Design, Decorate, Style – Let’s Get Started!

Hello! It’s been a very busy last few months and I haven’t written any new blogs entries since August 2016. Rutro! Thankfully I’ve been able to show work on Instagram and making quick posts on Facebook and Twitter.

We’re working on some really fun projects and have new clients coming in and that’s so exciting – design projects make the world go round! This has inspired me to get back into the habit of writing about the work I do. I want to let new clients get to know me, encourage current clients to stay true to the design plan, and for former clients to remember good times we had sipping Moscow Mule cocktails while watching paint dry. All of the topics I cover are inspired by real clients, real situations, and real projects.

Being able to design, decorate, and style your home in a way that is uniquely in harmony with your life and lifestyle can be done on almost any budget. The basis is in a well thought out plan giving consideration to everyone who will use the space and then sticking to that plan and budget. We make that happen with the key basic concepts and approach that I use in every design project to create beautiful spaces.  The blogs in this series will be a new topic each where we’ll talk about everything like choosing a color scheme, window treatments, lighting, and then address the specifics about living areas, bedrooms, the kitchen, and bathrooms.

We’re going to start by discussing the fundamental elements build a basis for the look or style we’re trying to achieve. How do you want to feel in your space? What does this space to say about you? We’ll also go into how the fundamental principles guide us in our relationship and how we experience our space. How do you feel, or how do you want to feel, when you’re in this space?

Sounds like a lot to keep track of, but once you get started and are focused, it gets easier. Each decision you make is the basis for the next decision you’ll make. We’ll go through this process to create a cohesive interior that is uniquely yours and you’ll love it.

HGTV Renovation Raiders
HGTV Renovation Raiders

I’m looking forward to sharing all of this with you and if you’d like to share your projects with me please do so!

xo Jennifer

Mexican Street Corn

Today’s post doesn’t have anything to with interior design. I’m just feeling obsessed with sweet corn and wanted to see if anyone else was too. We picked up some corn at the farmers market on Sunday and I found myself longing for a set of corn on the cob butter dishes just like the ones grandma used to have. I’m from Indiana and corn is part of my DNA. When we moved to Chicago we discovered the joy of Elotes which is Mexican Street Corn and served by vendors at the parks and festivals. The corn is loaded up with butter, paprika, grated cotija cheese, and a touch of fresh squeezed lime juice – YUM. I found a recipe on Seriouseats.com and am sharing it just in case you don’t want to freestyle this delicious summer treat. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who is my favorite writer at the website, shares his recipe and his beautiful photos guaranteed to make you drool.


How To Make Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

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This is the best way to serve corn, period.

I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s one I’ve backed up with years of detailed scientific studies into the eating habits of my wife and the occasional friend or neighbor. I’ve calculated to several decimal places exactly how much faster the average ear of corn cooked in this manner disappears from the table and down the gullet of an unsuspecting dinner guest than an ear of corn cooked through other means, cross-referencing and controlling for seasonality, the °Bx of the corn, and the starting appetite of the diner. I’ve conducted blind, double-blind, and even triple blind* taste tests and ran the results through sophisticated analysis algorithms I had specially programmed.

*That’s when even the corn doesn’t know it’s being eaten.

As luck would have it, I’ve since lost all of this data in an unfortunate diving accident (note: never attempt to free dive without rubber pants your size), but believe me when I tell you that I have rigorously proven this corn to be more delicious than any other.

Don’t believe me? Just try out this recipe risk-free. If you are in anyway unsatisfied, I offer a 100 percent, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee.*

*Cost of time, ingredients, internet connection fees, paper, printer ink, gas, coal, cooking equipment, beers, or any other costs with actual monetary value not included.

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The basic premise is to start out with really great grilled corn, already unarguably* one of the most delicious things on the face of the planet. There are many ways to grill corn, but in this case, you want to go with fully shucked cobs, cooked directly over very hot coals. If all goes well, the corn should be completely cooked through just as it begins to char, rendering each kernel bursting with sweet juice with a rich, nutty flavor from the toasting.

*To the wiseguy trying to argue with the unarguable right now: you’re fooling no one.

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Next up, you’ll want to combine a few more delicious things together. Cotija cheese, crumbled finely (if you can’t find it, a good crumbly feta will do well), Mexican crema (or sour cream), mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, and powdered chili.

