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Design Dose

October 2008

8 years
ago

 

At Home…Anywhere

Interior designer Susan Fredman’s new shop, At Home in the City, celebrated its grand opening last night with a crowded bash. The River North space-part store, part design workshop-features tabletop items, kitchen accessories, throws, and all matter of home accessories (love the Bon Bon ottoman of looped wool), including about a dozen private-label items available only here. I really loved the small dog paintings by Bruce McGaw (affordable at $50 each) and the way they were grouped on a wall. I also loved the chairs that look like chicken wire by Design Workshop ($362 each). This is the second retail venture for Fredman (pictured here); her other is a more resort-home-oriented store, At Home With Nature, on Red Arrow Highway in Union Pier, Michigan. 

8 years
ago

 

In the Can

What you gotta love about the world of design is that even something as mundane as a trashcan can become a status symbol for its clean lines and functional simplicity. When the sleek Vipp catalog arrived in my InBox, I had an inkling that perhaps my own stainless steel push-pedal bin from the Container Store was a knock-off or, if not that, then it was simply very pedestrian compared to the Vipp, which will set you back $280 for a 14-inch high size at Waterworks. Then I checked out Vipps’s website and read about how the company was founded in 1939 by a Dane, followed by a press release about how a Vipp that Bono had co-designed for a charity auction drew $30,000 (granted Bono could get a cool grand for a hanky he’s sneezed into). Well I have to say, I like these status bins—and the company just came out with a cool push-pedal laundry basket ($625). The toilet brush is pretty darn cute, too; for $200, it better be. Available at Waterworks.

8 years
ago

 

We’re Golden

The French were out in full force last week at Golden Triangle, famed showroom of Asian furniture. That’s no typo, the genius of Golden Triangle’s merchandise is that it mixes so well with so many other styles. The interior designer Martial and his pal Didier Milleriot, who owned Le Magasin, were among those at this party to celebrate Golden Triangle’s new line of modern furniture handcrafted from ancient woods, called Exposed  (see table in photo). We also spotted furniture designer Jill Salisbury of EL: Environmental Language. If you haven’t been to Golden Triangle’s relatively new location, this is as good a reason as any to stop in. The showroom is a stunner and this collection is great.

8 years
ago

 

Faux No They Didn’t!

There’s a terrifically clever furniture and design show going on right now at the Cultural Center that’s going to put a smile on your face, I guarantee it. Deceptive Design was organized by a collaboration between the Chicago Chapter of the Industrial Designers Society of America and the Chicago Furniture Designers Association, and consists of 18 objects that play with our conceptions of furniture. The trompe l’oeil living room includes a chair (“Caveat Sittor”) with what appears to be a thumbtack sticking up out of the seat, a dresser with drawers that only open from the back, and “Wolf in Sheep’s Lighting”—a sweet little sheep lamp that casts a menacing shadow when it’s turned on. I really liked this adaptable shelving unit by Mark Kinsley that forms art when you fold it flat against the wall, Andrew Peerless’s  “Herd” Table, and Craighton Berman’s “Coil Lamp,” made from an industrial extension cord. The show is up until Jan. 4.. Don’t miss it.

“Herd Table", above left. “Riveli Shelves", above right, “Coil Lamp", right.

8 years
ago

 

And the Winner Is…

 

Crimson Lounge was packed for the final event in the Basil Hayden Tastemakers competition, where Nate Berkus presented an oversized $10,000 check at the end of the evening to crowd favorite Rion Stassi for his chandelier, and gave a heartfelt speech about the effect such an award can have on the trajectory of a young designer’s career. I was impressed by the quality of the prototypes that he, Sarah Tranum, and Bryan Lump crafted—each semi-finalist got $2,500 to bring their Berkus-selected designs to life—and they’re all winners in my book! 

 

PHOTO: Frank Failin

 

8 years
ago

 

Sad But True

The Ambiente Collection, the River North shop that specializes in contemporary European (mostly German and Swiss) furniture is clearing its merchandise and shuttering in January. The manager informed me that he just sold a couch for $900 that would normally go for about $3,800. As sorry as we are to hear of this news, more good buys are waiting. 

8 years
ago

 

French Infusion

Botanica, a newish home accessories shop in Oak Park, last week held a reception featuring the charming ex-owner of Le Magasin (now closed), Didier Milleriot (shown here with me). Milleriot is consulting and advising Botanica’s owner, Danah Kozma, on many of the glassware, linen, and candle lines La Magasin carried. Wine and cheese from Marion Street Cheese Market made the night extra fun. Milleriot, who now lives in Paris, says he misses Chicago. “Now that I am back in Paris I see all these things that drive me crazy about Parisians!” he says.

8 years
ago

 

Dear John

 

Despite all my best intentions, I haven’t had the chance to pick up any of decoupage artist/designer John Derian’s wares at Target (have any of you?). I think the melamine vases, trays, and picture frames might still be there for a couple weeks longer if they didn’t all fly of the shelves immediately last month when they landed (his Web site said they were to be there for six weeks). Oh well, on to the next Derian thing… we just heard that his new furniture line will be available at the end of the month exclusively at Jayson Home & Garden in Chicago. The historically-inspired five-piece collection-two sofas, one loveseat, a chair, and a long tufted bench -is tres chic, though sadly I don’t think it will be as easy to just add them to the cart after grabbing a few items in the toiletries aisle. 

