- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Following the traumatic events of September 11, nesting has become the new wave in interior design the creation of cozy, comfortable environments in which a person can feel safe and snug and find refuge from the cacophony of modern life.
A pronounced interest in domestic surroundings takes many forms.
"We've definitely noticed it," says Frank Rinkler, manager of the Holly Hunt showroom in the Washington Design Center, 300 D St. SW.
"One month after September we saw decreased traffic, but by the end of October it was back to normal and the showroom was seeing November sales figures 40 percent over last year."
This was especially good news, he adds, since "the new millennium had promised so much and delivered so little. Now people are looking to be more stylish and edgy, looking for more theater and drama. They are ready to be happy again, to move forward. We're showing more fluffy light fabrics, and fun bright colors."
Rather than a whole house done over, he sees clients requesting an update of their bedroom with new pieces. "Along the same lines, new building starts have not stopped," he says.
Price is not always the primary consideration, either, according to interior designer Joseph Paul Davis, 1519 Connecticut Ave. NW, who reports a big surge of interest among the wealthy in buying and outfitting yachts for a more emphatic escape from the crowding and danger of urban centers.
A show of patriotism is not key, either, at least not as represented by the symbolic red, white and blue color schemes and patterns that were so prominent in fashion this past fall. There are other ways in which to exhibit a sense of pride in one's heritage.
A client of the Clifton, Va., firm of Waldrop & Erickson, for example, dug out of a closet an old bust of George Washington given the client's great-grandfather in 1932 on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Founding Father's birth. The woman had forgotten about the object she inherited. Reminded by the events of September 11, Mrs. Waldrop says, her client has made the bust the focal point in a redesign of part of her house.
"It got her thinking about history," Mrs. Waldrop says. "What we are doing is find a piece on which she can put the bust, and I'm suggesting she paint the background black so the bust, which is white, will stand out."

The designer agrees that people are spending more time at home "so they are more interested than ever in making homes comfortable and safe." People want media and entertainment rooms, she says, "and some want them casual and comfortable, others a formal comfortable feel. They definitely are interested in following through with whatever they have at home. Maybe for a few months the idea of patriotic colors took hold. Now they are settling back into the idea of what's traditional."
In line with the trend, the Design Center, which is open to the public (it can also be seen at www.merchandisemart.com), has installed a permanent showroom on the ground floor called the 21st Century Cinema. It offers various design possibilities for home entertainment areas featuring extra large video and television screens.
Fortunately, what is identified as the new nesting trend a decidedly eclectic mix coincides to some degree in the trade with spring forecasts heralding interior styles to come.
"Design really goes in 10-year cycles, which is how long the average decor lasts," says Mr. Davis, explaining that dramatically different styles, or what is termed "the look," only appear over the long term. Meanwhile, furniture and fabric markets keep turning out so many choices that the home or apartment dweller often feels overwhelmed and turns in relief to the likes of Mr. Davis and Mrs. Waldrop.
Mr. Davis pointed out several trends of the moment during an informal tour of several Design Center showrooms:
The popularity of what he called "glam design," which are modern versions of traditional pieces, such as a sleek well-built contemporary sofa that is classic or a "good French art deco" piece with wide seats and soft, rounded corners. Coverings are in plush fabrics such as silk, cashmere, wool mohair or velour. "Any so-called retro look is going to have more cushions for comfort."
Colors are earth tonesrich blues, creams, harvest gold, sage and celadon green. "Even orange to keep you happy." No big bold patterns. No florals. No chintz.
Mirrors, old Venetian glass pieces and black and white photographs as decorative work on tables and walls.
m Wood and leather items, including ottomans and large coffee tables in a living room around which people can gather informally for dinner. "Wood is restful," he notes. "Two years ago people wanted spindly leg tables but not anymore." Wicker furniture, too, used inside a house and "finished with a contemporary feel" is popular. As an example, he pointed to a woven heavy reed chair in cream with dark wood mahagony feet
"Luxury is key," he says. "Decisions are about time, not money. People want things to look as if they are going to last, such as fixtures that look authentic, and they are willing to spend more for them." He points to a $10,000 sleek modern version of an old-fashioned claw-foot bathtub. "My favorite story is the house with a $250,000 kitchen including an $80,000 stove for people who don't cook. They do it because they can."
Master suites becoming the equivalent of a studio apartment with the inclusion of a kitchenette and sitting room. Bathrooms with his and her dressing rooms. "The irony is that in a 20,000 square foot house, people hole up in the master suite," he says.

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