There are those strange folks out there who can’t seem to stomach mayonnaise or mayonnaise-slathered food. To those, I would first suggest attempting to try to start thinking about finding more joy in your life, then immediately follow it up by filling their mouths with deliciously saucy grilled corn before they can begin to argue otherwise.

The most delicious thing about all those delicious ingredients is that they become even more delicious when you combine them all together into a creamy sauce.

Want to know how to take what’s already more delicious and turn it into something that’s more than more delicious? Slather more delicious item A over more delicious item B to create more more delicious item C.

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A + B = C, but magically, C > A + B. That’s the magic of synergy in foods, and it comes out in spades in this recipe. The final result is sweet, salty, savory, creamy, nutty, and—with the help of a squeeze of lime—tart. To my mind, it’s the very best way to get a taste of summer. Gloriously drippy, fat-smothered summer.

When I make corn like this, I plan on at least an ear and a half per person, though realistically, it’s better to go with two, it’s that darn delicious.

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And if you’re in the mood for something a bit more demure, you can always go the fork-and-plate route by making esquites, a close cousin to this dish, and equally delicious.*

*How can the most delicious way to eat corn be just as delicious as a different way to eat corn? Because they’re both the most delicious way. Just go with it.

GET THE RECIPE


 

Can’t grill your corn? No worries. Grab some sweet savings at Le Creuset and shop the Sweet Corn Set now discounted to just $140.

Fresh Picked Sweet Corn

OhMyGoodness! Those little corn dishes are so cute!

xo Jennifer


 

About Le Creuset:
For nearly a century, Le Creuset has focused on providing real, compelling experiences in the kitchen. Our mission is simply to produce the world’s finest premium cookware for all those who are passionate about food.
Founded in 1925 in the small town of Fresnoy-Le-Grand in Northern France, Le Creuset continues to produce all enameled cast iron cookware under the same roof in the original foundry. Our artisans employ a 12-step finishing process implemented by 15 different pairs of hands to ensure that our cast iron cookware meets the highest of standards and that it will last a lifetime.
From our original signature enameled cast iron cookware, Le Creuset has grown to offer products across a range of materials and categories including a range of premium stoneware cookware and bakeware products, high performance tri-ply stainless steel and forged hard anodized cookware lines, teakettles, stockpots, and silicone tools and accessories.
Today, Le Creuset is sold in more than 60 countries and is the cookware of choice for all of those who love to cook, from the novice to the most experienced chef.

 

Decoding Similar Design Motifs: Eclectic vs. Transitional

One of my very first clients took me down the rabbit hole of eclectic design style. Like Alice, she was always off on an adventure, and had spent her life collecting everything from political mementos, childrens trophies, weekends in Benton Harbor, travels across the country, and she saved it all! It was recovered, repurposed, reworked and given a new life. When the time came for she and her husband to downsize from their sprawling suburban home to a chic lakeshore address we had a lot of inventory to go through. We also had to make new furniture purchases because the smaller condo would not accommodate the previous large scale furniture. In order to blend both worlds, we brought in a lot of transitional style items.

In order to make the finishes updates in her new condo, because “builders grade” was not going to work in this space, I turned to the team at ProSource to gather materials together and get the best pricing. From the quirky eclectic to more functional transitional, I was able find the perfect flooring, cabinets, cabinet hardware I needed.

Read below to see how it’s done.


 

Decoding Similar Design Motifs Eclectic vs Transitional 1

Eclectic style bravely rewrites the rules of design, mixing old and new, inviting bold and subtle elements to live harmoniously side-by-side. If you enjoy browsing antique sales and fall in love with rescue mutts, the eclectic style is for you.

By the same token, transitional style also dares to be different, but in a casual, tailored way that speaks of understated elegance. If you don’t believe in saving your wedding china for special occasions and you’re not afraid to wear opera length pearls with faded jeans, the transitional style is for you.

Before you decide which your preference is, read on to decode the differences in these two popular design trends and get to the bottom of what makes each of them unique.

Colors

Eclectic: An eclectic design is based in a neutral backdrop, but uses a surprising pop of color to set the stage for your unique style. Pair bright colors with pale pastels, mix and match shades of the same color, or keep your palette a basic black and white.

