Classic Design for Modern Living

Category: Artwork

Spring Awakening

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

“In the Spring, I have counted 136 kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” 

Mark Twain

 

I feel such a restless stirring lately, I’m anxiously craving warmer weather. Do you know this feeling? I have no doubt you feel this way if you live in Chicago. Although our winter was milder than usual I’m quite ready for the rebirth of a new spring. As an interior designer I am aching to transform spaces, it’s part of my DNA. I get so much gratification from changing my clients lives, taking them to a level they never thought possible.

What about you, how do you feel about your space? Are you excited and inspired by your environment or are you stressed out by living “the good life”? Unfortunately the majority of people have no time to make any strides when it comes to living their best life. That’s where I come in, if you’re interested please read on as I have a few thoughts.

 

 

Let’s Unlock The Possibilities 

Many of my clients are overwhelmed, they’re unsure where to begin. Good question! So do you need your entire space redone, a specific room or just a few things? The possibilities are endless. Here are some primo offerings we have created for our clients or are exclusive to us.

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

Starting at top left clockwise: Cast Brass Table; Exquisite Painting by LD, one of our exclusive artists; Custom Herringbone Wall Finish; Area Rugs; Custom Slate Wall Finish; Cast Bronze Chair; LC Starburst Chandelier.

 

 

 

Furniture

Needless to say a transformation is easier when you start fresh, but sometimes a room comes out even better by adding a few things to your favorite furnishings. Special paint finishes can be transformative, check out the glimmering Venetian Plaster ceiling!

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

A Well Placed Piece Of Furniture Can Make All The Difference!

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

 

 

What About Slipcovers?

Sometimes the furniture is great but our clients want another look during the warmer months. This is a great way to change the overall look without actually reupholstering the furniture. This was the custom years ago, the room was transformed by rolling up the heavy rugs and covering the furniture with cotton duck slipcovers.

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Both of these rooms have skillfully embraced slipcovers, a meaningful transformation is possible when done properly. The top image is contemporary, the bottom traditional. What do you prefer?

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’  

Robin Williams

 

 

 

Oh No, This Sounds Like Work!

Our world has changed tremendously over the last ten years, we are home now more than ever. Do you have the space you need? This is a common problem whether you have a big home or small apartment. Are you using the space to its best advantage? It is always easier to clear out clutter and unwanted items when I’m there (our clients who are aging in place can attest to this). Are you using these things accumulated/do they give you joy? We often hoard things (me included) that we should give to family, friends or charity. The outcome is joyous. With strategic purging we can take an unused room and create something a client desperately needs: Media/Rec Room, Home Office, Mud Room, Walk-In Closet, Laundry Room etc. If this isn’t an option you may need to add onto your home, buy the apartment next door, move altogether or…wait for it: stay put, but live with what you actually love with less clutter. I would call that a win-win!

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

 

Go Outside, Take A Breath Of Fresh Air And Look Around

Do you have a backyard, patio or terrace? How does it look? I know our “season” is short but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the space more. Sometimes adding a pergola, semi covered room or sliding panel can make all the difference in the world. Little changes can give us more time outside even when it gets a little chillier, that doesn’t mean we have to hibernate yet. What about a fireplace or fire pit? Don’t forget to let me know when you want to talk about outdoor furniture. Nothing is in stock anymore, so please allow time to get the furniture where it needs to be by the proper date.

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

“In Winter, I plot and plan. In Spring, I move.”

Henry Rollins

 

 

 

 

The Finishing Touches

My clients know how important artwork and accessories are, they get it thankfully! I’m always thrilled to help pull together a few well placed items, it can make all the difference in the world. Let’s go on a field trip to pick out artwork, accessories, throws, pillows and bed linens. Are you too busy? No worries, we’ll do the shopping and bring the goodies to you. What do you need? If it’s not available we can make it. We recently made a gorgeous table runner and matching placemats for a Dining Room, what a difference that made!

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

I hope you feel energized and excited about Spring also. Please give me a call or send me a note, let us know how we can be of help to you. Let’s roll up our sleeves and create something wonderful for you!

