His & Hers Means Balance
His & Hers Means Balance
Minimal Space, Maximum Functionality
Minimal Space, Maximum Functionality
Bohemian Refinement
Bohemian Refinement
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Confidence in Color
Confidence in Color
Youthful Style for Two
Youthful Style for Two
All in the Family
All in the Family
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Tone & Texture
Tone & Texture
Less is More
Less is More
Spanish Style Meets Art Deco Appeal
Spanish Style Meets Art Deco Appeal
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A Suite for a King
A Suite for a King
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Picturesque Perfection
Picturesque Perfection
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Sophisticated Masculinity
Sophisticated Masculinity
The Art of Kitchen Design
The Art of Kitchen Design
Customized Elegance
Customized Elegance
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Youthful Style for Two
Youthful Style for Two
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His & Hers Means Balance
His & Hers Means BalanceRustic Hollywood was the inspiration for this bathroom that was neither rustic nor anywhere near Hollywood. Nonetheless the homeowner’s material selection gave way to this theme. The juxtaposition of stones and chrome created a regal sense of relaxation. Through a harmonious assignment of material placement and use of scale, the master bath was able to carry a double shower, tub, two vanities and a closeted throne room (WC).Circular chrome hardware introduced a bit of old Hollywood glam, and taking cues from these curves, tufted opaque lights were selected for both his and her spaces. The combined masculine/feminine bath suited the young parents. Modern and clean, the lines of the cabinets and countertops are echoed in the custom floor. The stones run from the perimeter of the dry area to the floor of the double shower. A slight striation in the vertical tile in the shower breaks up the porcelain stone that grounds the whole room.My Design Detail:Pulling this look together required concise communication from the entire team. When mixing such modern materials, scale and application are just as important as the textures and colors. This room was transformed from traditional into youthful and modern. Sometimes, people confuse minimalist and modern, but this is an example of how to keep things modern while still using multiple materials, colors and finishes – anything but minimal.
Minimal Space, Maximum Functionality
Minimal Space, Maximum FunctionalityEven the smallest nook in a home can be transformed into useful space. A collaborative designer/client decision to turn a once- overlooked window bay into a home office space created a suitable space for light work, emailing, account maintenance and online shopping. It started by designating the dining table as a daytime desk. The nearby window bay, just a small nook, was a natural spot to place a media console , which created a home for all items office related. To insert a little whimsy and creative spirit, delightful details compliment the serene space. The client’s collection of crystal and decorative knobs, which were placed on the console doors and drawers, resulted in a just right, offbeat look. A French chair covered in fabric printed with inspiring literary references provides seating for one and is perfect for this workstation. Final touches, such as a white-on-white lamp and antique mirrored and silver accessories, play up the femininity of the space.Designer's Mission:“My main focus to get all things office out of my client’s bedroom resulted in a relaxed private haven for sleeping. Working in the bedroom is not only bad for the brain; it’s bad Fung Shui for the flow of your home. Fortunately, her lovely home boasted quite a bit of unused space, including the unused, tiny dining nook, while at the same time there were high-traffic areas pulling double-duty. If the nook in the dining area didn’t work as a new workspace, I would have used a closet, found a zone in the kitchen or invested in a secretary style desk to move all office related items into a designated place.”
Bohemian Refinement
Bohemian RefinementSome clients have a very clear-cut style. They know what they like, as soon as they see it. They will pull a hundred images, each and every one telling the same story and carrying the same theme. But at the same time, they’re unsure how to pull the look together or how to focus on just one item. This client came to an initial meeting with a tome of tear sheets and printouts, coveting each item but not sure how to select just a few. She loves bohemian chic and does it well. Her style tells of love story of sorts, and I would call it “Morocco meets Manhattan.” Every item in her home reflects her appreciation for fine European craftsmanship, design and quality. A 1960s-era upbringing, lots of travel, East Coast living and now a family on the north shore of Chicago, this Gold Coast condo reflected a full life and was an eclectic haven in need of a refresh.Design Detail:Just a few new pieces were purchased for this project, including the sofa and rugs. My client’s collection of comfortable, yet mismatched chairs, all had great shape, scale and lines. They worked well together, except for the fabric. While she loved white and blues, we had to work very precisely in order to keep that palate urban and not beach bungalow. Choosing rich white fabrics and leathers, we were able to balance out the room with black as the primary accent color and navy as the secondary. Very sophisticated.“I wanted to make this a sitting area within the living room. By utilizing a runner to ground the chairs, I was able to play with the bohemian chic look and enhance the size of the living room.”
