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Design Dose

December 2009

7 years
ago

 

Design Resolutions for 2010

Somewhere along the line, “New Year’s resolution” became a code-phrase for “setting self up to fail, but will absolve from memory by February anyway.” Well, where’s the fun in that? We asked three designers—Steve Bruss, president of Hudson Home; Summer Thornton; and Annika Christensen, interior designer and owner of Midnight Sun Antiques—to share their New Year’s resolutions for… your home! These goals are totally achievable, but if they do fall by the wayside, just blame the room’s chi.

Try a black kitchen. “Lacquered glossy black cabinets, antiqued mirror, and brass hardware melded together make a really sexy space,” says Thornton.

Don’t be afraid to shine. Bruss gives spaces a more luxe look by introducing shimmery, icy colors. He also likes to backlight walls clad in translucent stone, like white onyx. “It gives it a very sophisticated and glamorous look.”

Rethink your walls. “I’m excited about the use of more and more fabrics as wallcoverings,” says Bruss, who has upholstered a family room’s walls in linen and a study in worn leather. “These natural materials give the home the warmth it needs.”

Don’t be fake (with your finishes). “A home with real, natural, authentic items feels so much fresher,” Thornton says. She’s been gravitating toward natural-grained stones, such as onyx, tiger’s eye, and geodes.

Chill out. Bruss is saying no to vibrant walls in 2010. “I like wall colors to be quieter, more of a backdrop. Subtle colors make you feel warm and comfortable; loud colors are jarring.”

Be yourself. Christensen had a customer who fell in love with a Swedish landscape oil painting, only to call a month later to say that the painting didn’t go with her rug. “I was flabbergasted,” says Christensen, who discovered that “someone, somewhere had told her that the painting didn’t go well with the rug. Art is art!” If you connect with a piece, she says, don’t worry what other people think.

Don’t procrastinate on quick fixes. “In my own house, I hate how I knick the paint all the time. Woodwork starts to show, and it looks shabby,” says Christensen, who encourages people to do touch-ups as soon as an area begins to look ragged. “These little things bother visual people,” she says. “I fixed the paint in a couple rooms and, oh, how refreshing!”

7 years
ago

 

Shop Chez Moi

Elan Peltz, who runs an antique shop called Blackwatch68 out of his home in Wicker Park, just forwarded us a TimeOut Chicago story that blogger Tate Gunnerson of Strange Closets wrote about him. Everything in Peltz’s house is for sale, and he’s open by appointment only.

7 years
ago

 

Airoom and Poggenpohl, Together

 

The luxury kitchen cabinet retailer Poggenpohl has teamed up with Airoom Architects, Builders and Remodelers to make remodeling your kitchen easier. While it has always been possible to get basic kitchen elements (cabinets, appliances, and countertops) installed through Poggenpohl’s Merchandise Mart showroom, this partnership makes it easier for customers to undertake larger overhauls that require acquiring building permits, running new electrical, and opening up walls. A Poggenpohl kitchen will be on display at the Airoom showroom in mid-January.

7 years
ago

 

The Child Inside

 

Lately, I’ve come across a bunch of art inspired by (or literally taken from) vintage children’s books. At the recent Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale, I, along with a pack of other people, was smitten by local artist Ashley Alexandar’s sweet-and-strange prints (top left); she knew we would be—her website is called imsmitten.com. Another Chicagoan whose paper goods possess a certain childhood nostalgia (some of the greeting cards and journals have illustrations taken directly from old children’s books) is Amy Rowan of Art School Girl; see her note cards and envelopes above. Finally, at Penelope’s in Wicker Park, I spotted Japanese artist Shinzi Katoh’s charming depictions of zoo animals, children, and woodland creatures.

7 years
ago

 

Wright Pop-Up Book

 

If you liked Loving Frank, then you’ll love Frank Lloyd Wright in Pop-Up! OK, maybe not. But if you love Frank or know someone who does, this new book from Thunder Bay Press will make a great gift. Check out some pretty impressive paper-engineered versions of famous projects like Robie House, Fallingwater, and even the Guggenheim Museum, and then put them back neatly on your bookshelf or coffee table. It’s the kind of book people can’t help but open. Available at major bookstores.

7 years
ago

 

Special Agent

Every now and then, I come across a “wow” piece that I have to have, budget and size constraints be damned. I can hear the conversations and jealousy that this one-of-a-kind piece will inevitably inspire—all before I even swipe my credit card. But ever since Agent Gallery Chicago opened in late October, my answer to “Where did you get that??!” has become 100-percent predictable. Owner Mariano Chavez, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute and former manager at Salvage One, fills his Wicker Park showroom with nothing but conversation pieces: vintage marquee letters, 1950s explosion-proof telephones, a cast-iron 1940s Killark lantern—even a 1969 moon globe. Chavez says he’s “usually on a chase” for one item and will find a bunch of other interesting pieces along the way. “I look for work that has very strong character and design,” he says. “A lot of the pieces are art in and of themselves.” Wow, indeed.

