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Beyond the Trends: The Legacy of Timeless Home Design

One of my favorite spaces is the sanctuary of the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Chicago. I’ve visited twice - once in college while traveling to study American architecture and once a few years ago with Calvin. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and dedicated in the Fall of 1909, the space is intimate and magnificent, inspiring a sense of peace and reverence for visitors today just as it did at the turn of the century. It is ageless and, yet, very much of an era, rooted in the distinctly American Prairie Style.

Standing in spaces like The Unity Temple inspires us to wonder: How does one accomplish this - a built environment both timeless and stylistically distinctive?

The Secret to Timeless Homes

Wright managed this feat the same way great designers always have: By responding to a

particular site with an understanding of space and light, massing and flow, proportion, and

human scale.

In the residential design world, we layer these elements with the patterns of home life, striving to create beautiful spaces that function optimally for raising children, hosting friends and family, and aging gracefully. From mid-century to Federal and farmhouse to row house, a mastery of these elements forms a home with enduring generational appeal.

How do you incorporate design trends?

“Prints are personal.”

A dear friend said this to me as I lamented replacing a beautiful wall covering installed by our home’s previous owner. I could certainly appreciate it, but it didn’t speak to my own aesthetic sensibilities.

Print, color, and finish trends change with time and with social, political, and cultural context, and will always appeal differently to different individuals. As a professing Grand Millennial and an oft-labeled, “Old Soul,” I’ll take all the brown furniture, Chinoiserie, and gallery walls I can get. Calvin cut me off from collecting more Audubon lithographs and eventually expanded that to all bird-themed art. Thankfully, he hasn’t come for the textiles yet.

I loosely based our nursery on Jackie Kennedy’s concept for John John’s White House bedroom with primary colors and my own take on dreamy, vintage Americana. When these cherished classic elements fall out of favor, and minimalist cool grays make their resurgence, I’ll hold tight and wait for their return.

That’s the great thing about finishes like wall coverings, floor coverings, tile, textile, and paint color. You can flow with the trends and your season of life or hold fast to your own concept of a well-decorated home.

When the architectural elements have been thoughtfully considered and drawn by a skilled and knowledgeable hand, your home becomes a timeless backdrop for the trappings of the moment.

Build your own timeless space with the CW Design Works Team.

Calvin and I live in a home designed by Greenville Architect, William E. “Jack” Freeman in his early career before he landed much grander jobs like the Duke Regional Power Headquarters and the Greenville Water System building. Construction of the house was completed in 1952. Finishes still need updating. Floors need refinishing. Hardware needs replacement. We’re slowly chipping away at those projects.

Despite the ongoing renovations, guests are almost universally taken aback by the magnificence of the place. It isn’t grand, but it was thoughtfully designed by an expert hand who understood the elements of residential architecture. The scale is human. The siting makes it feel rooted to the Earth. The flow and floor plan accomplish a seamless gradient between public and private spaces. The children have a realm of their own to spread the mess of make-believe play and Lego construction without the chaos seeping into the adult spaces.

Our home is so intimately connected to the garden that we can’t go a day without appreciating the surrounding natural beauty. It inspires wonder in our children and draws them to frequently choose to explore the outdoors over the option of screen time. We are grateful every day that our forever home was designed for timelessness.

As the beneficiaries of timeless design and the leaders of CW Design Works, we believe that every forever home project should start with a considered design process that responds to the site and the specific needs of the client with an understanding of space and light, proportion and scale, flow and family life. As a full-service design-build firm, we are uniquely positioned to translate timeless design to a timeless built environment and then incorporate the finish trends or classics and garden moments that bring the space to life.

Get in touch if you’re dreaming of your forever home and want to learn about our process to achieve your own built legacy.

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