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  • 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

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/5757382/Hudson-House-transitional-los-angeles

    Copper
    · 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

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/12233736/Industrial-Chic-transitional-kitchen-london

    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

     

    http://roomed.nl/marmer-hoeft-niet-kitsch-te-zijn/

    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

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/412993/21st-Century-Bungalow-traditional-bathroom-other-metro

    White
    · 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.

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/1295120/Rectangle-modern-bathroom-calgary

    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


    http://www.houzz.com/photos/2385819/Georgian-Revival-traditional-bathroom-boston

    Pewter
    · 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


    http://www.houzz.com/photos/15414505/Kitchen-Fun-with-Storm-Gray-transitional-milwaukee

     

    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.

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/3981896/Park-Hill-Residence-traditional-bedroom-denver

    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.

     

     http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2013/12/glossy-blue.html#more

    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.

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/8126104/Sliding-Barn-Door-Tobacco-Barn-Wood-Modern-Door-w-Integrated-Hardware-phoenix

    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.

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/5738143/Badger-Mountain-House-contemporary-bedroom-seattle

    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.

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/201058/Mill-Valley-contemporary-bedroom-san-francisco

    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. 


    http://www.houzz.com/photos/17989597/Attic-Master-Suite-contemporary-portland

    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.

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/2879480/First-Ave-Remodel-contemporary-bathroom-salt-lake-city

    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.

    http://www.e-corpus.org/notices/102464/gallery/


     

     



     

    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.

     

    http://www.utrdecorating.com/blog/fluffing-vs-stabbing-throw-pillows-whats-style/


    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.

    http://www.roomandboard.com/blog/2013/11/flip-fluff/


    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.

    http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/vacuum-cleaners/article/advice/which-vacuum-cleaner


    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.

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/1589917/60th-Street-contemporary-living-room-san-francisco


    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!

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/324206/FORMA-Design-modern-staircase-dc-metro

    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.

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/348259/Modern-w-a-Side-of-Ranch-modern-dining-room-kansas-city   

     

    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.

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/383062/Lively-Living-Room-at-Teton-Pines-contemporary-living-room


     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!

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/2309040/Artists-Loft-modern-living-room-new-york


    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.

     

     http://www.houzz.com/photos/2355617/YH4-architects-gallery-contemporary-entry-tel-aviv

     

    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

    http://www.pantone.com/pages/index.aspx?pg=21163

    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.

     

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/2272183/Living-Room-Interior-Design-Knightsbridge-London-transitional-living-room-london

    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!

      

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/25752/Bedroom-traditional-bedroom-san-francisco

     

    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.

     

    http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2015-color-forecast/chrysalis/

     

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


     

    http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2015-color-forecast/voyage/

     

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

     

    http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2015-color-forecast/buoyant/

     

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

     

    http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2015-color-forecast/unrestrained/

     

     

    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.

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/121143/sliding-barn-door-eclectic-living-room-other-metro

    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.

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/104294/Surfers-End-Master-Bath-craftsman-bathroom-new-york

    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.

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/121143/sliding-barn-door-eclectic-living-room-other-metro

    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.
  • Three ways Two-Tone can Improve your Kitchen.

    One trend that is becoming increasingly popular is a two-toned kitchen. Choosing different colors for your lower cabinets or island and upper cabinetry will add character and individuality to your space.

    1. Small kitchens benefit from this bi-color design because it makes the room feel more spacious. The colored darker lower cabinets anchor the room, while the lighter upper cabinets make it seem more open.

    http://www.habitardesign.com/kitchen-remodeling-chicago

    2. One of the most popular uses of two-toned cabinets is the creation of a focal point. This is often times an island that will be in a contrasting color than contrasts with the rest remainder of the your cabinetrys. This can work particularly works well for traditional designs without a lot of with little color or visual diversity contrast.

    http://www.habitardesign.com/kitchen-remodeling-chicago


    3. Two tones create interesting opportunities for backsplash selecitons. Choosing a backsplash with colors and textures similar to both the upper and lower cabinets will help creates a unique bridge. the gap between them and add to the overall success of the design.

