Design Inspiration: How to create a stunning gallery wall


Who doesn’t love a chic gallery wall? As a fan of mixing prints, styles and colors – gallery walls are the perfect way to add personality to any room. When designing for a full-floor unit in the Palmolive building in downtown Chicago, I created a salon style art wall, complete with funky mixed frames and a stunning 3D bronze horse bust to add some dimension.

Looking to add a chic art wall to your own home? Here are a few of my favorite items to include in any salon wall design.


1. Lighten things up: Adding luxurious lighting to a gallery wall makes your space even more multi-dimensional. I love finding vintage light fixtures whether an art light or sconces at flea markets or antique stores to amp up the glamour of my favorite vintage paintings and art.

2. Go wild: I always love a little animal bust! The natural look of these unfinished antelope horns are perfect for both bright and neutral rooms alike.  Go with naturally shed antlers or search for vintage ones.

3. Decorate with bold colors: As a lover of all things vibrant,  I love to add a few bold punches of color to any gallery wall. I love this Shop Jules II Framed Print, which adds the perfect touch to any wall.

4. Add a little glamour: As I’ll say again and again, I love antique flourishes. I’ve used a few pairs of vintage gilded italian shell sconces in projects over the years, and I love the look of the gold in contrast with colorful art.

5. Get whimsical: I’ve long been a fan of Slim Aaron‘s iconic 60’s photography, and I love that it always whisks you away to a tropical paradise with every view. Whenever I want to add a fun flourish to a gallery wall, I often reach for a framed piece of his photography.

6. Gold and glam: Antique gold mirrors are an effortless way to add shine to a gallery wall (as well as opening up a space!)

8. Go abstract: Mix bold photos and paintings with more abstract pieces of art to give your gallery wall a little more depth.  It’s all about the mix!

So, now the question is – when are you going to make your own? And if you do, let me know how it goes – I’d love to see how it turns out!

Beauty, Brains and Blogging: Q&A With Jennifer of T&J Designs / Red Soles & Red Wine / T&J Designs

I’m excited to introduce one of our clients & friends, Jennifer Worman, the dynamic blogger behind Red Soles & Red Wine and the CEO/Owner of the Fashion brand T&J Designs today! Besides being an inspiring business owner and mother of two, Jennifer is a fashion powerhouse. I love that she’s never afraid to experiment with luxe prints, bold colors and an extra high pair of stilettos (seriously how does she walk in those!). Take a peek into her world, business and how she manages to balance it all so effortlessly.



Name: Jennifer Worman

Occupation: CEO/Owner/Designer of t+j Designs

Current City: Chicago, IL

1) How did you first get into the fashion industry?

I started my career as an auditor at KPMG and reviewing financial statements for large corporations. I knew that I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing and after 3 years in accounting I took a leap and went back to school for fashion. I did a one-year program learning the ins and outs of designing, merchandising, and the production of clothing. My goal was to get a merchandising job and found the best job within a month of graduating and started my career over as the assistant merchandiser to the VP of Janie and Jack. [editor note – and now we know why her kids are always dressed so cute!]  I loved my job and worked hard, within two years I was promoted to Director of Merchandising for several departments.


2) What inspired you to start T&J Designs?

I moved to Chicago knowing only a handful of people and the job prospects in fashion were few. My sister inspired me to start my blog, Red Soles and Red Wine, and from there we discussed doing something on our own. My dad was always an entrepreneur so that spirit of working for ourselves was always there. Jewelry was a common item we loved, with my background in merchandising and business, hers in social media and blogging, we wanted to take a step and try it. We gave ourselves 6 months to see how it would go and here we are almost 4 years later doing it full time! We now carry jewelry and clothing exclusively designed by us.

3) When did you know this was what you wanted to do?

I would say I knew immediately I loved owning, designing, and working with my family. But it wasn’t until we had our products featured on the Today Show, 8 months after we launched that it really hit us that we had something that would work for all of us full time. It was our big moment of wow, this is happening!


4) What’s the most challenging/hardest part? 

Time management, balance, and figuring out costs and how to work with all my factories is the most challenging.  I love my job so it’s part of my life but working with China means I work every night checking email, deal with production issues from here, and travel there 3 times a year to make sure things are done accurately.  I have two little ones and didn’t take a maternity leave; making sure I allocate quality time for my family is a priority to me.  But overall balance is hard when you own your own business.


5) Where do you want to be in 5 years? Do you have any future goals or things you’d like to accomplish?

I do have sales goals in my head but I know based on my experience to take things day to day. I’m not sure where I want to be but I do know that I want my company to keep growing and be double the sales and size it is currently is at. We ‘ve had some great things happen and features so I love to be open to whatever may come. We all work hard and are very focused on sales and growth and hope we can continue to be successful in the years to come.


6) What do you attribute your success to?

Passion, motivation and drive are the keys to success and don’t expect things to happen, make them happen yourself.


(Above: Jen in her pretty dining room, designed by our firm. Don’t you love that metallic wallpaper? Swoon!)

7) What does success look like for you?

Success for me is a moving target, I set goals and when I make it I set others. But overall success for me has to do with being successful in all aspects of my life. Success is being happy with myself, hitting sales and growing our customer base for t+j Designs, trying new things with my style for my blog and instagram, and being a great mom and wife. It’s a balance of it all and I may not be fantastic at all of it, but I feel happy about what I have achieved.


9) What’s one tip of advice that you would share for anyone who aspires to be an entrepreneur in the fashion industry?

I think my background in fashion for 10 years working for big corporations really helped. I think in any entrepreneurial business have a good business plan and look at the financials. How much do you have to invest, how much do you need to survive, and what help (loan, friend, familes, husband) can you get to start off with. Being an entrepreneur isn’t just being passionate about the product or service or working for yourself, you need a great financial backdrop to be successful and maintain business.

A few of Jennifer’s favorite things:


Flower: Peonies

Drink of Choice: Red Wine or Champagne

Style Icon: Olivia Palermo

Most Prized Possession: My shoes (I can’t just pick one) and Chanel bags

I love: my family

My personal heroes are: my parents – they both work for me now and we have a great working relationship but I wish I could help them retire and relax!