Big Hugs~

~Ken

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers 

I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm
I’m as jumpy as puppet on a string
I’d say that I had spring fever
But I know it isn’t spring
I am starry eyed and vaguely discontented
Like a nightingale without a song to sing
O why should I have spring fever
When it isn’t even spring
I keep I were someone else
Walking down a strange new street
And hearing words that I’ve never head
From a girl I’ve yet to meet
I’m as busy as spider spinning daydreams
Spinning spinning daydreams
I’m as giggy as a baby on a swing
I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud
Or a robin on the wing
But I feel so gay in a melancholy way
That it might as well be spring
It might as
Well be
Spring

Written by Oscar Hammerstein, Ii, Richard Rodgers • Copyright © Imagem Music Inc
Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers
Advertisements

The Magic Of Mirrors

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Decorating with mirrors can be tricky, not if you’re King Louis, he had all the best talent at his fingertips to make a gorgeous palace for his Queen and the rest of the royals. Even Marie Antoinette had to escape the palace to her “simple” little hamlet. So what do you do when you want to change your space? As an interior designer I would recommend a mirror, I always say go big or go home! I have great sources in Chicago at my fingertips, so I can snap up a handsome mirror just like that! Here’s a great round-up of some handsome mirrors and fantastic ways to use them in your interiors.

 

 

MAKING AN ENTRANCE

This is probably obvious to you, but people like to look at themselves in the mirror, particularly when they’ve just arrived. It’s always nice to make sure everything is in place for your appointment, host or paramour. Whatever the case, we’ve got you covered.

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

 

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

I’m a huge fan of round mirrors just in case you haven’t noticed!

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

 

 

 

“I look in the mirror and see a few scars, but I like myself” Steven Adler

 

 

 

 

TYPICAL MIRROR APPLICATIONS

Once you add a mirror you have visually enlarged a space, even a tiny one. Designer Tip: paint the walls a light hue or white of your liking to make the space appear lighter and larger in overall appearance.


Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Most people hate mirrors in Dining Rooms because they don’t want to see themselves eating. However, it works fine in the above application because of location and height.

 

 

THE BATHROOM

Mirrors are an obvious necessity in a bathroom, but many of the examples shown are a bit unusual and worth a try. What do you think?

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

It’s always a good idea to have two mirrors at right angles to do your hair, this works even better when one or both are on a hinge. Designer Tip: Whenever possible be sure to have sconce light in addition to recessed lighting. This is helpful to the ladies with make-up and the guys when we shave.

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Old school glamour as beautiful now as when it was created. Thank you Miss Frances Elkins, sister to the famous architect David Adler. Be sure to look her up if you don’t know her.

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

 

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul”               George Bernard Shaw

 

 

 

THE SWEET SURPRISE

I’m crazy about walls of mirrors in all different sizes and shapes, with or without artwork interspersed. Here are a few other ways to add mirrors and more light to your space. Designer Tip: Try using antique mirror shelves in a bar, bathroom or etagere.

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

I love hanging an unusual mirror or former window made into a mirror above a sofa.

 

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

What a fun juxtaposition of artwork married with a round mirror!

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Classic symmetry with a pair of handsome mirrors.

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

 

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

No more sliding mirrored doors for you!

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Although the stair is lucite, it could be replicated with mirrored risers for added reflection. The backsplash could be done up in mirror (clear, antique or smoked). What’s your pleasure?

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

 

“I can look in the mirror, and I can be proud” Tippi Hedron

 

 

Gray & Walter Interior Design, Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers

 

I hope you’re inspired to try some new tricks with mirrors in your space. When in doubt move things around and be fearless. Don’t let those decorating issues drive you to drink, call me and I’ll make your life better, that’s a promise!

 

I see you, and you’re terrific!

-Ken

New Year, New Adventures!

