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Habitar Design - Interior Design Blog

  • Floating Shelves Are the New Gallery Walls

    Check out our Associate Senior Designer, Hannah Tindall's featured article on Angie's List! Hannah's insight on art shelves can provide you with ways of styling prints, paintings, and more in your home.


  • Tips for Building a Custom Shower

    Check out our  Assistant Designer, MacKenzie Cain's featured article on Angie's List! MacKenzie's tips provide you with helpful advice on how to achieve a beautiful and leakproof shower.



  • Learn How to Use Accent, Task, Ambient Lighting

    Check out our very own Associate Senior Designer, Hannah Tindall's featured article on Angie's List!
    Her article will enlighten you on the three basic types of lighting and how they can be used to illuminate your home.



  • 6 Places to Consider When Installing Outlets

    Check out our very own Assistant Designer, MacKenzie Cain's featured article on Angie's List! MacKenzie's six tips provide you with helpful ideas for outlet placement that enhance a home’s functionality and aesthetics.


  • Bringing the Outdoors In – Popular Indoor Plants

    One of my favorite ways to bring life (literally!) to any living space is to add strategically placed plants to the room décor. Not only do they add texture and a pop of color to your home, but they create a healthier living environment for you and your family boosting oxygen and moisture levels and removing toxins from the air. Below are a few popular indoor plants that look great and are easy to care for!

    1. Fiddle Leaf Fig: This species of Ficus has large, dark green leaves that vaguely form the shape of a fiddle – hence its name! Place it in a colorful pot to create a statement in a room; this plant works great with a many styles of décor. Fiddle Leaf Figs do well at room temperature (in between 65 and 75 degrees) with medium to bright sun exposure.



    2. Aloe: Succulents have been a huge hit in household décor recently and aloe is one of the most popular types of succulents. Larger varieties grow up to three feet tall for big impact indoors while smaller varieties, such as aloe vera, work great in small, sunny indoor spaces. Plant some aloe in a terrarium to create a center piece on a coffee or dining table in a bohemian or eclectic style home. Aloe likes room temperatures, a lot of sunlight and dry soil, so avoid frequent watering.



    3. Rubber Tree: With its dark green, shiny leaves, this attractive house plant will add a pop of color to any room. It grows in to an eight foot tall tree but can be pruned in to a smaller shrub by pruning long stems. It thrives in medium to bright lighting conditions and a range of room temperatures from 60 to 80 degrees. Allow top soil to dry out before watering.




    4. Snake Plant: It doesn’t get much easier than this house plant. It grows well in a range of lighting conditions and any normal room temperature suits it just fine. It has variegated leaves that grow upright, and some varieties have yellow and white edged leaves. It has small white flowers that bloom only rarely. Its architectural, sword-shaped leaves work well with modern and rustic aesthetics.




    5. English Ivy: For more of a traditional aesthetic, this plant is a popular choice. It has a timeless elegance, and its vines like to trail down furniture creating a pretty effect. English Ivy likes moist soil and cooler temperatures.

    Image Source/ Getty Images


    Hannah Tindall is an Associate Senior Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.


  • 7 Elements of Perfect Mudroom

    A mudroom is usually used as a home’s secondary entrance; often the room adjacent to the garage or back door. Mudrooms aren’t always included in a traditional layout, but they are definitely a room that people desire. Having a mudroom is crucial in helping to keep your house clean and organized, especially in these winter months. Here are 7 elements to include in your mudroom that will maximize its potential and create a much more efficient space for you and your family.

    1. Hooks: Coats, hats, and scarves all need somewhere to hang. Mudroom or no mudroom, adding hooks at an entry location will make a huge impact.

    2. Bench: Arriving home, the first thing you want to do before entering the rest of your house is to sit down and take your shoes off. A bench will help you accomplish just that. You can find benches with additional storage underneath to help towards keeping your mudroom organized.

    3. Cubbies: An important mudroom feature is a set of open cubbies or shelves. Designating cubbies for each person in your family will help with keeping everyone’s things separate. Cubbies can be used to house shoes, coats, backpacks, and even sporting equipment.



    4. Closet: If the space permits it, having a closet in your mudroom will create even more storage. You can hide away your cleaning supplies, seasonal items, and any other miscellaneous items that you won’t use on a day-to-day basis.

    5. Laundry: Recently, laundry rooms have been moving into more useful areas of the home, particularly mudrooms. It makes tasks much more efficient if the laundry is directly accessible from the mudroom. You can easily throw dirty clothes into the wash without messing up the rest of your house. It also allows you to hide away the piles and piles of clothes that often end up taking over your living space.

    6. Sink: A utility sink is useful for many different reasons. It can be used for any task that isn’t fitting for your kitchen or bathroom sinks: gardening, cleaning up paint, washing clothes or even pets.

    7. Tile: The overall purpose of a mudroom is to withstand the dirt and mess of the outdoors. You need a flooring material that can get that job done. Tile flooring is a great option for this task. It is durable and easy to clean, making your mudroom much more effective and your life much easier.



    If you want a mudroom that fully maximizes your space, let Habitar Design and Stratagem Construction design and build a custom mudroom to fit your every need!


    Mackenzie Cain is an Assistant Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.

  • 7 Tips for Mixing Patterns on Angie's List

    Check out our very own Associate Senior Designer, Hannah Tindall's featured article on Angie's List! With her seven tips, she provides you with peace of mind when approaching mixing and matching patterns for a space.



  • Seven Finishes You Should Know About Before Remodeling

    If you are in the process of remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, fixture finishes will be a big part of your selection process. While Chrome and Brushed Nickel are two of the most popular options, there are many other beautiful finishes out there that can add the element of texture and interest to your home. In the past year or so, we have seen brass make a big comeback, while matte black has gained momentum as well. Oil rubbed bronze has always been an undervalued, yet readily available option, while finishes such as copper and white aren't seen as often, but can really make a statement. Below is a list of some of my favorite unique finishes that are trending currently, along with the pros and cons related to them!

    Antique Brass
    · Not your shiny brass from the 80’s
    · Has a muted luster which is both sophisticated and warm
    · Lends itself to an updated vintage feel
    · Compliments neutral color palettes, wood, and other natural materials
    · The antique finish makes it easy to clean, and it won't show finger prints or water marks
    · Becoming more readily available, but is still more expensive than your standard chrome



    · An alternative to gold or brass
    · Adds shine and warmth
    · Available in multiple finish options – brushed is more modern, while hammered is more rustic
    · Works well with a natural, rustic aesthetic; it is seen often in cabin or farmhouse settings
    · A little difficult to find, and requires more maintenance than some of the “brushed” options
    · Develops a beautiful patina over time



    Matte Black
    · Starting to make a comeback in contemporary styles
    · A popular choice because it coordinates well with just about everything
    · Very sleek and makes a bold statement
    · It's brushed texture makes it easy to clean and it doesn’t show fingerprints
    · Fairly easy to find, but more expensive than your standard finishes



    Oil Rubbed Bronze
    · Just as readily available as chrome or brushed nickel
    · Adds a more traditional feel
    · Lends itself to a Tuscan or Mediterranean aesthetic
    · Adds a nice pop of contrast against a white/cream cabinet or counter
    · Easily coordinates with other finishes



    · Available in durable plastic and porcelain
    · Can act a a contrasting statement, or blend seamlessly with an all-white bathroom or kitchen
    · It has a whimsical feel, and works well with modern and farmhouse styles
    · Easy to clean, but not as durable as metal
    · Can be difficult to find, but the durable plastic is typically cheaper than metal fixtures.


