Is There Really Any Such Thing As Timeless Design?

I’ve been working in the studio this week, clearing out the room, packing things up, and getting ready to paint the ceiling, walls, and floor. It’s a big job because that room is large, and it has accumulated a lot of stuff! But yesterday, while purging and packing up the room, I came across my stash of design magazines. There were probably 300 of them, at least. And they dated way back to around 2005.

I didn’t take the time to look at them, because I just wanted to get the room cleared out. I decided to get rid of all of them. I mean, the chances of me looking at any of those magazines again was slim to none.

But one caught my eye. I think it’s a Better Homes & Gardens special publication. At first, I thought it was Elle Decor, but it’s not. And as you can see, the cover literally says “The Most Stunning Rooms Ever”. That’s a pretty big claim!

Does timeless design actually exist? These were the most stunning rooms of 2006. Do they look timeless in 2023?

I actually remember buying this. I was in Barnes & Noble, and I saw it, flipped through it, and was absolutely captivated by it. I thought that the claim made on the front cover was 100% accurate at the time.

So yesterday, when I came across this again, I was curious. Would these rooms stand up to that label today? Are these designs timeless? Or would these rooms look outdated today? Is there even any such thing as timeless design? Let’s take a look at a few of them, because I’m curious to know what you think.

First, let me give you some background and some perspective. This special publication is dated Fall/Winter 2006. So it’s about 16.5 years old. That was the year before I started this blog. Facebook was about 2.5 years old. Pinterest wouldn’t come into existence for another two years, and we were still four years away from Instagram. So social media was in its infancy. Myspace was the most popular social media website. Facebook was relatively new. And the very first iPhone was still about six months away from being introduced to the world.

So in that pre-social media, pre-iPhone world, when most of us were still getting all of our design and decorating ideas from magazines and HGTV, here’s a taste of the most stunning rooms ever.

I have to admit that it starts off strong with me. While there are definitely things that I think should be changed in this room, I don’t see it and immediately think “outdated”.

Does timeless living room design actually exist? How about this light blue living room from 2006? Is it timeless in 2023?

At least for me, I think the wall color is still very pretty and fresh. The main thing I’d want to change is the window treatments. See that swag thing (I forgot what those are called) on the left window below? I remember making one of those for a client, and in 2006, my interior decorating business was one year old.

A light blue living room from 2006. Is it a timeless design in 2023?

We just don’t see many (or any) window treatments like those today. Window treatments today seem to have been much more simplified with window shades and/or simple curtains and drapery panels.

This next one is pretty. If I walked into this room today, I wouldn’t necessarily think it was outdated. It’s definitely not my personal style, and the colors seem too heavy and dark for me, but it doesn’t seem outdated.

A sitting area with area rug, upholstered bench, and woven shades from 2006, still looks pretty in 2023

This is a wider view of that same room. What I did notice about so many of the rooms in this magazine is that the rooms seem to fall into two different categories for me. First, so many of them seem dark and the furnishings seem very heavy and overdone. And second, the ones that don’t seem overdone seem very plain. You’ll see what I mean later. So those two categories seem to dominate.

But with that said, there are many elements in this room that would look right at home in 2023 with just a few minor updates.

Dining room from 2006. Is this timeless dining room design in 2023?

This next one is a perfect example of what I meant by dark, heavy and overdone. I remember this era well because again, this is when I had my interior decorating business. And this is when just about every new client I met with had one of two requests, and the most popular request was Texas Tuscan. My goodness, I came to hate that term. Texas Tuscan. And while this isn’t exactly what Texas Tuscan would look like, it still has that same feel to it.

Living room design from 2006. Is this timeless living room design in 2023?

In case you’re curious, the second most-requested look back then was Pottery Barn. I kid you not. About 90% of my clients wanted either (1) Texas Tuscan or (2) Pottery Barn. And that’s precisely why the excitement about decorating for clients wore off pretty quickly, and I only did that for seven years before throwing in the towel and focusing on my blog, where I could escape from Pottery Barn and Texas Tuscan. And that’s probably why you’ve never seen me decorate my house with anything from Pottery Barn. 😀

Anyway, moving on. I remember this kitchen well. This thing is etched in my mind, but only because I remember seeing it in another publication where they had edited the color so that it look pink. And I was mesmerized with that pink kitchen! I loved it so much. And then when I saw that it was actually red, I was so disappointed.

