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On trend
From the latest color for your den to the hottest new accessories for your bedroom, it never hurts to get a little input from a professional. We’ve gathered five local designers and asked them to pick some of their favorite things this season.


September 2012


Interior designer Alessandra Branca’s fresh yet classic design style inspires others in the field.

Get Cheeky With Color

"A design trend that I’m enjoying is the use of bold color," says Mara Lisa Wierschke, interior designer with Warren Barnett Interiors in Brookfield. "Color is one of the best ways I know to make a statement that is personal and expressive. What’s interesting about using a bold color in a room is that often the desired effect can be achieved whether you use a little or a lot. You can paint a wall peacock blue or bring it in with a pillow or vase and voila! The room is suddenly brighter and more exciting. Don’t be afraid to experiment with color. If you are hesitant, even a small change can make a big difference," she says. "Also consider that a bright color shows off best against a neutral or quieter complementary color. You don’t have to pile color on top of color."

A Twist on the Classics

Interior designers often are inspired by others in their field. "I adore Chicago-based designer Alessandra Branca. Her designs can be seen all over the world — New York, Chicago, Europe — and she’s been widely published, as well," says Emily Winters of Peabody’s Interiors in Brown Deer. "What I love is that her design is so classic in style, but she always has a fresh twist. She may use classic colors like reds, greens and golds in a room, and choose beautiful antique pieces mixed with great contemporary pieces. But then she’ll take a traditional wool plaid fabric and apply it diagonally across a chair. I really appreciate the way she pulls things together!" she says.

Accessorize with Light

Lynn Tarrence of The Egg Design Group in Milwaukee believes that light imitates art. "There is no other accessory as versatile as lighting. A beautiful group of pendant lights hung at different heights over a kitchen island is the ultimate mix of form following function. A chandelier in an unexpected shape or material can add humor or drama while creating an enticing entry. Lighting technology is exploding right now, answering the consumers’ and designers’ call for energy-efficient lighting options that look beautiful. LED, xenon and halogen bulbs are now available in any color including warm light and bright day light. Consumers are no longer limited to the compact fluorescent or incandescent bulbs of the past. Have fun with lighting," Tarrence says.

What Does Color Have to Say?

With so many fabulous paint colors available, choosing one can seem impossible. Karen Kempf of Karen Kempf Interiors in Waukesha couldn’t decide either. Here are her two current favorites. "I love Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore," she says. "People usually associate gray with cool tones and are afraid to use it. However, this gray has a warmer bronzey undertone that makes it very livable. It can look surprisingly fresh when paired with more lively colors. Think bright yellow and white splashed against gray walls," she says.

Kempf also likes Benjamin Moore’s Stratton Blue. "When I want drama in a space, this color is one of my favorites. It’s a very moody blue-green that continues to morph with the light of the day. I love color blends that are hard to define, and this one fits the bill," she says.

Get On Trend

Rebecca Zuba of RZ Dezign in Cedarburg suggests adding some bling to your bungalow with beaded wallpaper or embellished fabric for your window treatments. "It adds a little sparkle and sophistication," she says. She, too, loves to use bright colors. "Large patterns in bright colors are so on trend, and they can easily transform a room without doing an entire makeover. Area rugs, throw pillows, small accessories and small furniture are perfect for this trend," she says. As for her favorite color? "Yellow. It’s so right now, and it’s a happy color!"


This story ran in the September 2012 issue of: