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Design Dose

April 2010

7 years
ago

 

The Climate-Friendly Gardener

The Chicago-based Union of Concerned Scientists is out with a new guide to explain how to reduce your carbon footprint in your own back- and front-yard. Most of the tips you’ve heard before: ditch the gas-powered lawnmower, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers; plant trees and shrubs to remove CO2 and to shade your home, compost, limit lawns, and the like. But if you’re new to gardening, the green movement, or need a refresher, this nice concise guide will steer you straight. And for chemical-free fertilizer and electric mower recommendations, see Lou Manfredini’s latest column in Chicago Home + Garden’s May/June issue.

7 years
ago

 

Julius Shulman

Hot off the presses is a gorgeous coffee table book of photos of mostly Chicago-area midcentury modernist homes taken by the famed architectural photographer Julius Shulman, who died at 98 in 2009. Gary Gand, a founder of Chicago Bauhaus and Beyond (who himself lives in a Keck and Keck ranch house in Riverwoods), approached Shulman in 2006 about doing the book. Julius Shulman: Chicago Midcentury Modernism (Rizzoli; $60) features the Minsk House, designed by Keck & Keck in 1955; the 1960 Burton Frank House; architect Harry Weese’s inspired modernist home and studio of 1957; and other modern masterpieces.

7 years
ago

 

Wood Tub by Maax

This tub had to be the most unusual thing I saw at the Kitchen & Bath show earlier this month. The Viaggi wood tub by Maax is an egg-shaped freestander that comes on a wood base. Wonder how the finish holds up?

7 years
ago

 

Kohler at KBIS

Kohler always has something to bring to the table, or bathroom as it were. At the recent Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, two new products stood out for me: the Karbon lavatory faucets and the Katagami wading pool lavatory.
The faucets are cool because they bring the convenient articulating and spraying functions of many kitchen faucets into the bathroom, where they’re often needed just as much (men, think how nice it would be to adjust the faucet while you are shaving; women, think how nice it would be to spray those globs of your man’s blue toothpaste down the sink without any contact with the gooey stuff). As for the caste-bronze Katagami basin, it’s just a simple, lovely design that will patina over time and make for an elegant touch in a powder room.

7 years
ago

 

SIMON SAYS

 

Recently I met with Simon Doonan, all-around groovy guy and creative director of Barneys New York. You may know him as the genius behind the store’s traffic-stopping holiday installations or perhaps as Jonathan Adler’s witty Brit of a husband. I caught him sailing through town for a gig at Barneys. Want to know more of what’s on Doonan’s mind? See Barney’s Babble.

What was your most recent home design purchase?
Johnny and I just installed a ping-pong table in our Palm Beach home. It is a ridiculously important part of our lives. We covered it in vintage paisley wallpaper and play right over the accessories. I am a big believer in games and staying in for game night. I love Scrabble and Monopoly too.

Who wears the decorating pants in your family?

I am more of a prankster [he’s fond of putting kitschy books on his shelves]. I defer to Johnny. I see things as displays. I might see a great Pirelli calendar and frame it up. As far as tabletop, forget it. Stemware freaks me out.

What color combinations are you feeling?
I am happy to see orange about. Also with pink—in a sort of St. Laurent combination. In Victorian times, pink symbolized power and courage. You saw it used in hunting. It’s really much more poppy and bold, than girly. I am fascinated by the meaning of color. Like black—it is sexy, satanic, and seen on both widows and floozies. Some colors really have a complicated and complex association, don’t you think?

What’s new at Chelsea Passage at Barneys?
We are excited about new DL & Co.’s Essence of Green Home Fragrance collection—candles and diffusers. Kim Seybert bar accessories and placemats in great brown-and-white graphic prints. Celestina, a refined, glamorous home accessories collection that uses exotic materials and techniques in lacquer, shells, and shagreen. Resin home accessories from Tina Frey—very cool and Zen shapes in vases and bowls. Anything Fornasetti, from pillows and boxes to wall plates and trays. Sydney Albertini hand-painted abstract dinnerware. She will paint any custom design or color, don’t you love that?

7 years
ago

 

Plant a Tree in Your Living Room

If a tree fell on the Museum of Science and Industry’s campus, would anybody hear it? Yes, indeed they would—and did. Last year, an almost-120-year-old white oak tree originally planted for the World’s Fair went thud, and now it’s been reincarnated as a coffee table by Chicago sculptor and furniture maker Terrence Karpowicz. This lovely piece has just been installed at the museum’s Smart Home exhibit, replacing the prototype that was there before (the prototype shown above is now available for purchase through Karpowicz). Smart Home is open through January 9, 2011.

7 years
ago

 

Seek Vintage

There’s a new vintage store in town—West Town. Seek Vintage opened this weekend at 1432 W. Chicago Ave. Pals and diehard vintage hounds Chris Hunt and Audra Yeomans feature a mix of vintage fashion, jewelry, and home accessories in their 1,300-square-foot space. Buying a gift? They’ll put it in a groovy box handmade from vinyl record covers.

7 years
ago

 

HAPPY CHIC(AGO)

Jonathan Adler, the king of happy chic, stopped by his eponymous Chicago shop and threw a swanky little soiree last week. He sold and signed 84 pieces of pottery and 10 books in two hours. He was wearing his new Jonathan Adler/7 Jeans collection, sipping a cocktail from his new line of paper goods, and shaking hands with his fans, including a few who drove in from Peoria. I caught up with him the morning after.

Welcome back to Chicago. What do you think of our city?
People are just nicer here. Seems like less stress. In New York everybody has an agenda, here they are just living life. The architecture is so groovy. I fantasize about a Mies apartment on a terrifyingly high floor with arresting views on the lake. Oh, and The Art Institute, please!

