Cozy Up For The Winter

One of the best ways to prepare your home for a cold winter is to make sure you have rugs on your floors. When you think about it, this is why rugs were created in the 4th century BC, to keep homes warm.  Since then, we use them for sound insulation, comfort when sitting on the floor and most often, to define a space with shape, texture and color. 

To me, a rug is the first place to start when I design a room. It grounds and enlivens the space and is the jumping off point when determining the color palette for the room. I am deeply enamored with the intricate pattens and design in rugs. They are artwork for the floor.

 

1880's antique  Kurdish Runner - Herati Tribal Rug from Rouzati Rugs

1880's antique Kurdish Runner - Herati Tribal Rug from Rouzati Rugs

Here are some colors from the Benjamin Moore 2017 color trends. I see some of them in the above rug.

Here are some colors from the Benjamin Moore 2017 color trends. I see some of them in the above rug.

Rugs are also investments that can be passed down from generation to generation. The rug I have in my foyer is from my family room in the home I grew up in. It brings back comforting memories.

I am so glad my parents kept this rug and now I have it.

I am so glad my parents kept this rug and now I have it.

I wonder if my kids will feel the same about the rugs we have in our house? Will they remember the beautiful colors and patterns from the rug they spent hours laying on playing board games or wrestling with the dog?  Will they remember the soft wool and warmth of the rug. I hope so.

My rugs are from Rouzati Rugs. I have been buying from them for almost 20 years!

My rugs are from Rouzati Rugs. I have been buying from them for almost 20 years!

My favorite rug is a Moroccan. I had a Russian Samoyed growing up and I guess these rugs remind me of him, soft and cozy. It is not surprising that our dog loves our Moroccan rug.  This is her favorite spot to curl up for a nap.

This is Rosie's favorite spot.

This is Rosie's favorite spot.

I have used Moroccan rugs in my client's traditional, contemporary, rustic and eclectic homes. There is such variety and they are so neutral, they blend with every style. Every home should have a cozy rug.

I have used Moroccan rugs in my client's traditional, contemporary, rustic and eclectic homes. There is such variety and they are so neutral, they blend with every style. Every home should have a cozy rug.

I love the irregular fringe on mine. Each one is special and unique. 

I love the irregular fringe on mine. Each one is special and unique. 

Shopping for rugs is one of my favorite thing to do and I would love to help you choose a rug for your home so you can get ready for the winter! 

 

An Empty Room = Endless possiblities

When your first child heads off to college, their empty room could be a sad reminder that they have flown the coop or you can view it as an opportunity to create a new usable space!

There is a thoughtful way to turn their unused room into an enclave that is utilized for work, relaxation or both and still have it ready and waiting for when they return home for holidays or summer break.

The first step is to determine what is needed in your life now.  Is it more space for work, room for yoga or meditation, or just a quiet place to read the Sunday paper or a coveted novel? 

Next, look at your child's room and determine what needs to stay and what can be placed away out of sight.  A bed and a nightstand are necessary kept pieces.  If you have a big enough closet, determine if the dresser is needed.

Now, does the layout of the room need to change? Can the bed be moved to a different wall to optimize the space?  With a mixture of standard size pillows and decorative smaller pillows, positioned against the wall or walls, the bed can be made into a daybed as in the project below that I created in a client's guest room. 

For those yogis and meditators,  open floor space and a comfortable rug is a must.  My favorite rugs are the Tibetans that are so soft and cozy, laying on them is like hanging out with a big furry dog or wearing your favorite warm sweater on a cold winter day.  Some of these rugs like the one below purchased for a client, are neutral enough that they work in traditional or contemporary settings.

Decorative pillows, made from vintage ethnic fabrics, can be added to the day bed or made into oversized floor pillows to get the meditation vibe going. Pillows and bedding are easy to put away when your child returns home.

Every room needs a good chair. Especially if this new space is to become your quiet reading escape.  My current all time favorite, most comfortable chair is The Good Egg chair from CAI Designs Chicago.  Who can resist this fuzzy envelope of comfort?  This will quickly become your college student's favorite chair and they will thank you for re-doing their room.

