Classic Design for Modern Living

Category: redo

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

Film As Inspiration

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

 

 

Let’s go to the cinema, I really love movies. My earliest memories involve my mother dragging us kids to the movies, usually a musical. I am quite fluent in the genre and still know many of the lyrics by heart. This post will not be about musicals, that would probably take up too much time and I’m not sure you even like musicals, do you?  However, before we jump into this post I will say The Sound of Music is a magnificent film full of visual stimulation, beautiful music and a lovely story. This was one of the first major films I ever saw. I’m sure I’ve seen it more than a hundred times by now. I constantly find inspiration everywhere as an interior designer, undeniably film is a huge inspiration to me. The films on my list have indelible design elements that are unforgettable to me. Perhaps you have seen some also.

 

 

The Way We Were

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

To break it down to the basic elements, Katie loved Hubble in college but she was an outsider. Flash forward and they reconnect when Hubble is on leave. How convenient that Katie invites him back to her apartment. What’s a nice Jewish girl doing with a Gentile boy? If you haven’t seen this film I highly recommend it.

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

I can still see adorable Katie running up the stairs to prepare coffee for Hubble in her sweet little kitchen with sassy red cabinets. What a little homemaker she wants to be! Believe me she has more on her mind…

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

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

Don’t you love a good romance?

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

The ending is unforgettable, I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it.

 

 

The Royal Tenenbaums


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

 

I hope you enjoy Wes Anderson films. If you are not aware of his genius I recommend you begin with this sweet little film. I could go on and on about his brilliance but I won’t. This is a fun story about a nutty family who will entertain you endlessly. Well I hope you will enjoy it, the sets are fantastic by the way!

 

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

 

 

A Single Man

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

 

Quite frankly I don’t know what to get more excited about in this film: the John Lautner house (he trained under Frank Lloyd Wright), Colin Firth’s vintage Mercedes, or his Tom Ford wardrobe. It’s a beautiful, sad story I highly recommend.

 

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

 

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

This house is a masterpiece!

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

 

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

What a ravishing and glamorous pal Julianne Moore makes.

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

Her Hollywood Regency house is magnificent!

 

 

It’s Complicated

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

 

This is far from a cinematic tour-de-force. However, there is something to be said about a Nancy Meyers comedy. The cast is always good, the sets are fantastic and these movies make you laugh. Now I ask, who doesn’t need a good laugh these days?

 

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

Ms. Meyers knows how to give good kitchen!

 

 

 

Lady Macbeth

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

 

This is a more serious film if you like that sort of thing. The sets are quite great!

 

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

 

 

 

 

Marie Antoinette

 

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

 

Now don’t start hating me as many people detest this film. However, the sets, costumes and music are quite good in my opinion. It’s not a period drama by any means. Take it for what it is: beautiful and fun. Hope you enjoy it!

 

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

Things don’t turn out so great for Marie Antoinette and Louis as we know!

 

 

 

Grand Budapest Hotel

 

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

 

Call me crazy but I’m wild about Wes Anderson Films. This is a rollicking good film about a duplicitous concierge and the wicked web he weaves. The sets are unbelievable, the costumes are great and you will laugh a lot!

 

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

Such a lovely little sweet shop

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

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

What a charming jail cell

 

 

 

The Dreamers

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

 

This film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci is a bit more serious as it has a political theme involving a love triangle between three beautiful, idealistic young people. The setting is a bit shabby yet elegant.

 

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 Am Love

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

 

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

 

This film set in the famous Villa Necchi in Milan has major star power. The film did not receive the attention it deserved in my opinion. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it, this is not a comedy.

 

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 Read the rest of this entry »

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

Making Design Decisions You Won’t Regret

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

 

One of the toughest challenges a homeowner can face is trying to make intelligent choices when building a new home. It is equally daunting when undertaking a renovation or redecoration project. The choices are endless since the internet serves a buffet of information. The intel acquired online is sometimes useful, many times it is misleading or unsubstantiated. What to do? As an interior designer, it is my responsibility to navigate the troubled waters faced while making the required selections to complete your project. I have seen more than one relationship tested here in Chicago and further afield. Let’s not let this happen to you, here are a few key points to consider my little crocodile.