Transitional: Transitional style starts with warm neutrals; think cream, taupe, tan, khaki, or gray. Add a touch of a darker shade, such as chocolate or espresso brown, to ground your palette.

Fabrics

Eclectic: Texture is an important element in an eclectic design. And eclectic rooms juxtapose smooth and rough textures harmoniously. But there is no hard and fast rule about which textures or fabrics work best. Choose what appeals to you and let your unique style shine through.

Transitional: The transitional design palette loves coarsely woven fabrics. Natural fibers such as leather, sisal, burlap, chenille and rattan have tactile appeal and will fit in well. Just remember to stick to a limited number of textures so as not to overwhelm your space. Elegance is an essential element of this style.

Decoding Similar Design Motifs Eclectic vs Transitional 2

Furniture

Eclectic: Choose a few fundamental pieces to anchor your space, and pick repeatable shapes to carry throughout a room: start with a round ottoman and side tables, then add round mirrors and frames. Throw in a contrasting shape – a modern rectangular desk, for example – for balance. Furniture is another way to tell your unique story; turn an antique ceramic urn into a side table or your great-grandfather’s work cabinet into a modern-day curio.

Transitional: Transitional furnishings have crisp profiles and straightforward style. A mix of gentle curves and rigid lines mix well together in a transitional room and work to create positive energy. Look for updated versions of antique styled furnishings and be sure to keep the scale large enough to feel inviting and the seating comfortable enough to sink into without a second thought.

Cabinets, Countertops And Fixtures

Eclectic: Stick with granite or marble countertops to add elegance, or choose concrete or stainless steel for a trendier look in an eclectic kitchen. A colorful mosaic tile backsplash adds a pop of color. And don’t be afraid to mix cabinet finishes for a modern touch.

Transitional: Blend traditional wood or stone with modern stainless steel, or pair paneled cabinetry with minimalist hardware. Transitional style borrows from other design aesthetics: an apron-front sink from a cottage-style perhaps. What doesn’t work here is ornate millwork or painted tiles. A transitional kitchen relies on more contemporary touches.

The Extras

Eclectic: Eclectic design is all about you. The accessories with which you fill your room should tell your unique story. The wagon wheel you confiscated from your trip down south when you got lost and had to hitchhike your way back to civilization; the signed print a sidewalk artist presented you with in exchange for that novel under your arm when you stopped to ask for directions; the wine caddy-turned-plant stand from your first date. Frame your favorite albums and faded concert posters for a peak into your past.

Transitional: Transitional design lacks ornamentation, preferring instead a simple purity of form. Strong, clean lines rules here. Your artwork is unadorned and your lighting is functional. Less is more in a transitional room, and as a judicious editor of accessories, you place only necessary elements in your space. But that doesn’t mean you can’t show off your own unique style, it’s just a subtler way of doing so.


I’d love to hear about your eclectic and transitional projects! Please comment below or join in the conversation on our Hyman Interiors Facebook page.

xo Jennifer

How To Buy Furniture For Small Outdoor Spaces

Decorating a city balcony or deck can be a daunting exercise when it comes to outdoor decor ideas. Don’t stress! Grab a measuring tape, pencil, and pad of paper and do a little planning before heading out to the stores. Also, be sure to employ a couple of my favorite design tricks.

  1. Layer the ambient lighting with an over head source like an outdoor chandelier or decorative string lights, beautiful table lighting like candles in hurricane glass, and ground lighting using solar powered pathway lights.
  2. Decorate up! The sky is the limit, literally, so don’t forget to attach outdoor decor on walls, hang outdoor curtains, or affix balcony planters to add some foliage and color.

RST Brands has this advice for getting the look you want in the space you have.


Survey the Space

The best thing you can do to begin is to clear the area completely, removing any furniture that might already be present, or any items you’re currently storing there. Once empty, you can get a good idea of what you’re working with. Stand in the space and look at it from different angles—sometimes changing your perspective is just what you need to get inspiration. It is important at this time to measure the area so you know exactly how much room you have. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a piece of outdoor furniture, only to bring it home and find it doesn’t fit.

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Endless possibilities are available with the Deco 4 Piece Sectional and Table Set. Stunning and comfortable, it’s perfect for gathering friends, solo afternoons spent curled up with a book, or whatever your imagination can throw its way.