Aside from good overhead and reading lights, mood lighting is important for yoga or meditation. Check out this mood setting, soothing lamp, another piece from CAI Designs Chicago. Your child will also appreciate this glowing night light which will lull them to sleep, much needed after being away at school.

Installing functional and neutral window coverings is your next move.  I love the wide range of colors and textures of Hartmann & Forbes shades. The Roman shades can be fabricated with a blackout liner for darkness, promoting deep sleeping. During the day, this liner is raised and the light filters through the beautiful textured shade.

The final touches are paint and artwork. I know that Simply White (OC-117) is Benjamin Moore's color of 2016 but I really love using white as the backdrop of a room. It is soothing and clean and requires no mental effort.  Also, it pairs well with other whites and all colors in general.

Artwork is a personal preference.  If your child has cool art, like my son's band posters, then keep them.  As long as they are framed and arranged nicely, your child will appreciate the familiarity when they return home and if you have the same taste in music, you will enjoy them too. 

This next phase in life is exciting. New experiences and vistas for your son and a new room for you.  Let me know if I can help you create your new space.

If only the view from my new room was this!

VACATION INSPIRATION

There is nothing like vacationing in a foreign land to take you out of your comfort zone. New scenery and experiences create creativity and inspiration.  

Recently I returned from Iceland, a land like no other.  The landscape, barren without many trees, yet lush with soft green moss growing on black volcanic earth.  The harsh contrast of this other-wordly landscape with the free roaming, sweet livestock, the black volcanic sand against the clear blue water, and the clean air with moody landscapes, moved me.  The layers of texture and forms created by Mother Nature was awe inspiring. The images I gathered from this trip will no doubt be drawn upon for my design inspiration. 

National Publication: Refined Home

My Sheridan Road Home project was published in the May/June 2016 issue of Refined Home, a new national quarterly publication, to hit the shelves on May 24th. This project was one of my favorites and I am so excited to have press about it. 

The Sheridan Road Home has a unique open floor plan that this young family wanted to use as a family and living room.  The kitchen opens up to the main room which has floor to ceiling windows and interesting angles. Nothing is symmetrical. In some locations, the ceiling is 14' high. 

We created "zones" to break down the large space into intimate and functional areas.

The "lounge" area, which is featured in Refined Home, is anchored by a custom built wall unit that creates a focal point with visual interest on such a large wall as well as provides an opportunity for the family to show their personality.  The husband's advertising awards are displayed along with family photos and interesting collected objects.

A custom built stainless steel ladder that slides along the length of the bookcase, is a work of art in itself.  The metal artist also created custom drapery hardware to match the ladder in style and material for the wall of windows.

To read more about the Sheridan Road Home and learn about the sources used on this project, please check out the May/June 2016 issue of Refined Home or send me an email through Contact on this website.

 

 

Dining Tables

It just so happens that I am presently working with four different clients on their dining rooms.

Now that the holidays are over, it is actually a great time to look at your dining room and ask yourself; Did you have enough room when the family came to dinner or do you need a table that extends for more seating? Are you ready to get rid of your grandmother's dining set and get something a little more current? Would you have more dinner parties if you liked your dining room furniture? Below are some of my favorite tables.  They are all available for purchase so let me know if you would like further information about any of them.

This table is the perfect blend between contemporary and warm, rustic yet clean lined.

Not only is this table super cool looking, it also extends. The wood is nicely distressed and it comes in a darker finish as well.

This sophisticated table can be made more formal with a darker wood top. It also extends!

This is a fun table which can be used as a dining table or a game table. It comes in various finishes which can play up or tone down the look of your dining room.

This high style table really great in this grey cerused wood finish. It also comes in a white lacquer which looks very glam.

For those of you mid-century fans, this is a nice piece and available at a moderate price point.

Another table with high style at a moderate price point. This table is sure to get noticed.

