How to Make the Most Out of Your Outdoor Living Space this Summer

Summertime in the Midwest is a precious time. We know it doesn’t last long, so we must take advantage of every minute and be outside as much as possible. Whether you live in the city with a small balcony or terrace, or you live in the suburbs with a spacious yard and patio, we have some great ways that you can turn your outdoor living space into an oasis and a great spot to entertain this Summer.

How to Make the Most out of Your Outdoor Living Space

Consider Porcelain Pavers

Daltile’s high-style TREAD™ Porcelain Pavers offer on-trend outdoor design in durable and long-lasting wood-look porcelain or stone.

The two centimeter thickness ensures that your outdoor spaces – from the patio and pool to the driveway and garage – will turn heads no matter your climate. Made from only three natural ingredients – clay, sand, and feldspar – porcelain is synonymous with strength. It is resistant to scratches and abrasion, has very low water absorption. And most important WILL NOT FADE!

Key Attributes:

  • UV Resistant
  • Stain Resistant
  • Scratch Resistant
  • Freeze/Thaw Resistant
  • De-Icing Salt Resistant

Variety of Installation Options:

  • Raised Pedestal – Perfect for rooftop decks & balconies in the city!
  • Loose Lay in Grass
  • Set in Compacted Sand
  • Set on Gravel
  • Traditional Tile Install/Mortar to Concrete Substrate
  • Convert Existing Wood Decks

Learn more here.

Install a Non-Slip Floor Tile

Abaco In & Out is the first soft non-slip floor tile from Roca Tile.

The In&Out finish is the result of the Roca Group’s commitment to R&D. The innovative manufacturing process developed provides a silky, and at the same time, non-slip surface, making it suitable for exteriors. The soft surface is ideal ideal for indoors, outdoors and facades. Available in a wide color range of neutral and rusty hues, it also features decorative lines with reliefs and organic or geometrical effects. Available through their Special Order Program and arriving in stock by Q3.

Learn more here

Choose the Right Outdoor Furniture

Chicagoans can make the most of their outdoor space by making sure it’s outfitted for all kinds of uses – from eating to entertaining to personal rejuvenation. Most people think of seating first and foremost, but there is also dining and side tables, lighting, rugs and planters to make the exterior of a home as livable as the interior.

Ligne Roset just created a new section of their store on Wells Street in River North, Chicago dedicated to celebrating outdoor living. Whether it’s a terrace, yard, balcony or rooftop, outdoor areas should be set up to be easily rearranged and reconfigured to support many different uses. Also, carefully consider the finishes of your outdoor furniture to make sure it truly stands up to the elements and the test of time. There have been great strides in technology to create strong, durable materials with a soft look and feel. Make sure your seating has proper drainage (like the Ottoman Outdoor collection designed by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance with its clever hidden spout through the seat) and is as comfortable as you would expect any indoor seating to be (like the cloud-like Serpentine seating by Eléonore Nalet).

Creativity shouldn’t stop at the door – there are incredibly talented designers creating unique, eye-catching, and comfortable outdoor products for your space.

Learn more here. Or visit Ligne Roset at 440 N Wells to check out their collection in person.

Bring the Entertainment Outside

Consider a way to add another dimension to your outdoor spring and summer fun with an outdoor audio and video system, installed by Barrett’s Technology Solutions.

The most popular outdoor entertainment solution is audio. Whether you like relaxing background music, rock and roll, or have audiophile golden ears for your eclectic music collection, there’s an outdoor audio system that will satisfy you. Your speakers can be heard and not seen with discreet buried subwoofers and satellites, or you can have the equivalent of tower speakers for outdoors with a powerful punch that makes a statement.   

Don’t stop at audio for your outdoor entertainment. Today’s outdoor TVs offer more options than ever before. And they can be weatherized to protect against heat, cold, humidity, and even bugs. The latest models go big with an 86-inch screen, 4K resolution, and the latest HDR technology for high contrast vivid pictures. Outdoor TVs also pack special screen coatings and high-brightness capability for outdoor viewing in bright lighting conditions.

Now is the perfect time to extend your indoor audio and video entertainment outdoors. Reach out to Barrett’s Technology Solutions at (630) 898-2850 to get started. 

