Design Dish: When our favorites hit main stream

I’m sure as an interior decorator I get annoyed and excited about certain things that other people outside of the design field don’t even think about. So, instead of bugging Jon with my rants I decided that we should all chat about things and keep the conversation going.

1st topic on Design Dish is when our favorite design products/trends hit main steam. Case in point back in 2007 I stumbled upon this numbered print from The Keep Calm Gallery now The Calm Gallery.


{Keep Calm & Carry On}

At the time I immediately fell in love with the print. I’ve always had a fascination with all things British and I loved the message of the print. I tend to be a bit high strung at times and can get anxious and stressed out easily. I liked the idea of hanging the print in my house and having a little reminder to just breath and continue on with my day and not stress or get overwhelmed.

It’s been hanging in my house since 2007 and for the longest time any one that walked in my house thought it was so cool, unique, different and of course wanted to know the story behind it.

Then a couple of years ago it hit mainstream and it hit hard. Once I see something I love while walking the aisles of Bed Bath and Beyond I know it’s over. It’s one thing when etsy shops are continuing the trend, but when it’s available at big box retailers everyone and their grandmother know about it. Nothing special about my numbered print straight from London. No one knows I knew it about it before it was on coffee cups, magnets, cell phone cases.

I’ve been toying with taking it down and I threaten to all of the time, but a part of me still loves it so it always stays.

How do you feel when your design favorites hit the main stream? I think it’s great that good design is available for all and at all price points, but I must admit it is a bit sad when it’s everywhere and the special feeling you had about it is gone.

What is your Keep Calm and Carry on? I can’t be the only one who thinks about these things at night. :)

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29 Responses to Design Dish: When our favorites hit main stream

  1. Angela says:

    I have to agree with you… If I see something that is unique then it begins to pop up everywhere, It loses something, I think there is something special about your numbered print from London. Out of the thousands and thousands of mass copies now out there, You have one of the very few numbered prints from London. ~ Wishing you a great weekend!

  2. Andrea says:

    As much as the “keep calm” is overdone at this point, I feel if you love your print, then keep it up. Design is about surrounding yourself with things you love and not letting trends define your taste and style.

    My only moments of doubt I’ve ever had ondecor is paint colors. I once painted my loving room a real deep red, which was gorgeous, but I couldn’t afford to do anything else with the space, so it was overwhelming. And I painted a kitchen lemon yellow, but was aiming for a butter / cream like color (this was back in the day before blogs and inspiration photos/piniterest) . Both made me toss and turn at night until I got basic white paint and painted over it. Now, I stick to a basic cream color walls and get my color in fabrics/pillows and art work. Colors/fabrics combos still make me nervous, but I’m working on it.

  3. Joi says:

    I got the same exact print in late 2007 from the same gallery. I loved it and so many people who visit my home love it, too. Like you, I was kind of bummed when it was everywhere, but I still like it and I design for me. If you still love it, keep it. Who cares if it’s everywhere. The same goes with chevron, neon, stripes, brass, polka dots, Ikat, Greek Key, etc… It’s bound to happen. I guess it just depends on if you want to be a trendsetter or trend follower. Personally, I don’t really care as long as I love it. The only thing that gets me is that when it gets to be overplayed, I tire of it quicker.

  4. Jamie says:

    In reference to “Keep Calm,” last year I made a iPhone wallpaper for a friend of mine that said “Keep Clam and Carry On” (with a clam at the top too) because every time she looked at “calm” she saw “clam” first. Best background ever.

    I don’t know if any of my decor is all over the place. I’m still trying to find my style in my new house.

  5. Focipresley (Bon) says:

    That particular design trend I can say I have grown weary of. Especially because there are now so many variations of the quote. I guess the main thing is to consider if the article / design still brings you joy. That’s all that really matters.

  6. My late mother-in-law hired a decorator who hung a picture I have seen at least 20 other places (including tjmaxx) and she also had drapes made in a very popular pattern that was EVERYWHERE for quite a while. An overly popular fabric can be annoying to see elsewhere. (I like to be original, rather than trendy, I think).

    I think what bothers me more is when my “friends” come into my house and go to their homes and pretty much repeat my ideas – without mentioning it or asking if I mind – which I don’t really mind if they are TRUE friends, but the ones who have a whole other friend group that then think I copied them – well, that is annoying. I guess the solution would be to be more hospitable and open up my house more so that I don’t seem like the copier.?.

    -Trish

  7. Amanda says:

    I’m not even in the interior design field and I understand what you mean! I loved that print when I first saw it and then when it took off it was everywhere. Now I’m a little annoyed by it. I actually write a corporate newsletter for the company I work for and I did a write up on the piece last year. I explained the history of the poster so people had a better understanding of it.

