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Design Dose

September 2008

8 years
ago

 

Stylin’ at Home Depot


A friend of mine got this rug at Home Depot in Highland Park. It’s part of the company’s Home Decorators Collection and you can order it here in a variety of sizes. It’s one of those things I could see liking the looks of online, but being too scared to order. So I’m here to tell you this rug looks fabulous in real life (but I would still recommend calling a Home Depot near you and seeing if they have it in stock so you can check it out in person…don’t want to get stuck shipping a big rug back!) My friend bought it for her bedroom to match her bedding, which is cream-colored with some pink accents—just girly enough, without going overboard (she had thought about a shag rug, but felt it would be too predictable). An all wool, 8-by-11-foot rug for $1,099—not too shabby (or shaggy).

8 years
ago

 

Maison & Objet


 

We received this dispatch from interior decorator Michael Del Piero

After years of hearing rave reviews about the Maison & Object Show in Paris in September, I decided to go. This enormous show covers miles of indoor/outdoor space, where folks from around the globe come to view and purchase what’s beautiful, unusual, and trendy in the world of interior and garden design. I expected to see spectacular, cutting-edge furniture, accessories and art, things so incredible  I would gasp at every turn.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.
     Instead, I witnessed masses of people placing orders for merchandise we’ve been seeing here in the States for years. It appeared to be a show filled with continuing trends, not new ones. There were themes: ethnic (strong Asian), industrial, modern, and that which has most recently referred to as “Belgian style” (I suspect the French claim it as French style). I do adore those greige weathered, wood tops set on iron bases, black lacquered Chinese wardrobes, oversized industrial light fixtures hanging in multiples, fine glassware, luxurious cashmere throws and handspun linen bedding. But I was hoping to find something that would inspire and excite me. Then I saw a line of lighting created with mini sponge-like materials all connected, creating an irregularly shaped object resembling an alien (shown here is Formation by Ango). This piece would take any dining room from good to great simply by hanging it (I’ll be carrying the line in my shop). Now, I’m still wondering where all those French women got their cool shoes.

8 years
ago

 

Modlife Move

Robert Zizzo has relocated his mid-century-centric furniture, art, and accessories store Modlife, and as of October 1 he’ll be open at 3061 N. Lincoln Avenue. The new free-standing showroom, formerly a medical building, has been deconstructed into a lofty, minimalist gallery and will have twice the space and twice the inventory of the old locale. Zizzo told me that his clients have been looking for bolder colors and patterns for their homes these days, and he wanted a nice clean space to show off the goods. He’ll still be trumpeting the Danish Modern, Hollywood Regency, and iconic American pieces that Modlife is known for, but has also added some contemporary modern furnishings and Art Deco rugs. 

8 years
ago

 

Island Style

I recently bought a cute Room & Board chair on Craig’s List, and wouldn’t you know it, the seller was a student at Harrington College of Design. Keith had a highly personalized new-construction condo, wallpapered and painted in cheerful, mod colors. Among the things that gave his space character was his modification of the developer’s kitchen. The kitchen was square-shaped but not big enough for a standard island, so Keith ordered one from Seattle-based Kerf Design and plopped it smack in the middle, gaining a little extra storage and a pop of originality. “They will custom-make and ship anything to Chicago and they were really easy to work with,” Keith told me. “The top of our island is actually Boomerang Formica that Formica Company has reissued.” Fun design tips from like-minded strangers. Yet another reason to love Craig’s List.

8 years
ago

 

Dibs on Design

Do y’all know about 1stDibs? Because if ya don’t…well, ya should! A few years ago, a lot of designers I talked to started mentioning it as a favorite resource for finding those unique pieces that really joosh-up a project, so I checked it out and have been a loyal site-stalker ever since. It’s like shopping a Paris flea market from the comfort of your living room, and a great educational tool as well. Real-estate mogul Michael Bruno thought it up as a “multiple listing service for the design industry” in 1998 after seeing dot-com kids with nouveau money to burn and McMansions to fill, and started his empire in Paris by listing inventory from local dealers. In 2002 he expanded the site to include hand-picked (he visits and vets every vendor) U.S. shops, including local faves Thomas Jolly (that’s his 19th-Century carousel horse above), Richard Wright (Alvar Aalto Tank lounge chair, on the right), Malcolm Franklin, DouglasRosin, Architectural Artifacts, and Antiques on Old Plank Road. You can search the site by city, category, period—whatever—and the prices are usually posted, with links to the stores. 

8 years
ago

 

Pirate’s Beauty

For some time now, the Jolly Roger motif has been popping up in fashion—you can spy the skull and crossbones on hipster scarves and graphic tees from any Wicker Park crow’s nest, it’s all over Marc Jacob’s Bucktown locker, and even the uber-preppy Ralph Lauren has gotten in on the action—but arrrrrrrr you ready for a home invasion? I’m onboard with the trend, and added some cool pirate cred to my bathroom with this blood-red mat from the MCA shop—the curly plastic fibers feel great on bare feet. For (quite) a few doubloons more, here’s an interpretation I found at Orange Skin that shivers me timbers. As shown in pink and red, 78-inch  by  75-inch, this Popskull Rug from Floor to Heaven runs $5,607. Ahoy, matey! 