Learn more here.

Posted in Barrett's Technology Solutions, Daltile, Furniture, Ligne Roset, Outdoor design, Roca Tile, Technology, tile | Comments Off on How to Make the Most Out of Your Outdoor Living Space this Summer

RNDD Welcomes Reveal Design

The River North Design District (RNDD) is excited to welcome Reveal Design to our organization.

A Chicago Landscape Design & Build Boutique

Reveal Design is a full-service landscape design-and-build boutique based in Chicago, Illinois. Established in 2011, their work focuses on creating thoughtfully designed outdoor living spaces that combine style, purpose, and functionality. From intimate garden balconies and full-scale residential landscapes to multi-unit urban complexes looking for outdoor solutions, each project is customized to meet our clients’ individual needs and tastes.

We believe the exterior is just as important

— Reveal Design

The Practice

Reveal Design is a full-service landscape design-and-build boutique based in Chicago, Illinois. Established in 2011, their work focuses on creating thoughtfully designed outdoor living spaces that combine style, purpose, and functionality. From intimate garden balconies and full-scale residential landscapes to multi-unit urban complexes looking for outdoor solutions, each project is customized to meet our clients’ individual needs and tastes.

The Process

Reveal Design offers initial on-site consultation free of charge. Most of their designs are developed through a two-phase process complete with enhanced visual models and three-dimensional presentations to give clients a clear picture of the finished product. Phase 1 focuses on the client’s style, desired function, and rough budget. Phase 2, refines these details and selects plants and materials based on the client’s tastes and maintenance desires. Reveal Design is client-focused in their objectives and openly discuss all aspects of the project from inception.

The Service

Reveal Design aims to provide lasting outdoor retreats. Their creativity and dedication to client service sets them apart from the larger design outfits. Clients can have as much or as little involvement in the design process as they desire.

Examples of their services include:

  • Front, side, and rear yard landscape installations
  • Rooftop Decks, pergolas, planter boxes, and customized screens
  • Organic vegetable and food production spaces
  • Exterior lighting and drip irrigation

Welcome to RNDD

Please help us in welcoming Reveal Design to our River North, Chicago design community. To learn more about their company and services, or to schedule a consultation, visit

Posted in Landscape Design, Reveal Design | Comments Off on RNDD Welcomes Reveal Design

Roca Tile Shares What’s New in Tile Trends in 2021

The River North Design District (RNDD) is excited to welcome our newest member to our Chicago design community, Roca Tile. Their stunning River North Chicago showroom is located at 215 W. Illinois in the heart of the design district. They offer a wide variety of ceramic and porcelain tiles for multiple applications.

Roca Tile USA is an offspring of the Roca Corporation. It is a worldwide leader in manufacturing, distributing, and marketing high-quality ceramic and porcelain tile under two brands Roca and United States Ceramic Tile. The company’s product range offers solutions for multiple uses, from versatile wall tile to highly resistant indoor and outdoor floor tiles, including single colors, marble, wood, concrete, fabric, decorative tiles, and a wide array of complementary pieces.

Being the tile experts they are, we asked Roca to share with us 3 of the top tile design trends they expect to see more of in 2021.

Shape and Movement

We’re seeing organic, undulating shapes not just with tile, but everywhere, from cups to carpets, mirrors to makeup packaging. There’s a long-standing connection between organic, biophilic forms and the subtle use of natural shapes to enhance human connection to nature and creativity (think everything from the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí to the undulations of a curved couch). And after 10+ months of being confined indoors, we’re looking for all the nature we can get. While biomimicry—the design strategy that imitates uses, forms, colors, and more that are found in nature—has been on the rise as an interest in sustainability has grown, we’re seeing it combined with celebratory colors in unexpected places, such as a coffee table or pillow, reported Architectural Digest.

— Roca Tile

We love the mix of bold colors and shapes in this home bar by Crimson Design Group using Roca’s CC Mosaics Gray & White Mosaic on the floors.

