Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit Module

Design Dose

June 2008

9 years
ago

 

From Haute Grills to Low-VOCs

I stopped by Vesta Chicago’s Fuego grill launch party last week and it was sizzling. What makes the Fuego grill so cool is that it doesn’t really look like one. Architects, designers, and friends of Vesta (a dealer of modern kitchen cabinetry and wardrobes) gathered around what looked like several industrial-style kitchen islands to collect their delicious burgers and fish tacos. The Fuego has no visible lid (it’s fully retractable), so there’s no physical barrier between the grill master and his/her friends. Teak and slate countertops surrounding the cooking surface allow you to set down your plates and drinks as if it were a bar. The grill also has tons of hidden storage (including a place to hide the gas tank), and for purists, a drawer containing an optional charcoal-grilling system.

Next, it was on to a soirée at the remodeled home and studio of the husband-wife architect team, Lisa and Ron Elkins, owners of the eco-friendly firm 2 Point Perspective. We checked out their cool new kitchen with its bamboo cabinets, recycled glass countertops, and energy-saving LED lighting (we will post photos as soon as we have them), and we marveled at the huge, gorgeous planks of rough reclaimed wood, freshly purchased from Horigan Urban Forest Products , that they had leaning against their living room wall next to a sign proclaiming: “Future dining table.” The nice people of Greenmaker, an eco-friendly remodeling supply store, were on hand raffling off gift certificates.


Claudia Skylar of Mastro & Skylar Architects, Colette Rodon-Hornof of Vesta Chicago, and Ann Clark of Nicholas Clark Architects

A Fuego grill in all its glory
 

9 years
ago

 

So Long, Au Coin!

We were sad to hear that Mary Jeanne Reese is closing her fantastic Au Coin du Feu showroom so that she can concentrate on her Nymphenburg USA business. It’s a real loss for Chicago, but there’s a silver lining: if you’re in the market for fireplace surrounds, fireplace accessories, reclaimed fire brick and tile, hearthstone, flooring, or antique home and garden accessories, they’re discounted at 50 to 75 percent off retail to clear. You’ve got til July 31; call 312-850-2655 or email mj@acdf-fireplace.com for an appointment. Look for Reese to open her Nymphenburg showroom this fall; we’ll keep you posted.


 An iron fireback typical of Au coin du Feu’s inventory

9 years
ago

 

Eames Stamps


I’ve already bought five sheets of these fab stamps (gave one sheet as a hostess gift, along with wine, last weekend). At first, I was stingy about using them on actual envelopes, then thought, hey, why shouldn’t the person who processes my car insurance bill get a little treat? Buy them at the Postal Store here.

9 years
ago

 

Great Circulations


My trusted Home Depot warhorse of a ceiling fan died last fall, after years of devoted sunroom service. The downlight still worked, so replacing it wasn’t on the top of my to-do list, but with a Chicago summer heating up, it was time for action and an upgrade. I blew over to Lightology  and met up with my pal Jeffery Morris, lighting specialist, who showed me this sexy Minka Aire number from Artemis. I got it in maple, but it also comes in clear, mahogany, and nickel finishes, and later this summer the company is adding red, black, and copper versions. I’m a big fan.

Photo courtesy of Lightology



 

9 years
ago

 

A Modest Proposal



What a great idea: a house tour of “modest” but well-designed homes in Oak Park. I toured eight houses last Saturday on the “Southeast Style” tour and found a bit to like in each (it was particularly fun since my husband and I own a bungalow in southwest Oak Park). One favorite was a gut conversion of a brick bungalow—inside it feels like a downtown loft. Brian and Angela Pettit did most of the design work themselves. Brian told me he reasoned that bungalows are essentially modern—he just took it a few steps further. I’ll keep you posted should the tour be held again next year.

9 years
ago

 

BIGGER (BETTER) NEWS!



My long-time favorite home store extraordinaire, Jayson Home & Garden, is expanding this fall. Starting September 1 (you can sneak a pre-opening peek mid-August), the entire basement will be converted into a subterranean loft-like selling area to house an expanded collection of upholstered (adding Cisco sofas to their Mitchell-Gold mix) and casegood furniture, more lighting, and a hand-picked selection of rugs. The outlet now in the basement will close, but big warehouse sales at the store’s Elston space are promised. And be on the lookout for pre-expansion sales— there are sure to be stellar buys.

