Classic Design for Modern Living

Category: draperies

10 Surefire Ways To A Glamorous Room

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Hello gorgeous, you look fantastic! Oh yes, I’m talking to you, but your space, hmm that’s another story. While you’re a knockout (I’m a great judge after all) your place has seen better days. It’s ok, I’m not judging, tell me all about it. I know you’re very busy and stressed out, it’s my job to make your dreams come true. I have seen it all as an interior designer, here in Chicago and farther afield we tend to put ourselves on the back burner. So now let’s focus on you, it’s your turn~here we go, read on if you have always wanted a glamorous space to curl up.

 

SETTING THE SCENE WITH GORGEOUS MATERIALS

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

Consider your gorgeous environment as a sexy extension of you, think about what makes you feel beautiful as a woman, for guys think of what makes you feel handsome. Think of how you feel when you are wearing that item everyone compliments, it instills natural confidence, am I right? The same goes for the interior. The materials you find beautiful or handsome can add natural glamour to your space. This applies to fur (real or faux), shimmering fabrics, glass, metal, marble, lucite or anything that reflects light.

 

THE FOYER

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

 

LIVING ROOM

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

I am constantly influenced by many things that cross my eye each day. A big inspiration for me is film and travel, as a kid I was seduced by glamorous movie sets. I think of my clients as the star of their film. A glamorous space is a wonderful backdrop to live your life in, you may even want to show it off–but it’s ok to have some things just for you.

 

 

DINING ROOM

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Although glamour might not be your first thought when you see the image above, I find the space glamorous due to the gorgeous wrought iron on the windows and magnificent marble columns. The white walls are so elegant and fresh, note the delicate lines on the lovely caned chairs. Now lets focus on the second room, check out the acid green chairs using two different fabrics, the Murano glass light fixtures and fabulous mirror.

 

 

 

MASTER BEDROOM

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

I know a glamorous bedroom is a no brainer, you would be surprised if I told you how many people choose to live. We can create a very sensuous place to live out your fantasies. Live it up–you are worth it.

 

 

POWDER ROOM

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

So you are allowing someone into your gorgeous place, well done my little crocodile! A powder room is a great way to get your feet wet with a designer. Why not begin the journey and create a space your guests will enjoy using, they may never leave!

 

 

MASTER BATHROOM

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

No one can deny the pleasure of a great shower or bath at the beginning or end of your day. Frankly there is nothing like it. There is no better way to prepare for the adventures that are in store for you. White stone is very popular lately, but do remember that many of the most beautiful surfaces are very porous. Inside Tip: Take care to have your precious stone sealed or select non-porous materials in the colors you love most.

 

 

 

THE CLOSET

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

I personally have a small closet, I like it this way so I can survey all my shirts, pants, jackets and suits easily. Some of us MUST have a larger closet which is totally fine by me. Let’s plan it out properly! We will come over to review what you have, measure the amount of lineal hanging you require and design a space fit for a queen, king or something in-between. I love using lots of mirror, glass and wood in closets. What turns you on?

 

 

THE JEWELRY

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

Gorgeous lighting is like jewelry for your space, think of the reflections the beautiful glass or crystal will make. If decorative lighting isn’t your thing we can achieve the same details with mirrors, tables or accessories.

 

 

UNEXPECTED AREAS

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

Who said kitchens can’t be sexy?

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

Nothing is more fun than taking a mundane hallway to the next level by adding venetian plaster, luxurious wallcovering, or eglomise mirrors.

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

You deserve a glamorous place to conduct business.

 

 

 

THE TAKEAWAY

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter, Chicago Interior Design

 

We all have an idea of what is beautiful to us, don’t we? I hope you will take these ideas and add a little more glamour to your daily routine. You don’t need to do everything right away, start small with a few things: consider adding a pair of sexy stools, a great chandelier or table. When in doubt try channeling your inner-glam spirit animal.

Have fun and enjoy yourself, ACTION, it’s your scene-

Ken

 

Why Is My Space So Dark And Dreary?

 

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Have you ever walked around your home and wished someone would come and rescue you? For many of us, the answer is yes. Why are we so afraid to change a few things to make our spaces brighter and happier? You know what I mean if you live in Chicago or anywhere that has long winters. Here are five easy and quick ways to lighten and brighten your home or apartment. As the master of transformation I can tell you change is good!

