Mix of Modern and Vintage

I had a client who lived in a very modern looking condo in Wicker Park. She had great windows, an open floor plan and enough space but she was struggling to make her existing furniture work. 

The furniture set was relatively new and a contemporary style, but she had bought it before she figured out what her style was. Over the last couple of years she realized that she loved mid-century modern and had been slowly adding pieces to her home in the form of a dresser and dining room table, but overall the home felt, well, kind of cold.

Sometimes open floor plans can be great, but it also can be challenging to define spaces. Her living room felt a bit like it was floating and so I recommended a small armless chaise that would add more seating, define the space, but allow for the open sight lines and not block the room off. 

I also suggested bringing in more wood tones. Her coffee table had seen better days and swapping it out with a wood mid century table would give her the vibe she was going for.  Plus some wood accessories to give the place some more warmth. 

The rooms were bathed in light during the day, but quite dim at night. There were some ceiling lights but the room missed ambient light. I suggested adding an arc lamp for the living room and some side table lamps. 

The last need was color. The walls were light grey, the couch was beige, the rug (which she wanted to keep) was white. While I do love a good neutral room they can be tricky to pull off. Plus she was craving color and so I suggested bringing it in through pillows, fabric covered boxes (which would also provide storage) and a throw blanket. 

If you are struggling with an open floor plan or a room that lacks warmth here is what I would suggest. 

  1. Define the space. Look at your furniture layout. Is it a space that is welcoming or are there pieces blocking the flow of people into the space. If the furniture feels like it is floating can you adjust the furniture to create a zone or add a rug that will help ground the room. 
  2. Add warmth through nature or nature inspired items. Things like geode coasters, wooden bowls or boxes, crystals or stones, sheepskins and plants can really warm up a space. 
  3. Add more lighting. Even if you think you have enough lights add some more. You want there to be overhead light for the room, which should be on a dimmer switch, task lighting (I crochet so there needs to be a light next to the couch in order to see what I'm doing) and ambient light. These are the side table lamps or small lights scattered about a room that give it a great glow. A great way to bring in nature and add light is with a salt rock lamp
  4. Color color color. It doesn't have to be a lot. Bring color into a room through textiles or art. 

Keep an eye out because I'll be talking about color much more in the upcoming weeks. 

I'm only going to be posting once a week because I'm creating a new course and I want to devote some time to finishing that project. Follow along on Instagram where I post daily about what I am doing, creating, eating, designing and thinking about. 



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Spring color options

Image  via

Image via

I think I'm kind of falling in love with pink. Shhh don't tell anyone. Especially when it is paired with some deep coral and greens. Delicious. I've got a really severe case of Spring fever. The weather is finally starting to cooperate here and I'm really hoping the sun keeps shining. This month's mood board was inspired by spring blossoms. 

Last week I showed you a room designed around spring colors and this week I wanted to help you pick some paint colors. In my interior design classes I tell people to look to nature for color inspiration. The photo above is a great example of harmonious colors that work really well together. 

From left to right (paint by Benjamin Moore)-  Ocean Tropic ,  Waterbury Green   St. Lucia Teal ,  Red Rock ,  Pastel Pink , and  Ballet Slippers

From left to right (paint by Benjamin Moore)- Ocean Tropic, Waterbury Green St. Lucia Teal, Red Rock, Pastel Pink, and Ballet Slippers

I would take my cue from the picture of the blossoms above and paint the background in either Ocean Tropic by Benjamin Moore or Waterbury Green. Then mix in some Pastel Pink or Ballet Slippers with a hint of Red Rock through the accessories like pillows, vases and rugs. If you are afraid to go so dark then definitely put the Waterbury Green up on the wall because it is such a soothing hue.

If you are intrigued and would like to add some color to your home then feel free to contact me. 

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May Blossoms

Magnolia tree in Notting Hill. Fine art print available from  Georgianna Lane

Magnolia tree in Notting Hill. Fine art print available from Georgianna Lane

Spring can sometimes be so very cruel in Chicago. One day it is a beautiful sunny 60 degrees out and the next day it's hailing. Even in the midst of our tumultuous weather the flowers persevere. I'll admit that it is always a little sad to see wee flowers pushing up through the ground that have been beaten down by hail. Yet the city is blooming, which is what inspired this month's color mood board

I'll admit that I'm not a very 'pink' person. It is a color I rarely wear and I never had in my own home until recently. I'm starting to embrace pastels, especially when paired with a darker neutral color. 