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Confidence in Color
Confidence in ColorRepositioning the client’s belongs and playing with the layout of the floor plan, the designer/client collaboration breathed new life into an overlooked room. When working with great pieces, those with good structure and strong lines, bringing them together often starts by adding in too many ideas, then editing back. In this case, the client had wonderful items from different eras styles that were begging to be used in a new and exciting way.This room inspiration brings the outside in. Using the cityscape view to highlight the diversity of Chicago, the sunroom-turned-dining area embraces the very concept of diversity bringing to focus different buildings of diverse styles, heights, and colors. A slender 1960’s console table serves as a buffet, letting its chrome surface compliment the metallic millennium chandelier. Two antique pieces, both the artwork and the table, serve the room strongly and are tied together by the electric blue ostrich leather chairs. With sun now streaming in, a once formal and underused space was transformed into an eclectic, confident dining room.My Design Delight:When I first walked into my client’s Chicago Gold Coast condo, I gasped. The sunroom, which most people would kill to have, was completely empty except for bookcases that lined the walls. Cramped into the front of the living room, which was working double duty, and close to the kitchen and front hallway, stood the dining table and chairs. Rethinking the entire space and using more of it, the home was opened up with a new feel and a fresh twist.
Youthful Style for Two
Youthful Style for TwoWhen two sisters share a room, creating defined lines of hers and hers is vital to keeping the peace. (Peace can also be attained by giving both sisters the same and best, in bedding and custom pillows.) The small room needed an infusion of spunk, and it was best achieved with fresh and poppy textiles. The client found the outrageous orange duvets and used a custom fabric vendor and upholsterer to create a window cushion seat and matching throw pillows.The space was on the smaller side, especially for two -- fitting in fun was a true design challenge. A printed hopscotch rug lies between the two beds, a Hollywood theater light brightened the room and a custom created chalkboard wall allows girls to constantly change up their art. Keeping with the modern feel, the chalk wall is defined with contrast trim, hung vertically and painted a matching electric orange. A local retailer provided a wall-mounted shelf in the room’s orange hue to hold all the chalk the girls would ever need.My Design Detail:The room suited both girls even though they had different personalities. It also met the clients’ needs. The clients had met and married in Chicago before relocating to Orlando. While still based in Orlando during the school year, they jumped at the idea of spending summers in Chicago after the husband, a pilot for a commercial airline, had been promoted and would be based there. Excited to spend summers in the city (and away from humid Orlando), they were even more excited about exposing their girls to tons of culture and urban beauty. It’s not usual for a designer to think of Chicago high-rise apartment as a summer home, but I was excited to give the girls a great place to play.
All in the Family
All in the FamilyWhen you live in the big city, a dining room table is used for more than just dining. In this home, the adjacent U-shaped kitchen, while quite accommodating for cooking, contains a small two seat island, not nearly enough to spread out for coloring, craft activities and snacks. While the kitchen is usually king, for this city condo, the dining room reins.Keeping the space light and airy, new lighting was brought in as a way to define the zone. Barely needed in the summer months, the light creates a beautiful balance playing off the city lights once the sun goes down. Glass and chrome décor were a client must. The sawhorse-style table was a nod to the iconic exterior steel bracing of the John Hancock building residence and was an obvious selection. Completed with edgy four-foot tall artwork by Pervez Taj, the white walls feel gallery like in their home.My Design Detail:“This client liked to make quick decisions. If I sent her an inspiration image, and she loved it, it was purchased immediately. We were so in sync that I carefully labeled emails “inspiration” or “for purchase,” so that we didn’t end up getting everything that inspired me in the moment.”
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Tone & Texture
Tone & TextureChicago’s historic John Hancock building serves as the perfect summer getaway for a Florida family of four. The husband/dad, a pilot, flies in and out of Chicago, and the couple heads to the Windy City with their two little girls each summer to escape the Florida heat and take in the city’s offerings. Perched on the 60th floor of the Hancock, the clients wanted their home to reflect the integrity of the building’s historical architecture and ease of Chicago city living.Focusing on the conversation area in the living room, the carpet needed an update and using a slate grey pattern-in-pattern carpet created a needed break from the previous pale palate. Now, the light granite flooring and carpet pop and set a dramatic stage for the skyline view. Cream leather sofas anchor the two sides of the room with sleek glass and chrome tables, lamps and accessories. The window seats required custom cushions; throw pillow were also custom created in solid leather, herringbone, and pinstripe fabrics to match the textiles and bring additional texture to the space.My Design Reveal:Believe it or not, this client found me by Googling “concierge design services.” We met only once before I completed the project (and we were across the country from each other—I was in LA, she was in Florida!) We worked well together knowing the full vision from the start and since I trusted my contractor and Chicago vendors, she did too. It’s a great lesson for designers: I believe in my work and my team, so my clients can too.
