Mixing Up Design Trends in the Home

Nobody wants a cookie cutter house. We want homes that reflect where we’ve been and what we value. We want spaces that work for us—beautiful work spaces, welcoming living areas to lounge after a long day, and dining rooms and kitchens that make our lives easier and expand for elegant entertaining.

kitchen island with cafe appliance in background

With her eclectic, modern designs, Gretchen Black of Greyhouse Design has designed many gorgeous projects for Café that emulate a sense of elegance and functionality we’re all after.

Her style reflects that of many other modern home designers. She includes mixed metals, florals, and light colors, bringing back warm gold-toned metal, patterned tiles, chandeliers, and sometimes even wallpaper. It can be difficult to pull off a mixture of design trends in one space, so we took our most pressing questions straight to Gretchen to get her feedback.

Formal living room designed by Gretchen Black
Breakfast Nook designed by Gretchen Black

What would you say to someone who would like to freshen up a space in their house by incorporating more modern trends but it is a little fearful of messing it up?

If you can, hire an expert. Even if you’re just utilizing a couple hours of their time, it’s worth it to help you to gain some clarity on your project.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Travel. I love traveling to new places, soaking up all the unique architecture of the towns I visit. I also love looking to trends of the past. It’s fun to find ways to make old trends new and fresh. Currently I love how rattan furniture is making a comeback. All those great pieces from The Golden Girls set are now being recreated in a more modern way.

What’s your favorite room in your house? Why?

Our kitchen is my favorite spot, it’s truly the heart of our home. My husband and I both love to cook, and our boys use our kitchen island as the hangout spot. All our Sunday family dinners, birthdays, and holidays are all rooted in our kitchen.

“Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and textures.”
  – Gretchen Black, Grey House Design

Living room designed by Gretchen Black

You’re a master at mixing metals, florals, warm metals, patterned tiles, chandeliers. How do we do it? Is there a trick to figuring out what textures and colors fit well with other furnishings, paint, and textiles? What’s your secret?

I think it’s a matter of balance. If you love an oversized floral pattern, find a smaller print to coordinate with it for the space. Don’t ever be afraid to mix patterns and textures. If you want to mix metals, make sure you pay close attention to the finish. I love using a brushed bronze with a brushed copper. The key is they both have the same feel, they are both brushed in texture, and the hues of colors are different. Often its trial and error. I plan my designs out using samples laid out on a tray, and continue to add and edit until it feels right.

“My husband and I have been putting this beautiful range in our spec homes we are building and people are taking notice. They add a truly customized feel to the kitchens of these homes.”
  – Gretchen Black, Grey House Design

Since the kitchen is often a main gathering area, what are some simple ways we can make that space more modern and beautiful while keeping it functional? Do you have a favorite Café appliance?

Choosing beautiful appliances is a great way to modernize a kitchen. My favorite appliance from the Café line is the 36” matte white range with brushed bronze handles. It adds so much sophistication and style to a kitchen. My husband and I have been putting this beautiful range in our spec homes we are building and people are taking notice. They add a truly customized feel to the kitchens of these homes.

Kitchen designed by Gretchen Black with 36 inch range
Kitchen designed by Gretchen black with white matte refrigerator

Any other thoughts on mixing design trends or your process?

I love mixing design trends. Our personal home is a great example of this. My husband likes a more modern vibe; I personally love traditional with a mix of vintage. So our kitchen has modern elements, like our beautiful appliances and clean marble countertops, mixed with brass details and oversized printed wallpaper. It’s a great mix of both of us.


Gretchen Black

Gretchen is the owner of Greyhouse Design, an interior design firm in Louisville Kentucky. She and her husband Jason Black, builder of Artisan Signature Homes make a dynamic duo creating beautiful custom homes.


Carley Page Summers

Carley Page Summers is an interior and lifestyle photographer, an interior stylist, and a creative consultant who is based in North Carolina. Carley’s work is very much inspired by her world travels.