Classic Design for Modern Living

Category: Cozy rooms

Live Presently

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

 

Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, I feel summer is finally approaching. Have you been using your time well and enjoying your beautiful life? Your life is a gift by the way, just reminding you in case you forgot. This is not a judgement. It’s a call to action for all of us. I’ve been questioning my life lately–perhaps you are too, I think being self-aware is the key to life. I went through some tough times a few years ago which made me question many of the things I felt were important. I’m looking around again and I don’t like what I see. I don’t see Chicago as a big city since we’re usually very friendly. Lately I think we’re forgetting our manners.

 

 

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

 

Are We Lost?

I get into an elevator, no one looks up to say hello. We are immersed in our emails, texts and social media. Now don’t get me wrong, social media is a fun distraction. But are we too into it? That’s for you to decide. I greatly enjoy meeting new people, making friends in real life and online. Many of the great connections I have made on social media are quite meaningful to me, I actually feel close to some of these people I have never met. Is this healthy? Am I ignoring my “real life” in favor of an escape? A good friend weaned back on social media, he calls it a “false intimacy”. A few months ago social media became a bit of an obsession for me. I still enjoy it, but have made a conscious decision to cut back. Having an addictive personality I can’t help but get obsessive, this has always been the case with my interior design work. It is next to impossible not to become obsessed as I create a custom tailored environment based on my client’s needs.

 

 

 

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

 

Is Perfection Possible?

Recently a new friend said they are afraid to work with an interior designer because “they want you to have a perfect interior that is never sloppy and impossible to maintain”. I love it when people are frank with me! One of my most special clients (20+ years and going strong) said “perfection is impossible Ken”, she’s right. However, I feel we are striving toward the illusion of perfection. What would you think if I posted a photo of myself first thing in the morning? I’m not sure I’m ready to be that authentic, but I know you get my point. The public is mesmerized by DIY shows on HGTV. It is  impossible to create the perfect space in the span of a television show. The dream interior you see in a shelter magazine did not occur effortlessly, it actually took years to create. The haven you crave actually evolves over time and well worth the effort!

 

 

 

 

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

 

The Solution

I recommend a periodic vacation from virtual living, enjoy a day or two away from social media. Here’s my proposal: let’s talk to each other in the elevator, in line at the coffee shop or while we’re washing our hands in the restroom (well maybe not if you’re shy), read a real book, listen to music. How about a walk without our phones? If we must take the phone let’s try not to look at the screen, let’s look at the sky and take a breath instead. I want us to be kinder to each other, let’s stop saying whatever we think because our opinion is the best one. Can we listen more? Is there someone in the world you admire? Why do you consider them a leader? Perhaps being a leader is actually saying I’m looking at you, I’m listening. Your neighbor isn’t bad because they worship differently, have political views contrary to your own, or are married to someone of the same-sex. As Lenny Kravitz said “Let Love Rule”, let’s try it.

 

 

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

 

 

Big Hugs-

-Ken

 

PS I actually wrote about this last year, here’s a link if you’re curious. Live Authentic

I would love to hear your opinions if you care to share, I’m listening.

 

 

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

 

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Ancient + Modern = Kaboom!

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

Portrait by Adam Siegel

 

I love to travel, how about you? The famous documentary about Diana Vreeland was entitled “The Eye Has To Travel”–love her or hate her, it’s true! We often feel stressed out in daily life, there are so many tasks to complete each day. I’m a big time list maker, if there was an olympic gold medal I would have one! My saving grace and one of my secret weapons is The Golden Triangle. I love to write about my secret sources now and then, this is one of them. Since I’m based in Chicago I am fortunate to be a short flight from New York or slightly longer flight to the west coast to see clients or shop. But with the Golden Triangle I can travel around the world without leaving my zip code. How amazing is that?

 

I had the pleasure of chatting recently with Douglas Van Tress, co-owner of Golden Triangle along with his partner Chauwarin Tuntisak. Every time I visit GT I am overwhelmed by the physical beauty of the shop and the items available for purchase. I always leave inspired and energized. I asked Doug what energizes him? Doug smiled and replied “I get excited about mixing a wonderful juxtaposition of various cultures never displayed together. Our mission is to integrate a diverse array of objects. We are grateful to have become a global resource located in Chicago”.

Sometimes a client cannot envision adding older objects to a modern environment. When I bring some things out on approval they understand the point quickly, my clients are smart little crocodiles after all.  I personally feel that mixing the old with the new is the best way to bring instant character to a space.

