Classic Design for Modern Living

Category: Holiday Decor

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,


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: or



Happy Holidays!


It is December again, usually a joyful time for most of us. We are happy to celebrate the holidays we choose to celebrate, we are fortunate to live in a free and relatively safe country. I am saddened by so many people hating and killing each other senselessly. While this isn’t a forum for politics, I feel we can do better as a society. I love my family and friends, I know you do too. Let’s try to give each other the benefit of kindness whenever possible.

I am so grateful to know you in the manner you have allowed it. I hope we will always care about each other. I wish you joy now and always.

Peace & Love,


The Holidays Again, Oh No! 15 Survival Tips For You

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

Illustration by Jeremiah Goodman


The holidays are here once again, each year I am astounded by how quickly the year has passed. Does this happen to you? In my work as an interior designer I am busy making your space magical, I rarely have time to do anything for myself. We have seen the perfectly set tables and decorated trees in holiday movies. I can’t help it, I’m a hopeless romantic. This post is aimed at each of us who really want to prepare for the holidays but need a little motivation. While I admire great cooks, I personally leave anything fancy to the professionals. Yes, I can roast a turkey quite well and make certain dishes. But let’s be clear, I am no chef. That said, here are some ideas anyone can use to really enjoy the upcoming holidays.



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


  1. Think small! I love the above photo, it is evocative of the kind of dinner most of us would be pleased to sit down to. I particularly like the image as it is not a traditional setting like a dining table. Not everyone has a large family or a large dining room for that matter. This looks perfect to me!




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


2. If you have a home and are organized you most likely have a mud room or great entrance area that is perfectly suited to the storage of boots, hats, coats and the like. Not everyone has this kind of space yet pine for a mud room. If you think you don’t have any room look at the image below, if it can be done in a hotel room it can work in your space.


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






3. What if your entryway is empty? Most homes I visit today are more than half empty. I am not speaking of my clients but am referring to this attitude of never making time to furnish your home. This handsome console would add pizzazz to your entryway. It would also make a terrific sofa table or center table.

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




4. Storage issues you say, we all have them. When in doubt, buy a cabinet–it is the perfect way to hide things in a mud room; additional placemats, napkins or place settings in the dining room; or use as a media cabinet. I love this piece, it is handmade by a great group of veterans in Texas. What do you think of the steel and reclaimed wood?


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





5. You just found out you’re hosting a holiday dinner, lo and behold your range or oven are broken. I will never forget we had the same issue a week before Thanksgiving many years ago. Mr. Aware, yes me, missed that little detail. We moved into our new home (100 years old but who’s counting) in August of 1998, everything was working ok at the time. That was not the case in mid-November. Great, oh great! The heat was on in more ways than one, luckily we were able to get a new oven a week before Thanksgiving.


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





6. I have a small budget, I can’t do any of this! That’s ok too. A fresh coat of paint on the wall is a no brainer even if you and a few friends have to do it one weekend. The new Benjamin Moore latex paints are terrific, many will cover in one coat as long as you are not covering a super dark color.


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




7. I’m not hosting at my house and I hate the host house, now what? Ok I get it, but please get over it. The main thing is, you will all be together (sometimes that’s the real problem, smile)! Does it really matter if your Great Aunt Gertrude or Nana’s house is a bit grand and not your taste? I say embrace it! Enjoy their dishes, crystal and flatware. Why not? It’s just one day, and think how happy Nana will be to see her things being used and enjoyed by her nearest and dearest. Oops…do I hear a broken glass falling? They are just things! If she’s afraid of breakage then use the everyday service or rent it, most places will deliver and pick up for a very small fee. It’s worth it!


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

Don’t let a grand setting put a damper on your holiday

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

Sometimes the old ways are the best!




8. I don’t want to have my holiday dinner inside, what do I do? Lucky you! We have had some really warm weather lately in Chicago, this is not realistic for us however. If you live in the south or somewhere with warmer weather by all means have the gathering outside. Hell yes, why not? Please invite me next year!

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


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




9. Our Guest Bedroom is dreadful and my mother-in-law is a royal you know what! Better get cracking my little crocodile! There are plenty of ways to do over a bedroom quickly. Look at the handsome photo below for inspiration. Chances are you will not find the exact items readily but you can find very nice things at Crate & Barrel for instance. Better yet call me, we can take care of this issue quickly!


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


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

What a great use of an attic space!

10. For Pete’s sake I don’t live in a house, I have a little apartment and have to serve four people. Problem solved, look at the lovely room below, the set up is clean and modern and will solve your issue–bam!

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



11. Stock the liquor cabinet, make sure you have plenty of mixers in individual bottles. Do you know what your guests like to drink? If not, you need to make a few calls or send some emails.

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



12. My room is a mess, there is stuff everywhere. Dedicate one day to it and put your clutter away, try to pull the room together the best you can! When in doubt donate things you no longer use or put things in storage if you plan on needing them again.

