Home Fashion Creates a Bit of a Dream
Brizo and industry experts explain that home decor has undergone a revolution.
Fashion design has always been about beauty and style, but now it’s taking on new significance in the home decor industry. Without question, the pandemic-induced lockdown gives new meaning to designer Tom Ford’s statement that “fashion is about creating a bit of dream.” In fact, fashion is one of the few things that can generate a sense of normalcy and/or escapism in our lives. As a result, fashion offers us a bit of a dream during a time when so much is uncertain. [Read: Home Furniture Tips]
Home is the Ultimate Reflection of Who We Are
Today’s panel discussion reveals that consumers are increasingly integrating home fashion into their kitchens and baths rather than just looking at it as an accessory. And manufacturers like Brizo are responding with spectacular options for customization to meet the demand for personalization. Indescribable fashion and world events fuel our desire for self-expression at home. Now, we invite you to listen and read what industry insiders have to say. [Read: Boho Bath Ideas]
Brizo Defines Kitchen and Bath Trends
Now, I am excited to share with you the dynamic panel event that is a collaborative effort between ASID California OC and the NKBA SoCal Chapter. Sponsors of the evening include @pirch @brizofaucet, @jennair, and @calhomesmagazine. The new Pirch showroom is a visual feast, and we are excited to share a few close-ups sprinkled throughout this article.
Panelists include Jai Robinson, Nikki Chu, Elle H-Millard, Chris Wilson, Annette Reeves, and Simon Elser. Please read their bios at the end of the post. Moderating the panel event is Shannon Ratcliffe. Shannon owns Curated Connections, is the NKBA Programs Chair, and is the evening’s moderator. Follow on IG @shannonratcliffe. [Read: Coastal Kitchen Ideas]
World Events Influence Home Fashion Trends
To begin the conversation, the Brizo team has identified four major kitchen and bath trends including, Modern Tranquil, Eclectic Earth, Casual Cottage, and Traditional Era. In the contours and harmonies within each trend, there’s a touch of Scandinavian minimalism and wabi-sabi philosophy. It makes sense, for instance, that calm, serene settings and hushed metals have the “IT” factor since more and more people are now working from home and prefer to work in a comfortable environment.
It's all about showing off your sense of style and lifestyle when it comes to fashion for the home.
What trends influence Brizo’s Product Design?
Shannon Ratcliffe: Jai (Robinson), you’ve been at Brizo for 14 years and experienced the brand’s growth from almost the beginning. Can you tell us about what influences have impacted the Brizo brand?
Interior Design Trends – Fashion for the Home
Fashion is about expressing yourself through your style and your lifestyle.
Jai Robinson: Sure, so the Brizo brand started in 2004. We did a lot of research and homework before starting the brand to figure out what niche in decorative plumbing we could fill, and we just kept returning to this idea of fashion. And when we looked at the research, the data showed that consumers who follow fashion designers and trends tend to decorate their homes more often and spend more money when they do.
Brizo Luxury Home
And also, interior designers tend to follow fashion designers and as you know, what you see coming down the runway very quickly transcends into the interior design world. So it just made sense and when you think back almost 20 years ago, believe It or not, in 2004, the fashion niche wasn’t being filled in the decorative plumbing industry. We decided to go into the luxury home market as fashion for the home. And so fashion has been that inspiration and the driving force, the ethos behind Brizo from the beginning.
Fashion Trends and Personal Style
Fashion is not really about the clothes that you wear. Fashion is really about showcasing your sense of style and your lifestyle. As Anna Wintour says, “fashion is not in a vacuum. It’s a huge business that employs millions of people and billions of dollars, so it’s not in a vacuum. It’s not just about clothes, and that’s really where the Brizo brand came from and where we still are today, even though it’s evolved as we’ve grown.[Read: Modern Coffee Station Ideas – Kelly Wearstler]
True luxury can be defined as timeless. Jai Robinson
How Does Brizo Identify Timeless Trends?
Shannon Ratcliffe: How does Brizo decide which trends influence product development?
Interior Design Trends
Fast fashion vs. timeless luxury and style
Chris Wilson: How do we determine which trends will influence product development? It’s not easy. I’m oddly conflicted about them because my role is slightly different. So when we’re talking about fashion, I’m a bit of a gatekeeper. And what it means is that I’m trying to prevent things we call fast fashion from coming into the line. We’re looking for something that has staying power.
The Lifespan of a Kitchen or Bathroom Faucet
Some things we bring into our lives are impermanent, and that’s intentional. And other pieces are designed to last a long time. At Brizo, we want to ensure that when a homeowner brings a faucet into their home, they will keep it for a minimum of seven years. This is what research tells us. People typically have a faucet in their house for about seven and a half years. Some people will fall in love with it and have it in their homes for fifteen years or even a lifetime.