Kitchen with red painted cabinets from 2006. Does this kitchen look timeless in 2023? Is there such a thing as timeless kitchen design?

But that was probably one of the first colorful kitchens that really caught my eye, and made me realize that I’d never be satisfied with a white kitchen. And I think with some minor changes (like taking the wall color to a nice soft white rather than taupe), that kitchen would be just as great today as it was in 2006.

Here’s another kitchen. I don’t know if this is a case of this looking outdated to me, or if it’s just so opposite of my own personal style, but I’d personally have to redo everything in this kitchen.

Kitchen design from 2006. Is there such a thing as timeless kitchen design?

This little sitting room is pretty, but do people still do those antiqued finishes on wood work? I don’t really see that anymore these days. But do you see what I mean about dark and heavy and overdone? Heck, even the rooms where the walls are a light color, they still feel ark and heavy to me.

Home library design from 2006. Is there such a thing as timeless home library design?

I do think that this dining room is very pretty. This particular style never appealed to me personally, but if I walked into this room today, I would think the room was very well done. Although if the homeowner asked my opinion, I might suggest refinishing at least one of the dark pieces of furniture (probably the table) to make it a more natural color to lighten the look a bit.

Dining room with skirted slipcover chairs and dark wood table. Is there such a thing as timeless dining room design?

This bathroom is very pretty, but again, even with walls that are seemingly light, the room feels dark and heavy.

Bathroom with freestanding bathtub from 2006. Is there such a thing as timeless bathroom design?

Let’s just say that after looking through this magazine, I can totally understand why everything shifted to paint-it-all-white farmhouse design.

Living room with orange silk curtains from 2006.

I’ve never been a paint-it-all-white farmhouse kind of person, but I’ll have to admit that I think so many of these rooms could fit in perfectly in 2023 with a can of white paint. Not that everything needs to be white, but some things could definitely stand to be lightened and brightened a bit.

Unique cathedral window shaped fireplace in cottage style living room
Dining room with dark brown walls. Is there such a thing as timeless dining room design?

The heavy curtains, animal prints, all of the browns everywhere. I really do feel like the whole white farmhouse look was a pushback against this kind of decorating. I hadn’t realized it or understood it until flipping through this magazine and remembering just how popular these looks were back then.

Dining room with heavy burgundy draperies, leopard print upholstered chairs, from 2006. Is there such a thing as timeless dining room design?

The bedroom below on the right is an example of the second category I mentioned above — very plain. There’s nothing to this room, and certainly nothing that looks “designed” about it to me. I don’t know that this would make the cut for most stunning room in 2023.

Bedroom with four poster bed and fireplace from 2006. Is there such a thing as timeless bedroom design?
Living room with golden yellow curtains, walls, and sofa, black baby grand piano, white stone fireplace from 2006. Is there such a thing as timeless living room design?

This one was probably the biggest shock to me. Not everyone in 2006 was doing the dark, heavy, overdone rooms. Kelly Hoppen was one of my favorite designers during this time. I remember being amazed at her modern minimalist aesthetic. I would sit in Barnes & Noble and look at her book, studying everything about her rooms and designs. So looking back at this, I was shocked.

Modern living room with large white slipcovered chairs, backlit shelves, large white table lamps, from 2006, designed by Kelly Hoppen.

If someone showed me that picture without her name attached, and asked me to guess when and what it was from, I would have guessed that it was a Vern Yip Trading Spaces room.

And then we’re back to overdone. But again, I honestly can’t tell if I would put this in to the “outdated” category, or if I would just put this into the “this is so not my style” category.

Traditional style neutral living room from 2006, designed by Jean Perin.

But this bedroom below on the right seems dated to me. I can’t help but wonder what it would look like today if they removed the valance from the windows and just had the drapery panels, and then removed the canopy from the bed.

Traditional style bedroom with four poster bed with canopy, draperies with pleated valance, from 2006.

This dining room is definitely a 2006 dining room. I’ll leave it at that.

Dining room with heavy velvet draperies, metal and glass table, red dining chairs, from 2006. Is there such a thing as timeless dining room design?

This little sitting area is one of the few pictures that I think looks timeless. I might swap out the lamps, but other than that, I think it’s really pretty.

Sitting area with bookshelves, wingback chair, large oil painting with gold gilded frame, collection of globes.