Less is More
Less is MoreA single, successful entrepreneur with homes in Chicago and Ohio, lives large and loves to entertain. Every public room in his home is fit for fun and fancy. The lower level boasts both a cigar room and screening room, the main level’s sitting room is a slice out of The Great Gatsby, the kitchen island goes on for miles and both of the outdoor decks offer tons of seating. The only floor not over-designed housed three bedrooms – one of which was used as the master bedroom -- and two baths. A thoughtful scan of the two wings off of the staircase showed the room usage needed rebalancing. Less is often more, and in this case, the demolition of two bedrooms and a bathroom, helped create a master bedroom suite with a walk out balcony that made more sense for this bachelor’s home and met all of the client’s requirements. Strategic planning produced interesting lines within the room and hallway. For example, working around the window placement and the HVAC ducts above, a floating wall added depth and interest to an adjacent sitting area.My Client's Creation:My client’s printing business expanded to large-scale digitally printed canvases. As an avid photographer and pilot with his own private plane, snapshots from around the world and from the cockpit of the plane adorn the walls for a great personal touch.
Spanish Style Meets Art Deco Appeal
Spanish Style Meets Art Deco AppealWith a gut renovation driving the bathroom design, maximum use of space tops often the checklist. Yet, for a minimalistic bachelor master bath, not much more than a medicine cabinet was needed for storage. When the client mentioned there was no need for cabinets or drawers for items (to get lost or stored in), the custom-designed cantilevered countertop was introduced to the project. Exposed plumbing and a single handled, waterfall faucet complete a purposeful vertical vision.This Gatsby-esque, Art Deco loving bachelor knows what he likes in art and design. Building off his personal style, an oversized picture light wall mounted above the beveled medicine cabinet, creates a parlor feel for the space. Detailed tile of various scale covered the countertop with a slight homage to Spanish California in the 1970s. The patina and tone of the hand-dipped tile merged the modern space with another area. The countertop is supported by a short knee wall that doubles as support for the shower glass. A single row of handmade tiles, finished in a textured bronze, wraps from the end of the counter through the shower.My Design Revelation:The original faucet was a fancy, no-touch model. Both the client and I thought it would be really cool but about three days after installing it, my client called and said, “Stacey, I have to wave my toothbrush under the faucet about twenty times while brushing my teeth!” Needless to say, sometimes design is cooler in concept than in application.
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A Suite for a King
A Suite for a KingA master suite designed for a man takes a balance act to create. Too much of one extreme and the place can take on a “man-cave” tone. Using the rule of thirds to create this balance, each design element was broken down to ratios of dark to light, concave to convex and useful to extravagant.Taking this ratio to the carpet, drapes and closets put the client at ease knowing his bedroom would be cozier than cave like. Also, knowing luxury lies in the layers, the client selected a silver-gray hue to create a plush effect with the focal materials. Working from this hue, dark gray was brought in for the carpet’s border and a similar idea, but inverter, was applied to the window treatments. In wanting to keep the room airy and open, a window was removed and a door to the new balcony was installed.Design Details:Functional extravagance reined number one priority for the custom-built wardrobe wall. Each interior element was thought out with the client’s actual wardrobe and height in mind. A closet for each wardrobe, work, play and entertaining, employed the ultimate rule of three’s. Outfitted with an interior wet bar and shelves and fully stocked with brandy and beer, the look and feel are warm and welcoming.
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Picturesque Perfection
Picturesque PerfectionTransitional is a hybrid design style of traditional-meets-modern. Emerging in most metropolitan areas, it compliments the lifestyle of young families in first homes. It’s a useful style direction when two design styles need to merge, either to fit each partner’s belongings or to fit with the existing structure and finishes of a newly purchased home. A contractor “spec” house put this style and a highly collaborative work process to the test. The idea to work with the designer and contractor before design and décor details were finalized resulted in a fabulous custom-like spec home. Many successful steps, introduced by the designer, helped along the way, including the idea to apply the general “material allowance” in the contractor’s agreement towards full customization of the cabinets, countertops, tile, stains and moldings. Customizing these finishes helped turn this contractor-built home, which was drawn up to feature a traditional style, embody a more transitional (and modern) direction. Addressing the finishes from the beginning and getting the changes into the contract, allowed clients to customize the spec house of their dreams. The right balance of contractor allowance, designer knowledge and clear client direction went into creating this beautiful West Chicago home.My Design Dilemma:“The original drawings called for Architraves, crown buildups, layered casings, panel molding, wainscot complete with caps, and rosettes. There was not a wall, corner, edge, or window that wasn’t adorned in bevels. The client, contractor, and I had to walk through the entire house three times to ensure we could create the scaled back version the client envisioned. That sort of dedication paid off.”