We want to make sure that whatever trend we work with, whatever style that we’re placing onto the frame that homeowners will be happy with it at three years or five years or seven years, or ten years, and they’re not going to walk into the kitchen space and think wow that looks dated. Or, I don’t like that finish, or it doesn’t represent me anymore. So that’s my job. I am the gatekeeper in fashion when it comes to the product category.
Jai Robinson: One thing that really defines true luxury is this idea of timelessness. That’s important, too, when we’re looking at our portfolio, what we’re trying to develop, and what we stand for as a brand – having that sense of timelessness is really important.
Timeless is an Enduring Quality
Chris Wilson: That’s the absolute pinnacle of what we’re trying to accomplish. To bring something in that is timeless. And timeless is an interesting word. I had a conversation with an architect designer once, and he said, isn’t timeless ness just a synonym for boring? I understand where he was coming from, but I think he was also wrong because “timeless” has this enduring quality that means it lasts. After all, it’s appropriate, not because it’s boring, stale, or outdated.
More than ever, we are witnessing that lifestyle is driving design trends today. Nikki Chu
Interior Design Trends?
Shannon Ratcliffe: Nikki (Chu), the next question is for you. As a designer trendsetter, what outside influences define today’s design styles in the home?
Homeowners Have a New Lifestyle Perspective
Today’s trends are influenced by a pandemic-affected lifestyle.
Nikki Chu: What’s going on now is the homeowner’s new perspective on how we live, where we live, and how the house is laid out. In my concept of “F the floor plan,” I design rooms based on my client’s lifestyle instead of a traditional protocol. For example, I’ve converted a dining room to a WeWork space for an entire family.
And today, kitchens are becoming the home’s center point more than ever. The question is, how do you infuse a more fashionable aesthetic? A cool place where you hang out. More than ever, we are witnessing that lifestyle is driving design trends today.
As consumers seek fashion in their homes, manufacturers offer more stylized options.
What are Current California Design Trends?
Shannon Ratcliffe: Annette (Reeves), we are talking about how people live in Southern California, and I think we all agree that life has changed dramatically during Covid. Considering that you work with builders, architects and designers daily, have you noticed any trends that have influences and changing SoCal?
California Interior Design
Mixing metals in kitchen and bath will infuse personal style.
Annette Reeves: While not only in Southern California, mixing metals and finishes is now widely accepted. It is also becoming more common for homeowners to mix materials such as marble and wood. Adding personal style into the mix is definitely a trend people are embracing. As homeowners, we want timelessness. We want products we’ll use for a long time but also things unique to us. With the pandemic experience, we’re living differently in our homes. We love our homes – we really love our spaces because, in the back of your mind, you wonder if this will happen again.
Kitchen and Bath Product Customization
Manufacturers are responding by providing clients with more stylized options and customization opportunities. With Brizo, for example, you can make your bathroom genuinely customized with handle options that include finishing and materials.
Nikki Chu: In addition, many of my clients ask me, “how do you mix metals in the kitchen? All the appliances are stainless, and it seems very boldly stainless. How do you introduce brass or gold finishes?”
I explain to my clients that mixing metals requires a design formula with equal parts stainless and your desired second finish. For example, infusing a beautiful brass finish into a kitchen with stainless appliances. Undoubtedly, adding brass elements, such as a faucet or chandelier, is one of the easiest ways to achieve the design formula.
Metals can be mixed in kitchens and bathrooms to infuse a sense of individuality.
What is an Industrial Designer?
Shannon Ratcliffe: Simon, what does it mean to be an industrial designer and how do you find inspiration for product design?
Brizo – Interior Design Inspiration
Simon Elser: The world is full of inspiration. An iconic designer for some of the world’s biggest brands, Michael DiTullo, echoes this sentiment. He explains that the work we do is similar to what an architect does for a building or what a fashion designer does for a garment. Industrial designers are responsible for the design of almost everything in between. We design nearly everything from the chair you’re sitting in to the phone in your hand to the pen you’re using. An industrial designer has touched everything in your life, and that’s one of my favorite things about being an industrial designer: the umbrella is huge.
Shannon Ratcliffe: What are some of the ways you find inspiration, especially when it comes to working with Delta?
Paris and the Mona Lisa
Simon Elser: We gather inspiration through travel. Delta sends our group of nine industrial designers out of the country about twice a year. During my trip to Paris earlier this month, I gathered as much inspiration as I could. In total, I took 1,348 pictures, and I’m still compiling all of that information. A funny story about our time in Paris – I visited the Louvre with a co-worker. Despite being in front of the Mona Lisa, we were far more interested in taking photos of the doorknobs!