This bedroom is another one of the rooms that falls into the plain category for me. The room is fine, but I think it’s way too plain to make the cut for “most stunning room ever” in 2023. I think we expect a whole lot more creativity from rooms that are going to be bestowed with that label these days.

Bedroom design from 2006. Is there such a thing as timeless bedroom design?

I have the same opinion of this room. The room is fine, but there’s no way it would be considered impressive today, much less “most stunning”.

Dining room with sheer curtains, white concrete table base with glass top, light wood chairs with upholstered seats.

And again with this bedroom. It’s fine. If I walked into a house with this bedroom today, I would think it was nice. But it is not a “most stunning” room by today’s standards.

Neutral bedroom design with dark wood floors from 2006. Is this timeless bedroom design?

I think that since the advent of blogging and social media, we’ve just seen way too many people with way too much creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that we’ve come to expect really spectacular things from any room that we would deem “stunning”.

Living room with yellow walls, yellow sofa, orange chair, yellow and orange draperies, brown and white area rug.

We didn’t have all of that back in 2006, so the bar for “most stunning” was relatively low. These days, we’re blown away by everyday homeowners DIYing their own homes and coming up with some of the most creative ideas ever. The bar has been raised considerably just because we have so much easier access to ideas.

Living room with yellow curtains, neutral walls, orange and white striped chairs, white sofa, dark wood floors

But I would love to go back and see what 200d6 Kristi thought of this room below. I can’t remember. But 2023 Kristi thinks that this room is best left in 2006. 😀

Dining room with chartreuse walls, metal and glass dining table, scrolled wood chairs, from 2006.

Anyway, this was a fun little walk down memory lane. I remember poring over this magazine several times, studying every little detail of every room. I truly was mesmerized with them.

Bedroom design from 2006. Is there such a thing as timeless master bedroom design?

But are any of them truly timeless? That’s the question. Could any of these room show up just as they are in Instagram today and be considered current?

Living room with dark wood console, large painted artwork, upholstered ottoman, yellow upholstered chairs, draperies on French doors.

It seems like every single one of these rooms would need something tweaked or redone in order to be impressive in 2023. Do you agree? Or do you see some that look truly timeless to you? I’ll leave you with a few more without commentary. You can let me know what you think. Is there really any such thing as timeless design?

Dining room with dark wood table, light gold upholstered chairs, white stone fireplace, yellow gold walls and draperies.

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  1. Interior design of that period felt so pretentious to me. Not at all my style, even then. And I agree on the Tuscan theme! We were house hunting in 2002 and I swear every single kitchen was decorated in grapes and wine bottles. 🤢
    No, completely timeless design is not reality. There’s always at least one element that dates it, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily. I just use things I love from many different time periods and change things when I get tired of them.

  2. Timeless IMO is in the eye of the beholder, regardless of what the design gurus say. Diana Vreeland’s red room to me is timeless, but I am thinking not many would agree. Also, Draper always used a splash of pink somewhere, and I have done that too—drives my friends nuts in many cases! And who can forget Billy Baldwin’s rooms??
    I have saved copies of Architectural Digest from the 80’s and 90’s as well as House and Garden (long gone I think) and the transitions are fascinating. Thanks for the walk down THIS centuries memory lane! Elizabeth Denning

  3. Most of these pictures are fantastic with their architecturally designed rooms – paint colors, fixtures, fabric, and furniture are a choice. I’ve not had the pleasure of owning one of these homes.

  4. Really interesting post, Kristi. I would have said that good design and decor are timeless, but you’ve presented a persuasive display to convince me otherwise. It definitely takes more than updated color schemes to make rooms look fresh and new. Your comments of how things have changed due to social media are spot on. Thanks for a novel and educated “essay.”

  5. To me timeless conveys more through the hard furnishings like floors, carpentry work, windows, tile… If those finishes work within the overall style of the home the soft furnishings like drapes, linens, upholstery & pillows, as well as paint colors can change as mood and tastes allow without having to do a full tear-out remodel. I think some of those rooms could still be considered timeless without changes, but most would need to have the softer finishes updated to not show their age.

    1. Yes, exactly. Some of these rooms are timeless, just need a little bit of paint and maybe fabric. But it is totally normal – if a room was done not later than 2006, it would probably need repainting now anyway, and the window treatments might be worn out, so would need to be changed.
      By the way, from what I have read (I am not from US), the Tuscan style was a trend, not a timeless style.