 

Voila~

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

 

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

Handsome Naga Tribe Carvings

 

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

A Sweet Mix: French Arm Chair, Asian Artifacts and Adam Siegel Painting

 

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

 

 

 

Recently GT featured an exhibition of Indian Mardi Gras costumes. I found them to be quite colorful and perfect for those bold souls unfazed by color and pattern. While I admit they are not for everyone, I can attest to their unusual beauty.

 

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

 

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

 

Daniel Burnham once said  “Make no little plans”, this can be said of the Golden Triangle as well. They were recently contacted to create interior fittings for Rama Club, a chain of bars in China. These photos feature the Shenzhen location. Shenzhen is undergoing a bit of a renaissance itself. The former fishing village had a population of 5,000 forty years ago; the population has swollen to 12 million now that every big tech company has opened offices, factories or both.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

I find that many of my smaller projects require a little something special. Over the years I have come to appreciate the skills of the workshop located within the Golden Triangle, here are a few examples of their fine work. One of the best things GT ever made for me was a small console for an entry foyer. Since the space didn’t have a wall, the piece had to have a finished back and float. We were delighted with the outcome!

 

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

 

One of a pair of stone urns converted to lamps (above). I wish you could have seen the original photos of the Art Deco club chairs prior to restoration and reupholstery. Thankfully there’s a pair of these handsome devils ready to go, talk about immediate gratification!

 

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

 

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

 

The workshop recently made a significant piece of wall art composed of vintage aluminum panels from France, framed in the Chicago workshop. I love how GT takes back pieces previously sold, retrofitting them for my client’s needs should they change or when the piece is relocated to another room or residence.

 

Coming Soon: GT Chiang Mai

Lastly, Doug and Chauwarin are excited about their newest adventure, come Fall they will be opening a new store in Thailand, located in Chaing Mai. Doug explained: “we’ve learned so much from Chicago, we’re a global city, we’re cool and logical. Asia is rising, we have a direct link to Chiang Mai which was once a sleepy place near the mountains conveniently located three hours from everywhere in Asia. Chiang Mai has grown tremendously, they have a new contemporary art museum, many 4 and 5 star hotels, the time is ripe for us to open an outpost. We hope you visit the next time you’re in Thailand”.

 

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

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little adventure, you didn’t even have to leave your lounge chair. I hope you’re as inspired as I am. Please let me know if you wish to take a personal tour, needless to say lunch is on me.

Big Hugs~

~Ken

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

Give Me Those Ruby Slippers

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

 

Hello November, oh how I love this cozy season! The downside in Chicago is the lack of sunshine and shorter days. Since the time change I have been thinking about perking up my space. This is easy for me as an interior designer, I also happen to enjoy color. How about you? Winter is coming, it’s so important to brighten up our space as much as possible. Consider this post a public service if you are terrified of color (I’m smiling and winking at you). Diana Vreeland reportedly told the legendary decorator Billy Baldwin she wanted her living room to be a garden in hell, the rest is history. (see illustration above by the late Jeremiah Goodman) While this may be too extreme for you it’s not too late to embrace a little color. When it comes to color what kind of person are you? Let’s explore…

 

Classic Decorating

Perhaps you are a bit more traditional, there’s nothing wrong with that. These two rooms have classical proportions and are quite elegant. The top image is more restrained with color, the second takes a bolder approach. It is interesting to note I am seeing more traditional decorating in the shelter magazines. I have also noticed more colorful interiors even if they are contemporary.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Adding Color With Artwork

Another great way to enliven your space is adding colorful artwork to a neutral interior. I’m a firm believer that great artwork makes all the difference in the world. I have seen many people forget how important this is. While good furniture, lighting, rugs and accessories are important we cannot underestimate the importance of artwork. I call this the extra ten percent, it literally makes or breaks your space.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Unexpected Colorful Surprises

Who ever said pops of color are only for pillows and throws? We had a great time designing a happy guest bathroom for our client’s pool house. While this isn’t for the faint of heart it filled my client’s heart with joy.

 

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

 

 

Rhapsody In Blue

Our client wanted a colorful yet tailored living room, the luxurious and durable fabrics are elegant yet  pet/kid friendly. The Murano glass lamps complement the gorgeous painting above, this is what I would call a happy ending!

 

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

 

 

Vive La France

Our California client wanted a French Provencal feeling that was clean and not too fussy. I think the outcome is pleasing to the eye. What do you think?

 

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

 

A Modern Tuscan Kitchen

We are inundated with white kitchens lately, they are gorgeous but certainly not for everyone. This client wanted something that was unique. The cabinets are hand glazed by our special artisans.

