Discover the new interior design lexicon – split-plan kitchens at Japandi | Architectural Summary

If there’s one thing the pandemic hasn’t slowed down, it’s home design. As these spaces have evolved, so has the language we use to describe them. As we approach the second anniversary of the first lockdown in the United States, we take a look at the trends – and new terminology – prevalent in interior design today.


Forget the country club – the millennial set’s favorite planned community is the agrihood (a portmanteau of agriculture and neighborhood). Designed around working farms and often offering trails, community gardens and plenty of outdoor spaces to gather with neighbors, agrihoods prioritize access to fresh organic food without requiring a total lifestyle change. Middlebrook Farm in Iowa and Olivette in Asheville, North Carolina are two examples. Professional farmers still work the land, although many residents choose to volunteer. Agrihoods have been around for years, but their popularity is growing dramatically now, with over 200 in the United States as of July 2021.


After the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic, pet ownership in the United States increased dramatically, reaching an all-time high of 70% of the population living alongside a four-legged friend. With that came an influx of chic dog clothes, accessories, and yes, well-designed housewares. Observing this trend, HGTV star and Riverbend Home expert Taniya Nayak coined the term barkitecture. Dusen Dusen’s dog beds, Nordic-inspired dog kennels, and tasteful leather dog stairs are among the many products that fall into the category.

A personal library in Marfa, Texas, decorated by Jeffrey Bilhuber, with architecture by Annabelle Selldorf.

Photo: William Jess Laird

Book envelope

In an article published late last year, the New York Times Editor Julie Lasky examined the word (coined by author Reid Byers) for a book-dominated home: Book-wrap. The home library is a constantly evolving project that closely reflects the personality of its inhabitant, both in the selection of books and in the way the volumes are presented. Are they organized by color or gender? Presented with the edges exposed, creating a dynamic and colorful space, or facing inward to preserve a minimalist feel? “Seeing an entire room full of these books really communicates a very rich inner life,” says Andrea Fisk of Shapeless Studios, reflecting on her experience using both built-ins and carefully chosen shelving in the properties that his company has designed.

Kitchen in broken plan

Half walls, glass partitions and shelves are some of the many tools that designers use to create the so-called split-plan kitchen. The layout, an alternative to the once ubiquitous open kitchen, has gained momentum in recent times, sought after for its ability to provide a bit of seclusion in large open spaces. “I think creating more separations is something more appealing to people lately, but there’s still [a desire for a] open, light and airy feeling,” says Fisk. She has seen an increase in requests for broken plans from her clients. “[In broken plans] you can still feel like you’re with your family, but you can do your own thing in the same neighborhood.


The next step in “reduce, reuse and recycle”, circular design encourages the use and design of goods that can easily be reused. Rather than buying a new chair when one falls out of style, circular design imagines how that chair could be refreshed to fit current styles, or how its materials could be directly repurposed to create something new. Case in point: On & On Chair by Edward and Jay Osgerby for Emeco, a stackable café seat made from recycled materials that is designed to be recycled again.

Betty K. Park