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Design Dose

April 2008

12 years
ago

 

Totes to Love

In our May/June issue you will read about one of my favorite shops, Asrai Garden in Wicker Park. But here’s a little something that landed in my InBox after we went to press. These totes from Patch NYC, available exclusively at Asrai in Chicago, will make as fun a statement thrown over your shoulder on a Sunday afternoon at the flea market as they will hanging from a hook or storing magazines in your house.

Photo courtesy of Asrai Garden

12 years
ago

 

Wall of Fame


I was over at interior designer Todd Haley’s house/design lab to interview him for a story for Chicago Home + Garden, and he showed me a terrific wall treatment he came up with for a hallway. I hesitate to call it a “treatment” because it’s more of just a novel approach to hanging artwork, but it reads almost like paneling, or wallpaper. He framed a portfolio of antique prints in identical black frames and put them up with plain-old carpet tape, butting them against each other to cover the whole wall. It’ll involve some measuring angst, but I think it’s a sharp, tailored look that freshens up what could easily seem too Merchant-Ivory drawing room.

12 years
ago

 

Plumbing Issues


So I’m in the shower, and on the way to hot, the faucet falls off in my hand. Literally. I ring the super, who can fix anything and looks like Schneider (it’s like our own One Day at a Time around here at the highrise), but he’s not available. It’s all fun and games ’til you have to venture out into the big, bad world and find a fix yourself. It’s a small part inside the faucet that requires replacement, something—as I learn at Home Depot—they don’t sell separately. “You may have to open the wall,” says the helpful Depot-er. And who makes this fixture anyway? I remodeled the bath, and think it’s Groehe, but there’s no signage, number…nada. The contractor has no record. (Note to self: write this stuff down and keep a file long after the project is complete!). I head to Community Home Supply. The “question desk” is full of crack professionals who are stumped. (Great place to order bath accoutrements by the way.) They send me home to take a snap of the part that remains in the wall. I return. They think they discover a discontinued model that matches. Then, out from the secret and sacred files, comes The Card. I’m directed to the Godfather of all parts, The Faucet Shoppe. One step inside the store and Norman Miller, third generation “shoppe” keeper, has found the part (in an opened and thus discounted box to boot) for $40! His warehouse is filled to the rafters with replacement parts from toilet covers to vintage fixtures. May not seem like a sexy stop on the interior decorating tour, but for me, it’s heaven!

12 years
ago

 

Bronze Age


Copper is the new stainless. What a cool hue! I saw it on a new Weber gas grill (called the Summit E-420) the other day at a lunch sponsored by the Chicago-based company. (Poor people…it was snowing, and they had planned an outdoor cooking demo. Special guest and cookbook author/chef Jamie Purviance valiantly carried on.) I’d love to see their adorable little Char Q tailgater in some fun colors.

Photo courtesy of Weber

12 years
ago

 

Landscaping Lowdown

 


 


I recently moderated a panel discussion at the Merchandise Mart about “exterior design.” The audience was filled with interior designers and the panel consisted of: Judi Cunningham, an interior designer whose business is called Chez Jolie (see photo of terrace decked out in white); John West, an exterior designer with an expertise in urban landscaping and the owner of JW Landscapes (see photo of rooftop deck in Old Town); and Stephen Prassas, a landscape architect and owner of Prassas Landscape Studio (see photo of Japanese-inspired Roscoe Village yard). It was all very informative for a condo-dwelling city girl whose last contact with soil was a tomato plant proudly harvested in the fifth grade. Here’s what people said:

Cunningham reminded us of the importance of maintaining continuity between the interior and the exterior design of a home so that you don’t look out the window and see something completely incongruous.

West warned us about the kind of havoc Mother Nature can wreak on your rooftop deck if your furniture isn’t well secured or heavy enough. During last year’s storms, one of his clients had a brand new set of tables and chairs fly straight off his roof onto more than one neighbors’ car. Motto of the story: If you can, seek advice from a professional before plopping a bunch of stuff on your rooftop. (But remember—even the pros can’t make guarantees; did you know that landscape architects lay awake on stormy nights worrying about their clients’ yards? This I learned today. Poor things!) West also reminded us that when decorating outdoor spaces, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to sets—with so much furniture to choose from, we should mix it up, just like we do in our living rooms.

