As a recent transplant from Manhattan, interior designer Sarah Baynes, of Sarah Baynes Interiors, sees how ready the Suncoast is to move toward what’s new and fresh in interior design. Here is her New York point of view on emerging Sarasota design trends.

No. 1: Art First

In this bedroom by Sarah Baynes Interiors, the interior design began with the client’s photography print.

Although Sarasota is renowned as the cultural capital of Florida and the city’s museums and galleries are a huge source of community pride, art too often appears as an afterthought in its luxury residences. Instead of commencing a design project with inspiration images torn from a magazine or compiled to a Pinterest board, the genesis of great Sarasota homes will begin with incredible works of art.

No. 2: Asia Embraced

In this living room by Sarah Baynes, a folding screen featuring Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh’s “Almond Blossom” captures an East Asian chinoiserie motif as the room’s focal point.

Beyond the architecture and interior design of the West Indies, Mediterranean and French Polynesia that Gulf Coast residents are comfortable with, Asia will be embraced as the next nexus of Florida design influence. Tropical East Asian woods such as teak and bamboo will be increasingly incorporated into interiors, rather than relegated to exterior accents or landscaping. With certainty, the Southeast Asian island nation of Indonesia, and Indonesia’s unique Balinese aesthetic in particular, will explode in popularity.  Even chinoiserie, the European interpretation of East Asian artistic traditions and motifs, will grow in prominence.

No. 3: Integration of Natural Materials 

In this Foyer, a console table made of organic wood makes a statement with natural materials.  A photography print by Gray Malin hangs above.
Image Source: Gray Malin, https://www.graymalin.com/lifestyle/10-prints-that-will-keep-summer-thriving-in-your-home-all-year-long

The current focus of Florida living is on looking outside: at stunning water views, beach sunsets, and the spectacular natural environment, but elements from the outdoors are not incorporated inside.  Integrating organic materials and textures found outdoors into the home will increasingly become seamless.  Rather than the now common occurrence in dissonance of a modern home or Mediterranean-style home built against a Sarasota beach backdrop, the color palettes, textures, and hallmarks of the indigenous Sun Coast: the driftwood, powder white sand, and organic irregularity of palm leaves and sea grapes will become as much a part of interiors as they are of exteriors.

 No. 4: Feature Walls

In this bathroom designed by JSE Interior Design, jse-interiordesign.com, one shower wall shower is an agate-look feature wall by Alex Turco, alexturco.com.  Image source: @jse_interior_design on Instagram.

In utilitarian spaces like bathrooms and kitchens, where wall space for conventional art may not be possible, a built-in feature wall like this agate wall will hold court.  One step beyond an accent wall, a feature wall incorporates built-in materials like stone or tile to create visual interest, command attention and make a statement.

No. 5: Luxury Will Equal Ease

In this bedroom suite designed by Sarah Bengur Interiors, the sofa is upholstered in natural linen, and the window treatments are also woven linen.

The stuffy silk fabrics, and high-maintenance home furnishings associated with luxury living in Florida will become a thing of the past. Luxury in Sarasota’s fine homes will come to equal items that are easy to clean and care for. The highest-tech, stain-resistant indoor-outdoor fabrics and as easy to launder linen slipcovers will be far preferred over sofas upholstered in expensive, impractical fabrics. (They also make the home more child and pet friendly).  If time is the ultimate luxury, stylish home furnishings that allow more precious moments for living and require less maintenance will become the most coveted.

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