    Polished Nickel
    · Revels a golden luster that standard chrome does not
    · Has a richer, more elegant feel
    · A vintage choice that lends itself to traditional styles
    · Tends to show finger prints and water marks more than brushed finishes
    · Is fairly similar in price to chrome fixtures


    · An under-utilized finish, it has a warmth and charm that chrome does not possess
    · It lends itself to tarnish, and wears well with age
    · It's rustic quality adds an appealing, old-fashioned note
    · Not as common for plumbing fixtures, but quite common for cabinet hardware
    · Complements many colors, including grays and neutrals



    Hannah Tindall is an Associate Senior Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.

  • Selecting the Right Paint Finish

    You've finally selected a paint color - a difficult decision in itself. You’re at your local hardware store ready to make a purchase and the cashier asks you what finish you would like. Maybe you hadn't considered this or even know the difference from one sheen to the next. Here we break down the 5 different types of paint finishes so you will be fully prepared when asked this question in the future.

    1) Flat
    Flat, or matte, paints are used most commonly on walls or ceilings. Flat finishes have a 0%-10% gloss and don’t reflect any light, so they are perfect for walls with many imperfections. Flat finishes are easy to touch up but harder to keep clean. They’re not idea for high traffic areas particularly in commercial uses where scuffs will accumulate.

    2) Eggshell
    Eggshell paints are the next step up from flat paints with a 10%-25% gloss. They have a hint of gloss and reflect a small amount of light, unlike the flat finish. They are easier to clean and more durable than most flat paints, making it a good choice for walls.



    3) Satin
    Satins are similar to eggshell paints, containing 25%-35% gloss, but are a bit glossier than an eggshell finish. Satins tend to give walls a light glow and silky finish due to its subtle reflective qualities. They are a great choice for high traffic areas because of their durability and easiness to clean. They can also be used for trim as they are finger print resistant and enhance the contours of moldings without being too reflective creating a contemporary look.

    4) Semi-gloss
    With a 35%-70% gloss, semi-gloss paints have a nice glimmer, without being too shiny. This finish is a smart selection for trims, moldings, baseboards, and doors. It is also easy to clean and very durable.

    5) High-gloss
    High-gloss, or gloss, paints have a 70% and higher gloss. They are used in high traffic areas on walls because of their durability. They can highlight a trim and create a unique look and be used to draw attention to striped or other paint features.



    Remember that the lower the gloss in the paint, the less the paint will show imperfections. The higher the gloss the easier it is to clean.   Selecting the correct paint finish for your project is not a difficult task if you are aware of where and how each type of paint finish works best in your home.


    Mackenzie Cain is an Assistant Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.

  • 9 Things to Consider when Installing a Barn Door

    Both functionally and aesthetically pleasing, barn doors have been known to capture homeowners’ attention. Made of nearly any material, barn doors can add character and style to any space. There are many things to think about when selecting the perfect barn door.

    Here are 9 questions you should ask yourself before installing a barn door in your own home.

    1. What look are you going for?

    Barn doors are a great way to add some character to your home and can go with almost any style.  The key is to make sure the material matches with the rest of your home or contrasts to create a unique focal point. Remember, the door covers a significant piece of wall which will be empty when the door is closed.   Where wall space is coveted for display a pocket door may be better alternative.   Barn door hardware is available in a multitude of styles should match appropriately.



    2. What area of the home is your barn door going?

    Barn doors don’t lie flush with the door opening; rather, they hover over the opening, creating gaps.   This means that if sound separation or privacy is a major goal, barn doors with their gap might not be the best choice.


    3. Do you have enough wall?

    Remember barn doors need to slide at least as far as the opening in one direction or the other.   To have privacy the door usually overlaps the opening by an inch so that a 2-6 opening will require a 2-8 door.   This means on one side of the door opening or the other there should be at least 2-8 and perhaps a little more to ensure all the hardware can fit properly.  The wall also has to be clear of anything such as sconces, paintings, and possibly light switches.



    4. Are there boisterous children around?

    Barn doors often roll on wheels and can be lifted off their tracks intentionally or by accident.   A heavy barn door can come off its track if flung open quickly resulting a door falling over causing damage or injury.   Not all systems are open providing options for those families with young children.