Are you monogram obsessed?
In this super-clutter mass world, everything that cranks up the personalization is alright with me. I strive to make memorable items that heirs with fight over. We’re special. I have a desire for specialness in what I make.

What’s with all the whales?
Who doesn’t love a whale? Such a beloved sea mammal with cultural resonance, and their shape is nifty. They evoke a preppy patrician too.

Are you preppy? Not authentically. I dig the look and accouterment of preppydom and old money W.A.S.P.s. But I am proud to be a nouveau-riche Jew.

The Union Jack gets saluted lots in your collections, what’s up with that?
I am a raging Anglophile. It’s a nifty, mod icon. Rare that you can find something so graphic and recognizable that you can play around with—I love toying with the colors graphically and culturally.

What’s new at JA?
Nifty new pots, pillows. The baby line, Jonathan Adler Junior. I have two new books coming out as part of a series: Happy Chic Color and Happy Chic Accessories. Neat how-to’s with nifty pics.

7 years
ago

 

Chicago-defining Design

The mid-century modern furniture dealer Converso has moved to the Merchandise Mart and on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. will host an interesting show in his suite, 1709—a collaboration between that showroom and Balloon Contemporary gallery. The two parties invited British artist Karen Ryan to use the medium of design to communicate her perception of Chicago. Using pieces from Converso augmented with finds from local thrift shops, Ryan has created a pretty cool homage to our town. If you miss it at Converso, catch it later at the NEXT exhibit, part of Artropolis, April 30 to May 3, also at the Mart.

7 years
ago

 

Garden Variety

 

Thousands of tulips and daffodils greeted guests at The Chicago Botanic Garden Antiques & Garden Fair this weekend. My heart really gets racing for the display inspiration here. The dealer booths are packed with enough ideas to send you straight home to reconfigure and recover your furniture, rehang your artwork, and spruce up the tabletops arrangements in every room and on your patio. A vintage baseball mitt collection, shell assortment, even ‘40s swimsuits became art when framed. A pristine pink Salterini wrought iron patio set from Martha Peck was a show stopper. Ginsing root burl chairs from Pagoda Red were also faves. Michael Del Piero conducted a standing-room-only tablescape demo that had everyone swooning. William Heffernan Landscapes created a yards-long French picnic complete with white kites, moss covered stone benches, and baguettes that was beyond perfect. Molly Flavin floral design of Lake Bluff is a new favorite for her custom arrangements. Just think—just 11 months til next year’s show!

7 years
ago

 

Cardboard Accessories

These fun vases and coasters are made of recycled—and recyclable—cardboard by New York artist Cathy Henszey of cardboardesign.com. They’re new at Sawbridge Studios, and as the PR-man there says, they’re the modern-day Slinky. Prices range from $15 for a set of four coasters to $45 for a curved-edge vase.

7 years
ago

 

Painted Lady Winners

I had a lot of fun helping to judge The Painted Lady’s design contest, in which customers entered photos of their living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. We saw some great stuff, and it’s inspiring to see how non-professionals take their homes seriously. Cindy Rand’s dining room, shown here, was a winner. See the others on The Painted Lady’s Facebook page.

7 years
ago

 

Dream a Little Dream

We checked out a preview of DreamHome at the Merchandise Mart yesterday and saw lots of trends and tricks we loved, including:

• accessorizing with personal objects that feel “collected over time,” a buzz phrase we’ve been hearing a lot lately that really rings true, especially in Summer Thornton’s foyer, a charming ode to “Alice in Wonderland”;

• layering patterns over patterns (Tony Stavish certainly did this, with his flowerly Thomas Paul for Duralee drapes and graphic rug from Hokanson in the home office);

 

• big dramatic chandeliers (the Luceplan glittering beauty in the dining room was a knock-out—in fact so was the entire moody, 1930s-jazz-starlet-inspired space, created by Simeone Deary Design Group);

• the cozy-chic coral-and-gray color scheme in the bedroom, by Jeannie Balsam; and

• the concealed toilet in Kohler Store designer William Collins’ bathroom (a hidden door in the curved undulating glass-tile wall behind the tub leads to it—a surprising and chic Sherlock Homesian touch).

Each room had great ideas! Check them all out April 16 to December 10 at the north lobby of the Merchandise Mart.

7 years
ago

 

Tantalizing Tile

The cement tile collection at Tile Gallery makes me want to redo my powder room immediately. But even if I could drop everything right now and move forward on the project, I don’t think I would ever be able to decide which of these fun, colorful patterns I would choose for the floor (I’m thinking simple white or gray subway tiles on the wall, and this pop of energy on the floor; it’s both modern and vintage at once!). Here is some interesting background about this type of tile from the company: “Cement tiles were developed in France in the mid-1800s and quickly spread around the world. Unlike ceramic tiles, which are usually glazed and fired, decorative cement tiles are made by pouring a mixture of cement and color pigment into separate compartments in a metal mold that looks similar to an oversized cookie cutter. Once set, the tiles are compressed under 3,000 pounds of pressure. The tile is left to cure making it remarkably strong and lustrous.” The price is around $18 to $23 per square foot. Also great for an entryway or foyer.

7 years
ago

 

Shop the Antiques Fair with a Pro

Ever wish you could shop the Mart’s International Antiques Fair with a professional consultant to give you the lay of the land or help you decide before you buy? The American Society of Interior Designers-Illinois Chaper is offering a “Designers-on-Call” service for attendees looking for personal tours of the floor or a advice on a purchase. Make an appointment ($10) before the fair (it’s April 30-May 3) and you’ll be registered to win two tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Walk-in consultation requests are also possible, pending availability. To check out the ASID members you can choose from and to reserve a spot, click here.

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