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

Happy New Year, I’ve missed you! I hope you had wonderful holidays and enjoyed spending time with your family, friends and relaxing. Since we’re all back to our old routines I wanted to drop by your inbox and say hello! I love the holidays, but truthfully I’m happy when they’re over. They are exhausting and I always eat too much, I hope you aren’t cursed with the sweet tooth I have! (smile) So now that I’m trying to control myself I’m focusing on all my little crocodiles. What can I do for you? Do you need painting, new light fixtures/furniture or some help with organization? We are here for whatever you need. I hope we can be of service this year, it’s our goal to make your life better!

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

Scope of Services in addition to Residential & Commercial Interior Design:

Aging in Place, Interior Architectural Planing, Renovation & Project Management

       Painting, Home Staging Consultation, Downsizing/Deaccession of Possessions

One Day Makeover, Artwork Selection/Framing, Restoration of Artwork/Furniture

 

Instead of writing a specific post this month I am going to post an interview I recently gave. It was a lot of fun to do, I hope it’s of interest and you enjoy it! As Jackie Gleason used to say, and away we go…

http://voyagechicago.com/interview/meet-gray-walter-interior-design-river-north/

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

A big thank you to Houzz for honoring us with the Best of Design Award for 2018. Awards and interviews are nice, but they mean nothing compared to knowing you. Thank You for being part of my life. I look forward to sharing 2018 with you, I hope your year is filled with more blessings than you can ever imagine!

Big Hugs~

~Ken

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

It’s That Time Of Year

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

 

Oh yes, it’s that time of year, when the world falls in love, every song you hear seems to say Merry Christmas, may your New Year’s wish come true; makes me think of that old song and I’m serenading you like Frank Sinatra. I won’t break into song, I know you’re so busy finishing up last-minute details before the holidays so I’ll be brief. I hope you’ll take a moment to read my holiday blog, I don’t do this for my health, it’s actually for you. I hope you know I care about you, and if you didn’t, now you know!

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

I’m currently without a dog, first time in thirty years, I miss Georgia and Quincy so much!


Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

I love holiday movies, I watched Elf last night and laughed till it hurt! And don’t forget about Love Actually, Christmas in Connecticut, A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street and It’s A Wonderful Life to name a few gems.

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

I don’t think we’ll get much snow this Christmas in Chicago but a fresh snowfall is so gorgeous!

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

I wish you and those you love the happiest holidays, hold those dear ones closely, tell them you love them. Eat, drink and be merry, enjoy yourselves. Sending you big holiday hugs now and in the new year!

 

Peace & Love~

~Ken

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Summer Here We Come

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Now that Memorial Day has come and gone I’m a bit restless. I can’t stop myself from thinking about summer. Hopefully there are many lovely sunny days ahead. We’ve had a few tastes here and there followed by days that were damp, gray and rainy. I’m not complaining about the weather, this is Chicago after all. I’ve been thinking about my summertime goals, how about you?

 

 

Current Projects

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

We’ve been doing many extensive kitchen and bathroom renovations. Some of our clients are forgoing the traditional kitchen demolition and allowing our fantastic artisans to refinish existing cabinetry in their home which saves our clients thousands of dollars. We typically replace the hardware, countertops and backsplashes. A whole new look for a fraction of the cost. Stay tuned for the after photos.

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

This Chicago client is getting a new reading nook off the Living Room. The space is coming along really well. The artwork will be hung soon, and the new rug is en route. Thank heavens for my wonderful clients, I am blessed to create the spaces of their dreams. Great design is healing, therapeutic and enriches our lives in more ways than I can explain here. I’ll change your life, I can even make you happy to get up in the morning.

On a personal note, I have a few projects of my own scheduled: painting the garage, landscaping and some general household repairs that we’ve put off. Can you relate? Please let me know if you need a painter, furniture recovered or help with any projects (small or large) you have been considering.

 

Bon Appetito Pepito

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

Piccolo Sogno’s garden, yes please!

 

I love to eat, how about you? Summer is the best time to enjoy a great meal outside in the sweet sunshine or romantic moonlight. There are so many great places in Chicago that come to mind. I love going to Piccolo Sogno for lunch, brunch or dinner, you’ll be hard pressed to find a prettier outside dining room in Chicago. I also love Lula Cafe, their outside dining isn’t as gorgeous but the food is fantastic whether you sit in or outside. If you think I only like fancy places you are wrong, I’m just as happy with a burger, a beer and the tatted up crowd at Kuma’s Korner, they have outdoor seating too. Be sure to get out there and have something tasty!