    5.  If the door is being reused does it contain lead or other toxins?

    Used barn doors are available from factories.   They create a great loft look.   However, it’s uncertain to whether they contain lead or other toxins that are being brought into the home.   In our experience, the suppliers of the doors did not have any records on their doors or do any testing for toxic substances.   They may be perfectly safe but one should approach them with caution particularly when small children are in the home. 


    6. Will the hardware support the door?

    Be careful to match the door weight to the hardware according to the manufactures specifications.  The hardware rail system should not show any give or movement or it may fail over time as screws work their way out of the supporting structures holding them.

    7. Do you need the door to lock?

    Barn door hardware usually do not have hardware to lock them in residential use though there are systems used industrially for this purpose.



    8. Is the floor and ceiling sufficiently level?

    Since barn doors travel it is necessary that the floor and ceiling are sufficiently level so that the rail system which must be level does not appear to be out of line with the ceiling.   Similarly an out of level floor will require that the bard door be cut down to allow it to move over the area were the floor is highest.

    9. Is there sufficient structure to allow the rail system to be installed?

    Most rail systems attach to the header above the door.   This means that opening that go floor to ceiling may not be well suited for barn door.


    Mackenzie Cain is an Assistant Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.

  • A Book of Every Color, 271 Years Before Pantone

    Over the past few weeks, a book titled Traité des couleurs servant à le peinture à l’eau [Treatise on the Colors Used to Paint with Water] gained popularity on the internet after medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel posted images of the book to his Tumblr page. I have to say that, being a designer, this is probably one of the most beautiful and fascinating books that I have ever laid eyes on. This nearly 800 page book, hand written in Dutch by an artist who identified him/herself as A. Boogert, describes how to make watercolor paints in unfathomable detail and scope. The book begins with a description about the use of color in painting, and continues on to explain how to mix colors and change their tone by adding “one, two, or three portions of water”. Creating an index of every available watercolor pigment and combination, the book was probably the most comprehensive guide of its time. The author says that he/she originally created the book for educational purposes, though the book is one of a kind, and is largely unknown and undocumented. Just think of how this book could have changed history, and the way that artists and designers think about color today. I am sure that it would have been a required read for me in college. Thanks to technology, you can now view the entire book online. And if you want to make the trip, you can view it in person at Bibliothèque Méjanesin Aix-en-Provence, France.





    Hannah Tindall is an Associate Senior Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.


  • Three Tips to Keep Your Upholstery Looking Like New

    You just purchased a new sofa for your home. You have spent a lot of time picking out the ideal fabric to compliment the sofa’s beautiful style and shape. With all that time and money spent on selecting the perfect sofa, keeping it looking like new is of the utmost importance. Here are 3 simple tips on how to do just that:

    1) Fluff: Cushions need to be regularly fluffed to maintain their original shape and comfort. The firmness level of your cushion will determine the amount of fluffing required. Firmer cushions will need less fluffing to maintain their shape than those cushions that are softer and easier to deform. However, any cushion that gets sat on should be fluffed every few days.



    2) Flip: Every couple of weeks you should flip your cushions. Cushions will wear differently. When you flip them, you are evenly distributing the wear on each cushion, allowing them to last twice as long. Both the back and the seat cushions should be flipped. If your cushions are all the same size and shape, rotate them. This is the same idea as when you get your tires rotated; it will balance out the wear on the cushions as well as increase their useful life.


    3) Clean: Regularly vacuum your upholstery. Even if it is not easily seen, dust, dirt, and even crumbs have settled on your sofa. When you’re sitting on your cushions, these particles will get into the fibers of the upholstery, which causes quicker wear. When you’re cleaning the rest of your house, give your upholstery a quick vacuum too. It will help tremendously.


    Every upholstered furniture piece, no matter how expensive or cheap, will inevitably wear. Preserve them by following these simple steps!