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/116570/Heights-Kitchen-Remodel-traditional-kitchen-houston

    Whether you choose a neutral gray or a bright yellow, adding another color to the cabinetry or island is a great way to incorporate an accent into your kitchen without the color becoming too bold or overpowering.

    MacKenzie Cain is an assistant designer at Habitar Design, a Chicago Interior Design firm that specialize in luxury home, bathroom, and kitchen remodels.


  • Waterfall Countertops

    With all the different countertop materials that are available today (i.e. granite, quartz, marble, butcher block, onyx, etc) many homeowners find themselves designing their kitchens around the natural beauty that these surfaces provide. So why limit the use of these materials to just horizontal applications?
    Waterfall countertops, also known as risers, are becoming very popular in kitchen renovations today. Waterfall counters continue the surface material down the side of your cabinets all the way to the floor, giving the space a unified, connected feeling. It breaks away from the expected, and is much more visually enticing than the side of a cabinet.  Waterfall countertops and the timelessness of stone can give new life to an outdate kitchen.
    Here are some fabulous examples of waterfall counters that you can use as inspiration for your next kitchen renovation!

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/72400/Margarido-House-Kitchen-Counters--Backsplash--and-Floor-contemporary-kitchen-san-francisco

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/32102/Kitchen-Breakfast-Room-contemporary-kitchen-seattle

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/1655146/Waterfront-Luxury-Home-on-Lake-Travis-transitional-kitchen-austin

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/1859277/1095-Royal-York-eclectic-kitchen-toronto

    http://camillestyles.com/life-2/bring-it-home-bold-as-brass/

    Hannah Tindall is a senior associate interior kitchen and bathroom designer in Chicago at Habitar Design. Mitchell Newman is principal at Stratagem Construction, a leading residential Chicago construction company focused on luxury home, kitchen and bathroom renovations in Chicago as well as custom built-ins and cabinetry in Chicago.


  • Layering and Overlapping Rugs

    At Habitar Design we've seen not all rooms fit the proportions of standard rug sizes. Having a rug custom-created is a pricy solution. One current trend that provides a great solution is laying and overlapping rugs.  Not only does this look add a playful, relaxed feel to any room, but it can come in handy hiding imperfections such as scratches or stains in hardwood. Here are 7 tips to keep in mind while utilizing this look:


    1. To Create an interesting effect, play with angles, textures, and different piles of rug. Here a neutral, regular rug anchors the irregularity of the shape and pattern of a hide rug.


    2. When a bold patterned rug is too busy, it can be moderated by placing a solid rug on top of it, allowing at least 12”-18” of space on all sides to reveal the contrast between the rugs.


    3. To gain strength and vitality rugs can overlap each other.


    4. Overlapping rugs need not match, rather they can "go" together when they share a common detail, color, material, or motif.


    5. To help reduce cost, consider several small rugs, which often cost less than one large rug.


    6.Children’s rooms are perfect for layering rugs on top of carpet, adding extra cushions for first steps and falls.


    7. For extra comfort and warmth try layering a sheepskin rug on top of a lower pile rug.

    Hannah Tindall is a senior associate interior kitchen and bathroom designer in Chicago at Habitar Design. Mitchell Newman is principal at Stratagem Construction, a leading residential Chicago construction company focused on luxury home, kitchen and bathroom renovations in Chicago as well as custom built-ins and cabinetry in Chicago.


  • Black Doors, White Trim

    In Chicago one can find many older homes that possess plenty of character and charm, but still feel a little outdated. These clients often aim to maintain the existing vintage charm while making it feel more up to date with a minimal amount of work.

    In this case, paint is a great place to start.  Painting a wall can dramatically change the look of a space for a relatively low cost. Painting trim is an additional opportunity to modernize the home in an inexpensive way.

    Recently, painting doors black and trim white has become a popular trend. It immediately takes any space from ordinary to elegant, sophisticated, and sharp. Yet, this white and black are still neutral enough to work with any color scheme. 