Know What You Want
It’s beneficial to have an idea of the purpose you want this outdoor space to serve. Are you looking for a comfortable place to relax after a long day at work, or one that is meant for hosting friends and family for dinner parties and other gatherings. Browse through decorating magazines and look around online. Keep track of anything that catches your eye. Knowing what direction you want to go in will prevent you from blindly wandering through a store and feeling overwhelmed by all of the options available, or purchasing something you will regret.

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Perfect for smaller nooks, the folding café table set is a great addition to your outdoor space for hosting parties and other events. The chairs fold up for easy storage, and makes a great solution for parties and gatherings. A portable addition to your patio furniture that doesn’t sacrifice on durability or comfort. Materials are made to withstand the elements and require little maintenance, but never compromise on long-lasting quality.

Choose Multipurpose Pieces
If you’re working with a small space, finding furniture pieces that can serve double duty is essential. Ottomans are wonderful for offering seating, a place for storage, and also an extra place to set food or drinks.

Stay Sleek and Simple
It’s easy to get caught up in the beauty of a nine-piece dining set that could comfortably accommodate you and all of your closest friends, but you might want to consider steering clear of these larger pieces. That’s because a large set could actually make your backyard feel cramped. The simpler the piece of furniture, the less space it will take up, ultimately making your space appear larger, and giving you more room for other items. Consider purchasing a few bar tables that can be pushed together and surrounded by as many bar stools as needed.

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Think Outside the Box
The best thing you can do when working with a small outdoor space is to think outside the box. If you can’t find furniture that fits your needs in the store, look at the items you already have in your backyard and see if you can repurpose them to fit your needs. A tree stump or large stone could serve as seating, for example.

There’s Always Pinterest
When in need of ideas, you can always turn to Pinterest for inspiration!

Finding furniture to fit a small outdoor space can be difficult, but once you find the perfect pieces, it will all be worth it. Now that you know what to do, get busy and turn that space you previously thought was unusable into something amazing!

For further inspiration, check out RST Brands’ selection of patio furniture and take advantage of the Father’s Day Sale! Get up to 30% off from Flowwall.com from June 9-13. Use coupon code: FWDAD16


Do you have big plans to share your small space with Dad for Father’s Day this weekend? Tell us about it in the comments below or on Facebookhttp://www.rstbrands.com/.

xo Jennifer


How To Pick The Right Light Fixture For Your Home

Interior Designer, Jill Cordner has joined one of my favorite blogs, Dot & Bo as one of their Style Mavens. She has a very informative post and several tips on how to select the perfect light fixture for space and make sure you have stylish, well lit room. One of the most important features of

Shop Dot & Bo to save up to 60% off!


 

How To Pick The Right Light Fixture For Your Home

1. Don’t forget about wattage

When shopping for light fixtures, it can be easy to get swept up in the style of the piece rather than the actual function. If you have tons of recessed lighting the decorative fixtures can be purely that.  But, if these fixtures are the main source of illumination in the room you need to pay attention to wattage.

A beautiful low wattage Edison bulb will look great with your industrial modern interior, but be sure that you have other light sources to do the heavy lifting.

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Photo Credit: via Jill Cordner

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Photo Credit: via Dot & Bo

Jill recommends at least 120 watts around your vanity in your bathroom, 120 watts for a small bedroom (10’x10’), and 150-200 watts for a larger room (20’x20’). Installing a dimmer switch gives you options and saves energy.  She loves adding dimmers even in entries, hallways and bathrooms.  Who doesn’t love mood lighting?

2. Think about your ceiling height

We absolutely adore the look of a hanging pendant light or chandelier, but it’s important to be realistic about how they’ll function in your space. If you have an 8’ ceiling you will probably only want to use a hanging fixture if it is over a bed or table, otherwise you run the risk of hitting your head on it.

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Photo Credit: via Dot & Bo

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Photo Credit: via Dot & Bo

A typical doorway sits about 6’8” in height, so you don’t want a fixture that goes past that level. So, if you have an eight-foot ceiling, this gives you only a little over a foot of suspension for your lighting. For situations like these, Jill recommends a Semi Flush light fixture.