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




13. Hang your artwork! I meet people all the time who have things stacked up everywhere. I am not talking about artful arrangements of pictures propped on the mantle. This has to go!

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



14. The little things count! Ok I get it, you don’t have a room like this. But you could, start small! Buy a throw to cuddle with, a few pillows and candles. Put some nuts in a dish and candy in another, don’t forget some great books on the coffee table to inspire looking and conversation.

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



15. I’m broke and just lost my job. Well that happens! So make some cards, paint some cool glasses and give them to your family. What did you say? You’re not artistic, well that’s ok. Write a hand written note telling someone how much they mean to you. Give your sister-in-law some IOUs for babysitting so she and your poor brother can get away from the kids to feel human again. Help your Dad clean out the garage, yes really! You get it, not everything good comes from a store.

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


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


I am so grateful to have my family, my health and a profession that gives me immense joy. What are you grateful for? I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season ahead.


Big Hugs,





We are firmly into December. Tonight is the final night of Hanukkah, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and in eight days it will be a new year. Before we know it we will be toasting each other, reflecting on the old year, kissing and hugging each other. So before it gets too crazy with friends, presents, and family dinners I want to say what a gift it is to know you and be a part of your life. I wish you dear friends a fantastic holiday season. Enjoy it all: the fun and laughter, even the stress and obligations as it will all be over so quickly. I am striving to be present in my life and enjoy it to the fullest, I hope you do too.

Peace & Love to you at this joyous time,







Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner I am even more reflective than usual. I can’t help think how lucky we are to be Americans living in this great country. Whatever our differences, no matter what, we are people who have a common denominator. We all love someone. Let us not forget there is not enough love and kindness in the world. I nominate myself to continue this mission.

In closing I want to say I am incredibly indebted to you. I am so glad to know you and be a part of your life in some way. I do not send my blog to just anyone so please know if you get this blog it is because I care about you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love.

Big Hugs,


Are You Organized Yet?



 It’s never too late, really!

With Autumn right around the corner we continue to organize our client’s lives, it’s fun, you feel better, it’s a win-win actually! Transforming our client’s spaces is the name of our game. A few thoughts on being organized:



 Is this what you want?


1. Many of my clients have become obsessed with creating space for backpacks, briefcases, purses and mail this summer. Another popular topic was making sure there were great areas in the home to do homework, paperwork, scrap booking…you name it!










A large table can multi-task for homework, meals, projects etc.

2. I am amazed at tall preteens squeezing into an old bed they outgrew five years ago. The grownups are suffering too, some of my clients are celebrating their tenth anniversary with bedroom furniture from their bachelor(ette) days. This sounds like the time to treat yourself too! What are you waiting for? I’m giving you permission to enjoy your bedroom too!


 Make sure your bedroom fits your needs.


Is this style age appropriate for a 15 year old?


 It appears we have given up…


 Oh no!


Please don’t be this person!


 Time to cocoon!


Snuggle up, sleep well.


 The details count, buy the best mattress you can afford, you won’t regret it!



3. With the holidays right around the corner I am organizing closets and reconfiguring spaces to accommodate special dishes/silverware, linens or holiday decorations. I can personally attest this makes life so much easier!





 Clear containers are even better, you don’t even have to make labels.



It’s time to get cracking before the holidays are upon us. I’m inspired and have more ideas than you can imagine! I’ll be looking forward to hearing about your unique needs.

Time to get to work,


We Need Artwork!

With September around the corner the time to focus on artwork is now.


Would you like this above your sofa…


…or this?

I am really enjoying each day of Summer! However, I know some of some of us will soon be struggling while attempting to spruce up their environment for the upcoming holidays. I am not suggesting Holiday shopping in August! I am referring to being prepared for the upcoming holiday season, and getting what you need done sooner than later. That said, I have a few visual treats for you if you are considering adding some artwork to your space. Artwork is very personal, it comes in all price brackets ranging from priceless pieces to more approachable pieces for those of us on a budget.


Sometimes a mirror will suffice,


wallpaper will do the trick at times also.


This piece is magnificent and highly collectible. What do you think?


I recently met this talented young artist. Imagine, original artwork for $900.


Vintage photographs are wonderful!


I love this edgy work, he does conservative images too.


Sometimes you want something that will create conversation.


There’s here’s nothing like David Hockney…


…or Jean-Michel Basquiat.


Perhaps it should be Jamie Wyeth…


…or a work by Albrecht Durer?


Sometimes you need to soar on an angel’s wings.

I can help you find whatever you need: auction, galleries or artists I know. I am ready and willing to create a collection or add to what you already have. I absolutely love to create gallery walls of old family photos. Imagine all the fun conversations and reminiscing you will do with your guests over the holidays.

