by Michel Van Devender

Let’s talk design! I mean honestly, when are we NOT talking design? As our new Black House Blue Sky home is coming together, we’ve had people ask how we would describe the style. After all, it is an observable departure from our previous 5th Street house. 

When we were dreaming and creating our mood/vision boards early last year, we weren’t even thinking in words, only in images. This is usually how it unfolds for most designers. We found ourselves drawing inspiration Scandinavian farmhouses and European barns with their more traditional shapes juxtaposed with modern, expansive windows and black industrial materials. And in this same vein, we knew we wanted a home that tells a more worn, rustic, lived in story… a black modern haven, tucked within the lush green surroundings, capable of withstanding the test of time with the wear and tear of family life. Maybe this imagined place becomes even more beautiful over time with its patina. 

Speaking from experience, building a new house with the worn warmth of an old house while simultaneously maintaining a modern design aesthetic can be a little tricky. In most cases, it’s more expensive to make the new look old, especially if it’s done well. The materials and labor typically cost more. Balancing the old and the modern is also super important. A defined budget helps guide decisions for sure. From the beginning, we knew the importance of being purposeful and selective in our approach, making design decisions and spending where we believed it would be the most impactful, and where we’d get the most design bang for our buck. For this reason, we relied heavily on organic finishes, textures and selections to achieve our style goals. From the raw concrete floors to the use of reclaimed wood to the marble kitchen wall to the understated, industrial lighting to the mosaic and terrazzo bathroom tile floors, these combined design elements create surfaces and interiors that are both rustic and modern. And, most of our selections, I might add, were in budget!

Even with its rustic vibe, our new project is still modern, albeit decidedly different than anything we’ve done to date. The BHBS aesthetic continues to be defined, shaped and honed by our experiences. We’re always most inspired by travel, art, photography, nature and well-loved treasures sourced from antique and vintage stores. In more recent years, we’ve become increasingly more obsessed with European design. Generally speaking, in the past we’ve described our interior design aesthetic as modern eclectic as we love more classic modern finishes paired with an eclectic mix of collected and curated interiors. Our new abode will reflect this collective inspiration, no doubt, but will be expressed in a different way based on our evolving design aesthetic and lifestyle goals. 

Perhaps our new home style can be described as rustic Scandinavian modern or industrial farmhouse or industrial chic. Or at least, that’s the best phrasing we’ve come up with so far! We’re visually preoccupied over here and rely more heavily on images to convey a style and mood, but we’re always up for help with the descriptive words! Here are some of our favorite images we’ve drawn major inspiration from throughout the design build process. How would you describe the style? Please drop us a comment below!


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