Oversize Rectangular Tile for Bathrooms

There are a lot of reasons to consider large rectangular tiles in a bathroom. Fewer grout lines mean less cleaning and less visual clutter. Plus, the large-format tile can help visually expand a small space. We’re seeing large tiles used in a variety of classic patterns, such as herringbone, stacked and brick. If you’re considering large rectangular tiles for the bathroom floor, try going with a matte finish, which provides some slip resistance.

— Roca Tile
Pictured: Roca’s Seattle Blanco 12″ x 24″ & 24″ x 48″ UP

Metallic Tile Accents

One way to jazz up bathroom tile is with a punch of shiny metal. Several tile companies offer tile in silver, bronze and other metallic finishes. And while covering an entire wall in gold tile might not be the way to go, integrating just a few metallic tiles can have a captivating effect.

— Roca Tile

Pictured here is Roca’s Rockart collection which offers a plethora of metallic styles, perfect as an accent or full installed on an accent wall.

Please join us in welcoming Roca Tile to RNDD! You can view their entire collection online at or visit them in River North at 215 W Illinois, Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.

Posted in RNDD Members, Roca Tile, tile | Comments Off on Roca Tile Shares What’s New in Tile Trends in 2021

6 Design Tips for Creating a Family Friendly Kitchen

We all know the kitchen is the heart of the home. But for families with children, it is also the epicenter of the home. It’s where we cook, eat, do homework and gather together. But how do you design a kitchen that can accommodate all these activities, stay organized and look good? 

We tapped into our River North Design District network to bring you 6 tips for designing a family friendly kitchen. 

Add a Touch of Color and Personality with Tile

Add a touch of fun to your kitchen design with the Block Picket series from Roca Tile. This ceramic wall tile provides different options of colors, finishes & patterns and is ideal for kitchen backsplashes or dining nooks, adding color and functionality to your space. 

Bonus tip: let the kids help you pick out the tiles to include the entire family in the design!

See more here.

Opt for Kid-Proof Countertops and Cabinet Fronts

eggersmann introduces FENIX core, an incredible family friendly surface and cabinet front. This impermeable FENIX finish has anti-bacterial and mold-resistant properties. The easy-clean material is resistant to scratching and abrasion as well as to aggressive acid-based solvents and household cleaners. FENIX is water-repellent, hygienic, and anti-fingerprint and heat-proof up to 302° F, making it an exceptional choice for kitchen counters and bathroom vanities.

See more here.

Design with the Kids in Mind

Staci Munic Interiors was brought on to give this family’s suburban kitchen a nip and tuck to bring it into the new decade. The cabinets and appliances were in good shape, but the backsplash was a bit busy and the countertops were dated. The kitchen also needed new lighting and furniture.

Staci and her team decided to color block the kitchen by painting the upper cabinets – out of the kids reach – and island white and touched up the lower cabinets – within kids reach – in the existing brown finish. They swapped out the speckled granite countertop for Cambria Britannica Warm Matte Quartz – one of the most durable countertop options –  and added a full height backsplash. Quartz is low-maintenance and antimicrobial, making it a popular choice for family kitchens. They also mitered the island countertop edge to 2.5” and added extra seating. SMI replaced the cabinet hardware with a curated combo of matte black and satin brass, changed out the lighting and furniture and gave the entire room a new paint job. The result- a beautiful eat-in kitchen with open sight lines to keep tabs on the little ones, ample storage, kid friendly surfaces, and extra seating options for homework.

See more here.

Make Space for Gathering

Family friendly kitchens come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. lives and breathes kitchens. Through experience they know that all families are different, therefore they are all looking for custom design solutions to meet their needs. However, all family friendly kitchens must also be conducive to gathering, creating, and sharing. Functionality is an imperative consideration during the kitchen design process. What all families want is a space to create healthy, delicious, and beautiful food, but most importantly a space to share and congregate in in our daily routines; after all the kitchen is the space where life happens.

See more here

Select Kid Friendly Furniture

Add sturdy, comfortable, and easy to clean leather counter or bar stools to your family friendly kitchen. The family can cozy up to the chef in the Calvin Counter Stools from Arteriors and available through Casa Bella. The curved shape makes it easy to keep little ones inside and the leather surface makes them easy to wipe down. And added bonus: these stools are perfectly scaled to tuck away under your countertop when not in use so no one can trip or stub their toes when running in for dinner.

