With Enrique Crespo
As Tampa Bay homeowners have looked to move away from the overly wrought, heavily ornamented, traditional interior styles of the 2000s, they’ve begun looking out their window for inspiration. Crespo Design Group founder Enrique Crespo says there’s been a major move toward the coastal transitional style, influenced by the colors of the sea and nature.
“You get a lot of creams, greens, blues and linen. But with a more transitional look, your furniture isn’t very ornate, and neither are the details,” Crespo notes. “It’s very clean and tailored.”
Within a space, people are looking for pieces with longevity. Crespo says commercial-grade fabrics like velvet have recently moved into the luxury market, making furniture “virtually indestructible” and easy to clean.
“That’s something I get a lot of. ‘We don’t want to worry about our house,’” Crespo notes. “The days of the formal living room that you could only look at but not go in [that you saw] when you were growing up are over.”
Crespo and his team do work across Florida and in cities like New York and Los Angeles. While Tampa’s style leans more conservative than some of the bolder designs he’s created in bigger cities, Crespo says local homeowners have embraced more modern trends like the use of wallpaper (“It brings another level of texture to a room you couldn’t get otherwise”) and the importance of good artwork.
“People are understanding art and seeing that you’re not necessarily just buying a piece to match your sofa,” Crespo says. “You’re investing in something you can build a room around.”
“I think people like to be current instead of trendy. There are those trends that come and they go, and then they get into Pottery Barn and they’re done,” Crespo says. “I feel like, if you’re current, your style and your look is going to last longer.”
So Fresh + So Clean
With Larissa Hicks
Kitchen design is on the move, says S&W Kitchens’ Larissa Hicks. About half of her Tampa clients are looking for the transitional style (a happy medium between traditional and modern design) that has been so popular in the last few years. The other half are seeking something new. “Requests are still there for that traditional and transitional white kitchen,” Hicks says. Shaker-style cabinets and doors, characterized by their recessed panel, simple hardware and light finishes, are a main feature of the transitional look. “The other 50% [of clients] are going ultra-modern” with sleek finishes, slab cabinets and doors, and minimal or no hardware.
In both kitchens and baths, warmer, natural tones like walnut and white oak are coming back after the huge embrace of whites and grays in recent years. “I think people are starting to get a little bored with cool, crisp colors and want some warmth back in their home,” Hicks says. While those shaker-style cabinets aren’t going away, she’s beginning to see options like natural rift-cut oak and rich colors like black, dark bronze, and even shades of blue and green in more modern kitchens.
Cabinets have become even more important with the rise of integrated appliances. Hicks says we’ll continue seeing those pieces become seamless parts of the overall kitchen. “We’re also going to see a lot of new ovens,” she notes. “Speed ovens and steam ovens are two of the top trends for healthy cooking and eating.”
In the bathroom, people are moving away from bath-shower combos and toward digitally controlled, spa-like showers with rain heads, aromatherapy and more. Clients who do want a bathtub are asking instead for something free-standing. “It looks like a piece of art in the bathroom,” Hicks says. She’s also fielding lots of requests for mirrors that have LED lights built in, instead of separate wall sconces. “It has a much more natural daylight effect,” she notes.
On the whole, kitchen and bath design is moving toward a look that still says “modern luxury” but is durable and lasting. Flooring like luxury vinyl plank and waterproof laminate are in high demand for their natural look and feel, along with their resistance to water and scratches, Hicks says. A newer engineered product called Dekton is becoming hot for industrial-looking indoor and outdoor countertops.
“[Everything] will still have this rich, luxurious look to it but be very low-maintenance,” she says. “Think of clean counters, hidden storage and great lighting.”
Soft + Natural
With Ann Cox
Contemporary is the name of the game in 2020 interior design, says designer Ann Cox. “That may be transitional contemporary, for people who aren’t really modern but still want pops of modern accents,” she says. “Really sleek lines and high contrast take [a space] to a modern aesthetic.”
Being in Florida, Cox says, blues and greens are key additions to the typical white and gray palette of contemporary design. Lately she’s seen clients become more interested in incorporating warmer tones, ranging from taupes on the neutral end to oranges, corals, terra cottas and golds on the brighter end of the spectrum. For exteriors, Cox says the California-inspired modern farmhouse look — all-white reclaimed wood or textured brick with black accents — is quickly becoming a hit in Tampa.
While the use of plants is eternally popular in interior design, clients are looking for even more ways to pull nature into their spaces. Cox says pieces that are made from or that somehow incorporate cane, bamboo, rattan or rope are in demand.
“Those natural textures are neutrals but create a dimensional aspect to a piece of furniture or a room,” she adds.
As the emphasis on environmentally conscious living grows across the design industry, Cox expects to see more clients requesting sustainable materials. Bamboo, which does not require fertilizer and self-regenerates from its own roots, is particularly hot.
“Bamboo is hard, so you can make floors out of it or you can make furniture out of it,” Cox says. “That’s something I think I’m going to see more of through the end of this year and into next year.”
But above all, Cox says, people want their spaces to be livable. She likes to fill rooms with soft materials like velvet, cotton and linens and use mid-level lighting (like tabletop and floor lamps) to set a mood.
“I always say I curate an environment,” she adds. “It’s not just about looking pretty. It’s about really wanting to live in it.”