RBD Notepad: Mainstream // Upstream


In an effort to post more of my design notes and work on this blog, I’ve started a new feature called “RBD Notepad”. If someone saw my actual notepads (of which there are about 5 scattered around the house) they would probably get shifty-eyed and back towards the door.

These notes I’m posting here are more curated and tidy, but they’re still a reflection of things I think about when it comes to design.

When I’m thinking about a new project, I tend to want to mix in something next level – something unexpected and maybe a little questionable. Not because of ‘wow factor’ or cache, but because it creates balance. Like a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with a pinch of black pepper.

But then there’s that part of human nature that’s drawn to the comfort and familiarity of the mainstream. I’m not anti-mainstream. I embrace trends with wide open arms because they’re a reflection of our culture and they create a tribe among participants – not to get all anthropologist up in here. But mass appeal is….well, appealing.

I want a client (or my guests) to feel at ease in their space first and foremost, but there should always be something that’s sparky and aloof – deviant, even. 

These notes are about appreciating what’s mainstream vs. what’s upstream.

RBD notepad - mainstream vs. upstream

Image credits: HomeyOhMy // Exterior Con Vistas // Adore Magazine // Domaine Home // Snoogs and Wilde // Berkley Illustration


  1. I like the whole notepad thing…and I like your side-by-side. I am actually in the market for a fiddle leaf fig…I guess I am mainstream…much to my own disappointment!


    1. Nothin’ wrong with mainstream! If you want a fiddle leaf, grab one! But you can also consider the rubber tree if you want to be more upstream, or look at the old school ficus tree or for a relaxed vibe try an olive tree! I need a tree in my house too. 😉


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