Trends in the Marketplace
It’s a constant cycle of trends changing, even weekly sometimes. We at Delta Faucet regularly partner with Sphere Trending. This agency specializes in trend research, and they provide our company with biannual and quarterly reports outlining the status of the trends in the marketplace. A second and equally important aspect is that we are a diverse group from different backgrounds and experiences. Having various interpretations leads to so much more potential for creating new trends.
The drapery is to a home what the eyebrows are to a person. Nikki Chu
Celebrity Home Fashion Trends
Shannon Ratcliffe: Nikki, can you tell us what trends your celebrity clients are loving?
Butler’s Pantry and Kitchen
Nikki Chu: Many of the celebrities I work with are looking for that Butler’s Pantry. They want a Butler’s kitchen where everything is hidden but also designed for cooking and storage. Suddenly, a limited edition range like Kelly Wearstler and Jennair’s Smoke and Brass Professional Style Range can be the hero. With an out-of-sight Butler’s kitchen and pantry, the kitchen becomes this beautiful centerpiece of the home.
And why not? Our habit of gathering in the kitchen hasn’t changed; however, how we use it has. Today, I’m creating booths that mimic restaurant-style booths with seating. I’m removing all those traditional chairs and allowing the appliances to make a statement.
The Latest in Luxury Kitchen Design from Kelly Wearstler and Jennair
Nikki Chu: While on this topic, Jennair, in partnership with the ubiquitous Kelly Wearstler, creates a new-to-market product for an ultramodern kitchen: Cuts Panels. The panels are installed over a Jennair refrigerator to create a custom look. With the Cuts Panels in place, the kitchen looks warm, inviting, and fashion-forward. This kitchen has many beautiful features, including a stunning range, lots of beautiful wood, and Cut Panels that add a touch of elegance to make it a much more stylish setting.
Kitchen and Bath Design
Sharon Ratcliffe: Are designers changing the way they specify products for their clients?
Appliance Trends Include Customization
Annette Reeves: Working in the design industry today is one of the most exciting times I have ever experienced. We see designers pushing themselves to extreme levels of creativity and it’s exciting to be a part of it. For example, now we’re specifying lux gold or brilliant black onyx faucets with handle kits designed with Mother of Pearl Inlay. Designers and homeowners have so many options today – it’s exciting. The trend mix also includes appliance color options and knurling for added customization. Knurling has also made its way onto faucets, including Brizo’s Litze portfolio.
Home Fashion Inspired by Jason Wu
Shannon Ratcliffe: Jai, What was the significance of the Jason Wu and Brizo partnership?
Brizo & Jason Wu Create Home Fashion
Jai Robinson: By sponsoring Jason Wu, Brizo legitimized the Concept of fashion for the home. Back in 2006, we began sponsoring Jason, a recent graduate of design school and relatively unknown in the design industry. Yet we appreciated his aesthetic, which is classic, timeless, and modern, with attention to exquisite details. In that sense, our collaboration is an ideal fit and union since we were striving to be just that.
Also, working with him and our other teams in the industrial design, product, brand, and marketing areas helped us understand fashion differently. In fact, we don’t look at our competitors when designing our products, marketing materials, or advertising campaigns. The Brizo team has always had a keen interest in the world of fashion, and having a connection with Jason helps us to achieve that. As a result, the next logical step was to work on a product collaboration with him, which we did in 2010 or 2011.
The Little Black Dress of Faucets
Jason Wu’s goal when we began working together was to create a faucet that reminded him of a little black dress. Although it took some time, our team eventually agreed with Jason’s Concept. Basically, we said, “It’s probably not going to sell, but we’ll try it nonetheless.” As a result of being ahead of the design trend, we were too early to market for the first couple of years. Now, matte black has become a staple in home furnishings and across industry sectors. The great thing about working directly with a fashion designer is that you don’t just get ahead of the curve or get ahead of trends, but you actually get to create them.
The Last Question of the Evening
As we wrap up our panel event, Annette Reeves shares how lovely it is to gather together under the stars on such a gorgeous California evening. With the banter amongst the panel, Chris Wilson mentioned Rick Owen’s Runway show. Rick is a California-born, Paris, and Italy-based designer with a recent groundbreaking collection that Chris calls “phenomenal.” Check out the video below.
Q & A
Outdoor Living Spaces
Shannon Ratcliffe: Does outdoor living space add value?