  6. Some seemed so fussy, some so (yawn) boring! Some seemed from a different era completely to me…much longer ago! Maybe someone would love the styles still, some love the same tone colors in the room, and some houses would lend themselves to some of those rooms I guess. Two things come to mind…we came a long way baby, and to each their own. I’m sure some of those rooms still exist, and are gorgeous…but time moves on and yes we can look at so much more now…I guess we have evolved to different things! Meanwhile there was a quote that reminded me of YOU! (and all of us)
    Rooms are never finished – they are always evolving”

  7. In the last photo, I swear those chairs look like they are wearing tutu’s… haha! Wow, oh how I remember some of these ideas and not in a good way! Thanks for the decor blast from the past.

    1. Oh what a funny comment! I was just looking at this photo thinking that this was a good idea for slip covers for my dining room chairs — maybe not quite as many box pleats, but it gave me an idea….but now I am re-thinking it…again…sigh

      1. Kim I think there is an element of whimsy to them. I can see it feeling soft and feminine, sort of shabby chic. If you like the look and feel go for it! Our homes should inspire and feed our creative soul. I hope you get the exact look you want and it makes your home perfect!!

  8. That was a nice bit of time travel, to give us perspective of where we were then & how we got here! Truly there is nothing new under the Sun. While there are plenty of timeless elements in these rooms & they are all mostly pretty, none is up to date. How will our rooms today look to people in 15-20 yrs??

  9. I look at old decorating books at the thrift store, and it always makes me that that the quality of photography has improved so much over time. I wonder if some of these rooms look dark because the photography was dark. Other than that, some of the rooms look timeless, and certainly elements of almost all of them. Some just look dated! I remember buying huge burgundy and gold striped living room chairs right about this time and immediately regretting the expensive and non-returnable purchase.

  10. Oh my! I missed all your color. Many of the rooms did seem dark and sad. Plus, too much furniture. I remember as a little girl (a hundred years ago) that my grandmother had the living room walls painted light pink and the ceiling was painted dark brown. With tall ceilings she painted down the walls about a foot with the dark brown paint. Then she had dark brown and pink striped silk draperies. It was the most beautiful room and very large. I just loved that room. None of the rooms or areas seemed to fit in to today’s style. Aren’t you glad you took that little journey!

  11. I don’t care for any of them. But that’s just me. I do agree they’re heavy, dark and depressing to me. I want light and airy. Not my grandmother’s home 😂😂

  12. According to Merriam-Webster-Webster, the definition of design:

    to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan : DEVISE, CONTRIVE

    So by its very nature, “design” is constantly changing, evolving if you will.

    I think what we call design could be more accurately considered style or fashion. A designer comes up with new ideas and elements; a stylist incorporates those elements.

    Even within a style, this year’s elements will likely look at least slightly different than five years ago. Does that make them out of date? Probably.

    A room’s design can be static, but a style will constantly change, even if it’s only to circle back around to an older style. Remember bell bottoms? lol

    This is why I have such a hesitation to paint finely crafted antiques. I know it’s the style today, and has been for a while now. But what will I do if the style reverts back to stained surfaces? My home would be considered out of date.

    Another thing I have to remember is that I need to be satisfied with what makes me happy, and not constantly wanting what I don’t have. I change soft furnishing elements fairly often (bedding, curtains, etc), but the bones of my home stay pretty consistent.

    All of this to be taken with a grain of salt, BTW. I’m a nurse, not an interior designer lol.

  13. My comments would be:
    O. photography/lighting has changed a lot…. both actual room lighting and that used for photo shoots. Makes current presentations so much more amazing whether professional or DIY. The lighting makes these rooms feel a bit stale. Esp. noticeable in the rooms with strong sun, shadow, even some window glare.
    O. That period & even longer seemed to OVER fabric….. valances, skirts, ruffles….. Definitely gives feel of TOO MUCH, heavy, diminishing solid focal points
    O. It could be the way my eye reads color but IMHO lots of tans, golds seem to mush together, diminish definition of individual objects in the rooms. It feels like they absorb light, darken versus white or colors with more white seem to feel lighter, brighter, reflect light.
    O. There seems like more continuity, sameness in decor….. all same woods, trims, linens, less variety than now.
    O. Seems like there are more linen options now…. textures, colors, prints.
    O. I am wondering how we will look at the chapter of gray, gray, gray some day.
    They do seem to analyze decor over time with some element economy and psyche of time periods. Wonder what they will say about all the faux farm style in urban/suburban homes some day.
    Will shiplap and farm style feel like the paneling of the 60’s?