 

Let’s Take The Afternoon Off

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

We will never forget the 2016 World Series

 

When I’m stressed out and feeling beleaguered I spend an afternoon at a Cubs game. There’s nothing better than being at Wrigley Field. I prefer day games so I can be out in the sunshine. Give me a hot dog, a bag of peanuts, a few beers and I come back a new man. Can’t take the afternoon off? When pressed for time I love going to a great movie. It’s fantastic to hide out in a dark air-conditioned theater and totally escape reality for two hours. I just saw “Paris Can Wait” written and directed by Eleanor Coppola, it’s about an under appreciated wife (Diane Lane) who is barely noticed by her workaholic husband (Alec Baldwin). The plot line is entertaining and the French scenery is gorgeous. I won’t tell you what happens, but it touched my romantic heart. I’m also looking forward to seeing a few bigger productions: Spiderman, Logan Lucky, Dunkirk and The Dark Tower look good to me!

 

 

Ciao Bella

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Venice Biennale 2017

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

I don’t have any concrete travel plans, I’m daydreaming about the Venice Biennale. The magical and mysterious beauty of La Serenissima really gets me going. If you go to Italy this summer be sure to see this incredible art fair held every other year. The best part of Venice is getting lost, so don’t worry if you do. Insider tip: don’t panic–find a cafe, have a glass of wine (or three) and watch the world go by. Who knows what adventures await you. Don’t forget to have coffee or a meal at Cafe Florian or Quadri in Piazza San Marco or a Bellini at Harry’s Bar. The best time to visit Venice or anywhere in Italy is September or October if you hate crowds. The fair closes November 26, 2017. Here are a few other places to visit in Venice click here

 

Please let me know what you end up doing. I’ll be around so don’t be shy, give me a call and I can come over to assist you on a project you have been thinking about. Let’s have lunch outside first, arrivederci my little crocodiles.

 

Happy Summer, big hugs,

-Ken

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

Gillson Beach is a few minutes from my home, my happy place

Magnificent Obsession Part II

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

The Lake Forest Show House officially opened on April 28th with a beautiful event benefitting the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. I was very impressed by the wonderful efforts of all the designers who participated.

The week up to the opening party was eventful to say the least! I made multiple trips to and from the house dropping off/taking away items I rejected. Wednesday was the straw that almost broke the camel’s back as I had multiple people scheduled: another rug delivery, a mirror to be hung, and most importantly the lighting installation. Robert, our trusty electrician has been so busy that we waited 10 days for our installation. Nothing like waiting till the last minute as the photo shoot was the next day!

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers


Once we had everyone in their places I made it to the wholesale florist. Something green was needed for tomorrow’s photo shoot. I arrived in the nick of time, they were closing for the day in 15 minutes. You can be sure they were so happy to see me, haha! I made my purchases, loaded the car and drove away. I was planning on going back to the show house to drop off the flowers for Thursday’s photo shoot. Suddenly I heard a thumping from the back of my car, I pulled over to see a flat tire. Merde! I waited for a tow as my car doesn’t come with a spare. The prognosis: I needed two new tires. This was hardly the end of the world,  the timing wasn’t great, but better Wednesday than Thursday.

Thursday was a long day, crunch time–so much to do! First thing in the morning I loaded the flowers back into my car and drove to a vendor’s home to pick up more accessories she selected just for our room. Racing back to Lake Forest to drop off the flowers and accessories with Noreen was nerve-racking as we had to be ready for the photographer by 2:00pm. Oh did I forget to tell you I wanted more rugs delivered at 1:00pm?

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

I’m delighted to say the photo shoot went well and am quite pleased with the outcome. I am attaching a few before and after shots but hope you will come and see our work in person. We drove home Thursday night quite relieved to have everything done. Mission Accomplished!