I’m watching: Game of Thrones (just finished and man that was a crazy ending)

Last splurge: Christian Louboutin So Kate Denim Pumps

My Guilty pleasure: Shoes

Favorite vacation spot: Bora Bora

If I wasn’t a CEO: I’d love to be a: professional food and style blogger. If I didn’t own my business I might take the step to try to blog full time. I love blogging but I can’t allocate enough time to it due to work.

I’m afraid of: bugs and spiders. I’m deathly afraid of them.

What are the 3 things you think about most? If my kids are happy, if my parents are healthy, and everything at work.

If I had a warning label, it would say: Stress levels high, please hand her a glass of wine before speaking :)

Favorite Stores for the Home: Jayson Home & Jonathan Adler.

Design Inspiration: How To Style A Bookshelf

Bookshelves has transformed over the years from a utilitarian necessity to a beautifully decorative flourish, and I simply adore styling bookshelves for clients and in my own home.

A couple years ago I designed an elegant living room for a David Adler home in Lake Forest, inspired by the quirky glamour of the 1960’s. The idea was to create an updated flora and fauna themed room with a contemporary twist.  One thing that I knew I wanted right from the start were some bookshelves because the space was supposed to feel like a romantic reading room.  The colors and textures make the room feel sexy and chic, while remaining the perfect place for daydreaming. Best of all, the bold and colorful shelves perfectly balance the room, making an otherwise unassuming bookshelf into a eye-catching statement piece. Who wouldn’t want to curl up with a book and relax in such an inspiring space?   FINAL-how-to-decorate-a-bookshelf

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So, what are the secrets to perfectly styling your bookshelf?

Start by styling the shelves with a variety of antique & vintage accessories to make it unique & personal – adding brushed metal mirrors, quirky vintage vases, framed photos, or other charming bits and baubles.  They set the tone for the room’s (& showcase your) personality!

To give the space a fresh touch, I’ll often add fresh flowers, ferns, or succulents to bring out more earthy, natural tones and give the shelves a bit of life (literally).  Just remember – when it comes to styling, always be adventurous. Don’t be afraid to mix bright colors, bold accents and varied textures together to give the space a sophisticated look!

And of course you can’t forget about books!  I oftentimes use bright and colorful vintage books from flea markets and old bookstores to give the space a cozy feel. Pair like-colors to make the space look even more organized and chic, while still keeping the room bright and fun.  For current reading material I’ll remove the dust jackets, or wrap in marbled paper or craft paper to create a consistent (and non-glossy) binding appearance.







 Still looking for more inspiration? Check out a few of my favorite spaces on Pinterest!


Beauty, Brains and Blogging: Emily of Isn’t That Charming & Wandeleur

Fashionista, savvy business woman, new mom, and charming (to say the least), are just a few adjectives that describe Emily, the blogger behind Isn’t That Charming and the lifestyle site, Wandeleur. When she’s not snapping adorable outfit posts, styling shoots, or writing for various online magazines, she can be found playing in the skyscrapers of Chicago working as a social media manager for some of the world’s largest brands. I’m not sure how she does it all so effortlessly, but we’ll take some of whatever she’s got! Get to know a little more about this inspiring lady and see a few snaps of her cute Roscoe Village apartment.


Name: Emily Charron

Occupation: Blogger at Isn’t That Charming, Co-Founder of Wandeleur, and Social Media Marketing Manager at DDB Chicago

Current City: Chicago, IL


First off, tell us a little about your site, Wandeleur! What inspired you to start it?

Wandeleur is a creative lifestyle website where we highlight individuals that we admire and share stories that ignite an imaginative lifestyle. The stories we feature range from DIY guides, to beauty routines, to interior design ideas. Ultimately, we aim to be a daily destination for those who aspire & inspire – a place where you always walk away inspired to live a more colorful life.

I started the site because I wanted to create a place that channeled creativity to the core. Creative people and ideas are the heart of the site, and I am so proud to be a part of something that helps to highlight and celebrate that mindset.

What has been the most rewarding part so far, and what do you love about working in a creative field?

The most rewarding part has been seeing people embrace the site with open arms and share stories that they find interesting. I love the idea that I’ve helped to ignite ideas and possibilities in others! I believe creativity is reciprocal. You admire and take in the creativity of others, which helps to ignite your inner creativity, and thus you are able to create things that are bigger and better than before. That’s the best part about working in a creative field – being inspired and (hopefully) being inspiring. Seeing that reciprocation in action.


Where would you like to see yourself and Wandeleur in the next 3-5 years?

I’d love to see Wandeleur grow to be a top lifestyle blog in the nation. I plan to do all I can to make that happen! Hopefully in 3 – 5 years, I’ll be working from a beach side lake house, with a cup of coffee in my hand, and lots of time in my day to continue to grow the site while enjoying plenty of time with my family. That’d be an absolute dream.

What’s one tip of advice that you would share for anyone who aspires to start their own online magazine?

Growing and building a following is hard work, and one that takes time. Know what you’re getting into before you start, and have realistic expectations for growth. Rome wasn’t built in a day.


Where do you find new inspiration, or – how do you stay inspired?

I read as much as I can get my hands on! Often I find that when I check out, writer’s block comes. It’s when I’m taking in the world around me – whether through social media, the news, magazines or books – that the most (and best!) ideas come to mind. I’m also a huge fan of music. There’s hardly a moment when I don’t have something playing!

If you could collaborate with anyone on a project, who would it be and why?

Ellen DeGeneres, because she has a contagious laugh and would be a blast to work with!


Emily At Home:

Lets talk about your home! How long have you lived there?

I live in Chicago, currently in a neighborhood called Roscoe Village. I moved to this area prior to having my daughter and absolutely love it. It’s more spacious than Lincoln Park, where I lived in the city before, and has the cutest boutique stores and restaurants!

What’s your favorite room in your home and why?