    Mackenzie Cain is an Assistant Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.

  • Defining Small Spaces – Unique Partitions

    I recently worked on a project where a client wanted to create a more defined entry way that wasn't totally cut off from the rest of the room. Her front door was smack dab in the middle of the living room. This lead me to do some research on partitions looking for a way to turn what could be an eye sore in to a functional focal point in the space.
    There are a number of materials that could be used to create unique partitions. Lumber from your local lumber yard could be finished, stained and assembled in a grid pattern to create a modern, translucent wall that adds warmth and texture to an industrial space.


    A glass partition can add to a sleek, clean aesthetic, and can be customized by creating unique sandblasted patterns. This is also a good option to let plenty of daylight into your space!



    This partition uses a number of materials, but is primarily made from metal tubing. It creates a great industrial look, while gaining some functionality from the addition of wooden cubbies.




    Architectural glass alternatives such as 3Form can really make a statement in a space. Translucent colors, organic materials, sheer textiles and embossed textures are placed between translucent panels to create a look that could work in any space. With hundreds of different patterns and colors available, the options are endless! The material is also made from 40% recycled content, making it a popular material within the “green” community.



     A less-permanent option, cascading coils, can be a great option for a contemporary space. This material is unique because it still has some movement, much like a very stiff drapery panel. It brings a unique texture in to play, and is a great focal point in any room!



    Designer grilles are made of iron and can be designed in any pattern, shape, size or color imaginable. It could stand alone as a custom piece of art in your space, but is still very functional.




    Hannah Tindall is an Associate Senior Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.


  • Kitchen Transformation by Habitar Design

    Our clients sometimes hesitate to invest in their units because they don’t want to out- price their neighborhood. This is a legitimate concern. It is often true but not always. It depends on the neighborhood and whether the unit was purchased at a discount. It can be that a kitchen doesn't fit the house, meaning, it is undersized or poorly laid out. In such cases, the return on investment can be very good.
    Traditionally, kitchens get about 50% return. However, a kitchen rehab that vastly improves a kitchen layout can get more than a 100% return. The better the neighborhood, the more likely appraisals in the neighborhood will support the improvement.
    Here’s an example of an older house on an excellent street in Chicago where we think this was true. Please have a look at some “BEFORE” and “AFTER” photos below.




      Please click here to see an article on Angie's List featuring this magical transformation designed by Hannah Tindall, a Senior Associate Designer at Habitar Design – a Chicago-based interior design company - and constructed by Stratagem Construction - a Chicago home remodeling company.


    Mitchell Newman is the principal of Habitar Design, a top-rated interior design firm in Chicago.


  • Pantone Color of the Year 2015: 18-438 Marsala


    Around the holidays every year, designers of all kinds await the highly anticipated announcement of Pantone’s color of the year, and this year was no exception. When I saw the color Pantone selected for 2015, I was pleasantly surprised. 18-1438 Marsala is noticeably more earthy and muted than the colors that have been selected over the past 8 or 9 years. From Turquoise to Emerald to Tangerine Tango, Marsala is definitely a nice change of pace.
    Marsala, which is both a fortified wine and an Indian spice, has a grounded influence, yet sophistication to it simultaneously. These characteristics make it a very versatile color – it could be a statement in a scheme of earthy neutrals, or ground a bolder palette of primary colors.



    Relating to its origins in food and drink, this robust color is a true appetite stimulant, and would work well as an accent in a kitchen or dining room. This layered color, with its brown undertones, lends itself well to texture, which is a popular way to add interest to any interior. Another popular trend right now is metallic, especially antique brass, bronze and umber. The combination of Marsala with any of these metallics would make a bold, textural statement in any room!
    I am looking forward to seeing how Marsala influences the design industry this year, in everything from fashion, beauty and industrial design, to home furnishings and interiors. Maybe we will even see it incorporated in to some of Habitar’s designs as well!




    Hannah Tindall is an Associate Senior Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.