 

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1. If your rooms face east you are flooded with great light in the morning. If you leave the for the office fairly early you are not taking advantage of this feature. Spaces like this are often dark after 12:00 and throughout the afternoon. If your walls are painted a medium to dark hue and this is not working for you consider painting the walls a lighter color like creme, white, celadon, pale yellow or blue-gray.

 

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2. Do you need window treatments? Many of us have window treatments we despise. Crazy, right? How can you say you love interior design and keep them in your space? Consider taking down your window treatments if you don’t need them. However, many of us need something, consider roman shades made of sheer material, this is often just what the doctor ordered. Another great option is to have a wool casement made into panels hung on a wood or metal rod with rings.

 

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3. What about general lighting in the room? Many of us do not have down lights or hate them altogether. Recessed down lights can actually help light a room overall, but they can also be harsh. Consider many types of lighting to light a room well. A combination is best: sconces, table lamps, standing lamps, and up-lights behind furniture can create great effects. You can also use lighted sculptures which create a wow effect and save a dead corner. You don’t have to own a home or condo to have great lighting. Many rentals have greatly improved the quality of lighting offered. You can also achieve the same great results by placing several table and floor lamps strategically around a room; this is very effective in older or vintage apartments. I personally like incandescent lighting best, this is essential in bedrooms. Who doesn’t want to look better in the bedroom? LED lighting can be good too as long as it is color corrected. Fluorescent lighting isn’t needed in the home unless you are a woodworker with a home based workshop or repair cars in your garage.

 

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4. I am constantly asked if it is ok to paint stained woodwork. The answer is yes, unless you love stained woodwork. Stained woodwork can be beautiful in a vintage house or if done well. The problem is most of the time it is not done well and people are terrified to paint it. Fear not grasshopper, paint your woodwork if you wish!

 

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5. I find many young people in their first home are house poor. I have known many of my client’s kids since they were babies so I want to help them out too! The best friend of anyone on a budget is BM White Dove http://benjaminmoore.com it will instantly whiten, brighten and freshen even the dreariest of spaces. Invite a few pals over and pay them with pizza, beer and wine. When on a budget think like the Swedes, they have fantastic interiors whether they are contemporary or traditional. If your Grandmother has some mid-century furniture that is a win-win. If the pieces offered are not great, you can take her old things and whitewash them or have crisp white washable slip covers made to cover the old sofa with the horrible fabric. How’s that for instant cool? Have fun with this kids, and don’t forget once you are ready to buy furniture to buy the best you can afford so the pieces you purchase will last longer. You get what you pay for. When you buy quality you will only cry once when you write the check. Quality pieces will last the test of time.

Here is a link to an old post about white, it is chock-a-block full of inspiration and may be just the ticket for you http://wp.me/p2RdfV-g5

 

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I hope this post will be of help to you. If you have a particular issue you would like addressed in the future send me a shout out in the comments area below–better yet, email http://kennethwalter.com or call and tell me your issue 312-329-1007  The top five issues of the month will win a complimentary in-home consultation. Until next time, embrace the light, it’s a good thing.

Big Hugs~

Ken

 

PS: Perhaps you’ll find the perfect thing to lighten and brighten your space here.

 

Special thanks to:

http://archdigest.com http://traditionalhome.com and http://housebeautiful.com

 

 

 

 

How To Transform Your Space With Soulful Artwork

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If you know me, you understand how important artwork is as I transform interiors. Art is a fundamental part of my personal life as well. I’m constantly explaining how a well thought out interior can heal us and provide the salve we need after a tough day. My focus for this post is about the healing power of artwork.

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I recently became acquainted with the talented local artist, Sarah Raskey. Sarah and her husband Tim Manning opened a new art gallery in the West Loop area of Chicago in 2014. Raskey is an amazing woman, a licensed psychotherapist, does counseling with art therapy, an adjunct graduate art therapy professor at the School of The Art Institute and who has spent many years working simultaneously as an exhibiting artist. How on earth does she have time to do all of this? Sarah’s work is very soulful and personal, the work is a reflection of her life’s journey.