 

 

 

Building Materials

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

 

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

 

The process of selecting building materials can be confusing. Consider the process of selecting one faucet let alone six more! Many times we are seduced by a glossy photo or a room seen in a film or television series. However, this does not always translate well into real life. Bear in mind these are artistic depictions of spaces designed to entice.

It is best to ask ourselves the following questions:

Will it work for my actual purposes? Will I still like it in a year let alone five? Will it hold up the way I live?

This is especially true of white marble which is very popular again; beauty is important but white marble is extremely porous. What happens when you are an active cook spilling red wine, balsamic vinegar and olive oil? It is always best to ask your designer, architect or contractor many questions. I never want to rain on anyone’s parade, I must advise my clients so they don’t make a mistake. Please remember these are materials you will not be changing casually like throw pillows. Check out this blog from the archives if you are interested in learning more about stone.  http://wp.me/p2RdfV-tg

 

 

 

 

Wall Finishes

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

 

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

 

Have you ever considered paneling a room with custom designed woodwork? This is a major architectural feature which will be a significant investment. While the first photograph depicts a handsomely wrought space, the second photograph is equally compelling. Here are two very different styles of spaces, they both have “wood” walls…amazing, no? Of course there are many other ways to finish a wall: painted drywall, venetian plaster, tile, wallpaper. Which one is right for you? The choices are endless. I always recommend engaging professional help in the form of an architect or designer to set the style-table initially. This is very important if you choose to furnish the space later on your own.

 

 

Area Rugs/Carpeting

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

 

Area rugs and carpeting can be challenging as well. There are a lot of choices even in the mid-range market. Years ago this was not the case. As the interest in home furnishings and decorating have increased so have the choices. Many retailers offer dubious quality at high prices, the higher prices do not always denote quality (yes RH we are talking about you!) so let the buyer beware. You will find it’s better to accompany a designer when making a major purchase. Designer Tip: Try not to bind solid carpeting to make an area rug, a small-scale pattern (see above) actually has more interest. The carpet pattern is subtle once the furniture is placed in the space. If you are interested in learning more about area rugs click on this link http://wp.me/p2RdfV-pY

 

 

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

 

I find it endearing when my clients tell me they hate rugs. Ahh, the dusty oriental rugs of their childhood memories at grandmother’s stuffy home. There are many “happy” rugs which can be custom colored at no extra charge, hooray! Now you can achieve the custom designed rug you have been craving. I would call that a win-win!

 

 

 

Fabrics

 

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

There are fabrics, and there are fabrics, oh heavens! Here’s another tip, when you have to order furniture choose wisely. You will most likely have these pieces for a substantial amount of time. Do you really think you will like that sofa or pair of lounge chairs in the hot pink floral fabric next year? If so, then please proceed–otherwise I would go with a solid and do the throw pillows in the floral. Many fabrics look handsome initially but begin to show wear after six months or less, don’t let this happen to you. There are many things to look for beyond a pretty fabric. Can I have an all white room? The answer is yes, but please let me select the “magic white fabrics” for you. You can even spill red wine on them, they are cleanable. I call them Ken’s little helper!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Paint Colors

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

 

Benjamin Moore has named Shadow, the color of the year (see above) http://benjaminmoore.com

While I happen to think this deep eggplant color is sexy, it is not for everyone. I am a fan of dark rooms. Who doesn’t love a cozy atmosphere? However, dark colors can make the room harder to light and may make the room appear smaller. I don’t mind this at all, but if you do, there are many paint options other than white! It is always best to engage a professional when making paint selections. I cannot begin to tell you how many color palettes we create each year for our clients. Designer Tip: The wrong color of paint costs the same as the correct color. Hire someone to assist with the paint palette, you won’t regret it!

 

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

 

A final word. Many of my commercial clients with public spaces or residential projects with kids and dogs often wish for “bullet proof” finishes/surfaces. While nothing is totally bullet proof, I firmly believe there are many choices that are better than others. The best choices will survive even the toughest customer: a sloppy hotel guest, a toddler with chocolate fingers or that adorable puppy that just had an accident. It is our pleasure to guide you through the minefield of choices. I look forward to hearing from you!

