Question: “Do you follow trends in decorating?”

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“Do you follow trends in decorating”?

That is the topic on “By invitation only” on the blog:

 Everyone is different;  but this

is something I decided many years ago  (43) to be exact!

I do not follow trends for my own decorating;  and being a professional decorator; I avoid it in my work

for others when I can.  Since I try to give my clients a house that represents their tastes, family and likes; sometimes

they are dying for something “trendy”.   Usually I try to dissuade them if I feel it will

be a dated mistake shortly;  and really if it is very expensive.  I avoid trends like the plague!

“Santa Fe” decorating belongs in “Santa Fe”;  my goal is timeless decorating.

I find it a disturbing trend that many people when they move start all over with their

furniture, rugs and even art!


 This is a picture of our “big hall” from outside.  Nothing trendy!

This our main room in Pasadena which I decorated in 1985.

I still absolutely love it!!


This is the master bedroom the same year.  Same thing!


 Our terrace in Montecito designed in 1997 with furniture from our loggia in Pasadena

Circa 1985.

It has been “pinned” 50,000 times on just one website!  (my landscape designer’s)

In my view,  furniture, rugs, art and should be personal and mean something to the homeowner.

Family heirlooms I work into houses all the time!  They are a priority!

And classics stay classics!  They don’t go out of style;  they weren’t “trendy”!!

I feel my house is a scrapbook of my life!

Permanent things like tile, flooring,appliances  and plumbing fixtures should NEVER follow

trends.  I encourage classic white tile, (or at least white background) white plumbing fixtures,

and classic appliances.

(ever seen a bathroom all done in black plumbing fixtures?  I have!!!  TWO, 10 years apart in different cities!)

Lord have mercy!


Trompe l’oeil window with  trompe l’oeil curtains in a Reginald Johnson Italian Villa in Pasadena done in

1988.  Fortuny on the sofa, family heirloom antiques , and original 1919 sconces with paintings framing them.

Absolutely the same today.   And I wouldn’t change one thing!

My goal for myself and my clients is “Timeless decorating”.   I doubt anyone could date anything

I have done!  And I keep things young, and fun, and full of meaning!

One of my idols is Mario Buatta who just published a book of 50 years of his work.

I wouldn’t change so much as a lampshade!  Now, that is “timeless decorating”!!!

18 thoughts on “Question: “Do you follow trends in decorating?”

  1. Marsha @ Splenderosa

    I linked you up, so no problem with everyone finding you. :)’s
    I really love your new look on the blog, P. It’s timeless, stylish, new, easy to follow and very beautiful !!!
    You know how much I love you, and I love your decorating thesis and your style. And, I believe you are absolutely correct. Truly beautiful rooms also evolve without changing everything, just adding things you love, plants, flowers, and maybe moving things around a bit. But when it works, it works !!
    Thank you for a wonderful topic !!!

    1. Penelope Bianchi

      Thank you, darling one, for inviting me to pick a topic!! What a compliment!!


      Good luck with this enormous challenge in your life……lucky for them that you are their friend!!!!

  2. Karolyn Stephenson

    Your design style reminds me so much of my mentor whom I worked for before taking over her business. We used classic wools and chintz , each room had a stunning rug and wonderful art. All things that one would surely want to take with them to the next home if they chose to leave. Love your work and home is fabulous!

    1. Penelope Bianchi

      What a lovely compliment……thank you!

  3. vicki archer

    I can see why your images would be pinned so many times Penny… they are so beautiful, stunning and as you say timeless… the sign of true success. This was a wonderful idea for the month and thank you for the inspiration… xv

  4. Heather in Arles

    Oh Penelope, this was such a delight and such a giant source of inspiration for me. I think that you have seen how much we ALL have enjoyed giving our take on your wonderful theme (even the amateurs like myself!). It was wonderful to really think (and think and think) about the why’s of how Remi and I have decorated our homes. That also brought back a lot of wonderful memories too. But in seeing your amazing Homes it makes me consider for the first time that if something is done with Love it will Last!

  5. Pamela

    Loved your comments last night! Made my day.
    You know, we two “Rainmen” could have a marvelous lunch sometime!


    Personaly, I would move onto your Montecito terrace in a minute. Pinned 50,000 times? I understand why. Look at how timeless it is. Beautiful work.


    I just GOT the email this afternoon in my in box………..SO HAPPY YOU ARRIVED TO THE P A R T Y!!!TO answer SANDRA…….(my new best friend!)I lived in there too on my visit last summer!!!Penelope’s house is a JEWEL……………designed and decorated for LIFE!It is indeed a SCRAPBOOK of YOUR LIFE……………….and what a LIFE you have led!YOU ARE TIMELESS……………..MRS. BIANCHI……….TIMELESS.XOXO

  8. Jacqueline

    Dear Penelope,
    Thank you so much for giving us our BIO subject this month …… it has been a real treat and an inspiration, reading everyone’s take on it. Your home is beautiful and timeless and it is wonderful to see just what a professional does in their own home and in others. XXXX

  9. pgt

    Just beautiful! Old School is by far the best design pedigree. pgt

  10. The Devoted Classicist

    I cringe a bit when someone asks about decorating trends, and the same reaction when I see promotion of a specific style. Growing up with big sofas and oversized upholstered chairs slipped in chintz that had been regularly laundred, I was a bit taken aback when the masses started craving Shabby Chic, for example.

    But you are correct, the location and the use are really two factors that must be considered.

  11. Betsy

    I totally AGREE….. xoxoBetsy

  12. The Lady's Life

    Penelope, First, I have to tell you, I love the photo of you on your website. You are so, so, incredibly gorgeous! That picture really captures your lovely, lively personality. Great post. I think it is easy to get caught up in decorating trends. While incorporating new ideas into a house is a wonderful create a freshness, and keeps a house from becoming dowdy, it can be hugely detrimental to keep starting over with every new trend. Your house is timeless. xo, N.

  13. tara dillard

    Mario Buatta was my 1st ‘expert’ to notice. ca. 1982. Then, saw a pic of a room in House/Garden mag, same era, and thought, ‘finally, a room that is not-done and gorgeous.’ Reading the article I discovered it was ‘done’. Sister Parish !

    The words you use are as fresh as your rooms. Hope you flow into the garden with your clients.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  14. Rié | Portobello Design Blog

    I love the beauty and integrity in the way you design. Always about your clients needs and goals and not something that you know they would be sorry if they choose. So many decorators are about just the dollar amount or what they are caught up in at the moment. Which is why I am always thrilled when I get another chance to view your timeless work! All the best, Rié

  15. Penelope Bianchi

    Thank you!! What a lovely comment, Rie! And I love your blog!

    Tara…I do follow out to the garden! One of my clients (a husband ) Said: j “You are just like oil…you seep everywhere!!!” Pretty true!

  16. Anastacia Brewer

    I’m Anastacia this is the best blog ever!

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