Locally made in Chicago, this is a beautiful collectable piece. The wood top is finished with a "live edge" that is entirely unique to each piece.

Exciting Things To Come!

This time of year while the weather is still so beautiful, we cannot even think about going indoors.

When you are ready to go back inside and think about the projects you want to accomplish this year, let me be a good resource for you.  This summer I have picked up some unique new exciting furniture, rug, fabric and lighting lines that I will be featuring in my upcoming blogs.  

One of my latest obsessions is hand blocked and Indian inspired fabrics.  I used this incredible "artisanal textile" fabric from Seema Krish to do Roman Shades and pillows for several clients. This fabric is truly amazing as it is first hand-blocked and then hand embellished with embroidery. Check out their creative web-site. They also have a great blog: http://www.seemakrish.com . 


Until then, enjoy this Indian Summer we are having and check back in soon!

Spring Wallpaper

Adding wallpaper to a room is a perfect way to add instant color and texture. The new line of Spring wallpapers are out and they are fresh, colorful and bold.  Some of the new wallpapers are so beautiful, they are like artwork.  If you are nervous to use wallpaper, try a small space first like the back of a bookcase. Wallpaper is also perfect in a powder room, foyer or mudroom. You can also use wallpaper on the ceiling of your dining room for instant drama. Think about wallpapering the ceiling of your child's room. What a wonderful thing to look up at while lying in bed!

Use a geometric pattern behind a bookcase.

Use a geometric pattern behind a bookcase.

This fresh Spring wallpaper from Les Indiennes is subtle, understated and neutral enough to use in a variety of spaces.  

This fresh Spring wallpaper from Les Indiennes is subtle, understated and neutral enough to use in a variety of spaces.  

This sophisticated and understated wallpaper from Celerie Kemble for Schumacher is perfect for a foyer.

This sophisticated and understated wallpaper from Celerie Kemble for Schumacher is perfect for a foyer.

I love this paper for a teen's room.

I love this paper for a teen's room.

New for Spring from Phillip Jeffries, this wallpaper is called Tease. 

New for Spring from Phillip Jeffries, this wallpaper is called Tease. 

This new wallpaper from Osborne & Little called Penquin Library would be perfect for a powder room, kid's room or of course, a library.

This new wallpaper from Osborne & Little called Penquin Library would be perfect for a powder room, kid's room or of course, a library.

I am using this Schumacher wallpaper in my mudroom. I love this bright and cheery pattern.

I am using this Schumacher wallpaper in my mudroom. I love this bright and cheery pattern.

Think Spring!

This crazy weather we have been having has been getting me excited about Spring. Enough of WInter already!  The new collections for Spring are out in full bloom at the Mart. The colors and patterns are bright and uplifting. Consider using some for new pillows or how about updating your window treatments?

Quadrille Fabrics has a cheery new showroom with incredible fabrics. Layering patterns and colors never was easier. The hard part is deciding which you like best because there as so many beautiful fabrics to choose from!

Quadrille Fabrics has a cheery new showroom with incredible fabrics. Layering patterns and colors never was easier. The hard part is deciding which you like best because there as so many beautiful fabrics to choose from!

Fabric by China Seas available through Quadrille.

Fabric by China Seas available through Quadrille.

New for Spring from Schumacher. Orange is a happy color!

New for Spring from Schumacher. Orange is a happy color!

Lilly Pulitzer for Lee Joffa. A little splash of color from this fabric line goes a long way. If this doesn't get you thinking Spring, nothing will!

Lilly Pulitzer for Lee Joffa. A little splash of color from this fabric line goes a long way. If this doesn't get you thinking Spring, nothing will!

All you need is good lighting

Don't let the long dark nights of these winter months get you down.
Now is a perfect time to be thinking about the lighting in your home. 
How about investing in that beautiful 
dining room chandelier you have had your eye on?  Or what about some more powerful foyer lighting or adding a beautiful table lamp to your living room?  Make your home cozy!  A little goes a long way!   Visit my Facebook page to check out some of my favorite lighting. 

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