9 years
ago

 

Sweet DreamHome

I went to the DreamHome press preview yesterday at the Mart and, as usual, much creativity by local interior designers was on display. Here’s what I took away from the viewing.

1. Anne Coyle designed a bedroom that felt like a London club. What a concept. She told me that clients often come to her and request a sanctuary of tranquility for a bedroom, a serene, calming place that will whisk them away from reality. Coyle pointed out that her own bedroom is constantly being trampled by her two sons and realities like a child being sick and needing to lounge around in mom’s bed all day while watching TV often trump the need to escape. So she created almost a hotel suite where one could hang out all day. There’s a sitting area in one corner with a wrap-around banquette and coffee table; a nice-sized flat-screen TV surrounded by pictures facing a big luxurious, fur-throw-covered bed (which feels almost like a sofa, with its curvy pink-velvet tufted headboard from George Smith); and the color of the room is not the least bit serene: Benjamin Moore’s Racoon Fur, which is almost black in person. Against this color, the accessories and furniture in Coyle’s signature lavenders, pinks, and pale greens popped like nobody’s business, and the mix of modern and traditional was just right. Ooh, almost forgot the black and white leather chevron floor tiles from Edelman—stunning, and apparently crazy expensive!

2. Erik Kolacz and Keitha Brathwaite created an impressive entryway that Apartment Therapy blogger Janel Laban pointed out really could be used as a room, with two comfortable yet elegant chairs and a bench for hanging out. The mohair and pony skin on the walls, and the python upholstery (“like a man’s belt,” said Kolacz) on the bench where all part of the “men’s fashion” theme that the duo chose as their inspiration (the show’s tagline was “Fashion at Home”). A big red painting above the bench acted as a sort of pocket square. Crystal 1920s sconces were the jewelry, lending a little femininity to the space.

3. I really adored Sanjay Singhal’s over-the-top bathroom, inspired by Coco Chanel’s loo and Belle Epoque Paris. The red and beige wallpaper and upholstery, the big pillow-covered ottoman in the middle, the massive statue on the table. Mon dieu! What a fantasy. I particularly loved the squared-off-style toilet and bidet from Duravit’s 1930s Paris collection. I’m a sucker for anything that reminds me of Gay Paree!

4. Joan Craig’s kitchen was also a highlight for me. I don’t have photos handy of the table right now, and will try to get some later, but I loved how it was set up in the limited space available: against the wall opposite the center island, there was a banquette punched up with red and white throw pillows (above it, there was beautiful hand-painted gray and white wallpaper, almost like subtle modern art), and a big table in the foreground, set with my favorite red and white Hermès china. Another wall, show here, had a charming display of hanging plates inspired by Craig’s 17-year-old daughter’s visit to a country home in France, where the owners had each of the family members’ plates hanging up similarly (they would take them down and actually eat on them). The actual functional kitchen portion was gorgeous, too, but I was so swept away by the non-utilitarian stuff.

So many great ideas at this show. Check it out Sept .25-Dec. 20 on the first floor of the Mart.

Photos 1, 2, & 3, courtesy Merchandise Mart; photo 3, Barri Leiner

9 years
ago

 

Contested Development

Ding! Ding! Round two of Basil Hayden’s Tastemakers Design contest last week, and in this corner (of Stone Lotus Lounge) we have Rion Stassi presenting his octo-armed woody chandelier, inspired by the B.H. bourbon bottle. I haven’t been back to Stone Lotus since profiling its décor for this magazine last year, but I’m happy to report that it’s still dishing drama with those blood-red walls and wall-length waterfall. Rion’s sleek design is a knock-out too. That’s the dashing designer above, on the left. The next and penultimate party will be at Angels & Kings on Oct. 2 and you’re all welcome to attend if you RSVP here.

PHOTOS BY FRANK FAILING
 

9 years
ago

 

Outdoor Living


I moderated a panel last week at the Merchandise Mart about outdoor design. Increasingly, interior designers and landscape architects are partnering to create outdoor spaces. Both sides agree they need the others’ expertise. On the panel: HGTV host and furniture designer Joe Ruggiero, Christy Webber of Christy Webber Landscapes, Johnene Adams of AHA Designs, and Julia Plumb of Gateway Green. We talked about who should be in charge (usually, it’s the designer, and all agreed the landscaper should be involved in discussions from the beginning of a rehab), alternatives to grass (lots of talk about synthetic, eco-friendly grass and unusual, trampable groundcovers), and weather-resistant fabrics (Sunbrella, which Joe Ruggerio works for, got lots of kudos). Pictured here is an outdoor space created by AHA. 