Nikki Chu: We now use every inch of our property in response to the pandemic, including the patio, front and side yard, and backyard. It’s possible to achieve a seamless indoor-outdoor flow by extending kitchen space outside as well! In this new industry, many products, from Brizo to Jenn Air and all the appliance companies, allow you to bring your indoor space out seamlessly. The variety of products available now is incredible, from floor lamps and decor that mirror the home furnishings we use in our indoor spaces.
Outdoor Kitchens and Sensory Design
Elle H-Millard: I agree with Nikki. Sensory design drives preferences for outdoor living, how we approach trends, and how they impact mental health. Sensory design plays into the aesthetics and wearability of outdoor living.
Brizo – Outdoor Kitchen Ideas
Chris Wilson: It’s interesting when you think about use cases. And we think about some of those past constraints we put on ourselves. Sometimes we’ve been in a position where we relegate the outdoors to only certain types of activities. We can have the same functionality as we do indoors, such as the ability to dispense drinks. You know how it goes – it happens frequently. People are having a good time outdoors, and someone needs to get another glass of wine or water, disrupting the fun. Instead, we want to elevate the outdoor space and let it be beautiful.
Simon Elser: Increasing the time we use our outdoor spaces is at the forefront of lifestyle trends. Also, the biophilic connection exemplifies the Eclectic Earth sector we discussed earlier. It’s no wonder the outdoor living trend is at an all-time high; incorporating nature into our homes is something we can and should enjoy daily!
Our sincere thanks go out to you for taking the time to join us today at the Mod Daily. We hope that this engaging panel conversation may jumpstart a new lifestyle at home where you can express your unique style. It can be somewhat overwhelming to adopt a nontraditional design initially, but if you love it, do it! Live in a home that reflects who you are. Your home will become your alluring ally!
To close out this article, I’ll leave you with a final Tom Ford quote that sums up the panel conversation. “I’m not totally fearless. I worry constantly and obsess over things, but I just don’t let fear stand in the way of doing something that I really want to do.” Tom Ford
Design Inspirations Industry Panel
Jai Robinson is the Senior Channel Marketing Manager for Brizo. Over the past 25 years, Jai has worked in marketing and product development in the U.S., Asia, Europe, and Israel. In addition to marketing events, she leads the Brizo brand channel marketing strategies. Additionally, Jai oversees Brizo’s national sponsorship of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Dream Home Giveaway program. She serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Indiana Design Center in Carmel, Indiana. Follow Jai on IG @jai_robinson1
Nikki Chu is a celebrity interior designer, author, and trendsetter with over 20+ years in the design industry. Among Chu’s most acclaimed projects are her interior design collaborations with some of the industry’s most accredited names. Her clients include Gabrielle Union, Nick Cannon, Tyra Banks, and many more. Chu has earned several honors for her outstanding accomplishments, including Woman of Style, BID Top 20 Interior Designer, Best of Show, and Best Home Textile Line recognition. Follow Nikki on IG @nikkichuhome .
Chris Wilson is Brizo’s Product Marketing Manager and a longstanding team member of the brand. The Baliza collection was his first launch, followed by the Kinstu, Invari, and Frank Lloyd Wright bath collections. Chris is responsible for the Brizo kitchen portfolio and is exploring new opportunities in the Kitchen and Bath industries. He has extensive experience in consumer products and a passion for design. He enjoys traveling with his wife and two children in pursuit of adding to his interesting collection of various collectibles.
Elle H-Millard, CKD, CLIPP, is an interior design expert and NKBA insider. In addition to being an industry influencer, she is also a member of the NKBA, promoting the highest kitchen & bath design standards in the U.S. and internationally. A trend forecasting and event programming professional, Elle participates in think-tank group discussions for new products across various platforms in the kitchen and bath industry. Elle is Delta Faucet’s Corporate Learning Manager, where she leads training and interactive learning experiences with residential builders. Follow Elle on IG @ellehmillard .
Simon is an industrial designer with the Brizo Product team. His responsibilities include contributing designs to various channels and product categories across the company. During his time with Brizo, Simon has designed many concepts including, for the Delta trade, Monrovia Kitchen, and Brizo’s expansion of its Frank Lloyd Wright handles. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Selling and Sales Management in addition to a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design from Purdue University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Engineering.
Annette is an appliance & fixture advisor at Pirch SOCO and the OC Mix. She collaborates with contractors with her thorough knowledge of the industry. Throughout her career, Annette has taken the time to select quality appliances and fixtures for homeowners that look amazing and are within their budgets, and are durable and livable additions to their most-used spaces.
With Annette’s unique experience, homeowners, designers, architects, and builders can create beautiful kitchens and bathrooms without compromising functionality. Follow Annette on IG @homebyar .