Classic Design for Modern Living

Month: November, 2012

DreamHome at the Merchandise Mart Extended Through 2013

2012 DreamHome, Game Room Detail

I recently was selected to create the game room at this year’s DreamHome located at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. I am thrilled to announce the DreamHome has been extended through 2013 so if you missed walking through- you still have an opportunity.

The game room combines a unique mix of the contemporary and rustic; featuring fantastically innovative wall coverings ranging from salvaged oak, laser cut slate and a textured linen paint treatment. Other items include lush custom seating, luxurious rug, dramatic lighting, and interesting artwork (Gray Malin’s iconic cowboys at Prada Marfa). The game room features three flat screens to play multiple games, and old school foosball and backgammon tables.

2012 DreamHome Game Room, Overall.

When creating your perfect game room a few things I think you can’t live without:

-Media, incorporate flat screens and gaming systems for sports, movies, video games and interactive exercise games
-Hidden camera, great for parties and karaoke
-Table for board games, chess and cards
-Bar storage and display for amazing glassware and decanters
-Coffee table for resting drinks, snacks or board games
-Backgammon set
-Foosball or pool table, or both if you have room!
-Great lighting, adjustable general lighting for parties or tasks along with artistic lighting to create a focal point in the room
-Rich and natural materials
-Comfortable seating
-Art, every room needs great art. Gray Malin’s iconic cowboys at Prada Marfa are meant to add a little humor to this particular space, but the options are infinite.
-Dartboard, This particular dartboard was custom made by artist Michael Todd Smith titled “The Dark Night” and is made of reclaimed metal and wood.

Stay tuned for my next post I’ll be recommending great holiday gifts for your Game Room the whole family can enjoy!  Please visit the Gray and Walter website for more ideas for your interiors,

-Kenneth Walter


Holiday Table Dressings

Chicago Interior Designer

Gourmet Magazine

DIFFA’s Dining by Design was last week at the Merchandise Mart, which served as my muse for today’s post. Chicago interior designers created dozens of tablescapes all to benefit DIFFA. The event is one of our favorites and serves as great inspiration!

Entertaining for the holidays is a lot of work. We spend just as much time creating a fabulous table as we do preparing the food. As an interior designer many of my clients ask me about unique ideas for holiday tables. I’ve put together a list of ingredients that are a sure recipe for a unique tablescape:

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix it Up
Not everything has to be “matchy matchy”. Create an eclectic table with European flair by blending a variety of patterns and colors. Mix materials- combine wood, porcelain and crystal.

House Beautiful

2. Handwrite Place Cards
Place cards make each setting more personal. Some of our favorites are from The Printery.

3. Mix in Family Heirlooms
Having pieces that are meaningful creates personality and depth on your tabletop. It’s a nice way to remember our loved ones who aren’t with us anymore. Upon departure, consider giving your guests a small item that was given to you by their mother or father if they have passed on.

Lenox Hill Event

4. Keep it Low and A-glow
Don’t forget to keep your candles, flowers and accessories below eye level. You want everyone to be able to see each other. If you are going for height keep things translucent.

House Beautiful

5. Color Conscious
You don’t need to stick to traditional color schemes or typical florals. Trade those poinsettias for calla lilies, tulips, hydrangeas or orchids.

House Beautiful

I love to add branches from outside with berries along with nuts, acorns or pinecones. Get creative!  We found a truly unique centerpiece on Pinterest!  It hangs from the ceiling and is made from marshmallows.

Chicago Interior Design


6. Layer Up
Create interest with layers using textiles, tablecloths, placemats, napkins, chargers and even leaves and flowers. The overall look can be chic, clean lined modern or vintage.

7. Pot It
Want a party favor? Use potted plants and herbs for the table and give them to guests as a departure gift.

House Beautiful

Looking for something special?
These are a few of our favorite table décor boutiques:

We would love to share a few more of our favorite tablescapes with you:


House Beautiful


House Beautiful

I’m looking forward to gazing at friends and family over candlelight laughing and sharing stories around our dining room table. We would love to see your holiday table. Please share your photos on our facebook page!  Please visit the Gray and Walter website for more ideas for your interiors,

Happy Thanksgiving!
-Kenneth Walter