    There are elements of some of those rooms that are timeless

  14. Super interesting post, Kristi! “Timeless” is absolutely an arbitrary adjective. I agree that very few things are timeless.

    I happen to appreciate all kinds of styles, (and certainly did my own stint in tuscan color hell). I tend to usually try to go back to my evolving concept of “classic,” which I hope isn’t grandma style, given my age. (I also appreciate the grand millennial, and the funky Swiss crosses and the Rifle paper murals and everything in between, just can’t integrate all that into one house.)

    So…I shoot for modern traditional and definitely like to play with looks I find online. I do so miss all the detailed window treatments (from a sewing end, not the actual decor)…and am taking all my 90’s “traditional” and am currently trying to update it with different finishes and, gasp, white walls.

    I’m also in the process of lightening some of our wood finishes to bridge our classic pieces. And ditching some we think have served their purpose (which feels like disowning a family member, haha)

    I don’t think your lovely colorful aesthetic could ever fit into a “timeless” box. I think your old living room with the blue/teal floral prints were more traditional in nature, but your new designs are like art, to me. They just stand on their own, in their own category…and aren’t even “timeless” for you.

    I think that’s what makes your decorating something of it’s own nature. Your house is a lovely, colorful canvas. And you paint new pictures each time you take on a room. I would LOVE that in my house…but dang, I sure lack your energy.

    My style and creativity, flawed as it is, could never keep up with that, so I try to work with the skills I have and articles like this are great source material for me. This one was VERY traditional in nature, and seems like–though you appreciate some of it–it would be like putting you in restraints, haha.

    Love your energy and creativity.


  15. Nada, zip, zilch from me! My style is somewhere between carefree comfortable and industrial farmhouse. Can’t stand frou-frou! I like interesting architectural details like your door/window trim. Easy to clean and not prone to causing dust problems. I like sleek, plain furniture and add interest with art and accessories. I guess I pretty much follow the old adage Form follows Function. I don’t have a big social life or entertain much, except family. Those rooms pictured above give me a headache! I would be trying to get out of those places as fast as possible!

  16. Oh my, this was fun! Some of them could be tweaked to be fine in 2023, but the rest of them, yikes! Stunning, no, and for the reasons you mention. Creativity feeds creativity, and we have an abundance to work from in 2023. It’s like gardening though, the work is never done, and you keep tweaking every year with new and better plants.

  17. I poured over magazines like this too. I’d haul home huge decorating books from the library and just drool over the decor. Thank you for sharing this.
    I miss the window valances and floral curtains; probably because I couldn’t afford either when they were the style! I was sad when a friend changed her kitchen from the grapes and dark colours to something lighter. I guess I’m stuck in a decorating rut! (I’m 62, btw.) Again, thank you for sharing the magazine pictures. I personally enjoyed looking at them.

  18. There are parts in most of the rooms that I like. But overall I don’t like any of the rooms as a whole. One of the things I appreciate are the patterned curtains if not the styles. The white IKEA curtains in every picture now make me crazy. I wish people were allowed to live in rooms that mean something to them and not worry what the world thinks.

    1. I’m certainly no designer just a retired nurse who tried to make a nice home when I had a little 1948 cape. I had gone through my earth tone phase in my apartments but I, too fell into the Tuscan era in my first years there. I call timeless the things that can move through the decades effortlessly. Hardwood floors, fine mill work, cased openings, plaster walls, crown molding and some version of subway tile, a hot button issue for some, I know. Fabrics, and paint colors always change and how they’re applied. So for me I like a bit of this and that in my home. I want it to be comfortable but not stuffy, clean looking but not modern or too cold. One comment mentioned Canadian designers and as it happens, I still love Sarah Richardson and Candace Olsen. I’ve been watching Sarah’s old shows on tv and I’d love to know how they’ve changed since 2006.