7 years
ago

 

Anne Coyle’s Candy Shop


 
 

Interior decorator Anne Coyle has launched a new line of furniture that’s sure to give you a sweet tooth. Called the Candy Coated Collection, it features occasional tables and case goods lacquered in signature-Coyle colors like lavender, mint-green, lemon yellow, and coral. Yum.

7 years
ago

 

Winning Menorahs

Tradition doesn’t have to mean sweeping pine needles and straightening wobbly candles. Chicago-based architects and interior designers recently spread rather original holiday cheer at Steelcase’s Wreath and Menorah Design Competition and Charity Auction. A circlet of vodka bottles, a garland of back-lit feathers, and a giant metal cage of LEDs were some of the items auctioned off to benefit the Children’s Place Association. All inspired me to think beyond green rings and narrow vessels next year. Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s Colin Gorsuch designed the winning menorah. Made of a cast piece of 8x8 inch solid wax, its computer-generated surface represents the ancient consecrated oil of Jewish tradition. As each wick burns, it reveals some of the menorah’s skeletal framework. The reshaping of rituals never looked so good.

7 years
ago

 

New Antique Shop in Geneva

   

Debra Koertge is helping make suburban Geneva into more of a design destination with her new shop, Artemisia. She recently moved it from a quiet corner of St. Charles to Third Street, Geneva’s main shopping drag. The 3,000-square-foot space is filled with a smart and ever-changing selection of furniture, architectural artifacts, and the best work of local ceramists, jewelers, and woodworkers.

7 years
ago

 

Fishman’s, New and Improved!

 

Have you been to Fishman’s Fabrics lately? It looks even huger than before! The fabric mecca just remodeled, raising its 12-foot ceiling to 22 feet high, exposing the original wood trusses and visually expanding the space. Since completing construction at the end of November, they have added about 1,000 rolls of upholstery from high-end furniture manufacturers from around the U.S., with new fabrics coming in every two weeks. Textile lovers, we guarantee you will feel like kids in a candy store. Those leather hides are $2.50 to $3 per foot.

7 years
ago

 

Ronald Needs You!

We’re liking arches these days—McDonald’s golden arches, that is. Since 1977, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana have built four large-scale residences near hospitals for families whose children are receiving medical care far from home. It’s a wonderful non-profit that provides private rooms, hot meals, laundry machines, computer facilities, and emotional support for families with sick children. This month, RMHCC is starting work on the fifth Ronald McDonald House, scheduled to open in the spring of 2012 at 211 E. Grand Avenue in Streeterville. This “Skyline Oasis” will be 14 stories high, with 86 private rooms, a kitchen, and a rooftop deck, making it the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world.

But the RMHCC needs help, and who better than our readers to recognize the importance of a comfortable home close to the ones you love? Now through Dec. 25, Thos. Moser is accepting donations of new unused household items, from Clorox wipes and scotch tape to bath towels and queen sheet sets. Showroom manager Laura Murphy contacted RMHCC because Thos. Moser wanted to work with a local charity. You can also donate year-round at the four Chicagoland locations in Lincoln Park, Hyde Park, Oak Lawn, and Hines, or purchase a coconut fiber “Welcome” mat from the foundation for $50.

7 years
ago

 

Indie Design at Post 27

Love supporting independent design? Post 27 does. This hip antique shop is hosting a holiday shopping event tomorrow from 11AM to 6PM for Coterie, a local collective of artisans and designers. There is also a reception from 5 to 9PM tonight. Shown above, pillows by Coterie member Kiyomi Kimble.

 

7 years
ago

 

Window Dressing

 

Arrelle Fine Linens is now offering in-home consulting and a window treatment service. The shop has enlisted veteran window treatment pro Phillip Bernal to help customers dress their windows. His services are free til the end of the year (normal charge is $150 per hour with a two-hour mininum for a home consult, but the fee can be applied toward purchases of $500 or more). Arrelle has also expanded its fabric selection to include more fabrics with ultraviolet protection, insulation, and light-blocking qualities. Too focused on the holidays to think about curtains and shades? The shop has great gifts and free gift wrapping.

7 years
ago

 

Gelis at Primitive

 

Through January 30, stop by Primitive’s showroom (like you need an excuse) and see the room vignette designed by designer Madeline Gelis. We attended the opening reception a few weeks ago and were wowed all over again by Primitive’s four floors of fabulousness.

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