My favorite room is my dining room, because it has so much character! Our décor is personal and eclectic – it’s very boho chic. There’s everything from vintage pieces and DIY projects to modern store finds. My dining room pulls in all these aspects in a fun way.


What’s your favorite part of your home to style?

Hands down, my coffee tables! I’m forever playing around with the placement of items on them. It’s cool to see what different looks you can make through the simple swapping and mixing/matching of interesting pieces.

What’s your favorite “find” in your home?

Oh wow, I have too many to have a favorite! Notably, I found these really rustic, green boat oars at a flea market that are now hanging above our living room couch and I just adore them. I also found a stove from the early 1900s at a barn in Wisconsin that currently holds our entertainment system. I love things that have history, that tell a story.


How has your home transformed over the years? Has it changed with your own style?

My home has become more streamlined with my style over the years. I used to save everything, which resulted in lots of clutter. But, through different city moves, I have learned to appreciate the art de-cluttering. I now only keep things that I use regularly or that have significant meaning to them. This has resulted in clean, simple décor that still has a lot of character.

What’s the one home styling trick or tip you couldn’t live without?

Styling things in odd numbers is the most aesthetically pleasing! I find that working with 3’s is best.



A few of Emily’s favorite things:


Favorite Flower: Peonies

Drink of Choice: Water

Style Icon: Olivia Palermo

Most Prized Possession: My wedding ring

I love my: Family

My personal hero is: My two month old daughter, Gracie

 I’m reading: The Girl On The Train

I’m watching: Friday Night Lights

I’m listening to: John Mayer. Always.

Last purchase or splurge: J.Crew military jacket for fall

My Guilty pleasure: Wine

Favorite vacation spot: The shores of Lake Michigan

Favorite item in my home: Our dining room table, which my husband made

Favorite quote: “Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abe Lincoln

Design Inspiration: How to Decorate a Chic Foyer



Your foyer is the first space you welcome guests into your home, so why not make it extra chic? In fact, I think the foyer is one of the most important spaces in your home – it sets the tone and creates a first impression.  So I always try to give it a little love (and lots of color!) to make the space welcoming for anyone who comes by.

I always love styling foyers for both my clients and in my own home – its truly one of my favorite spaces because you can create so many different moods and there aren’t too many ‘practicality’ limitations.  It’s a space that you can have fun with and create a memorable moment.  One of my favorites was this gorgeous foyer for a single family home in Lincoln Park. The clients wanted a whimsical home, full of charming eccentricities and plenty of style. The foyer was just that too, colorful, bright and full of quirky accents like mismatched frames, antiques and a mix of patterns.

Are you thinking about revamping your foyer to be ultra chic? Here are a few tips (and inspiring foyer images) to make any entryway wow-worthy.



Add a splash of color: If there’s one thing you’ve learned about me, it’s that I’m a lover of bold and bright colors. Color shows that you’re not afraid to be daring when it comes to design, and even to your approach on life, and I love this funky, kelly green stair runner paired with black and white accents.



Add a funky console table: Add some structure to your entryway with a stylish console table. It’s the perfect space to add antique accents, sentimental family photos, fresh cut blooms and more. I love this classic faux bamboo number, which will stand the test of time no matter how your design aesthetic changes.



Get fresh: Adding fresh accents to your home always a good idea, especially a bright, sunny entryway. Consider adding a freshly cut farmer’s market flowers or easy-to-maintain succulents & air plants to make your home fresh, even if you don’t have a green thumb.



Add some art: Oversized art can do wonders, especially in an inviting entryway. Consider adding a piece of art as a focal point for the foyer, or a collection of art to create a gorgeous gallery wall. Not only will your guests get an immediate sense of your style, but it will add another pretty pop of color.



Mirror, mirror: To add a little luxury to your foyer, consider an antique statement piece like a beautiful gold mirror. Not only do mirrors make a room look more spacious, but I like to use vintage mirrors whenever possible because they add a little romantic patina to the space.


Looking for more inspiration? Stop by my Pinterest boards to find more ideas to make your foyer stand out!

Chicago Home Tour: Blair Staky of The Fox And She

I’m excited to highlight the always effortlessly-stylish Blair Staky! Blair is a woman of many talents, which I’ll get to in a minute.  But what I love most about her style is how she somehow looks effortless and fashionable at the same time.  And she shared a quote with me that I just loved – “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” by Helen Keller.  So true.  Now if you don’t know Blair – she’s a trifecta of internet talent – penning the fashion and lifestyle blog, The Fox and She, being a blog designer & advisor, & co-founding the online lifestyle site Wandeleur. So we caught up with her to learn a little more about this inspiring Chicago fashionista and to see her cute Streeterville apartment.


Name: Blair Staky

Occupation: blog designer, lifestyle blogger

Current City: Chicago

First off, tell us a little about your style blog, The Fox & She! What inspired you to start it?

I’ve had a blog of some sort since my senior year of college, but it didn’t become the Fox & She until the spring of 2013. Since then it’s grown quite a bit and become a bigger part of my business. I feature attainable style for everyday living. I’ve also started working-in more personal and career pieces that I really enjoy talking about. I design blogs for a living, so it made sense to have one, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision! It’s a great creative outlet and side job.


What’s been your favorite part of starting your own blog?

Meeting new people! I’ve made so many friends in Chicago and around the country because of blogging and I think that’s really cool.


I love your lifestyle and personal style posts. How does your home reflect your personal style?

I think my home is an accurate reflection of my personal style. I mix high and low pieces to create a casual and comfortable vibe. I work from home so having an inspiring place to live and work is really important. I love textures, colors and patterns and I think that’s reflected throughout our home.


How long have you lived in your current home (and what neighborhood do you live in)?

Only about 5 months! We unexpectedly had to move from our last place, but we love our new home in Streeterville so much more. We have floor to ceiling windows on two sides which gives us incredible natural light. To me that might be the best accessory of any home!



What’s your favorite part of your home to style?

That’s tough! Probably the the sofa and living room chairs. I’m always switching those up!


