March 3, 2019

Three Before and After's

 I love this time of year, business wise in particular, it is full of design work, planning for the year, catching up, finding long forgotten "to-do's" (still left un-done), and supposedly organizing,…..the latter skill eludes me!

 We are in the endless planning stages because.......
 2019 is our 30th, year in business! 

Stay in touch, we have some great parties and workshops coming up to celebrate, and finally, a new website,  well shortly.
Here are a few recent projects

NOTE: all photographs, except the last project, are with my old IPhone....sorry

Powder Room Before

It happens.....we decorate, sit back satisfied, then time goes, and goes, so fast that one day something makes us look anew. Suddenly we have to redecorate, NOW.  This is a client's, but my own powder room also needs a re-do after 23 years.... stay tuned!

Wallpaper borders were huge in the 80's, as was coordinating wallpaper patterns. One could open a wallpaper book and see 3-4 options, pleased that trend has long passed

And now.....

The border rails are gone for a more sophisticated look
The new wallpaper is by Thibaut, 'Augustine Brown'. 
I like a starting point, it could be a rug, sofa upholstery, even a pillow, or in this case, the wallpaper. Once the prominent element has been chosen, you have a key to play off of. 
The old light fixture
The ceiling is painted in one of the colors in the paper. For a powder room, erring on the edge of dramatic, is a better option than safe. I love this ceiling fixture, look at those shadows. The gold fixture mirrors the shimmering gold in the wallpaper
 As do these, I have had a long love affair with these accents we carry,  inexpensive and very effective. The battery operated taper fits perfectly, and the gold elements in the paper positively glow

 The antique, every room, should have at least one, for patina, originality, and for the back story.
 Handmade 19thc shell art from Rome

When I re-do my powder room, this is the paper, Brunschwig and Fils 'XIAN'.  
 In person, it is positively charming

Recently my assistant Gerrit, and I went to a clients home to Stylize. It is a fun process whereas we arrive ready to move furniture, if necessary,  to style bookcases, tabletops, cabinets, move art, and add  elements to provide a new look. Anything within our realm.
With this client, much was accomplished by rearranging the existing furniture, the space was virtually a new room appearing more expansive while creating two distinct conversation areas

For Phase Two, we recommend painting the expansive picture window trim black, and painting the walls white, plus the addition of new lighting fixtures. (scroll back up to revisit the current scheme)

 Can you see the difference, isn't it a wow factor?! Instant visualization for the client. These graphics were created by our brilliant designer Gerrit. Via his magic, he provided a visual, showing the client what the room can look like with black trim and white walls.
All with a different fixture
Here is another fixture
Which light fixture do you like? I have a clear favorite...the last one

                                                               Third Project
While offering a design consultation, my client expressed uncertainty about a lamp of hers.This lamp came from my shop eons ago, the taupe base, wore a shade with now faded birds inside the shade which itself was a taupe, all screaming 1980's
 Feeling a need to 'use my hands' this project come home with me for a transformation.
Chalk paint, by Amy Howard, in black began the base
 Now onto the shade itself. Amy Howard gold gild sheets were added to the interior of the shade. Not difficult to do but time-consuming with 2 layers to more in spots.
I lay this on, overlapping as I go, lightly press so that it adheres and let thoroughly dry.
Once dry take a paint brush and go back and forth until all loose ends have been dusted off

 Going, going, gone are the birds
A gilded interior positively glows when lit. AG

For a full update, I painted the shade, Amy Howard paint, watered down, 3 parts paint, 1 part water. The shade reads fresh, and clean with it's texture intact.

NEXT EVENT.........



We will create a beautiful fresh arrangement using live foliage plants that will always look good, with the addition of floral stems this centerpiece will take you from season to season, all year long

We will also chat Outdoor Containers, our tips,  tricks and combinations for success!
limited containers
RSVP  .......  630.232.1303

Have a great week.......another freezing one here!

December 18, 2018

Christmas House Walk 2018

Merry Christmas 2018!

It is that time again, the Geneva, Illinois Christmas House Tour. And this year is my favorite; extraordinary clients turned friends, together we created nearly the entire interior, exterior & landscape. So when it came time for Christmas decor, it was a breeze. 

There are scads of photo's, I will try to keep commentary low. 

New exterior copper lanterns with just painted shutters in a new Farrow & Ball color, in high gloss,
PAEAN BLACK. a rich, deep plum/black.....over the moon!