      1. I have a cape of the same vintage, Cathyr, and agree with you on the timelessness of all the elements you mentioned. Two others I enjoy are the wood-burning fireplace in my living room (although I dislike smoke and soot too much to build many fires) and the arched openings from the front hall into the living room and then the living room into the dining room. There’s something very sensible, intuitive and fluid about the way capes of that time were designed — every small child who has ever spent any time in my house quickly discovers how easy it is to run a full circle between the kitchen, dining room, living room, hall and kitchen again. Yes, I’ve dreamed about expanding and opening up my kitchen, but unless I built outward, I’d either lose most of my hallway in the process or one of the dining room walls, both of which feel like a betrayal of the original spirit of the place. So I take your approach, mixing old and new and aiming for clean-looking comfort while moving through different seasons with different colors, fabrics and accessories, but always with lots of natural light by day and warm light by night, touches of whimsy and the personal, and plants, flowers or something else from nature. I’d love to see what Candace Olsen and Sarah Richardson are up to these days.

  19. Almost all of those rooms are vastly overdone and out of touch with how people actually live. I hated all of them. This must have been a USA thing, because I didn’t see anything like that in Canada.
    I remember seeing a USA designer do a room on tv, and it was horrible. The Canadian shows were so much better in that time period. We moved into our house in 2002 so I was busy for a number of years doing the rooms.
    One thing that I hate the most, and coincidentally I mentioned this to my husband yesterday, is matching lamps! Oh my, this is a huge no-no. Do not buy a set of matching lamps.

  20. These are some very traditional rooms but I think they’re all beautifully decorated and styled rooms with some high end furnishings. Though most have some dated elements (death to swags), I think that by making just a few changes in each room, interior decorators can keep clients for years by bringing their rooms into current day without the cost of a full redo.

  21. Wow! I remember that period of over-done-ness. Soo much fabric shrouded windows and dining room tables and everywhere people could think to use it. Looking at these pictures made my heart as heavy as the furnishings. Fabric stores had rolls and rolls of choices. I got dizzy just seeing the rows of them. Best left in the past. In my opinion, not timeless design.

    About 10 years ago I bought a big hardbound decorating book at a thrift store. it served well for my purpose. Each section had photos of decorating styles: traditional, early American, Scandinavian, etc. I had a black marker to use on each page. The aim was not to judge the style but rather, the good and not-so-good choices of furniture placement, lighting, and functionality and the like. It was a great exercise. It was easiest to pick out what didn’t work, which I also just did looking at the pictures you selected from that magazine.

    I won’t go back through the photos, but I remember one in particular. A ridiculously high round table was placed next to an armchair. I imagined trying to put a coffee cup on it.

    I won’t take the time to specify the rooms where I noted odd things but the biggest pet peeve of mine is to see chairs that float alone in a room without any surface next to them to hold anything. No table beside nor between twin chairs, for example. And no light source. It is so common to see that done on websites.

    The tufted brown leather chair next to a large tub in the bathroom made me laugh out loud. The towel on a wall towel rack looks to be quite inaccessible so it’s drip-dry time? Then note the pair of chairs flanking a sideboard (?) and the large ottoman that sits right in front of that piece. Makes no sense to me if you plan on opening the drawers. Why was it staged there? Oh, and the couch that is loaded with 3 large poofy pillows and a small one. Looks like about 10″ depth is available for a human body and if you need more space you’ll have to perch on the edge.

    In this complicated world my eye seeks a calm, colorful, and functional environment. I am grateful that I enjoy that every day.

    1. Amen to your comments on functionality, Elaine. If there’s no place to sit comfortably, no place to set a cup or glass, no lamp to see by, and no way to access a piece of furniture without moving another piece of furniture, that’s poor design. And if you can’t reach a towel from your shower or grab a saucepan without walking around a too-large kitchen island, that’s poor design. I’ve seen some alarming examples of functionality overwhelming appearance (e.g., those puffy dual-recliner things with built-in fridges, charging stations and cup holders). But the most pleasing design is always when functionality and beauty harmonize.

  22. Many of the rooms reminded me how much gold-brown-yellow-orange make me feel crowded and prickly. But I loved seeing BOOKS (as comforting as the smell of baking bread), curves (an aspect of traditional furniture that I’ve always liked), and some of the big chandeliers (esp. the thin metal ones with French-country genes). I rarely see books in pictures of homes today and am never comfortable in rooms that are all straight planes and harsh blue-white light. I’d like to live in an English cathedral. Or the beautifully maintained library of a private manor house.