What’s your favorite “find” in your home?

I love our leather Barcelona Chair and our media console. The Barcelona Chair is just one of those gorgeous classic pieces and I adore it! And our media console is just cool. A bit mid-century with gold triangular knobs and matte black paint and made by a girl in Chicago, MegMade.  It was a great find and a great piece. I know that any home in the future will have a place for these two pieces.


What’s your favorite room in your home and why?

Probably my living room. Which is funny because we probably spend the least amount of time here, but it’s in the corner and has the most natural light. It also features one of my favorite pieces in our home, a marble tulip table.


How has your home transformed over the years? Has it changed with your own style?

It used to be a lot more eclectic. That’s mostly because I had a lot of hand-me-down furniture and crazy pillows. It’s become more refined and adult as I grow up. I love that it evolves with me and my life. I used to have a pink door too, but that was faded out when marriage happened. My husband was not into that decision!


Where do you find new inspiration, or – how do you stay inspired?

Travel is the absolutely biggest source of inspiration for all parts of life. I always come back enthused, excited and ready to get back to work. I find that my writing is most inspired when I travel too. I feel like leaving your surroundings allows your mind to free up and focus on what’s really important and fulfilling in your life. I’m very thankful that my husband shares this passion and that we’ve been able to go so many places! Turkey is on the books this year and I cannot wait. I’m a sucker for patterns and I know it’s going to be inspiration overload!


If you could collaborate with anyone on a project, who would it be and why?

Anthropologie was up there on my list and I recently partnered with them and it was truly a dream come true. I love what their brand stands for and how creative they are! Anthropologie’s point of view is not just to provide you with beautiful clothes or a great outfit, they’re about creating a lifestyle and inspiring you to live more creatively through that. That’s what I strive to do with my own blog, so the brand really resonates with me.


A few of her favorite things

1) Favorite Flower: Peony

2) Drink of Choice: Prosecco

3) I love: my husband and our life together. Oh, and our little pup, Oliver.

4) I’m reading: Do Less, Get More. This book was a game-changer for me!

5) I’m listening to: Podcasts and the Lord Huron station on Pandora

6) Last purchase or splurge: Leather Barstools from CB2

7) Favorite vacation spot: This is an impossible question as it’s always changing! For a beach, Grand Cayman or Costa Rica and for a city, Copenhagen in the fall is pretty spectacular.

8) Favorite quote: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

9) Most people don’t know: that I went to culinary school for a semester.

10) My favorite place in Chicago is: Lincoln Park because it reminds me of when we first moved here and how unknown life seemed for a while.

11) What are the 3 things you think about most? Traveling, quitting my job to travel and write full-time (really only a dream), renovating my future home (not on the radar yet, but I still dream about it!)

Interior Inspiration: How to Decorate with Bold Wallpaper


When it comes to design, I love breaking the rules.

It seems people fell out of love with wallpaper for a period.  Sure mom had it, and it was atrocious, but done the right way, wallpaper can feel fresh.  That’s what I look for oftentimes – wallpapers that are bold, beautiful and colorful – a fresh take on wallpaper you might say.  In many cases they’re the statement that really makes a room and adds so much more personality than a solid colored wall is able to do.

When working on a Chicago home (recently featured in Lonny Magazine) I blended more classic wallpaper patterns with transitional pieces to give the space a preppy neo-traditional feel. This home went from an all brown drab-fest to an eclectic, vibrant space. Check it out on Lonny.

If you want to make the same transformation – from bland to bold, wallpaper might just be the trick.

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Beauty, Brains and Blogging: A Q&A With Laura Platt of Bright and Beautiful

When it comes to bold & brave entrepreneurs, bloggers and writers, I’m a big fan.  So I’m very excited to interview Laura Platt, the dynamic Chicago blogger behind Bright and Beautiful. One thing that I love about Laura is that we both share a love of bright and bold colors, we both love peonies, and her favorite quote – “life is full of little pleasures” is so true.  Learn more about Laura’s style, home and a few of her favorite things in the Q&A below!


Name: Laura Platt

Occupation: Life + Style Blogger

Current City: Chicago

First off, tell me a little about your style blog, Bright and Beautiful! What inspired you to start it? I started my blog in 2013 as a creative outlet dedicated to personal style, beauty and home décor — and to celebrate the everyday things that inspire me along the way. Aside from the blogging world, my professional background is in Public Relations. Between my experience in PR and personal interest in writing, photography and style, creating a blog was a natural (and fun!) progression for me.

What has been your favorite part of starting your own blog? I love feeling creative and inspired to do something I’m excited about each day. Another favorite aspect is connecting with readers, and the opportunity to meet and work with wonderfully talented people and brands. I’ve also enjoyed challenging myself by learning new skills, like HTML and CSS, to really take ownership of my site. It’s empowering to push your own boundaries, continually learn, and put yourself out there.


I love your personal style and style posts. How does your home reflect your personal style? Thank you! I find the parallels between fashion and interiors so fascinating. My personal style and home definitely reflect my liking toward classic and traditional design. In my wardrobe, and at home, I like to mix both high and low pieces — saving for key investment pieces (like a quality sofa and dining table or a great signature handbag), but spending less on smaller or trendy items. I will say: I personally dress more “girly” in pinks and such, while my home feels more balanced and plays to masculine tastes, too.


How long have you lived in your current home? I currently live in Lakeview East and have been at my current home for nearly two years. Coincidentally, I now live on the same block as my first little vintage studio I rented when I first moved to Chicago five years ago! I love being close to Chicago’s beautiful lakefront, especially during the warm summer months.

What’s your favorite room in your home and why? I’d say the living room, because it’s where everyone gathers! A large reclaimed wood coffee table anchors the room between two facing sofas and an accent chair, which provides a great spot for entertaining and conversation. I also love the living room’s fireplace (which my boyfriend impressively remodeled himself!) and how the room is filled with lots of natural light.