 

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

 

 

When In Doubt Use Red

Look how this fun pop of red enlivens a soaring and neutral contemporary space designed for modern living. The second photo has a deep coral hue which sets off the dark furniture, light trim and stunning artwork collection. Did you know red is my favorite color?

 

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

 

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

 

 

Colorful Surprises

This Art Deco rug is quite colorful with a gorgeous pattern to keep you enthralled. I highly recommend bolder rugs. I typically shop for the rug at the end of the project instead of designing the room around the rug, the results are more exciting! The exciting painting below is full of color and gorgeous calligraphy, they work well together!

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Color My World

Here’s a bevy of projects that may inspire you to add a little more color to your space. The inspiring images range from traditional to contemporary, some show color as an accent and others are very colorful. What speaks to you?

 

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, 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, 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

 

The best part about being an interior designer is creating spaces that reflect your preferences and tolerance for color. Not every space needs a lot of color, this is not a one size fits all proposition. Luckily we are all different, that’s what makes my task fun and life more interesting. It’s a thrill to create a personal space that reflects who you are. I’ll be thrilled to work with you, when we’re done you’ll be tickled pink. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Big Hugs,

-Ken

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

Our Second Floor Landing at Lake Forest Show House 2017

 

Live Authentic

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

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”~Oscar Wilde

This is one of my favorite quotes by the often misunderstood Mr. Wilde. I’m working hard to live an authentic life. Do you struggle with this? We live in a time when so many shiny, pretty distractions are trying to rob us of our quality of life & contentment. Is this the fault of ADHD, technology, boredom or all the above? I keep telling myself I’m going to take my life back; unplug from technology, social media, read more books, write more note cards/letters rather than a convenient text or email. So what should we do, move to Machu Picchu, become a monk? Well let’s not get carried away yet. Here are a few thoughts my little crocodiles.

 

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

 

 

Shop Smart When Decorating

Many of us are obsessively looking at home furnishings online. This is terrific for an initial lookyloo, but making a big purchase sight unseen is another story altogether. It’s time to think of the global impact we are making buying everything online. Yes, it’s convenient-but so many people purchase things they don’t even need. Yes, I’m looking at you West Elm, Williams Sonoma Home and Pottery Barn. Insider Tip For Budget Hunters: There are incredible things for sale that are better made for less at estate sales, resale/consignment/vintage shops. There are also great finds at auctions and on e-commerce sites: Viyet, Charish, 1stDibs. I love a great hunt, how about you?

 

 

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

 

Buy Locally

Try as hard as you can to support local businesses and restaurants in your area. If you don’t support these businesses they will go under. Big Box Stores are good for some things. What are you going to do when the local coffee shop, restaurant, friendly book or hardware store closes once and for all? I do my utmost to purchase as much as I can locally. I would be lost without my local dry cleaner and pharmacy, they are the kindest people and deliver. I would call that a win-win!

 

 

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

 

Eat Right/Keep Moving

Think of your body as a fine machine. Take time to eat properly. We are all in such a hurry, we could learn a thing or two from our friends in Europe. Yes, I recognize healthy food costs more money and actually takes time to prepare. I need to slow down, how about you? I’m hoping the prices at Whole Foods will drop with the recent acquisition by Amazon-perhaps this is a good thing. Join a gym, make a date with yourself to run, lift weights, go to yoga/dance class…whatever. I don’t care what you do, just do it, I’m tired of my sorry-ass excuses. We are worth it!

 

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

 

Make Time For You

Consider what you really want out of life. If you are single and wish to meet Ms. or Mr. Right you have to get out there. Do your best to put yourself in social situations where you can actually meet someone. Staying home on social media or binging on Netflix will not keep you warm on a cold winter’s night.

 

 

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

 

Talk To People/Show Consideration

When was the last time you actually picked up the phone and had a real conversation? Heartfelt texting during the day/middle of the night doesn’t count. Call your parents, sibling, old friend from college/prior job you haven’t spoken to in ages. Talk to the old lady or man in front of you at the grocery store or pharmacy. You may be the best thing that happens to them today!

 

 

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

 

Cross Your Comfort Zone

Full Disclosure: The last few years I’m pushing myself to say/do things I couldn’t bring myself to do previously. This isn’t a dress rehearsal. Get out there and really life your F****** Life! This isn’t meant to be preachy or a chapter in a self-help book. Don’t waste another minute, day or week doing things you aren’t excited about. Embrace your inner child, get out there and have fun my little crocodile!

 

Big hugs~

-Ken

 

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