Big hugs,

-Ken

5 Simple Ways To Spruce Up Your Space

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

 

I have noticed the temperature in Chicago dropping a bit, I suppose this is inevitable. October is almost here after all. Many of us are thinking of ways to change our homes and apartments since the holidays will be here before we know it. I am always thrilled to see the difference a few enhancements can make. The interior design ideas I am suggesting can be very simple to somewhat complicated, so plan accordingly. No one enjoys being half done, especially if you have guests during the holidays. Here are a few thoughts for you.

 

 

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

 

 

New Furniture:  Stating the obvious here, I find it so amusing how we all procrastinate. That said, if you need new furniture before the holidays it is not too late. Don’t put off the inevitable. I can assure you that prices will increase in the new year so this is the best time to purchase new furniture. I constantly hear horror stories from new clients about purchasing furniture from well known retailers. Did you know interior designers have access to high quality lines (made in America) that are less expensive and better made than many popular retailers?

 

 

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

 

 

Clean up/create Guest Bedroom: Did you say you have guests staying with you over the holidays? Well fear not my little crocodile we better get cracking. Whether you have a few things or nothing at all there is plenty of time if you get motivated now. We have wonderful sources for bed linens by the way.

 

 

 

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

 

 

Painting: Nothing transforms a room quicker than repainting it; whether the room needs a clean coat of paint or you want a new color. This is the simplest solution for maximum change and achieved fairly quickly. Whether you hire a painter (highly recommended) or do it yourself be sure to have everything buttoned up prior to pulling the trigger.

 

 

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

 

 

Throws/Pillows:  Your space can really benefit from new pillows, a throw or both. I firmly believe a handsome  throw is essential with the upcoming cooler weather. It’s always fun to change things around during the change of seasons isn’t it?

 

 

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

 

 

Accessories & Artwork: What are we all waiting for? I visit clients who have artwork stacked in closets and boxes of objects that could be displayed. If this is not the case for you it’s time to visit a showroom or gallery and pick up a few things. Beautiful things come in all price ranges so let’s get out there and find something wonderful!

 

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

 

Pressed for time? I cannot stress enough how great these things are: fresh flowers, some candles, a new tablecloth or even a beautiful bowl of fruit. These little things can enhance your space in an afternoon prior to the arrival of your guests. It’s the little things that count and are the best. I’ll be curious to hear what you choose to do. Please give me a call if you need help or just want to chat. I’ll look forward to it!

 

Big Hugs,

-Ken

P.S. If you are looking for tips to get organized you may enjoy this post http://wp.me/p2RdfV-js

What Does Luxury Mean To You?

Can We Go On Vacation And Redecorate?

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

Why not my little crocodile! I’ll bet you have a mile long to-do list. Is it brimming with all the things you’d like to accomplish? Heaven knows I have a list too, I’m obsessed with my lists! As an interior designer I must tend to my client’s lists first. You know how it is, the proverbial shoemaker without shoes. Please don’t feel sorry for me. I love what I do–whether the project is in Chicago or far away, it is my joy to make your dreams come true.

So it is almost summer once again, I hope you want to go somewhere fun. And no, I’m not talking about the responsibility trip like a cousin’s wedding, a family reunion and the like. I’m hoping you are getting away somewhere really romantic and adventurous, a cruise up the Danube, a week on the Amalfi Coast or Provence. Oh baby, now we’re talking!

This post is for feeding your wanderlust and getting some things done at home too, let us begin~

 

BIGGER PROJECTS

 

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

We have all spoken to someone who thinks massive change can happen in the space of a 30 minute episode on HGTV. We all know that simply isn’t true! But true change can happen if you plan ahead, hire a great general contractor, architect or interior designer in advance. Once all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed you may go on vacation and relax. This also means you should trust those you have hired. This is not recommended if you are a control freak. I get it, please remember that we all have email and cell phones, this is unless you are traveling to Siberia where the cell service may not be stellar. I say let go and trust, anyone worth their salt will correct any issues upon your return.

 

 

MEDIUM PROJECTS

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

 

So you’ve been pining away for extra storage under the stairs, a new mud room or sprucing up the laundry room…perhaps this is more your speed. These are more doable projects if you haven’t a lot of time prior to leaving town. Do remember the same rules apply, no messy demolition until all items are located and received by your contractor. This is half the battle!

