1950s home in formica ad

How to Avoid the Outdated, Trendy Home

1950s home in formica ad trendy fashion of 1950s

A 1950s home represented in a period formica ad. Fashionable, trendy, and modern home decor.

Recently, I ran across an Internet article on how to update your outmoded, thoroughly unfashionable early 2000s kitchen. It seems that the trends of that era — which my mathematical skills date a mere 12-17 years ago, about the age of the average teenager — are embarrassingly passé. It’s time to take what was once heralded as fashionable and modern — but is no longer fashionable and modern — and update it into what is now . . . fashionable and modern.

Such is the nature of trends, and the one thing you can say about them is that they never end.

pride and prejudice interior living room bingley's house

A cozy interior from Pride and Prejudice Days, from the 2005 movie. Fashionable, trendy, and modern home decor. The Greek pillars add that finishing, aha! touch.

Remember gleaming, stainless steel industrial kitchens, the Must Have of the late 1990s and early 2000s?


Mason jars as a decorative element, everywhere, anywhere, here and there, and all over?


How about ugly, retro lamps that look like what secondhand stores offer for $5 but decor gurus sell as part of their designer collection for $80?

Back in the secondhand stores.

Oh, and let’s not forget, let’s never forget, the ubiquitous paneling from the 1970s.

The kitchen from the Brady Bunch. Some of us, who spent too much time watching TV, spent a lot of time here. Fashionable, trendy, and modern

Way out, but not as in groovy.

HOWEVER, shiplap, which kind of looks like horizontal paneling to people who remember watching original episodes of The Brady Bunch, is in. For now.

Fashionable, Trendy & Modern

For now. Those two words encapsulate the nature of trends, modes, crazes, styles, rages, and vogues — the last word, ironically, of fashion, and those who follow the words of the gurus, whether they’re on HGTV or Houzz, or writing a column in a decor-themed magazine, will wind up, 12-17 years from now, with not just a kitchen, but an entire home that needs to be modernized and brought up to date.

Victorian home interior 1885 trendy fashion

A home interior from the Victorian age, 1885 photo. Fashionable, trendy, and modern home decor.

(“Just add a pop of color with an accent pillow, within your highly neutral grey-, beige-, or white-themed interior. Oh, and get rid of the granite countertops and replace them with concrete. And knock out that wall. Chic. Trendy. Modern.” The Victorians of the mid and late 19th century called their homes Modern. If we wait long enough, Victorian Modern will be back in style.)

Now there’s nothing wrong with changing and updating, and a coat of paint on the walls renovates a room, but the crucial factor in decorating any home is not what is — for the next nine months –“in,” but what the people living in the home like. Generally, this last element is accorded the least importance by reality design/decor TV experts because, quite frankly, what people like doesn’t sell products. What people are convinced that they like does sell — season by season, trend by trend, new look by new look.

Trendy: Classifying Home Decor — and People — by Type

Are you traditional or contemporary? Industrial or country? Coastal or Southwest? Romantic or Mancave?

Cave drawings of lascaux france trendy for their time

Authentic decor from the original mancave — cave drawings of Lascaux, France. Fashionable, trendy, and modern home decor.

True to our nature of classifying everything, including people (Choleric or melancholic? Lion or lapdog? Fire or water? Extrovert or introvert?), the corporate decor world prods and nudges home residents into precise, definitive decorating categories. In order to fit those categories and get that day’s chic, modern, themed look, the homeowner needs to buy this, replace that, paint over this (faux paint, textured walls, accent wall, splatter paint, smooth finish, photo mural, shiplap) and refurbish the furniture to match the new rug which coordinates with the artwork.

It never ends, because by the time the home is totally coordinated to expert specifications, it’s out of date.

Home Decor That Isn’t Trendy, but Reflects Your Fashion

So what is the homeowner to do?

In solving any problem, commonsense reigns supreme, and indeed, if commonsense were the prevailing, enduring fashion trend, reality TV, and its many satellites in the print and Internet world, would not exist.

Let’s number a few thoughts, albeit simple ones, but enough to hold in the back of our mind before we determine that our home is hopeless:

  1. Figure out what you like, and incorporate it into your home. In other words, buy what you like.  Even if you consider yourself an idiot when it comes to design, you have personal likes and dislikes that matter.
  2. Tune out the voices, and determine that the central voice you’re hearing is yours, in tandem with that of the other people who live in the house.
  3. If you must classify your style, make it Eclectic.
  4. Gravitate toward what makes you happy.
  5. If it requires a huge renovation and major cost, run through items 1, 2, 3, and 4 — over and over again.
  6. Never forget that this is your home, and you and your family live in it. Decorate for you, and not the guests you imagine will be critiquing your tastes. (Why are you inviting people like this into your life anyway?)
  7. If you hire an interior decorator, find one you like and who listens to you.

Commonsense doesn’t sell trendy products, and it doesn’t drive ratings — but it may make you happier with your home.