What’s your favorite part of your home to style?  The space in my current home I had the most fun with was a guest bathroom. The rest of my home is bright and airy, but I chose to be a bit more dramatic there. The walls are painted a deep gray (nearly black) and the bathroom features an oversized beaded mirror and crystal chandelier. It was fun to do something different, as it provides an element of surprise from the rest of the home.

How has your home transformed over the years? Has it changed with your own style? I live in a grey stone originally built in 1910 and I absolutely adore its historic exterior. The interior underwent quite a few recent renovations, so I’m lucky to enjoy some updated features as well, like new kitchen appliances. As for my personal taste, I think I’ll always gravitate toward traditional design… with a few luxe touches here and there, like velvet fabric, animal print and antiqued brass.


What’s the one home styling trick or tip you couldn’t live without? My home (and personal style) tends to reflect classic and traditional elements, so I remind myself to take a risk once in awhile. Whether it’s incorporating a new color, interesting print or different texture, at least one piece of décor (or accessory) should not necessarily “match” the rest — to provide contrast and a statement to the overall look.

Where do you find new inspiration? Inspiration is everywhere! I often turn to art, music, travel, nature, the city, and people I meet along the way. As much as I love finding inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram, sometimes it helps to get your eyes off a digital screen and switch to a different medium, like print books, magazines or a vintage movie.


If you could collaborate with anyone on a project, who would it be and why? Aerin Lauder. Her style is always elegant yet approachable, fresh, and timeless.


 A few of her favorite things:


1) Favorite Flower: Peony.

2) Drink of Choice: Champagne.

3) Style Icon: Grace Kelly.

4) I love: Spotify. I enjoy creating playlists for occasions, plus discovering new (and old) music.

5) Last purchase or splurge: A new lens for my camera.

6) My favorite place in Chicago is: The lakefront.

7) If I had a warning label, it would say: But first, coffee.

8) What’s your theme song? “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty.

9) Favorite Store(s) for the Home: Restoration Hardware, Jayson Home, Ballard Designs, Wayfair, Horchow

10) Favorite quote: “La vie est faite de petits bonheurs.” (“Life is full of little pleasures.”)

To see more of Laura’s gorgeous style and inspiration, make sure to follow along on Instagram, Facebook and her gorgeous blog…but first, coffee.

Design Inspiration: Palm Springs

To anyone who knows me well, it’s no secret that I adore Palm Springs. From the beautiful butterfly roofline homes, the great shopping (seriously, the vintage furniture shopping is to die for), and the never-ending warm weather and sunshine, Palm Springs really has everything a gal could ever want. I’m actually planning a trip now (for the dead of Chicago winter).  But most of all, I just love how Palm Springs style is proud to be different, bold, and colorful – it is a little mod, a lot of bright and whole lot of spunk –  always a combination I can get behind!Palm-Springs-Summer-Thornton

Every time I travel to Palm Springs I get even more inspired by the colorful combinations, poolside style decor and tropic prints and patterns. Whether it’s a floral romper spotted on an ever-so-chic dressing visitor from LA or the perfect vintage pineapple vase, there’s always a quirky detail that makes me excited and inspires me to add it to a design project.  Below are a few funky ways to bring a bit of Palm Springs interior design into your home.


 Get the Palm Springs Look:

1 Banana Leaf Pillow // 2. Bamboo Gold Silverware // 3. Sputnik Chandelier // 4. Bamboo Mirror // 5. Gold Pineapple // 6. Orange Velvet Pillow // 7. White Stool // 8. Pink Velvet Chair // 9. Jade Trays // 10. Mod Art


And when you go, be sure to check out the Parker Hotel which is quintessential Palm Springs vintage style full of quirk and lacquer.  Also you have to check out Mister Parker’s Restaurant inside the Parker Hotel (I’d describe it as a psychedelic trip in the playboy mansion during the 60’s) .  And the lobby is cool too with the mid-century suspended fireplace.  To.Die.For.  A must-see if you’re in the area.

Palm Springs Parker Hotel

Design Inspiration: How To Style A Bar Cart

 I love adding a touch of romance and glamour to every space I design, and one of my favorite pieces to style is a vintage bar cart. Whether invoking a little Great Gatsby feel, or just creating a fresh moment for cute drinks, a well styled bar cart is a throwback to the simple yet sophisticated days past, and they add a touch of Old Hollywood glamour to any room.   And there are few bar carts that are more beautiful than the sexy brass & goatskin bar cart I used for a project in Atlanta. Their taste was more refined and classic so the styling matched to bring a chic touch to their home. Knowing that summer is coming to a close, I’m trying to get in my last few summer parties, so here are a few of my favorite pieces to style a bar cart for your summer get together:


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So, what’s the best way to style a bar cart for summer? Rule #1: There are no rules!

While some people like to use a muted color palette, I’m a big believer in a “more is more” philosophy when it comes to decorating anything – bar carts included. Rather than just choosing one or two accent colors, why not go a more bolder route with mixed brights, patterned glasses and a fun balance of vintage and modern pieces that are perfect for the season?



For a summer bar cart,  I tend to gravitate towards vintage inspired glassware pieces, and many of my favorites  were found on my travels to flea markets around the world. I love the vintage colored glass that reminds me of Don Draper’s bar cart after a long day at the office, complete with 60’s funky patterns or bright colors. To really mix things up, I make sure to add a touch of glamour to give the bar cart a more overall refined look. This vintage inspired decanter and sleek gold accessories really bring the styling together, while accenting the space perfectly. One of my favorite secrets is to always add something fresh to complete the styling process,  whether it be fresh cut farmer’s market flowers or a colorful bowl of lemons, to keep the cart fresh and colorful.



The best part about bar cart styling is that you’re always able to give it a new look with a few simple styling tricks. Decorate for the seasons, giving your cart a bright and floral makeover in the summer (like the examples above), or a more muted gold and white tone in the winter. I often find books, vases, or other home decor accents from around my own home and intermix them whenever possible to change up the style regularly.



Now get out there and host a end-of-summer party, but be sure to style your bar cart first!