  • Color Palettes for 2015

    Last month, my colleague MacKenzie and I had the opportunity to go to the Merchandise Mart to participate in Sherwin Williams’ presentation on their color forecast for the upcoming year. These events are always fun to go to because we get a little glimpse of what trends we can expect to see in the design world over the next 12 months. The color schemes that Sherwin Williams creates are inspired by what’s happening in the world around us; anything from advances in space travel, to the upcoming Olympics in Rio. Sherwin Williams thoroughly does their research finding work of inspiring designers, artists, scientists, etc. that relate to these topics, and draw interesting and inspiring color palettes from their projects. One thing is for certain: the upcoming year is going to be filled with a lot less gray and a lot more color! Here are a few palettes that can hopefully inspire you as you work on projects throughout your home in the upcoming months:


    Chrysalis – A muted color palette filled with earthy neutrals, blues and greens. Very calm and soothing.




    Voyage – Described as “supernatural” and “magical”, this color palette is inspired by otherworldly places such as outer space and the deep sea.




    Buoyant – This color palette is inspired by our revived good spirits after weathering the recession, filled with a wide range bright floral hues.




    Unrestrained – A carnival-like palette that celebrates bold, ethnic inspired colors. A rainbow of highly saturated hues!





    Hannah Tindall is a Senior Associate Interior Designer at Habitar Design, a top-rated interior design firm in Chicago.

  • Pocket Doors

    If you’re looking to add a unique feature to your home, you may want to consider something you rarely see; pocket doors. These types of doors are housed inside of your wall, mounted on a track system. Pocket doors give you more options in how you utilize the space in your home. When open, they are hidden away and seem to be non-existent in the space, portraying a more open feeling. When closed, they appear to look like any traditional door.


    Pocket doors are a great solution for limited space. They eliminate the area required in a room for the door to swing open and closed. This may give you some additional privacy that wouldn’t be possible with a standard swing door.


    Some sliding doors are even mounted on the outside of the door opening. This method still has the benefits of your typical pocket door, but it is used in a decorative fashion and allows you to showcase your door in a unique way.


    Mackenzie Cain is an Assistant Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Design specializes in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.

  • Murphy Beds

    Having an extra bedroom for visiting friends and family is a huge plus when living in a city where hotels aren't cheap.  But sometimes we don't have the space for an extra room strictly designated for occasional guests. The Murphy bed, also known as a fold-down bed, is a great solution that offers a variety of options. 

    Using a foldaway or convertible furniture piece will maximize floor space and allow your room to boast multiple functions. Here are a few preliminary considerations:

    1. Size

    The first thing to consider is the amount of space you'll need for the bed. Allow at least two feet from the wall to house the bed, mattress, and hardware in the upright position. From there, depending what size bed you'd like to use, you'll need an additional five to six feet out. 

    Recent Murphy Bed/ Built-in Design by Habitar Design

    2. Purpose

    Besides a place to sleep, what other purpose should the room serve? Do you need extra cabinetry for storage space? Or or space for a built-in television? Or perhaps a pull down desk for a quiet study. Take these options into consideration when making your design and purchasing decision.

    Recently Designed rendering By Habitar of this recessed Murphy Bed wall unit featuring a closet and plenty of storage.

    3. Who to Hire

    Habitar Design and Stratagem Construction! Many companies sell pre-fabricated Murphy beds. At Habitar/Stratagem we design and build our own to our client's personalized specifications. Working with us to design and build your Murphy bed will allow you to integrate the unit in any area of your home as well as have the opportunity to have it completely customized to fit all of your needs.

    Mackenzie Cain is Assistant Designer at Habitar Design, a leading Interior Design firm in Chicago. Habitar Specialize in luxury home, kitchen, and bathroom designs and remodels.