Deep plum velvet flowers, (YES, real velvet works great outdoors!) dyed eucalyptus and candle holders for votives, festive when entertaining.
People come from across the country as the whole town celebrates Christmas, and 5 homes are decorated. Lines often stretched into 1.5 hours, in severe cold, thank you brave souls

Come on in! The foyer

The wide entry leads to the Living Room on one side and the Wine Room to the right

The mantle by my design assistant, Gerrit Husar. The asymmetric, and undulating form, elicited swoons

"My" stag head was a stark white resin, oh but the form is so striking. I painted the horns a Black Matte, added copper gild to the head, a few more aging techniques and it becomes a piece of art. Cannot wait to try it in aged silver and gold

If you look close you will notice an unusual table; a Willy Guhl, handkerchief planter turned coffee table. The tree sits between the living and family room. Being two separate color schemes, each side of the tree is different reflecting the room it faces
From Living Room side......take a peek into the Family Room, see the newly installed chandelier by Kelly Wearstler, it really makes the room

The wine room. As the homeowner and I contemplated the little used dining room, we thought long and hard for a re-use. Suddenly, a wine room was decided upon and off we went!

Wall buckets as wine holders

Window Treatment; Handmade Japanese "wallpaper"
Chair: black leather strapping, from Spain
Side table; Chopping block, from England
Wine cabinet barrel, Belgium
Chandelier; Vintage eel cage turned chandelier, Marseille, France
Clock arms: Paris
Wall panel; England

Golden light strands, bunched up in balls, stuck in the tree
Wide gold Sinamay ribbon wound at the base, light weight & sparkly
Heading into the Kitchen/Great room

Vintage pastry cutter hearts from a Paris bakery. 7 hearts for 7 grandchildren 
with more to come.....I'm on the hunt!
Family Room

Don't you love the color palette of gray and caramel?

The kitchen.

Fab coffee bar
Every goodie here is from the famous ALL CHOCOLATE KITCHEN in Geneva. Chef/owner Alain Roby is shown here on the cover of his cookbook, 'American Classics'. Even every truffle is hand made
Love that chandelier, dreamy!

Pink Mercury balls
Pink Brocade and Purple velvet ribbon streams
Firecracker lights;  the smalls are battery operated, the large are plug-ins

Let's go to the lower level!
The wife is of Italian heritage which is reflected in this fab entertainment area I covet.

A full second kitchen
 This display is an authentic Italian Christmas display. Owner, Esther of ALL CHOCOLATE KITCHEN is from Rome. Growing up the table would be laden with fruit and nuts, much being what the children gathered.

 A massive pizza oven, accommodating up to 7 pizza's at once

 Needing a place to devour all that pizza, this 14' table accommodates their large family
 TA DA!!!!  A handmade sugar spun nativity scene, set with teeny rice lights. see the animals? Chef of ALL CHOCOLATE KITCHEN made this sculpture for his wife Esther. It should last forever

Our pizza tree! A garland of pom poms in Italian colors, has red string lites wrapped around them....EASY install.

Dangly tomatoes and cheese ornaments

We are not finished down here yet.....introducing the media room!

Being a lighting freak, the back wall is a fav lighting feature. Separating an 'A' frame bottle drying rack from France, my husband helped turn this idea into reality. Touching the wall at the bottom, they lean forward, allowing room for a light system inside the bottom, the effect is cool!!

 Off the lower level we created an outdoor entertainment area, did I say this is a killer party house!!!
 Looking out my windows at home I want to see winter scapes, go for it!

 Guests headed out the side doors......I have to say as I was leaving I was a touch sad to be finished. The people in this home emanate such warmth and love, what a joy!!

 Have a barren area, that is prominent? Insert sticks; red, yellow, natural, instant life
 As always my 1935 Ford pickup makes it's arrival in winter finery

This home is a team effort of many many hands

Thank you to my team, and Leslie,  you are all THE VERY BEST!

Enjoy the photography? I sincerely thank the talented NANCY VILLWOCK PHOTOGRAPHY, 
Nancy is a professional whose speciality is dogs and cats. She said she enjoyed a subject that did not move!
Take a look at her site, gorgeous work

My personal friends and massively talented Alain and Esther of ALL CHOCOLATE KITCHEN. This famous couple can do anything, take a peek at their site

The gorgeous exterior lighting is donated each year by PLANDSCAPE, a great group!

To ART, the handyman/carpenter/painter/everything with a smile!

Carmi and Ed, always

To all a very Merry Christmas!
with love,

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