9 years
ago

 

Mies & Jahn



The Mies van der Rohe Society hosted a cocktail reception and tour of Helmut Jahn’s elegantly simple 600 North Fairbanks glass tower last week. Two of the light-filled units, with signature concrete walls, posts, and ceilings, together with floor-to-ceiling windows—were furnished and decorated by Jennifer Sweas, a local interior designer. I loved the way Sweas did the unit shown here; it goes to show that modern does not have to be cold. The other model, the penthouse, is equally stunning. I ran into a couple of tenants in the elevator; they seemed very happy living there. Think you’d be, too? Don’t dally. Only ten units in this 41-story building are still available.

9 years
ago

 

This Old House



I haven’t blogged about my new old house in a little while, largely because there is so much to do to whip this place into shape that the time to blog about the process is scarce. Also, I’ve realized that the world just doesn’t need another person chronicling the updating of their ancient home… well maybe I’ll change my mind about this once we finally get to the fun stuff, (i.e., decorating). So far, we’re mired by boring stuff like electrical work and new windows (which, by the way, are no longer going to be vinyl—we’re springing for wood and doing fewer windows at once; that’s just one example of how much energy goes into making the smallest of decisions… it took us a month to determine this game plan—now how long will the installation take?!). Here’s what has happened so far. Trusty friends Larry Vodak (owner of Scout) and interior designer Laura Soskin came over to take a gander at the new crib before remodeling commenced. They gave me the following tips:

Go as dark as possible on the floors. (We went dark, but probably not as dark as they were talking about; anyway, it looks so much better than the original scuffed-up golden oak!)

Laura suggested an amazing color for the walls, something that goes great with those dark floors: Martin-Senour Paints’ Soapstone. She is absolutely right. So far, only one room has been painted in this subtle grayish-taupe-ish shade, with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove in a satin finish for the trim. Love it!

They also gave me good advice about how to approach the challenging shape of my living room. They advised using one big rug to unite the space (I had planned on doing separate seating areas). And, here’s their secret budget tip: Cost Plus World Market in Evanston has an outdoor sisal rug that can be ordered for cheap by the foot; you can cover your whole living room for $150. Of course, it won’t be the plushest of surfaces, but you can unite your space and save the rest of your funds for furniture!

Here’s what I’ve learned the hard way: rain showers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be! I was so excited that we were buying a house that already had one. Then I stood under this thing and, yes, I got wet. But that’s about it. The pressure is like zero, as is the invigoration quotient. I felt like I was falling asleep in there. The shampoo was impossible to wash out of my hair. It was the most stressful shower of my life. Mercifully, there is a handheld component to this system that has more pressure. That was my saving grace. As for the much ballyhooed rain shower? You’re outa here.

9 years
ago

 

Keen on Koons

 


Jeff Koons’ New Hoover Convertible, 1981-1986

I recently attended the MCA’s press preview of the provocative and downright kitschy artist Jeff Koons and was left inspired by the way Koons elevates everyday household items to high-art status. Hoover Convertibles under glass. Wow! A toaster memorialized in a florescent bulb backdrop. Cool! We sit around in editorial planning meetings oohing and ahhing about the latest stainless pots and pans, groovy garbage cans, and finely designed bars of soap. Hey, don’t we, too, desire to bring people the latest in cool wares? Don’t we memorialize materialism? Note for next meeting: figure out a way to elevate it to a new level. Does the MCA hear us knocking? Just teasing Mr. Koons. Seriously, please pop by this only-in-Chicago affair and see how it inspires you.