Special Thanks

There are so many people who made this project possible. I could not have completed our space without Noreen, you are one of my main four muses. A well executed design demands great sources, I am proud to say my trusted partners are the best: Kennedy & Co. Painters, The Rug Company, Atelier Lapchi, Baker Furniture, Kravet Furniture, Lee/Jofa, deAurora, Mark Falwell, Mike Bell Antiques, Richard Norton Gallery, The Golden Triangle, and Pagoda Red.  Special thanks to Lauren who offered her wise counsel in the midst of her first year in the PhD program. I love all of you!

 

Big Hugs,

-Ken

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

The Lake Forest Show House will be open until May 21, 2017.  http://lakeforestshowhouse.com

Magnificent Obsession

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

Each month I typically write about a design issue people are facing. I’m a pleaser by nature so I feel it’s important to give suggestions to resolve the problem. Many of my clients and readers ask questions that inspire my posts. Taking a departure this month I have decided to share what’s currently happening in my life. I was recently invited to create a space for the Lake Forest Showhouse, this is a huge honor for a Chicago based Interior Designer. For those of you who haven’t heard of the showhouse, it is held every other year. The Lake Forest event is one of three very prestigious showhouses in the United States; the other two of note are Kip’s Bay in New York City and Greystone in Los Angeles. This year’s house is a magnificent residence in Lake Forest located on the North Shore outside of Chicago. All proceeds benefit the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, a wonderful institution providing medical care for families in need.

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

Initially I was thrilled about this honor, thinking how exciting the project will be! The lovely feeling briefly turned into panic once it sunk in I had to create something pleasing to many visitors with many taste levels. I had to take matters into my own hands, there is no client to discuss the project with this time! To make matters simpler I created a client to design the space for–I even gave them names. Our space is the second floor stair landing and nook, the panic is over and I’m exhilarated again. Each project we undertake is a puzzle to be solved, oh boy, do I love puzzles! Needless to say this assignment has a few design challenges: 5 doorways, very dark woodwork, and most importantly very little light. The hallway is a main thoroughfare so it’s important to keep the flow open to effortlessly pass from space to space. Here are a few “before” photos.

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

If you know me, you realize how obsessive I can become about my work. Suffice it to say my mind is still reeling over every detail, my normal Modus Operandi. I love to include my clients in all major decisions (unless they are disinterested) so you can imagine the options there are and how best to present the space to the visitors. The vital decisions must be figured out on my own like a big boy, ha!

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers

 

If you are curious please visit the house to see the work of all the talented designers first hand. I know you won’t be disappointed. The Lake Forest Showhouse officially opens on April 28th with a preview party, and will be open till May 21, 2017. I love helping those in need so I hope you will join me and visit the house!

Big hugs,

-Ken

PS For more information please visit http://lakeforestshowhouse.com

Making An Entrance

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

Hello Gorgeous! You really made an effort putting yourself together, I love it–I really do! However, your Entry Foyer is another story. It’s always interesting to visit someone for the first time, I love to see a new entryway. Your foyer speaks volumes even before you give me a kiss and hug. I have some thoughts for you if you’re feeling a bit underwhelmed by your entrance, read on my little crocodile.

 

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

Many of my clients living in Chicago high rises have entry foyers that are so minimal they are almost non-existent. Another dreaded issue I face an interior designer is the “bowling alley” effect depicted above. I am a huge fan of glamour and impact so be warned, we will be creating something elegant with wow-factor. If your foyer is on the small side we will use a hand-made wallcovering or custom paint finish created by one of our special artisans. This is especially crucial if there is no room for any furniture in your entry. This conundrum is more common than you can imagine.

 

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

If you live in a pre-war building you most likely have a long Gallery, this is typically located off the Foyer. Many consider this a terrible waste of space but is quite luxurious to have! This Gallery is executed skillfully with the use of doorways creating an illusion of extra space. The eye-catching marble floor is noteworthy.

 

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

This Hacienda in California has a lovely wide, rectangularly shaped Foyer, almost a square. The inviting space features knotty pine flooring and a lovely beamed ceiling. The warm space is quite a sight to behold, it has an understated elegance which is slightly traditional yet modern all at once.