Wenaha Gallery

Wenaha Gallery features distinctive artwork and home decor, ranging from original paintings and sculpture by Pacific Northwest artists, to fine art prints from The Greenwich Workshop. The gallery also custom frames artwork, certificates, photos, treasures, and other mementos that add that unique touch to our clients’ homes.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at

An article complementing this one is 5 Super Easy Tips for Choosing the Right Artwork for Your Home.


Dawn's Jade Glow by Paul Henderson, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery.

Expressions in Espresso — The Coffee Art, and More, of Paul Henderson

Dawn's Jade Glow by Paul Henderson, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery.

Dawn’s Jade Glow by Paul Henderson, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery.

Very few of us, after watching a movie, embark upon a yearlong project of intense and highly disciplined creativity, but fine artist Paul Henderson of Yakima, WA, finds insight in uncommon places.

“My artistic interests are wide and varied,” the painter says. “I love the Northwest wilderness and wildlife, but I also enjoy world history, cultures, and geography; therefore I call myself the ‘Northwest Artist with an International Touch.'”

Coffee is the medium of choice in Paul Henderson's Coffee Capital, Seattle painting.

Coffee is the medium of choice in Paul Henderson’s Coffee Capital, Seattle painting.

Inspired by the film “Julie and Julia,” in which blogger Julie Powell challenges herself to cook, within one year, all 524 recipes in famed chef Julia Child’s first book, Henderson embarked upon his “Modern and Experimental Series,” with the intent of creating two paintings per week for 52 weeks.

The spirit of the project never stopped, and while Henderson fell just short of 104 paintings (he completed 90), he continued the challenge, and in the five years since then has been finessing the sheer art of experimentation:

“I decided to not limit myself to detail but to do any style or subject from abstract to detail, to fantasy, to loose style, and to just experiment,” Henderson says.

“This has literally set my creative juices on fire, and I will continue even more creative techniques and mixed media. I love to try different methods; it keeps me fresh and invigorated.”

Color Storm by Paul Henderson, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery.

Color Storm by Paul Henderson, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery.

Some of those methods involve fiberglass taping mesh, highly textured papers, netting, plastic, or styrofoam from packing boxes which Henderson attaches to the canvas, conveying a 3-D effect to a two-dimensional substrate. Another innovation revolves around something most of us have in our kitchen cupboards — coffee — to give new perspective upon the medium of watercolor.

“In 1986, after my then five-year-old daughter accidentally splashed coffee over one of my sketches, voila! Espresso art was born,” Henderson remembers. “At that time, I became known as the ‘original fine art coffee painter,’ and my story appeared in newspapers and TV all around the Northwest.”

Planetory by Paul Henderson, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery.

Planetory by Paul Henderson, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery.

Henderson’s coffee paintings — which use both regular and decaf, and whatever brand of coffee he happens to be drinking at that time — remain consistently popular, capturing Americana themes including both wildlife and western. He has shown at grand openings of many Nordstrom coffee bars as well as at Starbucks, and he offers both originals and prints through his studio and at local coffee bars.

Henderson’s philosophy of art, in short, can be expressed in one simple sentence:

Don’t limit yourself.

“I’ve drawn since I could walk,” Henderson says, “and I’ve been painting for 42 years.”

With a skill repertoire that ranges from highly detailed, almost photo-representational wildlife to dreamily hued abstract, Henderson is not circumscribed by any subject matter, and not only does he create Native American art as well as planetary fantasy, he also incorporates the two. In the same manner, his floral and landscape representational works dance in a background of abstract. It is all part of the spirit of exploration and adventure, an insistence upon not being boxed in, nor expecting his viewer to be so.

Forest Glow by Paul Henderson, Wenaha Gallery guest artist.

Forest Glow by Paul Henderson, Wenaha Gallery guest artist.

“I am free to create anything, to experiment and have fun along with the learning,” Henderson explains. “Art really comes from within the artist and expresses it in the physical.”

Henderson has exhibited in shows and galleries throughout the west, including Reno, Nevada, Hawaii, and California, and at one point was contacted by a gallery in Hawaii asking if he would paint a falcon to be presented at a private showing for the king of Saudi Arabia.

Autumn Glow by Paul Henderson, Wenaha Gallery guest artist.

Autumn Glow by Paul Henderson, Wenaha Gallery guest artist.

He has studied under Don Crook, affectionately known as the “Rockwell of Western Art,” and attended workshops by pastel and portraiture artist Daniel Green. His learning, his creating, his innovation and research — including classes on animal anatomy and taxidermy to give him a better understanding of his subject matter — have revolved around a schedule that involves full-time employment in a different arena than art. After hours, it’s time to create.

“My studio is in my home — I use one bedroom, half of the family room, and store in the garage — I also blitz on large projects in the garage where I take the cars out and go at it.”

There is a reason that the movie, “Julie and Julia,” resonated so much with Henderson — he really does approach life with an international flair.

Wenaha GalleryPaul Henderson is the featured artist at Wenaha Gallery’s Art Event from Saturday, April 4 through Saturday May 2, at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA. There is an artist’s reception April 4, from 1-4 p.m. Free refreshments will be served, and Paul plans to create one of his coffee paintings during the reception.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.