Prassas reminded us of how the elements of an outdoor space compare with those of an indoor space. Outside, he said, our walls are buildings, shrubs, trees, fences, and views; our floors are stone, gravel, lawn, and plants; our ceilings are sky, tree canopies, and pergola tops; and our lighting is the sun, moon, stars, and reflections, along with landscape lighting. Kind of makes you think about your outside space in a whole different way, huh?

OK, I’m ready to move beyond that tomato plant now.

Photos: Roscoe Village, courtesy Prassas; Old Town, courtesy West; Terrace, courtesy Cunningham

12 years
ago

 

Studio 41 in Naperville

Studio 41 just opened a 5,000-square-foot kitchen and bath showroom at Design Pointe in Naperville. This is great news for area suburbanites who won’t have to burn all that gas traveling into the city for their cabinets and faucets. But the little nugget that had the rest of us raising our eyebrows is that the store offers a price-match guarantee. So be sure to know the best prices on the market before visiting. In addition to carrying brands like Toto, Hansgrohe, Omega Cabinetry, and Jeld-wen, the company offers design services. We could definitely see ourselves soaking in this Naos spa tub from BainUltra.

12 years
ago

 

Color Therapy


I’m driving down Halsted in Boystown. It’s dark, and most shops are tucked in for the night. Gotta get gas before I head home. I’m literally running on luck. I notice a glow up ahead. Seems to be coming through the windows of I.D. Steven Burgert’s bastion of cutting-edge home design and eyewear. Alien landing? No—a crazy coat of paint. A Tiffany-blue back wall has transformed the whole store and left me stone-cold stopped in the middle of the block (’til a beep restores me to reality). I’m known to guess Ben Moore names right off the walls of most places for sport, but this… this I must add to my palette. So obsessed. I leave a voicemail. They ring with the scoop: It’s “Fountain” by Sherwin Williams. Gotta go paint my bedroom immediately!

A few days later, inspiration strikes again at the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Art Institute. There is something magical about the way the paintings pop from their painted backdrops in the exhibit halls. Phone please! Is there a method to the madness of picking these colors? Indeed there is, according to Judith Barter, Field-McCormick Chair of the Department of American Art, who enhanced her Hopper with shades that she describes as “sympathetic to the paintings.” She warns that while these moody hues (Benjamin Moore’s “Evening Dove,” the rich navy behind Nighthawks, 1942, and “Seafoam,” the greener blue behind Western Motel, 1957) may work on big gallery walls, they may be too intense for one’s home. I say mix a batch at 50 percent; it will cut the depth a bit, while giving you the same rich shade. Solitude, introspection, and a can of Ben M. Yum!

Edward Hopper photos courtesy of the Art Institute

12 years
ago

 

Stockholm Objects’ new location

  


We just got a note from the ladies at Stockholm Objects in Hinsdale that they have moved into a larger space and expanded their selection of home design (they also carry clothes). This means if you are willing to make the trek out to Hinsdale you will be rewarded with a fab selection of Scandinavian home goods. (Live in Hinsdale? Go now!) You’ll find accessories like the cool Block lamp, $125, and Tablo tray table, $159, (both by the Swedish company Design House Stockholm) and lots of clean-lined dinnerware and kitchen utensils. 39 S. Washington St., 630-655-0966. 

Photo credit: Photos from stockholmobjects.com

12 years
ago

 

Leontine Linens

 
  

It’s spring (officially). In a matter of weeks we’ll be cleaning out our kitchen drawers, preparing for Kentucky Derby parties, folding up wool blankets, and laying out bright tablecloths. And what better way to usher in the new season than with heirloom-inspired customized bedding, towels, and tabletop from the Old South? Leontine Linens was founded by Kentucky native Jane Scott Hodges in New Orleans and is best known for its bespoke bedding and 20th-century Southern style. We love Leontine for bolstering the monogram trend we’ve been tracking for the past year, but make no mistake—Leontine is no passing fad. In fact, all of its offerings are made-to-order so you can pass down the family heirlooms you never inherited from your waspy great grandmother.

Alas, since Leontine Linens is represented exclusively by Bergdorf Goodman in New York and its only showrooms are located in Atlanta and New Orleans, it’s been rather hard to get our hands on these divine linens here. That might be why we’re a little too excited about the company’s Chicago trunk show. Stop in to see the entire Spring 2008 collection April 1 to 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 73 East Elm St., 4A; 917-513-9579, hosted by the local sales rep for Charlotte Brody, a high-end women’s fashion outpost known for its luxurious threads. How appropriate.

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