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Photo Credit: via Jill Cordner

Terms to Know:

  • Surface Mount Light Fixture – a fixture that sits on the ceiling
  • Pendant or Chandelier – lighting that is suspended from the ceiling
  • Semi Flush – An in-between lighting that sits about a foot or so away from the ceiling

3. Pay attention to direction

If you’re anything like us, you’re obsessed with farmhouse-style light fixtures. These industrial pieces sport exposed bulbs below beautiful patina’d shades and give us that country charm we love. Unfortunately, these beautiful designs may not always be practical for our homes.

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Photo Credit: via Jill Cordner

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Photo Credit: via Jill Cordner

Jill advises that you pay attention to the direction of your fixture. These farmhouse-style pendant lights shed light straight down and can be a bit harsh when not used correctly. They’re perfect when hung low over an island, but not so much when shining down from a high ceiling onto a living room.

Calculations:

Jill not only knows what to look for when it comes to wattage, direction, and ceiling height, but she also has specific calculations that you can use to pick a light fixture for your home.

  1. General Room Ratio

Add the width of your room to the length of your room. Then, take the total and use that as the diameter of your light fixture. For example, say you have a 10’x10’ room. You’d add the dimension together to get 20 feet. Changing the feet to inches, your result is a diameter of 20 inches. A light fixture with this dimension will work well within this space.

Room Light Calculations

Photo Credit: via Dot & Bo

  1. Dining Room

When there’s a dining table involved, you’ll want to take that into account as well. All you have to do is take ½ or ¾ of the table’s width and use that as the diameter for your light fixture. Of course, if you choose a more rectangular fixture, the length can be a lot longer than just ½ the width of your table.

Dining Table Light Calculation

Photo Credit: via Dot & Bo

Picking a light fixture that is both stylish and functional can be a challenge, but with these designer secrets you’ll be able to find the perfect illumination for your home.


Let us know what styles light up your life in the comments below or by visiting our Facebook page.

xo Jennifer

 


Drapes and Curtains – Not Just For Windows!

When designing the overall look of a space, many individuals overlook window treatments. Some of you might have not changed your current drapes or curtains in years, not contemplating about the way they can shape your living space in addition to being functional. While there are many styles to choose from they all serve a certain purpose. Depending on your choice of treatment, you can achieve a wide variety different aesthetic looks to suit your style without compromising functionality.

Window Treatments Nook Area

Window treatments provide privacy and climate control, keeping prying eyes and seasonal temperatures from invading your space. Having window treatments also saves you money in the long run. Better climate control means a lower energy bill, and when closed, window treatments can protect your furniture and floor from UV damage and fading, (yay for being thrifty)! Protect your hard-labored design work while still adding to the look and feel of your space.

There are a lot of ways in which adding drapes or curtains can change the look of your room. Checkout the tip below from Ballard Designs to change the look for your windows through the use of drapes. Depending on how the drapes are hung over the frames of the window, you can change the overall aesthetic of your window to add either more height or more depth without making major renovations.

Window Treaments Placement

Curtains can also come in handy in other areas of your space. To create a more open atmosphere, replace doors with curtains to open up the area. If you’ve got open storage closets, cover up with a curtain to allow access but still hide away all your not-so-beautiful junk. This budget- friendly technique can be used anywhere you would like to create a sense of separation or privacy. Think of curtains as accessories to your home, able to add pops of color and pattern to any room. So next time you gleefully step into Ikea, don’t mosey on by the window department, you could find something amazing to truly transform your space!

Window Treatment Bed Window Treatment Closet

So we know how the addition of window treatments can add to your interior decor, but how do you choose which treatments are best for your space and what should you look for? There are two main window treatments that can add visual intrigue to your décor.

Drapes are the first, these are often made of thick heavy material, and block out large amounts of UV light. Drapes typically fall from the top of the window or higher and hang all the way to the floor, sometimes with extra fabric to sweep onto the floor for added drama. Drapes can be hung from rods above the window and are usually pulled back with cords or ribbons.

Window Treatment Doorway

Curtains are the second option, these are made from a lighter material and block out less light than drapes. Curtains can be sheer and light, and are often hung from rods over the window with mobile hooks to allow the curtain to be pulled open or closed. A sheer curtain can also be used underneath drapes, to add the option of filtering less or more light while still adding privacy.