See more here.

When it Comes to the Kitchen Island, Go Big

A modern kitchen isn’t just about cooking. You want a space that brings the family together and inspires quality time. The kitchen should be a central hub for family members to connect and create together. The creative heart of any family kitchen is the kitchen island. Larger islands not only give you more prep space, they encourage the rest of the family to come together. One could be cooking while the other is doing homework or working on an art project. Komandor designers are coming up with storage solutions such as pull-out spice racks, hidden bins for recyclables and caddies for pots and pans. Everything will be organized and easy to find exactly when you need it. According to Komandor, the perfect family kitchen should be clean, organized, simple and comfortable. 

See more here.

Posted in ARMAZEM, Casa Bella, eggersmann USA, kitchens, Komandor Chicago, Roca Tile, Staci Munic Interiors, tile | Comments Off on 6 Design Tips for Creating a Family Friendly Kitchen

3 Innovative Technology Solutions to Enhance Your Home

Today’s smart home technology solutions offer a far more intuitive experience than simply setting your thermostat or locking your windows. Systems have become much smarter, faster and easier to use. And they can truly enhance the security, function and aesthetic of your home.

We asked our RNDD Members to weigh in on what they think are the best – and most innovative – home technology trends out there.

Protect Your Home with a Smarter Security System

With all the new technologies available, you can now monitor your home’s environment thanks to companies like Barrett’s Technology Solutions. Water and humidity sensors can tell you about a leak long before it becomes an expensive problem. Temperature sensors can go beyond your smart thermostat, informing you of an issue with your wine room or a potential problem in your kitchen. Intelligent carbon monoxide sensors can notify you of a potentially deadly situation before it becomes a danger. 

What about those window, door, and motion sensors? Use them with smart cameras that can trigger recording on motion, and you can know precisely what is happening. If you’ve ever been anxious by a door alarm that went off in the middle of the night only to discover that the wind moved the door just enough to trigger it, with a smart camera, you could know that your house was safe – or if swift action is needed.  

Smart locks can provide a slew of benefits. It’s like access control for your home. If you need to let someone in temporarily, you can give someone a temporary code or access via a smartphone app. Want to lock your doors automatically at night? Just add smart locking to a bedtime routine that locks all equipped doors and sets the alarm on your command or on a schedule. Add smart capability to your garage doors too. You can program your garage door to close automatically after a time period with no motion, check to see if it’s open anytime through your smartphone, and open and close it remotely for a package delivery. For peace of mind with your family, smart locks can also tell you if your kids got home from school when you’re not there by identifying who unlocked the door. 

If you are looking to incorporate smart home security features like these, contact Barrett’s Technology Solutions: Technology, Entertainment, Audio, and Automation Experts in the Chicago area.

Learn more here.

Enjoy Your Home with an Enhanced Outdoor Entertaining Space

With a year of pandemic under our belt and many, many hours spent at home with family, everyone is looking to expand their usable square footage and at-home entertainment options.  And as warmer weather approaches and the possibility of a more “normal” summer gets closer, people are looking to their outdoor spaces as a safe place to gather with friends and family.  Adding speakers and televisions is a great way to enhance the function of your outdoor environments.  By adding some new audio/video elements the back patio can be a welcoming place to watch a movie with the family, have all the kids’ friends over for a BBQ where they control the music, host a lively cocktail party with a few friends, or watch the game with the guys and a few cigars.

New equipment from top quality manufacturers have made this all possible while still maintaining a sophisticated aesthetic.  No longer are outdoor speakers limited to soffit mounted boxes or obvious “rock” speakers.  Modern outdoor audio packages hide easily in the landscape and can provide high quality, high-performance sound.  Outdoor TVs used to be regular displays mounted in huge, clunky, weather-tight enclosures.  Now they are weather-proof displays that look identical to any TV you could buy off the shelf.  These TVs are equipped with special filters that allow you and your guests to watch the game or catch up on your Netflix binge no matter the outdoor lighting conditions.