    Have simple doors with no trim? Not a problem! Just pick up some decorative trim from your local hardware store and apply it to your doors before you paint!

    Here are some of our favorite spaces that utilize this timeless look:

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/140478/T-Eatons-Loft-Entrance-contemporary-entry-other-metro

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/442609/Contemporary-Bedroom-contemporary-bedroom-philadelphia

    Hannah Tindall is a senior associate interior kitchen and bathroom designer in Chicago at Habitar Design. Mitchell Newman is principal at Stratagem Construction, a leading residential Chicago construction company focused on luxury home, kitchen and bathroom renovations in Chicago as well as custom built-ins and cabinetry in Chicago.


  • 5 Benefits of a Built-In

    Whether it is in your living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, or even mudroom, built-ins are a great asset to have within your home. Here are 5 benefits to having a built-in in your home:

    1) Built-Ins Save space:

    When you are pressed for space, especially in a city, a built-in is a great way to conserve. It can eliminate free-standing furniture that would normally project into your room and seem too bulky.

    2) Increases storage & eliminates clutter:

    Everyone always has extra items that need to be stored somewhere. Built-ins can include customized drawers, cabinetry, or shelving to cover large spans or even entire walls, greatly increasing the amount of storage available in a room.

    3) Full customization:

    Built-ins are completely customizable so they can be designed to fit any space or function and match any style, trim, or molding. Integrated lighting, specialized cabinet hardware, glass panels, aquariums are a few options that we've explored at Habitar Design.

    4) Takes advantage of unused or awkward spaces:

    Built ins can optimize unruly spaces too small or awkwardly shaped for normal furniture or cabinetry. For example, under stairwells,  below sloped ceilings or in tight corners. Built-ins can be designed to fit into these areas in order for you to better utilize the space.

    5) Acts as a focal point:
    The area that was once a bare wall or fireplace could now have a custom built-in installed that will bring attention to your favorite art piece or serve as an entertainment area in your room.


  • Window Treatments 101

    Window's aren't always the first thing that come to mind when decorating a room. However, selecting the perfect window treatment is a wonderful way to optimize the overall function of a space.

    What type of window treatments should I select?

    There are several different types of treatment options that can be applied to your windows. The most common types are blinds, shades, curtains, and shutters.

    For maximum lighting control, blinds are your best option. Blinds can be made of wood, faux woods, metal, and many other materials. The slats can be rotated in two directions allowing for as much or as little light as you want.

    Shades are often confused with blinds. Shades are generally one long piece of material that rolls down and does not include the rotating slats that blinds use. Shades come in a variety of types, including honeycomb, roman, roller, solar, fabric, natural woven, and pleated. They keep light out and help insulate; serving as a great energy saver in all seasons.

    Curtains are the most popular choice for window treatments due to the large variety of options that are available. They improve insulation, especially in layers or in combination with another type of window treatment. They give the room a sense of warmth and beauty, as well as the opportunity to add pattern, color, or texture in the space.

    Shutters are available to match any taste and style. With their ability to protect and insulate, as well as add character and value, applying shutters is a great way to enhance your home.

    Each type can be used individually or even in combination with each other. Choose the type that fits beEach type can be used individually or even in combination with each other. Choose the type that fits best with your desired treatment function and the style you are trying to achieve in your space.

    Shades


    What size of window treatment should I choose?
    Window treatments, specifically curtains, come in a variety of lengths ranging from 63” to 144” to fit any standard window size. When selecting curtains, keep in mind that they should be floor-lengthor sill-length. If curtains are too long or too short, they'll look awkward. Curtains are best mounted just above and outside the window trim. Based on the height of your window, measure the length from the top of the window trim directly down to the floor. This measurement is the length of the treatment you should get. If wanting sill-length treatments, measure down to the sill instead of the floor. Panel widths are important as well. Both panels together should span 2-2.5 times the window width.