Window Treatment Decorative

Drapes and curtains can be used to enhance a room in the same way furniture can. Your choice of texture, color and style, can be a great way to add extra oomph to your décor. Window treatments can also be customized with the addition of decorative rods, brackets and finials. Using tiebacks and a wall mounted hook to pull your drapes back is also an easy way to add some extra style and finishing touches to your design. These little extra details will make a huge difference and are easy to switch out when re-decorating. If you need a few more tips and advice, check out these questions from Real Simple to ask yourself while picking out treatments!


How are you incorporating drapes and curtains in your interior design?

xo Amanda!

 

Memorial day sale 15% off Ruffle Curtains - https://besthomefashion.com

The Importance of Materials, Scale, Color, and Texture

It’s inevitable that I get asked, before I get hired, “What’s your style?” and the answer is always, “Whatever your style is. I’m going to bring out the best of your style in your home.” The next comment is usually, “I hope I’m not going to be your worst client because I don’t know what my style is.”

Style is so subjective and trends and fads are fleeting. The best style for your home is to fill your space full of the things you love. You can have a home full of big comfy couches and still rock a Rothko print on the wall. Be you and be you in a fabulous way!

I bring this up because I want to show some photos from a recent article in Home & Decoration on the genius who is Anthony Michael. His focus is not on “style” – it’s on materials, scale, color, texture. How can you use these attributes in your interior design projects? It’s all in the details. Have fun and be fearless in your decorating!


 

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael grew from the vision and creativity of its principal and founder, Mr. Anthony Michael. For over 25 years he has brought high-status clients across the country a unique perspective and uncommon level of attention and service. He creates interiors that are meaningful and unique expressions of a client’s personality and style.

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael

Since 1983, interior specialist, Anthony Michael, has brought influential clients around the world a universal perspective and unsurpassed level of taste, attention, style and service.

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael

The firm, spearheaded by Anthony Michael, specializes in classical, contemporary and eclectic interior design for residences, specialty restaurants and retail, yachts, and private aircraft from his interior design studio.

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael

An extensive knowledge of architecture, art and design history gathered from both life experiences and travels around the world, as well as an education at the acclaimed L’Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris adds dimension to his work.

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael

Anthony Michael has been the recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the prestigious Designer of the Year and Retail Designer of the Year from the renowned Chicago Tribune.

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael

His projects continue to garner rave reviews for their ingenious use of space, planning, colors and textures, not to mention his unsurpassed style and white-glove client service.

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael

Anthony Michael and his dynamic team continue to be the design firm of choice to Chicago’s most influential and discerning residents.

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael

Anthony Michael has been the way to go when to comes to luxury design for so long and never lets you down.

Chicago’s Interior Designer Anthony Michael


 

xo Jennifer!

Open Up: Creating Spacious Rooms From Small Spaces

Just finished up a client meeting about taking out a wall in his Chicago Bungalow that will allow for a more spacious entry way and resolve the issue of an awkward layout created by a previous owner’s remodel. Also on the wish list is additional closet space and a more functional living room area. Over the next few months we’ll go through the process and possibly see how interior design of this nature could work for you.

I just recently finished a project where we took down an awkward wall that was intended to separate the space between the family room and the office but was really only successful in being … awkward. Now the separation between the spaces is accomplished by placing a rug on the floor, furniture space plan, and lighting plan. I PROMISE photos are coming soon and I’ll get a portfolio posted. By using design rather than architecture in situations like this the homeowner can save time and money while achieving a functional space.

It’s so important to be able to determine the where and why before tearing down or building up the space.


 

Prosource has a great blog post with how and why open spaces work. I’ve added in a few pictures and comments to the original.

Open Up: Creating Spacious Rooms From Small Spaces

One of the most popular trends of the past few decades has been in floor plan design. Our homes have transformed from closed off to open rooms that flow from space to space, providing more light, and more flexibility in both design and task orientation.

Open Floor Plan Dream, Not Reality
Open Floor Plan Dream, Not Reality

And even with the latest trend in building tiny homes and living in smaller footprints, the idea of open, more fluid spaces doesn’t show signs of changing.

Open Floor Plan Dining and Kitchen
Bedroom became the kitchen, living room became the dining room.

Even – especially – the smallest of footprints requires a design that invites light and provides an open feeling suggesting a larger space.

Why Open Up

The benefits of an open floor plan can’t be overlooked. From easier entertaining to greater use, there are many.

But this friendly design also comes with its challenges; organizing, keeping space tidy and privacy top that list. A lack of wall space for framed art, as well as outlets for electricity are also cause for concern. And concealing wires can be difficult.

