interior decorating

Why I don't buy knockoffs

Years ago I saw a print or a postcard of a Rothko painting. Just two squares of color and I scoffed and thought what's the big deal- any one can do this. 

I was so wrong. I was in DC on business and while exploring the city I saw a Rothko up close and personal and the feeling it evoked were immense. I was completely overwhelmed. It was an amazing experience and I never said I could do that again, well, in reference to art that is! 

While everything in my house is dear to me it isn't precious. My furniture is functional and meant to be used, but I also love good design. 

There are certain things that I adore, like my Eames plywood molded chair, because I appreciate the story. These chairs came about because Eames had been given a government grant to create splints in WWII. Before Eames created the plywood molded splints that cradled the leg and provided support the splints were made out of metal. I can't even imagine the pain. After the war he used the same process to create a new type of chair. 

Having an original means a lot to me because it represents the spirit and the history of the designer. I'll admit that I did get a wicked good deal on my vintage chair though! 

I needed new headshots and brought my Bertoia chair to the beach! 

I needed new headshots and brought my Bertoia chair to the beach! 

Or the Bertoia chairs that I have in my dining room. Bertoia worked with metal and wanted to create a chair that  "[is} mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."

I appreciate a slight yield, lightness of weight, some motion if possible, because in moving about, the human body determines… the comfort and the measurements of its environment… the human measure is still the strongest factor. But coming back to the chair, there are certain motions we go through - we like to lean back, like to toss things - and if the chair’s adaptable it responds and it’s almost like wearing a comfortable coat; you really don’t know you have it on- Bertoia

At the same time I have a workbench that was made by my grandfather out of scrap pieces of wood. That workbench, like my  Eames and Bertoia chairs, is built to last. 

So next time you see something with a high price tag, especially if it is handmade, think about the design and the craft and the care that goes into making it. If a piece is out of your reach then keep an eye on ebay or craigslist. Every piece of furniture in my house, except for my sofa and coffee table, are used or vintage.

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Living room redesigned

Kandy was my first experience working with a designer, and it was such a positive one! She is fun, friendly, open, responsive, and very talented and creative! She worked with me to assess my style, my priorities, and really helped get creative to stay within my budget. Not only do I love the spaces she helped me create, but I also feel like she introduced me to valuable resources and design skills that I have used on my own since. I highly recommend her!
— Amy

Amy had a lovely sunny living room, art and accessories from her family and her travels, but she was suffering from long narrow living room syndrome, which is a common Chicago apartment problem. 

She willingly wanted to get rid of her furniture and love seat, which were a little bit too big for the space. They were pieces she had bought used years ago and they never were quite what she wanted. Normally, I try to work with the pieces that owners already have but in this case replacing the oversized sofa was a good call. 

One of her concerns was to make sure that she had enough seating since she was getting rid of the love seat. The love seat was replaced with a chair and she had an additional chair she could pull in from the desk next to the sofa when needed. 

My design plan was to create two zones. One would be centered around the fireplace and be for conversation and people watching, while the other would be for her desk and a reading nook. 

Sometimes you have to play with layouts. The first one I sketched up used the couch to really delineate the space. Unfortunately it just wasn't a very good flow for the apartment. When I did this initial sketch the cable was on the side of the wall by the window, which is why the tv is located there. Ultimately we ran the cable around the room to the other side. 

This is the option that we ended up going with. The couch under the windows and the chair at an angle. It provided enough space to move through the room and get to the door which lead to her bedroom. In this instance it is the rug that helps define the space. 

RoomSketcher Snapshot.jpg

This was definitely a collaborative effort. Amy needed help with layout and ideas for furniture but we worked together to pick items for her space. She was the one who found this fabulous rug which really added color and life to the space. Amy was kind enough to snap a photo on her iphone and send it my way. I'm not always able to get the fancy pictures, but this really gives an idea of how much the flow was improved and a bit of life breathed back into the room. Plus kitty agrees! 

