Classic Design for Modern Living

Category: River North Design District

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

 

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I Can’t Get Out Of Bed, I Feel Lost

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

 

Has this ever happened to you? So many of us pretend that everything is ok when we know deep down that it isn’t. If you’re a regular subscriber/reader of my blog you might be asking yourself what the Hell does this have to do with Interior Design? Isn’t he an interior designer based in Chicago? Yes and Yes! However, I feel it’s important to get real sometimes. Are you afraid of what others think of you? We keep it masked, self medicate with booze, sleeping pills, antidepressants etc. One of the things that really bothers me today (yes, there are many) is our lack of empathy to those who have mental health issues.

 

Kenneth Walter, Gray & Walter Interior Design, Chicago Interior Designers Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s Go To Bed

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

 

What would you say if someone asked how you are? Many of us wouldn’t tell the truth, but most of us are exhausted. I hear this quite often from many of my clients. We are all stressed out, pulled fifty different directions each day, many burning the candle at both ends. Can you relate? So many of us are not getting our Z’s, I imagine you might be one of them. There are many sleep studies done each year, it is crystal clear most of us are not getting enough sleep each night. Our body as well as our brain requires good quality sleep nightly. Men on average need a little more sleep than women, I wonder why! The bottom line: we all need 8 solid hours of sleep each night. I know how much I want to feel human in the morning and function well throughout the day. Don’t you?

 

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

 

So what’s the problem? If we are all so tired why don’t we just give in? Many nights I am up reading emails on my tablet or smart phone that I didn’t get to during the day. I have woken up in the living room when the phone falls out of my hands. Many of us are acting like kids, staying up late each night, fighting sleep just to get one more thing done. If this is your case we should attempt to change our ways. I have been trying hard to keep a consistent bed time and believe me it’s not as easy as it sounds. However, the benefit of getting a good night’s rest is immeasurable. Someone once said, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, I think that’s an amusing statement. But the truth is, good sleeping habits actually increase our lives, poor sleeping habits decrease our lifespan.

 

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

 

If you are thinking of purchasing a new mattress I would look no further than Chicago Luxury Beds located here in Chicago. I have taken clients there and can fully attest to how happy my clients are once they take the plunge. The above bed is from Hastens, a great mattress made in Sweden. They make a wide variety of beds in all sizes including baby mattresses for cribs. The quality is phenomenal. If you are the type of person who shops at the local department or mattress store you are sadly wasting your money. Many of the beds sold today are full of chemicals and materials that should not be allowed in our homes. Many of these materials consistently give us terrible headaches and can lead to severe health issues. I am not being an alarmist, these are the facts.

 

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

 

The above bed is by Vispring, these mattresses are made in the United Kingdom. These beds are equally phenomenal to the quality of Hastens. I find both brands to be excellent choices for my clients. Chicago Luxury Beds https://www.chicagoluxurybeds.com carries other brands as well, but these are two of my favorites. They have a wide selection to try, and of course you can and should lay down. This is the point after all. Feeling shy my little crocodile? No problem, they have a private sleeping room. They will be more than happy to move your preferred bed into the room, shut the doors and you can judge for yourself.

 

 

Financial planners always say when saving money to pay yourself first. This also applies to eating right, getting exercise etc. I would say this wisdom also applies to getting good sleep and investing in a quality bed. The health benefits cannot be calculated. There is no wisdom in purchasing a new mattress every 5-7 years. You end up spending more on these inferior mattresses than if you invested in a quality bed made to last a lifetime. The choice is always yours of course, but the pay off on your investment is one you won’t regret. This will be your bed, where you will sleep the majority of nights during the course of a year. I hope you’ll make the investment and pay yourself first, you won’t regret it. I’m happy I made the investment myself and I’m sleeping better for it. I’ll be seeing you in my dreams.

 

Night-Night, Sleep Tight,

-Ken

 

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

Chicago Luxury Beds has two locations in Chicago, please check them out you won’t be disappointed. https://www.chicagoluxurybeds.com

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

Magnificent Obsession

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Big hugs,

-Ken

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

Making An Entrance

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Big Hugs,

-Ken

 

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

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

It’s The Holiday Season

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

Yours truly reviewing the troops!

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

The Perfect Pairing: Paris Flea Market & Holiday Bazaar

 

 

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

Absolutely Amazing Artwork By Adam Siegel

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

Gorgeous Green Glassware Awaits You

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

Handsome Pair Of Brass Bulldogs From France

 

 

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

Deck The Halls!

 

 

 

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

There Is Something For The Hardest To Please

 

 

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

My Favorite Adam Siegel Painting!

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

Treasures From Around The World Abound!

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

Big hugs,

-Ken

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

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