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Sustainable Home Interior & Kitchen Design in 2020

To start off this year, I thought it’d be fitting to talk about sustainability, as it is high on the list of upcoming “trends.” You may have already seen upcycled...

Hello, it’s Elaina here. Hope everyone had a fantastic holiday. It’s 2020 and this year we’re making an effort to revive the Hickory Hardware blog section. Feel free to comment and join in on the conversation! Let us know if you’d like us to cover any particular topics. We want to make this an educational but fun and inspirational way to learn more about interior design and hardware.

To start off this year, I thought it’d be fitting to talk about sustainability, as it is high on the list of upcoming “trends.” You may have already seen upcycled furniture pieces that incorporate reclaimed wood or old barnyard wood repurposed for an interior accent wall. Aside from the home interior sector, we see reusable metal straws crop up in places like HomeGoods, restaurants offering paper straws as opposed to plastic and more food stops offering plant-based alternative meals in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of meat consumption.

Green awareness is spreading all around us. But instead of hopping on this trend, how can we incorporate it as a lifestyle change at home that also helps our planet? If we all pitched in to make small concerted efforts to help our planet, the collective sum of that effort can make a huge impact. For many of us that live in first world countries, that likely means being a part of a throwaway culture. Most of the furniture that is affordable and accessible today isn’t heirloom quality. With the rise of fast fashion and equally fast interior design trends, MDF and particle board have become devastatingly too common.

The old saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If an old kitchen still has good bones, there’s no need to rip out everything and completely replace solid wood cabinets with poorly veneered MDF ones that will peel in a few years. Cabinets, doors, and furniture can all be lovingly restored by being carefully stripped, resanded, painted or stained and come out good as new. When renovating or even spec’ing out a new kitchen or bath, think about ways you can be more sustainable in your decisions. But how can you be more sustainable when choosing hardware?

Hardware is something most people do not change often in a lifetime. My mother has yet to update her once new-build home in 23 years. It’s usually things like appliances that wear out much faster, think a crusty old stove or a temperamental microwave. Like choosing heirloom pieces of furniture, you too can choose heirloom pieces of hardware. While Hickory Hardware is tough, as is the nature of metal, take a step further and imagine the relevancy of the design you’ve chosen as being the heirloom aspect of decision making. In 5, 10, 20 years, will this still look good? Will the lucky inheritor of your home cringe at the design choices of today? Flashback to 70s wood paneling and 90s beige walls everywhere

What looks good is all really subjective, and truly, if we’re the ones living in the space 24/7/365 days of the year we should pick something we really love irrelevant to what others think, yet the act of sustainability itself demands a bit of sacrifice. 

We can draw upon fashion history to deduce what kind of silhouettes and color palettes are likely to stand the test of time and we can do that with hardware too. There are a few things like denim jeans and well-tailored suits that are unlikely to go out of style; they have joined the pantheon of classic and timeless fashion. If you’re a furniture aficionado, you may have had some familiarity with the names: Eames, Noguchi, and Nelson, all of which have contributed to timeless mid-century furniture pieces.

Here are some of my picks on what I think will be timeless pieces of hardware and why I believe they will stand the test of time:

Collection: Skylight
Why: Streamlined, clean and sharp, Skylight is about as minimalist you can get with cabinet hardware before not having any at all. For the very reason that it lacks ornamentation and relies heavily on silhouette and shape alone is why it strongly enhances kitchen cabinetry and furniture. Like an A-line skirt or a suit, Skylight will be relevant and seen for a long time. This hardware works great in transitional style kitchens as well as contemporary shaker cabinets.

Collection: Studio
Why: Bold, architectural and refined, Studio is practically Skylight’s more dressed-up alter ego with a similar bar shape but with slightly ornamental posts (feet). If Skylight were to be in a sleek New York Apartment, Studio would be in the elegant Empire State or Chrysler building. Studio has just enough flair without trying too hard.


Collection: Woodward
Why: Woodward is a new launch but I highly suspect it’ll soon become a classic. Woodward has the familiarity of the Bar Pull but with a more ergonomic feel and handsome personality. When viewed at certain angles you can see the soft “bowtie” wedge shape in contrast to the sharp lines that catch just the right streaks of light. Woodward has good weight and heft without feeling or looking too big for its britches.

What are your thoughts on these collections? Are you currently remodelling a kitchen? Have you thought about making the “classic” choice versus the “trendy” choice? Share your thoughts below!


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