If your space could use a little design help then fill out this form today for an initial complementary fifteen minute consultation to discuss your design needs. 

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March Madness Mood Board

Tobias Tovera via  Anthology Magazine

Tobias Tovera via Anthology Magazine

I am stepping outside of my comfort zone with all of this color and I love it. Winter whites will always be my favorite and I'm pretty sure grey is actually a color, but mixing in some blue green definitely cheers a person up. 

I was inspired by one beautiful day we had in Chicago where I could look out the window and see the blue/green lake and the blue blue sky. A harbinger of days to come and today it is snowing. 

Image via   David Collins

Image via David Collins

Some people find picking color challenging, which I can understand, but it is such a great opportunity to bring life into a space. I like to play with color and the easiest way I have found to do that is by using the color wheel. This month's color scheme is inspired by Analogous colors, which simply means colors next to each other on the color wheel. 

David Kidd  color wheel

David Kidd color wheel

If I start with my color du jour, which is green-blue, and I look at the next color on the color wheel I can safely bring in the colors blue, purple-blue, blue-purple, purple and all the way to red-purple. You can see that happening in the photo above. There is a bit of green-blue, light blue, navy blue and then purple in that brilliant piece of art. Since the colors are all next to each other on the color wheel it is harmonious. I usually recommend that people bring in 3 colors, but you can just as easily go up to six and it will work. 

Another green-blue option is to head the other way on the color wheel and pull in some green. As you can see in the photo below the blue-green grounds the space and then bringing in yellow-green and green-yellow gives the room some liveliness. 

Image via  pamelawhatever

Image via pamelawhatever

Layering the blues and greens and saturating the room with color makes it feel so very rich. While this room may not be everyone's cup of tea it is a great example of how to use an analogous color scheme. This may be too much color for you, but take away the blue walls and maybe that could work in your space. 

Image via  House to Home

Image via House to Home

The image below runs from purple through blue to green and all the shades in between. Even though they are such different colors, that is the magic of the color wheel, when they are analogous they belong together. 

Image via

Image via

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How to cozy up your home for fall

The nights are longer and getting colder here in Chicago. I find myself wanting to hit snooze a couple extra times in the mornings. As the weather transitions so should our homes. Here are a couple of things to do when the frost starts coating the windows.

  • Change the air filter on your furnace. Those things get nasty. Changing the filter helps with the quality of air in your house and keeps the furnace running better. 
  • Clean the house. While everyone typically thinks of spring cleaning, the changing of the seasons are a good indication that it's time to do a deeper cleaning.
  • Change your curtains. Some people have a whole different winter color scheme and they change out everything. If that makes you happy then go for it. I keep the colors the same, but I do change my light sheer curtains out for heavy lined curtains. I have energy efficient windows but you can still feel the cold through them. Drawing the curtains at night helps keep out prying eyes while keeping in the heat. 
  • Add a cozy throw to the couch. Anything from Faribault Woolen Mill Co. would do the trick. They have a ton of great blankets and it is an American company that has been in operation since 1865. 
  • Light your candles. I always have candles around the house but I feel like I save them for special occasions. Well, I'm special darn it. So, light those candles. Look for scented candles that are spicy or woodsy for the fall and winter months. Jayson Home has a great selection of candles, including Tatine candles, which are made here in Chicago. Her candles are long lasting and the scents are very natural and delightful. 
  • Cook. I find myself gravitating to the kitchen more as the weather turns. With falls bounty there are so many veggie options available to make hearty stews and soups. If you are looking for some fall recipes Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food bloggers and she even has her recipe's indexed by season. 
  • Invite people over. Now that you've cleaned the house, added some softness, lit the candles and tried some new recipes, it's time to invite people over to enjoy your revitalized space. 

Image via Claire DelMar

nd if you need help decorating your home please drop me a line at and I can come out for a consultation or we can meet up via the interwebs. 

Top image via Huffington Post

Originally published 10/22/14

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