 

 

 

 

SEND YOUR FURNITURE ON VACATION

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

These projects are still important and must get accomplished sooner or later. I have a lovely new client who told me she’s had things on her list for five years. I get it, I do! So here’s what we’re going to do, let’s do a few little things. What about the gorgeous sideboard that works in the room but needs to be tweaked? What did you say, you don’t like the color any longer? No problem, we can send it to the shop, it can receive its makeover while you’re sunning yourself in Capri.

 

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

 

Grandma’s chairs can go to the upholsterer and be reborn

 

 

ARTWORK SAFARI

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

Why not reframe artwork? Perhaps it’s time to frame artwork you purchased in haste that has been sitting on the floor of the closet or heaven forbid hung on the wall without a proper frame. Do send it all to the framer prior to leaving town.

 

MORE THOUGHTS

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

This photo shows that little things make a difference. We all know how much better a room looks after it receives a fresh coat of paint. If you are allergic, the new paints are less smelly. However, some people are  sensitive to the slightest odor. It is always a good idea to go away during painting or floor finishing if you are extra sensitive. Note: I love these simple yet elegant new bed linens. Wouldn’t it be lovely to come back from your vacation and have all new luxurious linens on your bed? It could really help calm your frazzled nerves once you start looking at your inbox again.

You don’t have to be rich and famous to do some of these things while you are away. It takes planning and a bit of discipline, that’s all. This summer may not be the time for the project of your dreams; perhaps the timing will be better in the autumn or after the new year. It does help if you have someone to trust–a great painter, contractor or designer are your allies, do remember that. Help is but a phone call away.

 

Happy Trails-XO,

-Ken

 

P.S. Click here http://wp.me/p2RdfV-a0 for great ideas on what to take with you on your upcoming adventure. Don’t forget to send me a postcard, I would love to hear from you!

The Guide To Picking The Perfect Area Rug

 

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

 

I really enjoy being an interior designer! It’s my responsibility to guide a client in the correct direction right away. We certainly don’t want any mishaps later. Floor coverings are critical, particularly in Chicago or any other place that experiences long winters. This would be an excellent time to talk about area rugs. Here is a step by step guide to finding the perfect area rug.

 

 

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

And away we go…

  1. Neutrals: Chicagoans typically love neutrals. That said, it is typically easier to work with a neutral as you can easily change accents like pillows or accessories in the future.

 

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

I do love a great geometric pattern!

 

 

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

This pattern is available in any color, but the neutral palette works.

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

Getting bolder!

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

This rug is neutral and bold all at once.

2. Size Matters: Be sure that your rug is the right size. The rug can go under the seating as shown below, at the very least it should kiss the front of the seating. This is crucial, you don’t want to create a tripping hazard! I also want to point out the lovely yellow in this rug. I’m not sure why so many people shy away from yellow, but this works. Don’t be afraid of color!

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

 

 

 

3. Color: I believe every room needs some color, even if it’s muted. I’m asking you to consider leaving your comfort zone if you’re reluctant to have a more colorful rug. I recommend trying to be a bit bolder if you can. Do consider your rug as a purchase you will keep for more than a year, so we must weigh your ability to keep liking what you purchase. Are you the kind of person who likes to redecorate often or do you tend to hold onto things?

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

This rug may have muted color but it packs a subtle punch.

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

I realize this isn’t for everyone but it’s powerful!

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

Love this rug!

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

This runner is colorful, modern and tribal all at once.

4. Sisal: I use sisal a lot as it is a great layering tool. Many people consider sisal too delicate for stairs, this isn’t true if you purchase the right specification. Reader be warned, you do not want to confuse this type of sisal from what is commonly available at big box stores. You get what you pay for, but you knew that already, didn’t you?

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

 

 

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

Look how perfect sisal is in this setting!

 

5. Go big or go home: If you can, do try to leave your comfort zone. I know that making a statement is tough sometimes but don’t be afraid to have some fun. Sometimes we get stuck in our heads and that can ruin everything, look how fun these two rugs are. I like the leopard rug so much I’m showing it three times, hint-hint!

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

I’m a huge fan of skulls, are you?

The takeaway is to be fearless and have a bit of fun. Perhaps a bold rug is not for the Living Room, feel free to try whimsical designs in kids rooms, game rooms  and garden rooms. Here are more tips to make your space cozy. If you are in search of the perfect rug please let us know, we are here to help. I am offering 20% off area rugs for the month of February. I hope you take us up on it!

Big hugs,

Ken