Beauty, Brains and Blogging: Jess of The Golden Girl Blog + The Everygirl

I’m excited to have the lovely Jess of The Golden Girl blog and The Everygirl on the blog today! She’s got an effortlessly chic style, impeccable taste and editorial eye, and I’m excited to share a little bit about her inspiring career path from advertising pro to full time blogger and freelance writer.  My personal favorite quote from her is “Leap and the net will appear”.  What a great motto.  This was so true in my life too.  Sometimes you have to take the risk before you know that everything will be all right.  Take a little peek into Jess’ world…


Name: Jess

Occupation: Freelance writer & blogger

Current City: Chicago

Tell us a little bit about your career path so far and how you landed your current job as a freelance writer for various blogs, publications and The Evergirl? 

I never would’ve gotten to this point in my career as a writer without starting my blog in the first place! I was a Journalism major, but when I graduated I went into advertising, so I hadn’t actually written anything in a long time. I really wanted to work at a magazine or a website, or have a cool career in something digital related–like working at Twitter or Tumblr. I worked in Shopper Marketing at the time, so I knew I needed to do something else to expand my resume since I wasn’t using that part of my brain at work. I also wanted a creative outlet, because my career in advertising turned out to be more excel spreadsheets and client work than creative. 

My blog acted as my resume, and from there on, I was able to land my position at The Everygirl, because I think we both share similar aesthetics, style, and overall voice. From there, I kept working hard to establish my blog, and eventually started landing some regular sponsorships, and it’s grown from there! 

What do you love about working in your creative field? 

I think it’s so much flexibility. I think I would die if I had to go back to an office. I want to be able to work from wherever I choose (the whole office thing really stifled my brain in general). Plus, if it’s freezing, I want to be able to work from my bed in my fuzzy pajamas. Creativity is also a huge part of that flexibility. Yes I work a ton of hours, and admittedly, it’s for half of what I was making in advertising (where I was able to move up the ranks pretty quickly) but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 


What’s been your favorite part of working with a publication like the Everygirl, and your own blog, The Golden Girl Blog? 

With The Everygirl, it’s a chance to be exposed to female entrepreneurship at such a close level. I’m really lucky to be able to work closely with Alaina & Danielle, and call them my friends, as well as mentors! The experience I’ve gained working with them has been invaluable. And with my own blog, I mean–I’m my own boss! What’s not to love there? When a big part of your career is dependent upon just “you doing you,” it’s pretty awesome. 

What has been your biggest break? 

Definitely being named one of Refinery 29’s top up & coming Chicago bloggers! 


What do you attribute your success to (any mottos/mantras that you love)?

That’s a tough one. I think everything at the end of the day ladders up to “leap, and the net will appear.” Even if the net doesn’t appear right away, you realize that you’re way more capable than you thought, and that you can land on your feet and dust yourself off!


Where would you like to se yourself in 5 years?

Honestly, probably just an evolution of what I’m doing now! I don’t have a huge, overly specific goal. I just want to be making money doing what I love. (I’d love to be making more, obviously, but who doesn’t want more travel money?) 

What’s one tip of advice that you would share for anyone who aspires to be like you?

That nobody ever got anywhere by hesitating! 


What’s your advice for people who are looking to get into the magazine, editorial, photography or publishing industry?

Start a blog! And make it good. A blog is like a resume on steroids. It’s the best first impression you could possibly make. (That is, if you do it right. If you do it wrong, it can easily be a horrible impression.) Second, network your butt off. And don’t do it obnoxiously. If you approach people with the sole angle of “what’s in it for you?” people will take notice. But if you strive to make solid, amazing friendships, where both of you benefit and help each other grow–that is truly one of the most powerful tools you could have. 

If you could collaborate with anyone on a project, who would it be and why?

Manny the Frenchie. He’s a local Chicago humanitarian French Bulldog who has the best Instagram ever. I mean, literally my dream in a nutshell. 

Are there any editors, writers, or photographers who’s work inspired you? 

That’s so hard to choose! I have so many talented friends and people I look up to, I can’t possibly pick a favorite, but the first ones that come to mind: my photographer friend Cassandra who I swear gets more and more talented by the minute, Jess Lively, who’s podcast I couldn’t live without, and Gretchen Rubin, who’s book “The Happiness Project” really put things into a new perspective to me. 


Where do you find inspiration?

PINTEREST. It’s like internet crack. You can’t not be inspired after scrolling through your Pinterest feed! 

the golden girl's favorite things

A few of her favorite things:

1) Favorite Flower: Hydrangeas (because they’re the prettiest) and Daffodils (because they used to grow in the pasture on my family’s farm growing up.)
2) Drink of Choice: Coconut La Croix or a Sidecar.
3) Most Prized Possession: My leather jacket from Italy and my Grey Bunny that my Grannie gave me when I was little.
4) My personal hero is: Neal, my boyfriend, who singlehandedly has shaped my life in a way I would have never thought possible.
5) I’m reading: The girls from Ames
6) I’m watching: Bar Rescue marathons every Sunday
7) Last purchase or splurge: It’s about to be everything necessary to furnish a whole apartment from scratch (yikes!)
8) My Guilty pleasure: coconut flavored everything, french bulldog instagram accounts
9) Favorite vacation spot: Italy (dream), or Neal’s family’s lake house in Indiana.
10) Favorite quote: Leap and the net will appear
11) Most people don’t know that I was secretly born a hillbilly in a tiny town in Oregon.
12) I’m DEATHLY afraid of spiders
13) Favorite Store(s) for the Home: Joss & Main, Dot & Bo, Lulu & Georgia

Love Jess as much as we do? Make sure to check out her blog for more inspiration!

Colorful Canopy Bed Inspiration

Canopy Beds

I adore all things romantic: From pretty patterned wall paper to claw foot tubs to impractically puddled drapes.