9 years
ago

 

New Line at Haute Living


Sometimes all contemporary furniture seems to blend together. I’m thinking low-slung, deep sectionals, Parsons-style legs on tables, shortish chunky chairs. When I’m in the right mind space, I love it. Other times, I feel like it’s somehow too sexy for me. Like, I would always have to wear slip dresses and heels in my house if my furniture was so fabulous. My furniture would be like… hey, you need a shower! Don’t even come near me with those sweats! But I digress. Like I said, sleek contemporary furniture can sometimes look too much like other sleek contemporary furniture (particularly in ads). So that’s why I was so smitten by Piet Boon Zone, a new Dutch line that Haute Living will be carrying in October. Looking through the catalog of Boon’s pieces (Piet Boon is an actual person) I couldn’t help but feel that they were somehow different. I think it’s because while the lines are “clean,” they aren’t machine-precision clean (the leather on the console table pictured above has a slight, soft wave to it), and I love how the cushions jet out in the above sofa, breaking up the predictable couch silhouette. Is it still sexy? Yes. But, I like to think this sofa would accept me, sweats and all.

9 years
ago

 

Bridal Event Tonight!

 

 We got a heads up from the owner of Crosell & Co. (1922 N. Damen Ave.) that she’s having a bridal event tonight from 6 to 8 pm.  Samantha Goldberg, one of the hosts of the Style Network’s Who’s Wedding is it Anyway?, will be giving a presentation on trends and planning, and local florist extraordinaire Casey Cooper of Botanicals (see her gorgeous arrangements above) will be signing her book, What’s your Bridal Style? Come by and enter to win a Juliska vase with a floral arrangement from Botanicals.

9 years
ago

 

Judgment Day


 

I was a judge for the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market’s Design Excellence Awards last week. It’s recognition for new product design in the outdoor furniture and accessories industry. I saw some great stuff! My favorites (shown here from left to right–these also ended up being winners): the Janus et Cie Forest chair (we didn’t know the manufacturers when we were doing the judging), the totally fun Emu Re-Trouve chair, the elegant Gloster Elan dining chair, the Neoteric Home chaise with a super-cool hydraulic device that allows a lounger to adjust positions without getting up; and the Rock Wood Cove modular day bed, which I saw in a lovely grey/white weave (shown here in a more typical chocolate brown). Other judges were Julie deLeon, designer and garden division manager of Chicago Specialty Gardens (we just shot one of her outdoor spaces for publication next fall), and John West of JW Landscapes (see a rooftop marvel of his we published here.

9 years
ago

 

Tour Time

Dozens of rain-slicker-yellow lawn signs pop up every autumn in my neighborhood, and by now I don’t even have to read them to know that this means it’s time for another Edgewater Home Tour, organized each September by the Edgewater Historical Society. I walk my dog all over the ‘hood and love to look in the windows at night to critique paint colors, window treatments, etc., so it’s great fun to snoop around inside the spacious old houses, picking up design ideas and comparing notes. This year the walking tour is Sunday, Sept. 21 from noon to four, $25 admission, and it kicks off at the church at 6200 N. Glenwood, where you’ll get a map of the participants to lead you around at your own pace. The weather is supposed to rock, so I’m thinking maybe post-tour margaritas on the cute back patio at Cocina de Frida’s.

9 years
ago

 

Wine, Preserved


Geoff Daly, who owns a company that sells wine preserving systems to restaurants, called to tell me about his new home system. The N2Vin uses nitrogen gas and temperature control to keep five bottles of wine fresh for up to a month. Open bottles don’t last very long in our house, but we did think this little guy was stylish and practical for oenophiles who like to do tastings or flights at home. The company is based in Holland, Michigan, and is looking for a distributor in the Chicago area. Until then, you can buy from the company direct. 

9 years
ago

 

A Trio of Tastemakers

I went to a swell cocktail party recently at Lumen to celebrate the first of three finalists Nate Berkus chose in the Basil Hayden’s Tastemakers Design Chicago competition. The event was a joint presentation of Chicago Home + Garden and Out magazines, and Basil Hayden’s bourbon. The gal of the evening was Sarah Tranum (pictured above with her entry), a Chicago design grad student who has envisioned a curvilinear lounge chair that evokes the BH packaging (that’s the criteria for the contest—design whatever you want, but use Basil Hayden’s as the inspiration). The other two finalists will be feted at events coming up at Stone Lotus (RSVP here) and Angels and Kings, before Berkus puts the prototypes up for a vox populi judging on Oct. 16 at Crimson Lounge, over at the Hotel Sax. The bad weather didn’t stop the stylin’ crowd from coming out for fun Basil Hayden’s cocktails and passed pupus. I chatted with Project Runway alum Steven Rosengard, Oscar Tatosian from Oscar Isberian Rugs , Anthony Almaguer and Steven Burgert from I.D., and my neighbor Bryan Lump, who designed a table that earned him one of the other two finalist slots. His wife is hoping he wins, so they can spend the $10K prize on fixing up their basement. 

Photography by Frank Failing

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