My goal as an interior designer is to create an environment evocative of who my client is. I believe these pieces are calming and healing, they speak to my holistic approach when creating an interior. Shown above is a recent installation of Sarah’s artwork in one of my projects, it is proof that Sarah is a force to be reckoned with.

 

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The above two photos (middle and lower) illustrate a recent installation at the recently remodeled Hotel Allegro in Chicago. This piece, Lady Lucent of Awakening, is elegant and arresting, a real presence and a testament to the power of art. In short, it is a real attention grabber! The detail above evokes a glamour not seen very often, reminiscent of vintage portraits of Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow by George Hurrell.

 

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As a champion of artists there is nothing more fun than visiting an artist’s studio, you never know what you’ll find. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many in my life and Sarah’s studio is no exception. Artists are a blast to hang with, Sarah is a wonderful, caring and giving person. It is really easy to sit down with her to discuss the piece you wish to buy from her gallery or have commissioned.

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Sarah is known for giving clients various opportunities to add their own personal touch, idea or sentiment when purchasing a piece. She finds significance by letting clients “create what they need” and even offers to embed items that are dear to the person who has commissioned the piece of artwork. Examples of such items are poems, pictures or keepsakes, which are able to be visible on the painting or kept hidden. At times these items can also be personal things from her own collection or travels. I think this is a wonderful way to make a piece of artwork very unique…and uniquely yours.

imageRecent installation of Raskey’s work at Maya Romanoff, Chicago

I recently came across this quote by Sarah Raskey, it sums up acquiring artwork quite well:

“Surround yourself with artwork that doesn’t run out! What does this mean? That it doesn’t become invisible and irrelevant. It does not rely on brand names and popularity in order for you to love it. It does not fade or come and go with trends or entertains society’s latest beliefs regarding beauty. Because after all, art is anything we want it to be, a natural metamorphosing resource, as well as a glimpse of our own reflection.”

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Detail of Raskey’s work

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Our Bedroom Vignette at Chicago Luxury Beds

I am thrilled to have collaborated on a few projects with Sarah and her husband Tim Manning. I hope these images stir you in some manner, perhaps they will move you the way they move me. These images are only a tiny glimpse of Sarah Raskey’s work, they are best appreciated in person. I would be delighted to arrange a personal visit to her lovely gallery, I invite you to check out her website sarahraskey.com

Wishing you Peace & Love,

Ken

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Photo Credits: Two photos of Hotel Allegro, Chicago by Michael Mundy

Control

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Now before we get carried away here, this is not the 50 Shades of Grey kind of control. What is on my mind is simplifying our lives with smart home technology. To simplify, I will refer to this as CONTROL. Most of us have TV’s, DVR’s, Blu-ray players, music systems and window treatments just to name but a few. Many of us really need a robust network. Many do not know what this is or what a difference it can make!

 

 

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However, so many of us are missing the point of smart technology. Yes Virginia, there is a way to simplify our lives. I am looking for simplification all the time, are you?

 

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If you are interested in controlling window treatments, technology, heat, HVAC, lighting and many other items while in your home, or remotely when you are out-of-town you are not alone. Many of my clients resist this technology as they fear it will be difficult to install or use once it is finally in their residence. Fear not, we can solve this issue!

 

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If you are interested in making your life easier please let me know. I work with many wonderful professionals who have various skills. I am delighted to recommend the right person who can solve your unique issue whether we are currently working together on a project or not.

 

 

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Keep it simple, it’s a beautiful thing~

Ken

 

 

Details, Details, Details

bw43Can you imagine Louis skimping on his home?

Are you a patron, client or just an admirer of beauty?

I am referring to fine detail, whether traditional or contemporary, and how it can enhance your space. Can you imagine King Louis skimping on Versailles? I know that I cannot even contemplate that. We all know about the French Revolution, don’t we? Today’s world is so different from the era of King Louis & Queen Marie Antoinette. We really don’t have to go back that far to remember the great homes along Fifth Avenue during the Gilded Age. What about The Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Frick residences along New York’s Fifth Avenue during the first half of the 20th century? So many handsome and stately homes were demolished along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. I am fortunate to have decorated two of the seven that remain. It is tragic that so many wonderful houses chock-a-block full of great detail have been demolished. Can you imagine if more of these treasures remained? I am not waxing nostalgic to say we should return to the time of Robber Barons and their spoils, but we have many parallels in the world today.