    Current Trends in Window Treatments

    Here are 4 current window treatment trends to help you with your design decision:

    1) Simplicity: Many window treatments are solid, often neutral colors, made up of either thick luxe or thin sheer materials. In either case, it adds a cozy feeling to your room without being too overwhelming. 

    2) Sustainability: Window treatments are becoming more eco-friendly because of both their manufacturing processes and their insulation properties. For example, there are curtains made of organic materials that allow a significant amount natural light to pass through, while still insulating the window; saving warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer.

     3) Cordless: Tired of tangled and confusing strings? Cordless window treatments have become more and more popular. With a manual system you can move the shade up and down with your hand, holding its location wherever you choose. You could also opt for an automatic, remote-controlled system to move the shades. 

    4) Big and Bold: Contrary to the simplicity route, adding bold colors and big patterns within your window treatment is a great way to bring color into your space and make a design statement in your room.

    Window treatments are one of our specialties at Habitar Design. Visit our interior design portfolio for more beautiful window treatment photos or contact us now for more information!

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

  • Paint Color: Designing the Mood of A Room

    Colors and the associations we have with them have a dramatic impact on the way we feel in a space. Before you and your designer discuss color selection, think about what different rooms used for and the type of mood that would be most appropriate for their function.

     For large scale application- in full rooms or on several walls- colors such as blue, green, brown, gray, and white (including all of their various shades) will often be the best choice:

    Blue can be used to achieve a calming effect. It often reminds people of the sky or ocean. It should evoke feelings of peace, tranquility, harmony, loyalty, security, and cleanliness. On the other hand, a sterile shade of blue can produce associations with coldness and melancholy. Blues are most commonly used in living rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

    Green resembles nature and the environment. It should procure feelings of relaxation, health, growth, and renewal. Green has also been historically portrayed as a symbol for wealth and generosity. Negative associations with green include misfortune, queasiness (remember those pea green paints from the seventies?), and jealousy. Greens are most popular in kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and bedrooms. 

    Brown is another color that recalls nature. It's a versatile neutral tone, especially in lighter shades, that can be used all over the home. It portrays a feeling of stability, safety, and elegance. If not used correctly, the color brown can be seen as dingy or sad. Browns are common in kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and bedrooms. 

    Gray is another neutral color, especially in lighter shades. Gray today is cool and contemporary. It's emanates calm and sophistication and is a great way to blend masculine and feminine tastes. Caution: use dark shades sparingly or the effect can be too overwhelming. The color gray is used most popularly in kitchens, bathroms, and living rooms.

    For small scale applications- single wall or accent pieces- colors such as red, purple, orange, and yellow (including all their various shades) will often be the best choices.

    Red is a stimulating, high-energy color. It's perfect as an accent for adding a pop of color to a room. It often portrays feelings of speed, strength, celebration, happiness, and even romance. Red has also been known to increase appetite. Red, when overused, can become overwhelming; often evoking feelings of danger, violence, anger, and restlessness. Red is most commonly seen in kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms.

    Purple is most often associated with royalty and power. In history, the color purple was once only attainable by the wealthy. It portrays feelings of enlightenment, excitement, wisdom, passion, sophistication, and luxury. It can also be seen negatively as artificial. Purple is best used in a living room or bedroom.

    Orange is most associated with energy. It portrays feelings of enthusiasm, vibrancy, communication, concentration, and warmth. Similar to red, it has been known to increase appetite as well. The intensity of orange is the opposite of relaxing and can evoke feelings of uneasiness and rebellion. It's best used in a living room, dining room, or kitchen.

    Yellow reminds people of sunshine. It elicits feelings of happiness, optimism, decisiveness, hope, and inspiration. Yellow is another color that if overused has the potential to be too bright and overwhelming. It can be associated with rigidness, illness, and dishonesty. It has been known to cause people to lose their tempers more easily than in the presence of other colors. However, similar to red, it is a perfect accent color. Put a few yellow pieces in your space and it will brighten up tremendously. Yellow is usually used in kitchens and living rooms.

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

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