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Sophisticated Masculinity
Sophisticated MasculinityThis glam-meets-masculine master bathroom was created in its entirety with just three very unique tiles used to fabulous effect. When the contractor demolished the original walls to open up the space, a previously unknown HVAC duct was found, which ran right through the planned location of the new shower wall. Instead of seeing this as a problem, it was used to enhance the space. It provided both a useful area for a shelf nook within the shower, as well as a gorgeous focal wall adorned in oblong shaped glass tiles in tones of gold and amber. The HVAC duct-turned-shower wall was strategically and beautifully integrated creating a larger shower.At counter height, a slim row of handmade tiles separate the large porcelain tiles from the delicate sea glass with a seamless run from the cantilevered counter top to the corner of the tiled tower. Solid glass with slight chrome edging plays up as a masculine contrast against the gold tones set in the tile. Adjacent walls to complete the look house built in open shelves for rolled towel, magazines and candles, chrome robe hooks and a towel warmer.My Clients "Dog Gone" Request:This is a house for a single man and his best bud, a pug. With an over-the-top attitude for fun, my client requested a second showerhead and controls installed at dog height. With a new walkout bedroom and free-rein for the pup, now we’re just trying to train him to turn it on with no help.
The Art of Kitchen Design
The Art of Kitchen DesignA well-selected mix of rich elements used in a fresh orientation and playful compositions give this kitchen a vibrant look in an easy transitional style. The primary design layer, the big focal points such as cabinets and surfaces, stayed true to modern, while the secondary layer, smaller accenting, brought in more attention to traditional details including the chamfered countertops corners and the number and placement of the cabinet and glass bevels. They all work together to great effect.Carrara marble applied as backsplash gives a younger feel to a formal material. Pushing the modern feel, the clients loved vertical orientation selected for the backsplash, which complimented the height of the cabinets and gave dimension to the space. Cabinets and countertops carried tones of the Carrara marble as well--white, gray and walnut ranged respectively in the kitchen, from cupboards to island. Sleek drop-pendant lights reiterated the palate and completed a clean look; chic and distinguished, while relaxed and inviting.My Design Reveal:“I was brought into this project the day the cabinet doors had to be ordered. I met my clients for the first time at the cabinet vendor and had about 30 minutes to get us all on the same page and select cabinets for a 3-story single family home. Not a small feat. Despite the time constraint, I still admire this project as one of the most completely thought out spaces fit for a young family.”
Customized Elegance
Customized EleganceThe chance to put a new twist on an iconic classic doesn’t come up often. More often, great pieces (and their licensed-reproduction counterparts) tend to complete a designer’s vision. In this case, the opportunity came along when a breakfast nook of oddly dimensions required a custom-designed table.Taking transitional to trans-minimal for this piece proved to be a fun find and fantastic solution. A pair of Ikea bases fashioned after the great Eero Saarinen’s iconic tulip table was custom fitted with a wood top. To pull the visual story together, the tabletop was stained darker to match the custom floors. The bright white banquet benches were sealed with a semi-gloss finish to balance the home’s modern and traditional pairing. Custom pillows in brown tones brought in soft, natural touches.The round light fixture echoed the circular table bases and pulled the whole room together.My Design Decision:After years of working with licensed reproduced pieces from the classic designers and their foundations, I know there are times to bend the rules, carefully. My client found the table bases, and then we discussed the implications of repurposing an iconic piece from design history and how to pull it off. After a lot of consideration, we worked through the design to give it our own twist and allowed a whimsical style to shine through a classic.
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Youthful Style for Two
Youthful Style for TwoWhen two sisters share a room, creating defined lines of hers and hers is vital to keeping the peace. (Peace can also be attained by giving both sisters the same and best, in bedding and custom pillows.) The small room needed an infusion of spunk, and it was best achieved with fresh and poppy textiles. The client found the outrageous orange duvets and used a custom fabric vendor and upholsterer to create a window cushion seat and matching throw pillows.
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