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imageMr. Henry Clay Frick’s Home along Fifth Avenue in New York City is a fine museum worth visiting.

Many people bemoan the rich for many reasons, I am not here for that. These people of means are called upon to contribute to the great museums, hospitals and many worthy organizations that serve the needs of the rich and less fortunate. These wealthy individuals were also wonderful patrons who commissioned architects, artists, designers, metal forgers, stone masons, plasterers, gardeners, and painters to produce gorgeous hand wrought artistry in their homes. It was a time when Mr. Frick’s house had to be better than Mr. Carnegie’s. I think you get the picture. We don’t have to go back to gilded woodwork and hand wrought plaster work. However, we do have the capability if this is the client’s desire. We all know Bill Gates and Warren Buffet keep a lower profile, are generous with charitable causes and do not flaunt their wealth as King Louis once did. Staying below the radar is popular with today’s new guard. These tech-titans have chosen a different path than the 19080’s when the masters of the universe flaunted wealth for sport.

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imageMr. Calvin Klein purchased and razed a faux castle in The Hamptons to build something contemporary yet elegant.

The point of this entry is to talk about being a patron, you don’t have to be a billionaire or even a millionaire to be a patron. Some money is required, but let’s not get carried away yet! The time has now arrived to focus on real things like furniture, fabrics, area rugs, accessories, and original artwork. We should not focus on how little we can pay for it. Let’s look at buying less with an eye for quality. When is too much too much? How much do we really need?

With that said, many of the places I have counted on for years have closed. I have been very sad about the demise of many dear sources that have gone out of business. Tastes change, the world changes, many designers and their clients lacked the interest to keep wonderful businesses alive and thriving. Now their doors are closed forever. A prime example was Chicago’s last custom source for Trimming or Passementerie as our French friends call it. Call it what you wish, trim is a good thing.

Theodore Merwitz Custom Trim was my favorite custom trimming source. They made beautiful tassels, fringes, cord welts and the like. Merwitz recently shut their doors after more than 50 years in business. I was friends with the late Mr. Charles Klein, who learned the trade from his father-in-law, Mr. Theodore Merwitz many years ago. You see Mr. Klein married Mr. Merwitz’s daughter, he needed to provide for his bride and the family that eventually came along. As time went on Mr. Klein taught the fine art of trim making to Scott, Mr. Klein’s son-in-law. There’s an art to making custom trim, the hand labor is grueling, the workshop was blazing hot in the summer, the office was air-conditioned but not the workroom. The fine artisans worked in difficult conditions in the warmer weather, they had a job to do and always came through admirably. I can vividly remember Mr. Klein working in his undershirt in the workroom well into his eighties. He always smiled, never complained or missed a deadline.

imageMy private box of custom trims. It was so much fun to select all the custom colored thread to create something special.

When clients need trim that the stock houses don’t have a custom coloration was necessary. Many of my clients don’t want formal draperies any longer, you can see how Merwitz might close their doors. The demand isn’t there to remain open when very few clients need the source. How many historic homes,  museums or period rooms need to redo their trim? However, there are contemporary trims that aren’t fussy or formal. Many contemporary furniture pieces have brush fringe on the leading edge of a cushion. I have been working on a historic home that has become much more contemporary than its previous iteration. The new modern window treatments have a trim detail that is fun and playful.

imageThis pom-pom trim was the perfect choice for our fun-loving client.

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imageReady made tassels and flat tape (above), colorful brush fringe and ribbon guimpe (below).

Attention to detail can be seen in ultra contemporary buildings and interiors too. A building designed by minimalist architect John Pawson, Richard Meier or Renzo Piano is rich in sophisticated detail, just not fussy. The spare, clean and rich details (yes rich!) remain nonetheless.

imageThe spare detail in this architectural masterpiece is stunning.

imageContemporary yes, but the details are rich and abundant.

imageContemporary, warm and cozy without being fussy.

imageCleaner lines, yet warm and contemporary in feel.

Whether you are traditional, contemporary or something in-between we can create something special for your space. The end result will be created just for you. It will be an honor to be your guide along the journey whether you need a full redo, a minor facelift or a little face time (consultation). Now the question remains, how can we transform your environment?

I look forward to helping you become a patron on your terms!

Ken