Looking at the color options below and the red flowers above, pink pairs really well with deep pinks, reds and oranges. Plus adding that cherry blossom stencil makes this room sing. 

Another great way to incorporate spring blooms are through the blooms themselves! I love how understated the cherry blossom and magnolia are below and how different each looks in their unique setting. 

If you don't want to embrace too much pink then bring it in through a pillow or through a bouquet. If you are feeling bold then go for it and stencil some cherry blooms in your room. 

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When Fashion and Interiors Intersect

I saw the Boden Spring catalogue I was struck by how much the patterns and colors would look great in the home. 

Photo via Boden

Photo via Boden

These big bright florals translate well to wallpaper. 


Romo Kimura Wallpaper. Image via Centsational Girl

Image via Boden

Image via Boden

Same print but in lavender (which I am coveting) looks amazing on the walls. Plus this wallpaper is simply stunning. 

Image via Boden

Image via Boden

This dress inspires the use of shape and botanical florals. 

Image via  Decorpad

Image via Decorpad

This green lattice wallpaper makes a small space look dramatic. 

Image via Pensees Crouer

Image via Pensees Crouer

Or put botanicals on the wall and trellis print fabric as accent pillows. 

So, take a look at your closet for inspiration. You may find a print that you like or a favorite color that will look great in your home. 

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How to Pick Fabric

This post is part of a larger conversation about color, which I'll be talking about more on the blog because I know picking colors can be overwhelming. 

I am usually a pretty decisive person. People who like to shop hate shopping with me because I want to be in and out and done. My couch is ten years old and it is still in really good shape, but it needs new upholstery. The fabric withstood the test of time, but I don't recommend dropping chocolate or spilling wine on your couch (apparently I was having a bacchanalian party). Therefore I needed to find new fabric. 

I knew that I wanted to keep the couch relatively neutral because it is easier to change up accessories then to change a couch and I really did like the existing grey color palette. I thought I wanted velvet, but I also wanted to test the notion of pattern.  

I went on a search for fabric. I checked out West Elm,, House, I searched Etsy for fabric, and I googled organic upholstery fabric. I was really trying to find something that was made out of organic textiles because the fabric industry is so wasteful and harmful to the environment. FYI somebody needs to make a portal for people to buy organic fabric. It's not easy to find and it is not easy to purchase. 

When I received all of my samples I laid them all out on the back of the couch. 

The green and pumpkin fabric went, along with the lighter greys and a cream with grey print. I really liked the dark grey with the geometric print, but I wasn't sure about it all over the couch. I had the same issue with the grey and star/cross pattern, which was organic. Plus that fabric, while upholstery weight, was not heavy enough for the wear that a couch receives. 

Moving on then I am left with the velvet's. I liked the color of the swatch on the right and it was organic, but I wasn't sure about the quality. 

I then tested the options against the rug and the top left was a little too gunmetal grey. The other two work really well. The West Elm fabric could work well, but the top right sample is Gibson fabric. While a couple of dollars more, I had already upholstered a chair in the fabric and I know that it looks great and wears well. 

At one point I had a fabric sample that was velvet, but the exact same color of my current couch, which is cement. I texted a friend and said I was thinking of playing it safe, but I wanted to go darker and she said change it up. 

To recap:

  • Get a lot of samples
  • Try to go outside of your comfort zone, but recognize that it may not work.
  • Make sure you have the right fabric for the job. For furniture it needs to be heavy weight upholstery. For pillows you use medium. Sometimes you can use light weight, but you will need to line the fabric for stability. Curtains can pretty much use any weight depending on the look you want.
  • Sit with the fabric for a couple of days.
  • Slowly take samples away. This took me almost a week.
  • Check the color against existing pieces or textiles in the room.
  • Bring in a second opinion.

So, now that I have picked a sample I need to order the fabric and reupholster the couch. I am going to make a snug fitting slipcover because I'm not sure I am up to reupholstering the couch. That will be an adventure for another day. 


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