  8. Kate says:

    I completely agree with the others who say design for yourself and your tastes (or your clients’) and don’t worry what else is happening. If you always want to be ahead rather than on trend, you’ll need to get used to things filtering down (think of that awesome scene from “The Devil Wears Prada”, you likely don’t want to not be the one at Casual Corner, no?). The stuff that is universally appealing (like this print, and the color blue) will become popular and that just means that you have taste that appeals to many (this has likely/will serve you well, unless you are trying to be truly avant garde/original). I came across and bought this print several years ago (it became my mantra when dealing with years of infertility) and though some of the variations make me shake my head, I have kept it up because it reminds me how far I’ve come and it’s a good reminder in the day to day with twin babies. :) One of the things I like best about it (besides its simplicity) is its history. As British war propaganda, made up by some unknown bureaucrat, it has no owner, so it can be replicated at will. A useful reminder that difficulty is universal, but nothing we are enduring is possibly as bad as the German invasion…

  9. Heather says:

    I find that I am not showing clients certain things that will scream “2012” in 5 years, like chevron, ikat, text prints, trellis rugs. With the democratization of design and the proliferation of blogs to get trend out there farther and faster, it feels harder and harder to be unique. Generally I think you should buy and keep anything that you love and make it unique in the way you use it, but lately even the “eclectic” way we put things together is starting to look coded to me! I think in the end the best way to keep it personal and fresh is to collect carefully from many sources over time. But of course, that takes time!

  10. Kerri says:

    Keep Calm and Carry On is my pet peeve!! It went from simple and unique to “keep calm and eat a cupcake” “keep calm and wear stilettos” “keep calm and STFU!” (the last one is a joke my sister tells me about my pet peeve). If you love it, keep it up and when the craze of keeping calm dies down it will not irk you so much anymore, but if it were in my house I would replace it… I just can’t keep calm about Keeping Calm anymore haha

  11. I know what you mean! About 5 years ago I bought a beautiful canvas print from a small local lifestyle store. It wasn’t super expensive, but enough to make me think about it. A few years later a rendition of the print started showing up in HomeSense (Canada’s Homegoods) and it kinda made me over the whole thing. I still have it hanging up, but it doesn’t seem as special anymore. I no longer buy art unless it’s a limited edition or original for that reason. I like to create my own or frame photography or vintage pieces now.

  12. Kelly says:

    I totally understand what you are saying… I was both excited and horrified by Emerald being announced as the color of the year. I’ve been wearing Emerald (Kelly) Green for years. I have a pair of pumps, beautiful scarves, clothing items and jewlry that I’ve collected in my signature color. I love that green is now more readily available, but it also makes my stand-out color feel too trendy and I really hate when people slavishly follow trends instead of having personal style. I’m afraid the Color of the Year title is going to ruin my favorite color.

  13. I have a pair of Uggs from pre-celebrity Uggdom, so I know what you mean. Not that Uggs have ever been a stellar design/fashion choice, but damn, I had mine Before.

    I think when it comes to interior and fashion design, trends can become overwhelming. I usually find myself as an early adopter or a way late adopter of things. I like things to change. One of my favorite design bloggers and purveyors hasn’t really changed her tunes much lately and I unsubscribed from her blog. It just didn’t feel fresh and inspired. Design should transition, don’t you think?

    What I usually do is, if I love something, I’ll put it away for a bit (I have lots of things I love, so it is easy to switch out a picture, a pillow, or a rug) and then bring it back out when it feels less overplayed. Even when I truly love something, if I keep seeing it everywhere, I too, get sort of tired of it. I find if I really love it, I’ll bring it back out again in a few months, a year, etc. Sometimes, though, I just find I’ve been a slave. Like chevron. I loooooved it. I don’t anymore. Not even a little. Even Charlie Brown’s shirt feels overplayed! But ikat? I think I will always love ikat.

  14. Anne says:

    If I find that something I have loved for years before it became popular suddenly hits the mainstream I think to myself “Why didn’t I think to market it then and make all this money?” But I only buy things for my home that I truly love and, therefore, have them for many years regardless of whether they are trendy or not and that is what you should do with your sign…keep it until it no longer means anything and that may be forever and isnt that what good design is all about….timelessness!

  15. Carrie says:

    Oh! I just had a moment like this today when I saw the Pottery Barn art sale. On the one hand, it’s great for artists to get more recognition of their work, but geez it’ll be on everyone’s walls and what is so special about that??