All the first floor bedrooms were removed to really open up this bungalow.
All the first floor bedrooms were removed to really open up this bungalow.

How To Get The Open Feel

Interior designers have tricks to make a small room feel much more spacious. If knocking down walls isn’t an option for you, try a few of these to add the appearance of space without adding privacy or organization issues.

Living Room
The hallway wall wasn’t load bearing so it was taken out to open up the living room.
  • A touch of glass. Using glass is a great way to open up a space. Remove some of your cabinet doors or replace the solid fronts with glass. And use mirrors to reflect light. Add a large mirror to one wall of your room or replace solid closet doors with mirrored doors to maximize the look of space.
  • Show some leg. Small-scale, lightweight furnishings with exposed legs will make a room feel more spacious.
  • See it through. Replace heavier window treatments with sheer or translucent varieties that provide some level of privacy while still allowing light in.
  • Park it. Use an appliance garage to conceal coffeemakers, toasters, and other small appliances while keeping them easy to access for food prep.
  • Go horizontal. Horizontal stripes work in a room the same way they work on a person – adding width. What might work against you in clothing can work for you in a small space. Choose area rugs with stripes that run from side to side, rather than following the length of a room. Wall coverings or painted walls with horizontal stripes will work in much the same way.
  • Be reflective. Reflective surfaces such as ceramic tile, marble and stainless steel amplify the effects of natural and artificial light while improving functionality.
  • The Hub System. In our media-driven world, catching up on the day’s news during dinner is not only acceptable, it’s expected. One way to do that is to create a hub that makes it easy to complete all of your tasks in one room. Our kitchens come equipped with TVs and computers, and our living rooms are open to the kitchen so that the cook can mingle with the rest of the family.

Search for inspiration images and the hottest trends in flooring. Gather what you like, then discuss it with your interior design professional to move forward on your renovation.

Opening up your floor plan and creating larger rooms to live in accomplishes more than just added floor space and light. It adds to the feeling of community, allows for the ease of multitasking and fosters a sense of togetherness like never before.

Open up your home with some of the tricks here, and see where your new sense of space takes you.


Share your comments or concerns regarding opening up a space in the comments and of course, if you want to make this your reality, please contact us.

xo Jennifer!

 

5 Great Tips to Style a Bookshelf

While bookcases are great for displaying books, your cluttered shelf of paperbacks might be bringing down your home’s vibe. Give your book-space a makeover with these easy tips to create a bookshelf display even your high-school librarian would be envious of. Bookshelves are pieces created with the sole purpose of holding onto your beloved collection of literature and trinkets. While they are prime storage spots, they can also be used to create eye-catching displays of unique objects, décor and visual masterpieces. Here are some things to keep in mind when decorating your bookshelf.

Bookshelf with Grass Cloth Back

Think about your passions. What do you have that brings you joy, that impels you to share it with anyone who enters your home. Think of these items when designing a bookcase; allow what you love to take the center of attention, whether it is family photos, a sculpture, or souvenirs from a trip. Use these pieces when assembling a display on a shelf and let them guide the overall look. Group similar items together, use objects that are complementary in color or shape and allow them to work alongside each other just like you would with other décor in your home.

Book Shelf with Personal Items

Ditch the idea of symmetry. Creating eye-catching shelf displays doesn’t have to be perfect. Go with some contrasting sizes, small boxes alongside a large vase or a large mirror behind small votive candles and a stack of books. Balance is what you’re aiming for, a feng shui use of space and energy will give your flat shelves a sense of life and depth.

No Symmetry

Stack and layer. To create interesting variations and levels on your shelves look to adding height, here’s where those books come in handy. Pair stacks of books with stimulating pieces to help stagger heights and draw attention to particular pieces. Place larger books on the base and then layer upwards getting smaller as you go to create a triangular pedestal.

Layer Items on Bookshelf

Don’t forget the top. Most people tend to overlook that tippy top of the bookshelf. This area is also considered valuable space to utilize for your larger pieces. If there is ample space between the top of the bookcase and your ceiling, use it to showcase large sculptures, or tall paintings and vases. This is also a great way to get some additional height out of a shelving unit that might be too short otherwise.

