If there’s one thing that the pandemic didn’t slow down, it’s home design. As these spaces have evolved, so too has the language we use to describe them. With the two-year anniversary of the first US lockdown right around the corner, we take a look at the trends—and newfangled terminology—prevalent in interior design today.
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Forget the country club—the favorite planned community of the millennial set is the agrihood (a portmanteau of agriculture and neighborhood). Designed around working farms, and often offering trails, community gardens, and plenty of outdoor space to agree with neighbors, agrihoods prioritize access to fresh organic food without necessitating a total lifestyle change. Middlebrook Farm in Iowa and Olivette in Asheville, North Carolina, are two examples. Professional farmers still work the land, though many residents opt to volunteer. Agrihoods have been around for years, but their popularity is greatly increasing in the current moment, with more than 200 in the US as of July 2021.
Following the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic, American pet ownership rose dramatically, amounting to an all-time high of 70% of the population living alongside a furry friend. With this came an influence of chic dog clothing, accessories, and yes, well-designed home goods. Observing this trend, HGTV star and Riverbend Home expert Taniya Nayak coined the term barkitecture. Dog beds by Dusen Dusen, Nordic–inspired dog houses, and tasteful leather dog stairs are among the many products that fall within the category.
In an article published late last year, the New York Times design editor Julie Lasky examined the word (invented by author Reid Byers) for a home dominated by books: Book-wrapt. The home library is an ever-evolving project and one that closely reflects the personality of its dweller, both in the book selection and in the way that volumes are presented. Are they organized by color, or by genre? Displayed with spines exposed, creating a dynamic, color-filled space, or turned inward to preserve a minimalist feel? “Seeing a whole room full of those books really communicates a very rich, internal life,” says Shapeless Studios’ Andrea Fisk, reflecting on her experience of using both built-ins and carefully chosen shelving in the properties her firm has designed.
Half-walls, glass partitions, and shelving are some of the many tools that allow designers to create the so-called broken-plan kitchen. The layout, an alternative to the formerly ubiquitous open-plan kitchen, has been on the rise lately, sought out for its ability to offer a bit of seclusion within wide open spaces. “I think creating more separations is something that’s more attractive to people lately, but there is still [a desire for a] sense of openness and light and airiness,” Fisk says. She’s seen a rise in requests for broken-plan designs from her clients. “[In broken plans] you can still have a sense that you’re with your family, but you can be doing your own thing in the same vicinity.”
The next step up from “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” circular design encourages the use and design of goods that can easily be repurposed. Rather than buying a new chair when one falls out of style, circular design imagines how that chair could be refreshed to suit current styles, or how its materials could be directly reused to make something new. Case in point: Edward and Jay Osgerby’s On & On Chair for Emeco, a stackable cafe seat made from recycled materials that is designed to be recycled again.