Contrast is king.

The 80’s are back, have you heard?  It’s been said that John Hughes films only get better with time and chances are very good that half of the homes in your neighborhood contain a Rubik’s cube;   even if it is at the bottom of a box in the attic.

Hopefully, we can get our 80’s fix with a quick revisit of Madonna, Duran Duran or REO Speedwagon rather than being forced to embrace shag carpet and brass hardware.  Only time will tell.  Today, contrast is king.

Whether it’s painted or stained, the brightest white or the darkest darks are trending again this year in mouldings, door finishes, cabinetry and flooring.  A good way to describe it would be to think of that pair of white pants you’re itching to wear as soon as the snow has melted or your darkest jeans; both are the perfect foundation for a light or bright color palette.

On a recent photo shoot, we got an inside look at the two most common millwork palettes seen in both client-driven projects and spec homes:  white enamel or dark stain.  Or both.

White enamel appeals to families looking for an overall feeling of fresh, simple and streamlined.  What began as a trend to replicate the homes of the Hamptons has continued on; found on less detailed trim and moulding details which work in both mid-century modern interiors as well as the contemporary dwellings of the hip.

Dark stain has its roots on both coasts, but is often most associated with a southern Californian or Napa Valley aesthetic.  Rich wood stained a deep color portrays a feeling of substance, rootedness and relaxed sophistication.  Especially when paired with an eclectic art collection.

If choosing between the two seems impossible, relax.  The two finishes are often combined and they get along well… creating the perfect contrast.  Dark floors, white enamel trim, even stair parts can safely comingle with the introduction of a forged iron baluster.

Go ahead and pull out the Rubiks cube, thrown on a pair of parachute pants and turn up your Sony Walkman… let’s just avoid the brass hardware and light fixtures.

-Holly Bayer, ASID