9 years
ago

 

FLOR-ed Over



The Elmhurst-based carpet company FLOR  has just released a line of eco-friendly modular tiles inspired by the textile designs of iconic Herman Miller mid-cent-mod tastemaker Alexander Girard, and they are a sunny delight. The folksy, colorful patterns were based on the interior design of  La Fonda del Sol restaurant, a 1960s New York eatery that was completely envisioned by Girard, from the dishes to the furniture to the napkins. There’s so much to like about FLOR tiles—you can mix and expand (these would be great wall-to-wall in a small space, mixed with solid squares), they fasten to each other so no gunky adhesives are needed, individual tiles can be removed for cleaning or replacement, and they keep things fresh by launching different patterns all the time. Martha Stewart even has a line, and Martha don’t make no junk. The La Fonda del Sol comes in four six-tile designs measuring three-by-five feet, and are available at A Cooler Planet, I.D. Chicago,  and Healthy Green Goods for $159.99.PR contact at FLOR: Gina Forst, gforst@flor.com, 630-516-4230

9 years
ago

 

Room Service Delivers



Indie home shops have been hanging up their shingles in Andersonville at a frenzied rate these days, and there’s a brand-new kid in town that really shines. Owner Paul Lechlinski chose this strip of North Clark (5438 North) to open Room Service in part because of its proximity to Scout and White Attic, and there’s definitely a shared sensibility. Lechlinski, a California native, has a background in the luxury apparel industry and moved to Chicago four years ago to head up Oak Park–based Oilily USA. He’s put together a great mix of vintage furniture/accessories and new product lines here, including a collection of Lafco House & Home candles ($52) concocted by fragrance for each room in the house. Cilantro-orange-watercress for the kitchen, fresh-cut grass for the laundry, etc. The mid-century furniture is culled from all over the country, and impeccably reupholstered and refurbished. I was feeling this lacquered blue metal chest ($595) and tubular steel chairs ($250 each). Maybe I can find a denim-blueberry candle to go with them.

9 years
ago

 

A New Jolie Maison




Highland Park home décor devotees have probably noticed the relocation of the once teeny (well, 1,200 square feet is teeny when your furniture is scaled for North Shore homes) Jolie Maison at 640 Central Avenue to its roomy new headquarters across the street at 643 in the 6,500-square-foot space of a former Banana Republic (phone number is 847-433-4555). It’s kind of refreshing to see a chain being replaced by an expanding independently owned biz (not that I don’t gladly swoop down on the sale rack at Banana whenever given the opportunity!). For those who don’t live in the HP, here’s the DL: In addition to carrying luxurious traditional-feeling furniture, accessories, and bed and bath wares, the store offers design services and in-home consultations. It is the largest distributor in the Midwest of Burton James furniture (see photo of sofa to get a feel for this swanky line). Jolie also carries hard-to-find brands, including the Parisian line R&Y Augousti, known for its signature exotic skins on everything from purses to furniture. This is a no-minimalists zone.

9 years
ago

 

Sales!


We’ve heard of lots of fun sales lately: Andrew Hollingsworth is have a “garage sale” at its warehouse at 2021 W. Fulton  and at its showroom at 222 W. Huron. Find contemporary and vintage furniture and accessories marked down 30 to 90 percent off list (such as this Louis XVI armchair for just $250). The deepest discounts will be at the warehouse, an employee tells me. The sale is June 13 and 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pottery Barn on Michigan Avenue is closing and having a blowout sale. Champagne Furniture Gallery is moving to the Mart in August and clearing out everything at 30 to 50 percent off. And Poggenpohl in the Mart is clearing out several of its modern display kitchens at at least 50 percent off.

10 years
ago

 

Holly Hunt’s Big Bash


Holly Hunt, center, with interior designers Laura Kirar and Doug Levine (her former staffers, featured in our May/June issue)

It was the biggest design party of the year. That’s a risky statement as I am not the biggest partier at the office, but I’m going to throw it out there ’cause I haven’t been to a party like this in a long time (I blame a certain three-year-old who lives in my house for this). Holly Hunt’s 25th anniversary bash Monday night on the terrace of the Harris Theater was HUGE. Some 1,200 beautifully dressed people showed up to fete the design doyenne, who seemed genuinely touched by the show of support as she addressed the crowd from the stage before introducing the evening’s entertainment, Poi Dog Pondering. Hunt is beloved by the design industry and this showed—as did her long-held business mantra of offering the “best in class.” The food and wine were abundant and delightful, and the setting was classic and perfectly appropriate. Guests looked like movie extras lounging on the Holly Hunt Great Outdoors casual furniture line, displayed in surprisingly un-muted tones, below a gigantic billowing white tent that was illuminated by modern orange-shaded fixtures. Even the day’s iffy weather cleared up just in time. Here’s to another 25!

Photos by Chris Guillen Photography

Edit Module