Hope you have a wonderful August,


Al Fresco Style


Summer is all about pools, porches and playfulness. Interior design is not limited to the interior.  It’s time to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out.  My favorite part of summer is dining Al Fresco.  Here are some of my favorite inspirations for your summer parties and a few ideas to get you started:

1- Be playful, combine herbs, flowers and fruits from the garden for your centerpieces.

2- Having Tivoli lights and candles creates a European and romantic feeling after the sun sets.

3- Layer textiles- tapestries, table cloths, napkins, placemats- have fun!

4- Plan a seasonal menu with fresh fruits and vegetables.  At our house we love antipasto with fresh figs, watermelon and feta salad, paella and anything with berries for dessert!

5- Here’s your chance to serve some great chilled wines, rose and whites are
typically the best bet. Otherwise don’t forget to have beer, vodka and gin
for those who are not wine drinkers. If the theme is south of the border serve margaritas, mojitos and sangria.

6- When you are a guest at someone’s outdoor party remember the nights can
become chilly. Ladies don’t forget to bring a pashmina or cashmere wrap, gentlemen
should bring a light cashmere sweater, or linen jacket.

We all look forward to summer, I know I do!

Hope you enjoyed our post!  Comments are always welcome!  Please visit the Gray and Walter website for more ideas for your interiors,


Kenneth Walter


































A few summer must haves I ran across in July’s issue of Architectural Digest, Enjoy!



Alfresco dining gets an extra serving of style from the Gothic motif of McKinnon and Harris’s Graves outdoor side chair. Measuring 37″ h. x 19″ w. x 25″ d., the aluminum frame comes in gray (pictured) and a variety of other colors. An armchair is also offered, and the seat cushion can be ordered in a range of Sunbrella fabrics or c.o.m.; to the trade., 804-358-2385



The undulating stripes on Larsen’s Jackson fabric evoke gently rolling surf and refreshing sea breezes. The linen blend comes in, from top, ocean, red tulip, liquorice, and celadon; to the trade at Cowtan & Tout., 212-647-6900 rb


Part of Reed & Barton’s Heritage collection, this elegant ice bucket and cocktail shaker by designer Thomas O’Brien are a debonair take on classic barware. Offered in the company’s new pewter-plate finish, the pieces are both durable and tarnish-proof; they cost $175 and $125, respectively., 866-797-9675 sl1


Backed with ultrasoft terry cloth, these tailored cotton towels by Serena & Lily cast classic nautical stripes in summery shades of ultramarine and lime. The 30″ x 55″ bath towel costs $28, the 20″ x 30″ hand towel is $18, and the 12″-sq. washcloth is $8; additional sizes and colors are available., 866-597-2742



Constructed from Sunbrella materials, these indoor-outdoor throws by Textillery Weavers are perfect for cool summer nights. Available in several striking hues, including (from top) tulip, dandelion, pool, and tomato, the washable acrylic blankets measure 44″ x 72″ and sell for $245 each., 800-223-7673

Walls that WOW!


As a Chicago Interior Designer I am often asked to add a little pizazz to my client’s homes.  It’s no secret wallpaper has made a big comeback.  I’ve searched high and low to find a variety of different patterns to share with you–there is something for every taste–from bold geometrics to fancy florals- these wallpapers are sure to wow your walls.  Here are some of my favorites.









The writing is sure on these walls!


I love this vintage pattern.







Try adding wallpaper to stair risers for a pop of color.







This wallpaper is perfect for a powder room.


Try adding wallpaper to the back of a bookcase to create a focal point.



A company I really love is Fromental out of the UK.  Here are a few great installation shots.





I was interviwed by Make it Better’s Kristina Tober on wallpaper.  I hope you enjoy the article!

Fabulous Holiday Gifts


For me…there is nothing more fun than searching for the perfect holiday gift.  I’ve searched high and low so you don’t have to!  There’s something for everyone, even your beloved pooch!  We hope you enjoy what’s on our Fabulous List this holiday season.  Please visit the Gray and Walter website for more ideas for your interiors,

Happy Holidays,

Kenneth Walter

Pictured above:

-Damien Hirst For the Love of God Anamorphic Cup & Saucer: Designed for the 2012 Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern,

-Moo Woof Studded Dog Collar,

-Vertigo Jewelry Box by Andree Putman for Christofle,

-Louis Vuitton All That Jazz Earrings,

-DVF Lytton clutch in reef,


Luxury with a paleontological edge, Tateossian’s links are finished with dinosaur bone. Yes, dinosaur bone. 18 karat gold, silver spazio, and dinosaur bone cufflinks ($1,200).


Dog Bed- Dedon mini Nestrest


Smythson leather cufflink box


Black-on-black custom printed Alexander Wang playing cards


Rocky the rocking horse by Marc Newson for Magis.


Missoni x Havianas


Lee Broom Crystal Bulb


Louis Vuitton City Guides