Style the Top

Add some pattern. If your plain white bookcase isn’t doin it for you, use this little trick. Instead of re-painting the whole piece, pick out some patterned contact paper and size it to the back wall of each shelf. Check out the example below and the DIY instructions at abeautifulmess.com.

Create Pattern with Bookshelf

Share your favorite bookshelf styling tips in the comments below!


xo Amanda!

 

MAKE IT DIY: Plant Pots

We’re staying indoors more than usual due to the cold weather temps and we’re feeling crafty! Take a look at these super fun and easy DIY projects that will take a chill off the afternoon and brighten your mood and room. Plug in the hot glue gun and bust out the paintbrushes – let’s get to work!

Plant Pockets –

This DIY project comes from designlovefest.com. This project caught my eye because it only requires a few tools and materials and gives you an easy way to use up some bare wall space. For those with small apartments, and not a lot of floor space for potted plants, this project leaves you with some awesome home-made hanging planters so you can give your space some well-needed green vibes. All you need is a container of air dry clay, and some molding and shaping tools to create a wall pocket in any shape you choose. You can then paint the pockets any design your heart desires to give these guys a little pop of pizazz. You can plant any variety of foliage in your hanging potters; this project used succulents because they require less water and maintenance. So easy, and so adorable, look at you with your green thumb!

Pocket Plants

Skyscraper Planter –

If you’ve ever wanted an edgier way for your plants to live their life, check out this sky-high planter. You can pop over and find the full tutorial at Monstercircus, she has plenty of awesome DIY projects for endless amounts of trips to the craft store. For this DIY potted plant, you’ll need to be a tad construction savvy but she has full explanations and step by step instructions on how to complete your planter. The great thing about this raised planter is that it’s adjustable, allowing you to choose the height of your pot, or add on multiple levels for a different aesthetic. Be sure to check out the similar posts on the bottom of the tutorial to see some of her other innovative planter DIYs!

Skyscraper Planter

Textured Planter –

This project is great if you have old pots that have seen better days and gathering spiders in a dark corner somewhere. Add some extra oomph to those ho-hum planters and give them new life with this simple tutorial from designsponge. This DIY is ideal for beginners, all you need is a little creativity and some fun small objects you can find around the house. Using quick-set epoxy simply attach small trinkets like corks, marbles, or beads to the outside of the pots. Then when the epoxy has set, just paint the pots your desired color to create a very trendy anthropologie-esque home for your leafy friends.

Textured Planter

Baby Food Jar Wood Vase and Candleholder –

If versatility is you deciding factor in décor, I have the project for you. This amazing DIY comes from Laura at Make Life Lovely, and was featured on goodhousekeeping.comLaura created this unique piece with only baby food jars, clamps, and two hooks at the top to hang it. These little jars make display easy for anything from succulents, to candles, or even snipped buds from the garden. A little variation in the size of the jars also allows you to fill them with different objects or foliage. The larger jars are great for plants or small bouquets, while the smaller ones are good for pebbles, shells or votive candles. This particular project used some old wood, but any backdrop that can be drilled into will work. Get creative and use an old pallet or driftwood, pull out the metallic spray paint and stencils and get to it. The versatility of this piece is endless!

Baby Food Jar Planter

Tree Branch Flower Pot –

Feeling green? Go outside and find some small tree branches to use for this nature loving DIY. Find an old coffee pot or soup can depending on your preferred pot size. Then wrap the container with fabric, this tutorial uses burlap, but any fabric can be used, just make sure you don’t mind a little bit of the fabric peeking through. Once you’ve done that, cut your branches down to size. They don’t have to be perfectly even, just tall enough to cover the height of your container when standing vertically and wrap around entire circumference. Next use twine woven between the branches at the top and at the bottom, be sure to pull the twine tight so the branches are as close together as possible, make a knot to secure and leave a few feet of extra twine on the end. Wrap the woven branches around the outside of your container; this may take some tweaking and adjusting as the branches shift. Wrap the leftover feet of twine back around the pot and branches and tie with a double knotted bow to secure everything.

Tree Branch Flower Pot

Whether you’re looking to just spruce up an old pot, or to gain your gain your green thumb, these DIY projects are sure to be a fun and creative way to bring some outside inspiration into your living space. Show us your successfully completed planter (or your DIY Fail, we don’t judge!) Happy Planting!


 

xoxo Amanda!