  23. I love that you kept those old design magazines Kristi. There is design history on those pages plus some issues maybe collector items hence worth a few dollars. I began my collection of two magazines in 1975 and had every issue (900+) up until 2011 . They were stored in chronological order in purpose built bookcases. In 2011 a devastating flood destroyed not only the magazines and bookcases but the house too. I and several of my friends got much pleasure and many ideas from those magazines in the days before the internet. I still buy them every month but am no longer precious about them and also can no longer identify what was in every issue. Like design, life changes. I have tested an online subscription but came to the conclusion that I am a hard copy girl.

  24. The only one of the latter photos that appears “timeless” to me is the one with the piano in the far end, although it doesn’t seem to me that any of them are really timeless. Like you, there’s at least one thing in most of the rooms that date it. I agreed with your comments on most every photo but the one room (bedroom) you said was too simple appealed to me. Calming, I thought. THANKS for sharing this. Too cool.

  25. I can see Elle Decor all over this! Just a little over the top and “over done” for me even in 2006. But take away the heavy drapes and tassels… A lot of great expensive antique furniture though, which is coming back (yeah)

  26. For me, it’s more a matter of personal style. I would no more paint an antique desk or table-assuming it was in good condition-than I would change out countertops because tile is passé. It seems “influencers” think everyone should do what they tell them, with little regard for individual ideas. I would hope that someone wouldn’t buy a southwestern style home and fill it with Victorian furniture, but to each his/her own.

  27. The room with the grand piano and the last living room I would consider timeless. The dining room with the lilies on the table looks timeless to me except the chandelier made me think “ Oh my good God, what is that hanging over the table?” Looking at the fixture itself I might be able to be impressed by the spiky glass protruding downward but the spikes sticking out from the chains look like weapons. The whole thing looks like something one might see hanging from the roof a cave but then there are those goofy little shades that look like they would belong better on a wagon wheel fixture in a western pub.
    Too bad the magazine itself isn’t timeless. I used to have several shelves of decorating and renovation magazines also but it would have to be pretty special for me to spend $16 on a magazine these days when we have so many other options for free these days. If I am flipping thru magazines these days and something special catches my eye I take out my camera and take the special item home with me, leaving the magazine where it was.

  28. Fascinating!! Looking at old decor books and magazines is definitely a great way to pinpoint things that will stand the test of time for you. So, I loved virtually every photo above that bathroom pic about halfway down the post and just a saw a couple lighting and drapery tweaks to make in order to fit with today’s version of English country house style that is picking up a lot of steam. Those are easy changes to make, too, and natural to want something different after 16 years. But nearly every photo after the bathroom was off the mark for me and needed a lot more work to make them work! That’s my 2 cents.

  29. With your talent and skill, timeless is not a concept I would expect you to be concerned about, Kristi! You are able to change up your finishes and decor with much less expense and trouble than lesser mortals like me 🙂 ! I do appreciate Maria Killam’s “Timeless” concept to guide me to choose expensive finishes that I will not dislike in a couple years. But timeless is not for everyone nor would I expect to to be

  30. I really like the possible Vern Yip room best; he was my favorite designer on Trading Spaces. It seems my tastes have changed as I’ve aged; in my youth, I favored Danish Modern and darker wood pieces. Lighter pieces appeal to me more now. Even my own home is, now, too cluttered for me, but I can’t bear to part with these particular pieces of clutter, so cluttered it will remain.

  31. This era seems to fit in with the current state of Kirklands – all sets of anything from canisters to wall decor is brown-red-green. 😂 That’s a hard pass for me.

  32. That was an interesting article and point. I have been redoing historic and regular homes for years . I retired 9 years ago. Just so you know, on Home Town the last episode for this season Erin did red kitchen cabinets for the client and it was terrific with had made tiles. So yes people do once in a blue moon use bold colors in todays world of design. I would consider your kitchen bold. To me the designs of today are not necessarily dictated by the exterior style of the house and that is what for the most part back in the early 2000’s it was. After watching Rock The Block this year dark colors are very much in and are with alot of decorators while on the oposite side is the solid white with black windows and exteriors so I would say dark is very much in as is White and simplistic modern. The room with the dinning table and Mahogany Side Board if you had painted those peices you would have ruined the true value of the pieces since they were probably antiques. You don’t change the finnish the of an antique if you want to keep the value. That time peiod on furniture truly valued those gorgeous pieces of furniture even if they were new. Syles are very fickle, in one day out the next!