  16. Anne W says:

    I have had the same thoughts about my Keep Calm poster. I too can be rather intense, so I loved the tongue-in-cheek reminder on that poster. Still have it up :)

  17. The problem with mainstream interpretations is (sometimes) they are hastily put to market and the quality is questionable.

    Your numbered print was expertly done and printed on really great paper. You love it now, my guess is when the mainstream is done with it, you’ll still love it.

  18. Jennifer says:

    I know exactly what you mean! I feel like such a snob when I see something I love show up on the pages of the Pottery Barn. I have this problem with bus stop scrolls (the black canvas scrolls with white lettered bus stop names on them). We found a real vintage one with our last name on it about 5 years ago (the real deal from Liverpool, England), and had it framed. Now people constantly ask us if we had it made or if we got it at Restoration Hardware…ugh. But I keep it hung because I think it’s really beautifully aged, so I think you should keep yours if it still makes you happy!

  19. val says:

    If you like it, you like it. Done.
    I feel like sometimes people put so much emphasis on being “ahead of trends”, they never stop to consider what they actually like. Plus, if you find something that you love and is wonderful, why wouldn’t you want it to be shared with others? I hate the concept that design should be elite. I’m sure you would be happier if this was popular, but just not as readily available as it is now. .

  20. Stephanie says:

    I’ve always loved coral and tangerine. ‘Nuff said.

  21. Couldn’t agree more. A friend living in London sent me that poster back in 2006 and I LOVED it. So happy to have it in my home. I took it down last year though because I just couldn’t handle all the variations. It just got too played out. Same thing with chevron. I’m soo over chevron.

  22. Catherine says:

    Ikat. I fell in love with the fabric as a child. My parents had a beautiful Ikat Baker couch. It was a rare find. Now, I see way too much of it. But, like chevron, I still love it. I’ve yet to grow tired of the chevron curtains in my bedroom. I made them in 2008!

  23. Jessica R says:

    I’ve had a Keep Calm print for 3-4 years and I refuse to take it down. It makes ME happy an my house is decorated for us. I love that British motto and when bbgirl was brand new, it was something I told myself repeatedly. So it stays.

    If it makes you happy, keep it! I still wear some clothes from five years ago, because they make me feel good. Design pieces work the same way in my mind :)

  24. Judy Schmidt says:

    Stay Calm and Keep it Up…..if it was true to you before the trend hit, it will feel the same after it is over. Besides, Hudson will need things as an adult that give him comfort and remind him of how much he loves his mama! We change things out too fast now. Our children are going to miss out on being able to say “I love this print, my mom always had it in the living room and it reminds me of her.” True nostalgia is timeless!

  25. Anna says:

    My design element that went mainstream is my set of vintage Eames shell chairs. I have had them for over 15 years and when copies hit the big stores, I thought my dining room had lost its originality. So I had them professionally repainted at the local body shop and now they look unique! I think you should keep your wonderful print end enjoy what you love….

  26. It’s so great that you wrote about this as I feel exactly the same way. I too purchased my grey post a number of years back, people who saw it then said “oh I’ve never seen that before”… now it’s everywhere… I too have contemplated taking it down but it’s still up. I see it everywhere and I don’t like having items in my apartment that everyone else has so I too am struggling with this. I’ll keep it up for a bit and see how I feel…
    Chantal

  27. Jane says:

    I blame the internet. There are really not that many people who can afford a designer to do their home, yet there are 10 millions blogs written by 20-30 year olds who claim to be designers. Check out their blogs and they are all chasing the same cat. If I want to look at pictures from a magazine, I’ll read the magazine.

    As for your poster, save until you can buy original art, then you will be the only one with that piece.

  28. Allison says:

    Mine is the same as yours. I ordered a Keep Calm print from the UK about 6 years ago. I have also thought about getting rid of it but have not been able to yet. When we moved a year ago I put it up just to cover an area the previous owner had left several nail holes in but as I get closer to finally painting the walls I can see it nearing the end of its run. Sad but I agree that once it hit stores like BB&B the uniqueness that made it special was no longer there. Feel proud that you found it first, I try to.
    (Now a designer friend of mine who I consider to have very good taste suggested if I really can’t part with it I could always hang it in the bathroom! Not sure how I feel about that but it would be funny).

  29. Julie says:

    Not so much a design trend, but I purchased a bubble necklace five years ago from J. Crew when they first came out. I LOVED the look and saved up for a few weeks to buy one in the prettiest shade of orange. I wore that thing for years and got so many compliments. But now, I feel like just one of many sheep in a herd. The good news? I bought a knock off one in white and it’s already falling apart while by J. Crew one is still holding strong.

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