Interview with: Brittany Hutt
Today’s kitchen trends are all about combining the durability and charm of the past with the convenience and style of the future, and no style encapsulates this better than newstalgia. Designer Brittany Hutt explains how this aesthetic came to be and ways you can make it work in your home.
How do you define newstalgia?
This style combines the best elements of old and new. It focuses on fabrics and appliances in bright colors and patterns while incorporating modern technologies and conveniences you would expect to see in a kitchen today.
What types of designs have been most popular among your clients in the past few years?
Working with people all over the country allows me to do every kind of design. One day I could be doing something super traditional, and the next day I could be doing something modern. But what really appeals to me is a modern farmhouse style or something more transitional.
When did newstalgia enter the mainstream market?
I had the opportunity to attend the NKPA Kitchen and Bath Show in 2022, and I found that, at almost all of the displays, the products were a nod to this newstalgia trend. There were a lot of curved lines and vibrant pops of color, and the fabrics were really bright and patterned. White is never going to go out of style, but I think it’s cool that people are moving away from it and aren’t afraid to play with color. I see this trend lasting for a while.
Are there specific time periods of design associated with newstalgia?
It’s kind of generational. Many people who can afford to do a kitchen remodel want to incorporate the elements of design they grew up with, like gas ranges and patterned wallpaper. It could change eventually, but midcentury will always be about fun colors and patterns and that’s the focus of newstalgia right now.
How can people make use of modern technology and other elements while honoring design features of the past?
Many appliance manufacturers, such as Elmira, offer throwback styles and colors but are still very modern in the sense that their products work like any other modern-day appliance. They only have the look and feel of a midcentury appliance.
I’m also seeing a lot of handmade tile, especially cement tile, which allows you to incorporate color and pattern very easily and tie the color into your appliances. Even how you choose to decorate your space can give it the newstalgia feel. The global appliance brand Smeg has a line of retro teakettles and other countertop appliances, and you can incorporate retro-style plates and cups. It doesn’t have to come from fixed pieces—it can be decorative pieces as well.
What are some of the biggest benefits of incorporating this trend into your home?
This trend is what you make it. You can make it futuristic but also comfortable. You can have a farmhouse style with newstalgic enhancements. It really allows you to be eclectic and tie in everything that you want to.
Is there a balance of old and new that you think creates the most unified look?
The balance isn’t so much between old and new as it is between color, pattern, and texture. Having clean, organic lines is something that really speaks to this trend. There’s no scientific data to break it down into one part this or two parts that. The trick is to pick one element you like and build out the design from there. For example, if you’re going to go with bright appliances, don’t go bright with your other finishes. Have a focal point, and then complement it with other components.
Why do you think the newstalgia trend works so well in kitchen design?
I would say it works because this trend has so many nods to the midcentury timeline, a time when homeowners focused even more on making the kitchen a statement in their home. They were courageous with adding color because they wanted to show off this space to guests when they visited.
What are your top tips for implementing this style in the home?
- Pick one element of the design you are most passionate about, whether it’s a specific type of tile or robin’s-egg-blue appliances, and then find other pieces and decor that work with it.
- Create a mood board, and work with a designer to see if they can render something for you to use as a reference when creating your design.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match, but make sure there is balance.