8 years
ago

 

Affordable Cambium


Cambium has introduced the Cambium Condo line of sofas, geared toward first-time furniture buyers but made to be better quality than starter furniture. A three-seat sofa runs $1,988 to $3,238. The company says the sofas are made “with the same high-quality care and bench-made approach that all of our sofas are given.” Have your couch upholstered in one of more than 40 new fabrics the company is carrying.

8 years
ago

 

Skin Deep


 Gregg Fishman of Fishman Fabrics just informed us that he purchased about 1,000 pounds of upholstery leather from an “ultra high-end furniture manufacturer.” The leather was originally sold at Mart showrooms at $12 to $20 per square foot, he says. Fishman is selling it for $3 per foot or less. Yikes!

8 years
ago

 

Berkus on HSN

Want to get Nate Berkus in your bedroom? This week, he launched his partnership with the Home Shopping Network and will be peddling his pillows, sheets, furniture, and accessories on a five-week series of live, hourly interactive home design-driven shows presented by Elle Décor. Other participants include the MoMA Store, John Robshaw, and Colin Cowie. If there’s no time for telly, you can view and buy the collection online here.

Tree table and bedding set photos from HSN.com

8 years
ago

 

Expert Opinions

Jill Weinberg of Refind Interiors recently hosted a panel discussion on home remodeling at Pauline Grace’s showroom. Local experts in lighting, kitchen and baths, tile and stone, and home furnishings gave tips on how to successfully tackle a renovation project. Here are some tips I picked up from the panel:

Jill Weinberg’s pre-construction tips:
-Before you even start, flip through magazines and keep a file of looks you like.
-Determine how you want to use the space you’re renovating
-Prioritize and set budget.
-Build in a 15 to 20 percent cushion for those inevitable unforeseen costs.

Kate Solovio of Materials Marketing on trends in stone and tile:
-Natural stone tiles cut in an elongated plank size to mimic wood floors are the new hot thing (see photo).
-Also look for beveled and stainless steel tiles.
-Add interest to your room with bamboo and wood mosaics.

Community Home Supply’s Julie Bower on kitchens and baths:
-Go green!
-By January 1, 2010, high efficiency toilets, or toilets that hold 1.28 gallons of water per flush, will be required. Consider installing these and low-flow faucets.

Jeff Wonsetler from Lightology:
-Today’s standard lightbulb is being phased out for more energy-efficient version.
-Screw-in, dimmable LED fixtures are the future.
-Compact fluorescent bulbs are will soon be required, so don’t buy fixtures that won’t accommodate them.

Pauline Grace’s Megan Hinchsliff on design trends:
-There’s a lot of chocolate brown out there, and a bright, chrome yellow seems to be accent color of the moment.
-Vinyl is a popular right now—it wears like leather but is less expensive, and it’s easily cleanable.

8 years
ago

 

Franco-Fair

If you’re jonesing for some Gallic gifting this year but can’t swing a trip to the Paris fleas, the Lycée Français de Chicago can hook you up this weekend at their annual Fall Market. The Northside French language school has rustled up more than 40 dealers and creators of antiques, linens and tabletop items, jewelry, and food and bath specialties, all with a French twist, including local faves Marguerite Gardens (see chairs above), Vintage Pine (we especially love Jeanne Steen’s Figaro Antiques), Heather Gentile Designs (see paintings above), Katherine Anne Confections, and Virtu. Get a sneak peek for a sawbuck this Friday, Oct. 19 from 7–9 at the opening, with nibbles, bubbly, and an appearance by Chicago appraiser Gary Piattoni. The fair runs through Sunday with cooking demos, supervised activities for les enfants, and an onsite café. (The $5 admission fee aids the école.)

8 years
ago

 

Lights Fantastic

I stopped by June Blaker’s sparkling River North store to check out my favorite stylista’s fall finds, and was tres impressed with her home accessory offerings. June made a big, arty splash in 1980s Chicago by introducing the cerebral fashions of Comme, Yohji, and others at City (where the CHIC cooking school now stands, visible from the back windows of her new shop) and later her eponymous Wells Street location. She still has a few racks of frocks, but told me that she’s concentrating on home design these days. Loved these thick, creamy Illuminated Candles in shell forms—they’re all wax, but have replaceable votives tucked inside so you can actually use them. The line runs about $75 to $160, and you clean them just like porcelain, with a damp cloth. The dimmable light-up bench/table they’re resting on is pretty sweet too—it’s a $750 Pablo Pardo design.

8 years
ago

 

Delightful Dana

I think I will never again stay in a hotel that doesn’t have floor-to-ceiling windows. We went to see the new Dana Hotel & Spa last week, and, standing in a guest room, thought how great it is to feel like you’re floating on the skyline. The rooms are impressively designed with modern and eco-friendly elements by EDI Architecture of Texas. I loved the reclaimed Australian Jarrah wood floors (I can’t recall ever having seen wood floors in a hotel room—it’s so great.) Philippe Starck spa-inspired benches in the double shower are also a great touch.

Photos: Craig Dugan/Hedrich Blessing

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