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Designers discuss aesthetics of today’s lifestyles


People and the times evolve. Fashion changes. The beanbag that enthralled the preteen doesn’t do much for a settled couple in the suburban Colonial with a two-car garage.

To make sense of shifting needs, trends and fashions – good and not so good – a panel discussion on “Design vs. Lifestyle: The Evolution of Decorative Aesthetics and the Way We Live” was held Saturday, Feb. 23, at Left Bank Home in Peddler’s Village, Lahaska.

The event, attended by about 50 people, was sponsored by Traditional Homes magazine, furniture maker Lee Industries Inc., and Left Bank Home.

Moderated by Traditional Homes Senior Style Editor Krissa Rossbund, the panel included Molly Kirchhoff, owner of Left Bank Home; and designers Eddie Ross of Wayne, Maximalist Studios; and Rajni Alex of Rajni Alex Design of Bronxville, N.Y.

Kirchhoff confessed that as a young mother decorating her baby’s room, “my style was ‘Santa Fe all the way’ – coyotes and cactus.”

While she assured the crowd her style as evolved, she emphasized there are people in need of design guidance.

“I’ve been in a house where they hadn’t moved anything from five years ago when I was there last,” she said.

Another problem Kirchhoff encounters is people who turn their rooms “into little theater sets” where “we have to walk them back” and ask them to consider what does this actually mean to them.

Ross agreed, noting sometimes he walks into a “pretty” room where everything is perfect, “but there’s no soul there. There’s no sense of who lives there.”

A room should have at least a small eclectic touch “so it doesn’t look like a showroom,” he said.

However, there’s also the problem of hideous heirlooms that shouldn’t be defined as eclectic, he said. But, “you can’t tell people what to love.”

Alex had a solution gained from working with a client who was redoing a room and insisted to include a large painted piano.

“I knew it wouldn’t work (with the piano),” she said, “but I didn’t tell her that.” So she finished the room but knew the customer would “see the light” later. And after a while, that’s what happened. The piano is now gone.

A problem Ross is familiar with, because is afflicts him personally, is “stuff.” Lots and lots of stuff.

“I love stuff. But more and more I’ve tried to edit it down to something meaningful. You have to narrow it down to what is your real lifestyle” (which is hard) because there’s so much pressure on having a perfect lifestyle.”

Following the panel discussion at the event aimed at giving exposure to Bucks County businesses, there were pop-up shops by Eric & Christopher of Perkasie, screen painters of pillows and totes; floral designer Carolyn Whitman and artist Gordon Haas.

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