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

This cozy space located off of a very wide Gallery holds a sweet little surprise. This alcove to the side of the monumental stair provides a cozy space with original terrazzo dating back to the 19th century. The Gallery is so spacious there is room for a baby grand piano. While most people do not have this kind of space, it is a great reminder how to create multi-purpose areas within a home.

 

 

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

While this Entry may be too fussy for most people I think it is important to note the spectacular feeling it evokes. I am delighted by the stunning coloration and lovely details. The blue doors are a pleasant surprise too.

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

This lovely space located off the actual Foyer is a handsome ante-room to the Living Room and Dining Room. The floor is well executed and the center table superb. The floor could be replicated in stone or stenciled on wood. The warm white walls provide a wonderful backdrop since there is a lot going on in the space.

 

.

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

I love this simple and elegant Foyer. The wood flooring and boiserie are the stars of the show. The furnishings and art are minimal, they complement the space perfectly. White paint proves to be our friend yet again.

 

 

Whenever I begin work on an Entry Foyer I cannot stop hearing my mother’s voice from years ago: “always put your best foot forward”. The same can be said about your foyer. I look forward to creating the space of your dreams, I promise you will make a memorable entrance!

 

Big Hugs,

-Ken

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

It’s The Holiday Season

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

It’s the holiday season yet again! How did the year sweep by so fast? If you are like me you are asking yourself this right about now. So now what do we do? There is less than two weeks until Christmas and Hanukkah, we celebrate both at our home! In the spirit of giving I am going to share a trade secret with you. Did you know one of my cherished interior design sources has a holiday bazaar now? The Golden Triangle conveniently located near the Merchandise Mart in Chicago is one of my favorite shops of all time. I highly recommend a little trip if you are struggling with your holiday list. Stressed out and can’t make the trip? The Golden Triangle has a website, how convenient at this hectic time of year! Here are a few of my favorite things spotted on my last visit this week.

 

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

Yours truly reviewing the troops!

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

The Perfect Pairing: Paris Flea Market & Holiday Bazaar

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

Absolutely Amazing Artwork By Adam Siegel

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

Gorgeous Green Glassware Awaits You

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

Handsome Pair Of Brass Bulldogs From France

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

Deck The Halls!

 

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

There Is Something For The Hardest To Please

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

My Favorite Adam Siegel Painting!

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

Treasures From Around The World Abound!

I love the holidays so much, I can’t wait to have all my girls together under our roof. It will be noisy and lovely! I wish you the happiest times during the holidays and hope you savor them, be sure to hold your dearest family and friends close to your heart and enjoy every crazy moment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there for me. I wish you abundant happiness, great health, and much love throughout the new year.

Big hugs,

-Ken

PS  A big thank you to the talented Adam Siegel for doing my portrait while surveying his amazing artwork currently hung at Golden Triangle.

For more information: https://www.adamsiegel.com or https://www.goldentriangle.biz

 

 

Can A Traditional Space Become Modern?


Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

Years ago when I became an interior designer many of my clients were embracing a very traditional point of view. I am referring to how their homes or apartments were furnished. It’s safe to say we can easily become smitten by a contemporary interior in a shelter magazine; but fully transitioning from traditional to contemporary is a bit more complicated than most realize. Many of us (me included) live in very old homes or apartment buildings. I would classify myself as a modern traditionalist. My clients in Chicago and throughout the country live in a mix of spaces that either have great bones or we create the bones for them. If you live in an older building you know what I mean by this. If you are unfamiliar with the term I would say most vintage spaces typically have great bones unless their initial plan was altered over the years.

Nowadays my clients are looking for an easier lifestyle with less to maintain, I think we can all relate to this. So how do you take a space that is very formal, keep the best parts, and lose the rest? Read on my little crocodile as there are many degrees of traditional. Are you traditional, modern or a little bit of both?