  • 10 Open Shelving Ideas for your Kitchen

    When the designers at Habitar put together a kitchen, one important aspect we consider is the incorporation of open shelving. A great layout will set your kitchen apart and really impact how you use your space. Personalizing your design with open shelving is a one way to make your kitchen match your lifestyle functionally and aesthetically. Here are 10 open shelving tricks-of-the-trade to factor into your own kitchen:

    1. Open Cabinets
      Selecting some open cabinets, without doors, will decrease the visual weight of the room and lend to the illusion of a larger space.
    2. Floating Shelves
      Floating shelves will take the open cabinetry a little further with an even cleaner look, especially effective in smaller kitchens.
    3. Wine Racks
      Wine racks are more than a savvy visual display for your wine. Most importantly they store wine in an orientation that minimizes exposure to light and keeps the cork from drying out (when the cork dries it’s easier for air to sneak in and spoil the wine). At Habitar we custom design-and build these racks to keep your wine aging gracefully.
    4. Stemware Racks
      Stemware racks allow you to display and access your precious glassware efficiently. Incorporating both wine and stemware racks not only looks great, it makes pouring a glass of wine for your guests quick and easy.
    5. Built-In Bookshelves
      Built-in bookshelves are another great option for open shelving. They can be designed to fit any area of your kitchen to better utilize unused spaces. In the photo below the bookcase is integrated into the back of the island, adding a great deal more display and storage for books, pottery, trinkets, etc.
    6. Modular Shelving
      Modular shelving is a great solution and an ideal choice for kitchens with an odd amount of wall space. You can position the shelves in any way that you like, as well as mix and match materials, finishes, and textures.
    7. Drying Racks
      Try mixing in a drying rack or two in the modular shelving over or near your sink for an easy-access, clutter-free dish-drying solution!
    8. Hanging Shelves
      Open shelving doesn't always have to be hung against the wall. Hanging shelves are a good solution in a kitchen with limited wall space. They allow you to add storage to your kitchen in an area that normally wouldn't allow for it, without obstructing the view.
    9. Spice Rack
      Keep your spices near-at-hand and highly organized with a spice rack built in to a cabinet side or wall. This makes cooking and baking a little easier and less messy. Not to mention fresh spices add a pop of color to whatever decor you've already established.
    10. Plate Racks
      Plate racks improve the overall functionality and work-flow of your kitchen. A fine display for your fine dishes makes serving food for large gatherings a breeze.

    MacKenzie Cain is an Assistant Designer at Habitar Design, a Chicago Interior Design firm that specializes in luxury home, bathroom, and kitchen remodels.

  • Chicago's Hyde Park Art Fair: Pottery Favorites

    At Habitar Design ceramics and pottery rank highly among our favorite decorating accessories. Art fairs are a great place to make unique finds while enjoying a great summer day. Chicago has a wide variety of shows throughout the summer and each show has its own character and multitude of offerings. For me, the season begins in historic Hyde Park. The show is a mix of artisan’s and fine artists almost all willing to discuss their work, process, and whatever else crosses their mind.

    I was impressed with a number of ceramic artists this year and though there were many more than I’ll mention here, here are three that caught my eye.

    Paul Eshelman’s pieces had a clean, light-hearted and distinct style. His work is available at www.EshelmanPottery.com:

    Natalia Sot (NataliaSots.etsy.com) combined of ceramic artistry, precise glaze work and fantasy to create extraordinary pieces that possessed a feeling of life:

    Finally, Mark William of Blue Star Pottery (bluecoastartists.com) used leaves to imprint earth-tone glazes to create bowls with the beauty of a new fallen bed of leaves. His other pieces captured the rhythmic lines of nature as if formed from sea anemones.

    Those who missed the Hyde Park art fair this summer can expect to see some great art at the Old Town Art Fair this coming weekend.

    Mitchell Newman is the principal of Habitar Design, a Chicago Interior Design firm.
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Habitar Design • Interior Design • Kitchen Remodeling • Bathroom Remodeling •1520 N Sedgwick St, Suite 5A • Chicago, IL 60610 • T (312) 274-2299 • F (773) 289-0714 • info@habitardesign.com