many fire “alternatives” for the feeling of a fireplace, no chimney required:

a set dining table in front of a beautiful outdoor area at Waverly Heights in Gladwyne, PA
“It’s important to understand that you cannot always improve the beauty around us,” says Jacqueline Fox. “When that’s the case, embrace the natural beauty and complement it with your design.” This example is from Waverly Heights, Gladwyne, PA; Nathan Cox Photography

Thankful for Natural Bounty (and Beauty)

Like the early American settlers, interior design trends also reflect an appreciation for the beautiful resources around us through natural materials as well as nature-inspired colors, patterns and textures.

“I love design that feels like an extension of the world around us. There are so many places to find great inspiration,” says Jacqueline Fox.

Our innate affinity for the natural world, has been documented through the biophilia hypothesis and is evidenced through an almost universal appreciation for natural materials and outdoor views.

As Jacqueline puts it, “Authentic wood tones, natural stone and large expansive windows have such an understated beauty that they start to become artistic expressions in their own right.

Wood tile feature wall from The Viva Centre at Woodcrest Villa, Lancaster, PA
Wood tile feature wall from The Viva Centre at Woodcrest Villa, Lancaster, PA; Nathan Cox Photography

For your home, it’s easy to bring a little bit of the outdoors in with some tree branches from the garden to create a striking arrangement that’s more sculptural and provides greater impact than a typical floral arrangement.  If that’s not an option, particularly for commercial settings, there are also a wide range of options available from your local garden store or the many brick and mortar and on-line home goods retailers.

Similarly Stacy Hollinger appreciates the seasonal transition that Thanksgiving represents.

“We get to experience the natural beauty of color change in our local region which makes me really appreciate the seasons,” Stacy says.

four photos showing elements from the four seasons
The dynamic, ever-changing qualities of nature are integral to its appeal and something we try to emulate in our designs. Image from

Appreciation for our Clients!

Of course we cannot go without sharing how much we appreciate our clients – many of whom we’ve worked with for a number of years.  We love what we do, but it’s the opportunity to create inspiring and engaging settings for living, learning, working and playing that make our job rewarding, and for that we are truly thankful!

Liz Koch has four years of experience providing interior design solutions for a wide range of settings; Kristin Novak, IIDA, LEED Green Associate, has 5 years of experience focusing on commercial interior design; Jacqueline Fox, IIDA, also focuses on commercial and educational settings with four years of experience and Stacy Hollinger, IIDA is a partner in the firm with 23 years of experience who leads our interior design practice.

Blog Editor: Jodi Kreider, LEED AP