 

 

The Pain Of Letting Go

Perhaps you live in a time capsule of traditionally proportioned spaces with very formal elements. If you do,  you can easily relate to the room pictured below. There are many things that can be done to simplify the space: remove the window treatments, paint the walls a warm white, change the chandeliers to a more contemporary style or even paint all the mahogany woodwork white to match the ceiling.

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

The Modern Contemporary

This space is loaded with classic components that could possibly verge on traditional. However, the mix lends itself to a more deconstructed approach that appears modern. The dark charcoal walls may be too much for you. If this is the case you can use the idea on a feature wall and paint the rest of the space a warm white.

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

Prewar & Modern

The prewar layout of the room is classically proportioned, but everything else is modern. The moldings have been removed, the only ornamentation is around the fireplace and the baseboards. This is a great example of how a few coats of a warm white paint can change-up a space.

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

 

Heavy Window Treatments

Once upon a time many clients wanted swags, jabots, passementerie (drapery trimming) and many period details. As time has moved on so have they. This very traditional room can easily become more modern. I would remove all the window treatments, change the paint color to the softest shell pink (think of the interior of a seashell), keep the best antiques and artwork with the most meaning to the client…remove the rest, create a new gauzy roman shade at the window in a crisp linen, reupholster everything in one of my simple white “magic fabrics” (they do not stain…honestly!). We could also remove the old needlepoint carpeting, polish the oak floor below and add an area rug if you want.

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

 

 

Problem Solved!

This room has many beautiful details and moldings but I would not classify it heavy or traditional. It is a wonderful example of a traditional space that now reads modern. Traditionalists will love the details, even a few of the pieces are vintage or antique. The upholstered pieces and casegoods are clean lined but certainly do not clash with the traditional details.

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

Wood Paneling & Millwork

There are two camps when it comes to woodwork: those who believe woodwork must be stained, and the other believe painted woodwork is best. Clients are always afraid to paint dark and dreary woodwork a lighter color, they are terrified. It is not a sin to paint the woodwork in either of these spaces if you wish. You have my permission, live your life and be happy, life is too short to live with something you detest.

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

 

You’re Welcome!

Wow, what a difference. The room is still lovely with painted woodwork. There was nothing to fear but fear itself. I recommend breaking out of your comfort zone whenever possible! Oh, and one last thing, look at how nice the modern sconce works with the ornate boiserie!

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

Stone Floors

This space is majestic, regal and perfect to a traditionalist. To others it could be considered cold and too much like a museum. It is possible to create a modern feeling while retaining the period details. I would relocate the classical sculptures and add modern art to the space. The transformation would be incredible!

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

 

Modern Classic

This floor pattern is classical yet reads modern at the same time. Still too traditional for you? No problem, the way around this is to lay a floor using one material. A limestone or marble floor in a simple white or gray material will create a clean and modern look.

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

 

Oriental, Aubusson or Savonnerie Rugs

This room has a handsome antique Tabriz rug that originally cost a king’s ransom. While many people still like oriental rugs I have seen a resistance to them lately. There are many vendors offering cleaner and simpler patterns. Still too complicated? Sisal or Sea Grass area rugs may be perfect for you!

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

Sisal Or Sea Grass Rugs May Be Perfect For You

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

A Perfect Mix

This room shows a great example of negative and positive space. The majority of the room has exposed wood floors but does not look empty or cold. The area rug provides warmth and anchors the seating area perfectly.

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

 

Artwork or Accessories

Less is more…unless more is more! The first room features a wonderful collection of art and accessories that have been lovingly compiled over the years. I will admit it is a perfect example of a room fit for a collector.

 

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

 

 

The Modern Collector

While the space is quite traditional, look at the moldings, details and fireplace. But the room reads very modern because of the adept use of paint and not over accessorizing. It is possible to achieve a beautiful balance!

Kenneth Walter, Chicago Interior Designers, Gray & Walter Interior Design

 

 

I suspect you are still conflicted. How do you honor the past and embrace the present? It’s easy, call me. I can offer pride of place to the painting or furniture you inherited without making your room look like a museum. Let’s make magic together!

 

Big Hugs.

-Ken