One of my impractical (but ever-so-romantic and beautiful) design favorites has been bright and bold canopy beds that add luxurious flair to any bedroom.  Done wrong and they can look tacky – a little too Las Vegas or Shah’s of Sunset – “faux fancy” you might say.  But done right, with some fresh twists, or in a space with modern touches, and it can be dramatic and still current.  Originally made as a piece of functional furniture to keep beds warm and reduce noise for the upper class and royalty, canopy beds have now become a statement piece in traditional and vintage inspired spaces. While it may not be a display of wealth as it used to be, there are a variety of of styles – from the modern metal version to ones made with gorgeous velvets and linens. Keeping up with my colorful decorating obsession, here are a few of my favorite canopy beds that I can’t stop thinking about. Is there anything more romantic than a canopy bed?

Colorful Canopy Beds 2

1: Victorian flair: Two words: gold & cobalt blue. This dreamy combination is perfect for any princess, and I adore the mix of patterns and bold brights.

2. Royal red: Fit for a queen and a sexy too. The deep royal red and pink canopy curtains make this luscious room one of my favorites.

3. Crisp whites: Sometimes you have to return to the classics, and these soft dreamy whites make for a truly relaxing space.

4. Mellow yellow: Going with my favorite theme (brights!), this yellow little girl’s room is a chic alternative to softer pink hues.

5. Modern & elegant: I love the structured, gold frame as a highlight to the green and yellow accents.

6. The best of both worlds: Can’t decide between a more traditional or modern canopy bed? This yellow draped number is the best of both worlds, and looks elegant in front of a velvet backdrop (and luxe accents.)

Which of these canopy beds fir your style? I’m not sure about you, but

Interior Inspiration: Painted Clawfoot Tubs

the-best-colorful-clawfoot-tubsoriginally via


Who doesn’t love a luxurious bubble bath after a long day at work? I enjoy mine with a glass of pinot gris and cheese.

I’m a firm believer that bathrooms should be romantic & dramatic.  They’re a little escape, and they can make you feel special at two of the most important times of day – when you’re getting ready for the day, and when you’re winding down.  Rather than keeping bathrooms monochromatic and humdrum  – I mean how many all-white bathrooms can we look at, seriously?!  They’re nice but there are other options people!  Adding vintage accents and some color always make for a memorable statement. A clawfoot tub adds a great vintage accent to any home, and if you want to do something a little different, it can add a splash of color to your decor too! Take a peek at a few of these stunning bathrooms, and check out the real show stoppers – painted clawfoot tubs!



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Who wouldn’t want to take a bubble-filled bath in a gorgeous clawfoot tub?  Which clawfoot tub would you love to add to your dream bathroom?

Design Inspiration: Beautiful Floors



Who doesn’t love a little eye candy, especially when it comes in the form of interior design inspiration?

Pinterest is one of my favorite places to find inspiration, and I’ve been obsessed with pinning wildly decorative floors. Whether it’s a gorgeous patterned Moroccan tile, an in-laid wooden stunner, or something just perfectly imperfect, a great floor pattern gets me in the mood (to decorate that is).  There’s something about a patterned floor – it’s gorgeous in its own right but paired with the perfect room and decor – it can take a space from ‘nice’ to amazing!

I  worked on a design project for a show house in the iconic Chicago Merchandise Mart. It was a modern interpretation of Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. I used exaggerated shapes to highlight the fantasy of this fairytale with a modern-day twist, including one of my favorite floor patterns – a black and white harlequin floor.

Take a peek at a few of my favorite floors I’ve been pinning on my Pinterest page:


From top left to bottom right:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

And my favorite floor of all? Although it’s hard to choose, it’s impossible to not adore a gorgeous Moroccan tile – just look at the picture below and try to resist booking a ticket right now!


Color Love: Coral Pink and Kelly Green

I often gravitate towards quirky colors – something that’s just a bit askew of the usual.  Recently coral pinks have been a real favorite, and I love the idea of pairing it with kelly green – it’s become one of my favorite color combinations. I love how relaxing and balanced the color green is, combined with the bright, vibrant coral tones, which make for a chic statement in any home.

While working on an interior design for a single-family home in Lincoln Park, I used a fun mix of bold and bright colors throughout – especially in their playful nursery. The client was so fun and open to making everything in her home daring and bold, which is exactly what we did! I found this amazing green, floral wall paper and I knew it would be the perfect backdrop for a funky, but pretty bedroom escape for the client’s little girl. Mixed with pretty coral accents (like that amazing dresser from Palm Beach) pink accented furniture with playful polka dots and stripes, the bedroom was transformed into a dreamy space that any little girl would adore for years to come.

The final result of the design was a playful, colorful, but still luxurious space that left room for the family to grow into.  If you’re looking for even more colorful inspiration, check out a few of my boards on Pinterest that match the color story and design aesthetic of the nursery (top image below).  And make sure to pin it for yourself!

Orange-Green and pink-graphic

How to Decorate with Banana Leaf Prints


original image via

Now that summer’s in full swing, I’m all about prints when it comes to upcoming design projects and my own wardrobe. And nothing conveys the laid back vibe of summer as perfectly as a tropical banana palm leaf print!

You saw it pop up everywhere last summer - from iPhone cases to espadrilles – and this bold print is back and more chic than ever. The iconic print comes in two main patterns that have inspired the evolution of the print over the years. The first is the classic Martinique, with a variety of green tones and larger, full leaf print that was made popular when it was first installed in the Beverly Hills Hotel. The second famous pattern, the Brazilliance is also gorgeous option, with more monochromatic green hues and smaller floral accents that make it ideal for wallpaper, home accents and dresses alike.  Either way, you can’t go wrong with a palm leaf pattern fabric or wallpaper!

I know that I  will never tire of this tropical style in the home or my wardrobe, so I rounded up a few products and decor inspirations I adore to showcase my favorite ways to style this gorgeous print!


From top to bottom:

Mixed prints inspiration // Wallpaper // Pillow // Tray 

Dress {similar} // Clutch // Shoes // Skirt

From living room decor to chic accessories, banana leaf prints always make for an iconic and memorable look. When styling it in your own home, always make sure to mix the print with other bright colors (hot pinks, corals and reds are a favorite combination of mine!) or other bold prints to keep the look bold and daring.

Happen to have any banana leaf prints in your home or closet? I’d love to hear about your favorites!

Chicago Flea Market This Weekend!

If you haven’t heard, our interior design firm keeps growing and we’re moving to a larger office in a few weeks.  Rather than hoarding all the great stuff that we’ve collected over the years, we’re having a flea market and moving sale on Friday & Saturday – June 26 & 27 at our office.  There will be tons of great deals to be had – some fabrics originally $300/yd for $10/yd.  This white chinoiserie credenza shown below.  Lamps. Artwork. Chandeliers. Accessories. Frames. Pillows. Chairs.  Art & coffee table books. Sconces. Ice buckets. High end and low end – you name it.  Truly too much to list it all.  But its all gotta go in 2 days!

Designer Flea Market and Moving Sale

Friday night will be more of a low-key party vibe.  Music, drinks, mingling, etc, though you can certainly shop and purchase things that night.  Saturday is down to business for the serious shoppers.  Hope to see you there!


Interior Inspirations: Creating a Beautiful Walk-In Closet


What woman doesn’t dream of a chic walk-in closet filled to the brim with Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel?

Any stylish woman will tell you that one of her favorite parts of her home is her dressing room – filled with gorgeous dresses and beautiful designer bags. Not only is your closet a darling space for your favorite accessories, but it also can be one of the most beautiful and fashionable rooms in your home. I recently worked on the above dressing room for a client in Lincoln Park, and it quickly became one of my favorite rooms in the house. I love how sleek and traditional the all white custom built-in cabinetry looks paired with metal accents and soft violet colored walls. The custom dressing table added even more extra detailing to the space, and made for the perfect place to rest stylish coffee table books, fresh cut tulips, and my clients gorgeous jewelry collection. Who wouldn’t want to wake up every morning to that beautiful dressing room view? Not to mention her shoe collection? Swoon!



1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Whether you have a tiny space, or a grandiose walk-in, here are a few of my favorite design tricks that will transform your closet into a room you’ll love.

Color code: My favorite rooms are those bursting with color, and similarly your closet should follow suit. Organize your closet by color to make the space even more elegant, and pieces easier to find.

Create custom cabinets: There’s nothing more appealing than an organized dressing room, so add custom cabinets to make everything easy to find. I love pairing more sophisticated white cabinetry with bright colored wallpapers, funky rugs and a gorgeous vintage chair to give the room a little edge.

Add bold wallpaper: Bold color, pretty patterns, what’s not to love? Like your clothes, your closet should be anything but boring, so give the space new life with a funky and glamorous wallpaper pattern.

Make your lights ultra glam: To make any space big or small luxurious, just add a vintage light fixture! I love a sparkly chandelier or funky brass sputnik fixture. They say ‘this room matters!’

What walk-in closet spaces are you inspired by? Don’t forget to swing by my Pinterest boards for even more design inspiration!

I Love Vintage: Maison Jansen



I love all things Parisian:  The effortless chic style, inspiring culture, and the always-stunning interiors.

Whenever I visit Pairs, I’m inspired by the impeccable combination of modern, sophisticated luxury with the perfect mix of classic antiques and vintage pieces. One of my favorite Parisian based designers was Maison Jansen (house of Jansen), founded by Jean-Henri Jansen, who’s work was prominent around the globe in the late 1880’s. Known for his traditional pieces, with influences from his travels in Japan and Turkey, Jansen was best known for his interior design work, as well as the unique furniture his company, House of Jansen, custom-made. His most iconic pieces are primarily in the Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Directoire, and Empire styles, which he used in his interior design projects around the world.  What’s I find most impressive about Jansen was that he is considered to have founded the first global design company, with his work spanning continents from North America to the Middle East.  He did it with design and style that was so forward-thinking and counter-cultural.  Think of the late 1800s – it was victorian era but his pieces are streamlined and bring in hints of Asia with pagoda shapes and patterns, some whimsy with unique metal finishes and shapes, and modern lines as a point of contrast.  They must have really been different then when design was much more in-line with the period, but now they work so well into designs that weave new with vintage.  Plus, can you ever go wrong with black and gold gilding?  I suppose you can, but these furniture pieces are perfection.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces of Jansen’s work, including that gorgeously simple bar cart – perfect for serving cocktails at your next party!




There are so many aspects of Jansen’s work that I admire – his attention to detail, the impeccable quality of his one-of-a-kind commissions, and his incredibly modern work that he created over a hundred years ago. Even today, there’s something  truly special and modern about his pieces – and I continue to draw inspiration from his work when working on projects for my own clients. Who wouldn’t want any of these gorgeous gilded pieces to grace their living room? I think we all need one (or two!) to add to our home decor.

Color Love: Neutral Hues In Interior Design

It’s no surprise that I’m a lover of colorfully chic spaces, but there are times…special projects where it calls for a mix of neutral colors. While bold rooms are easy to wow, sometimes the textures and subtleties of neutrals truly brings together a space. And believe me, neutrals can be anything but boring.  There’s an art in balancing soft textures and tones with more earthy woods and metals that bring together a perfect room.

When working on the interior design for a French Tudor style home, the client wanted more natural, earthy colors. Being inspired by the beauty of rich leathers, fresh cut wood, and organic textures – I pulled together neutral pieces that perfectly played off one another. There’s a sense of calm while walking into this living room, and the colors interplay to become a refreshing and relaxing space to read the morning paper, or to unwind after a long day. For this project we did a comprehensive remodel – replacing all the windows to install these gorgeous steel paned beauties.  They created a sense of play between indoors and outdoors – we brought in more natural elements from the outside world within the space to make it cohesive and seamless – adding chopped wood as a decor element, a stunning wooden coffee table, and fresh cut flowers to bring airiness to the space.

The final result? The space is fresh, airy, natural and still bold in it’s own beautiful way. Who wouldn’t want to sip their morning coffee on that inviting couch?  Check out some of the inspirations on my boards on Pinterest that match the color story and design aesthetic of this darling bedroom I designed (top image below). And don’t forget to pin it yourself!