Jason Lehnhardt Consulting provides technology design and consulting services to the luxury residential, hospitality and light commercial markets.  Jason has 20 years of experience designing sophisticated automation and entertainment systems and works tirelessly to represent his clients’ interests as an independent and trusted advisor. For more information visit

Beautify Your Home with a Digital Art Platform

An innovative Technology trend for 2021 is a digital art platform called apollo. Apollo Digital Art encompasses a native app, an art collection, an e-commerce platform, and a community of like-minded collectors. This unique ecosystem allows for seamless discovery and acquisition of artwork from creators around the world.

By making fine art accessible to anyone, Apollo opens the market to new audience and creates opportunities to connect artists with a new generation of customers. Apollo disrupts the way we see and buy art. To find out more on how to get Apollo in your home contact Centaur Interiors.

Learn more here.

Posted in Barrett's Technology Solutions, centaur interiors, home automation, Jason Lehnhardt Consulting | Comments Off on 3 Innovative Technology Solutions to Enhance Your Home

Spring Home Refresh: 8 Fresh Ideas for Putting New Life in Your Home Design this Spring

With Spring comes new life. And after the year we’ve had, we could all use a little rejuvenation right about now. After months of cold and snow, it’s time to breathe new life into your surroundings. For the majority of us, our surroundings consist mostly of our homes. As we are still spending much of our time at home, why not invest a little time and elbow grease into giving your home interior design a refresh for the new season.

We asked our RNDD Designers, Showrooms and Partners to provide some easy tips for sprucing up your home design this Spring.

Maximize Closet Storage Space

Get organized this Spring with custom closets from Komandor Chicago. As the season change from Winter to Spring, it’s important to pay extra attention to your closet. It’s more than just switching out your winter wardrobe to spring attire, it’s also the perfect time to take a closer look at your closet and maximize your storage space.

Komandor’s closet systems provide the ideal structure to hide or highlight your belongings and wardrobe. Make your closet space your own with custom shelving and rods to keep each item in perfect order. Choose from variety of elegant finishes, colors and hardware accessories to make your closet efficient and unique to your personal style. Komandor has many closet system solutions to suit your needs. From built-in wardrobes to the innovative create-a-closet.

Learn more here.

Give Your Pillows a Spring Makeover with New Upholstery

Hope is on the horizon! 2021 has set the framework for change and growth, and with Spring just around the corner we find ourselves purging the past, and grasping to the things we know and love.

In that spirit, Staci Munic Interiors has a design tip to bring some new life into your home this Spring: Re-upholster those forever items, and add some “oomph” back into those pillows.

With so much extra time spent at home, our furniture has definitely been feeling the love. They say if you love something, don’t let it go, and why should you? For this design project Staci and her team incorporated a custom bathroom bench, custom pillows and had the client’s existing headboard reupholstered, all with Pindler and Kravet fabric, and Phillip Jeffries Wallcoverings. Now thats a wrap!

See more of this project here.

Lighten Up Your Bedding

It’s time for a bedding refresh! Welcome a new season with lighter bedding in a range of luxe fabrics and unique patterns from Room & Board

Shop new blankets and coverlets here.

Try a Floor to Ceiling Refresh

Our homes have been used more than ever this past year. The floors and rugs have been subject to more traffic, furniture has been put to the test and lights are getting a work out. So why not freshen up some of these most used items? Centaur Interiors has three easy changes that can give your home a refreshed look for the Spring:

  • Rethink your rugs – This is an easy way to refresh the home without replacing all of the furniture. Switching out the living room rug could have a huge impact!
  • Consider refinishing your wood floors – Wood flooring trends are a lot different than they were 10-15 years ago. A dramatic but not super invasive makeover could be refinishing your floors to a beautiful, modern light grey wood
  • New light fixtures – Furniture is changed out often enough, but have you thought to change your light fixtures? The fixtures overhead can sometimes be forgotten. Frequently viewed fixtures like the kitchen or dining room could be great places to refresh the home.

See more here.

Get Your Entry Way Ready for Spring

April showers bring May flowers, and rain jackets and umbrellas! offers ingenious solutions to keep your foyers organized (and dry!) this Spring.

Resembling cut branches, joined by a central axis, the Zweig Coat Rack by Brazilian designer Rejane Leite is the perfect addition to any foyer. This coatrack has organic lines, it comes in a variety of finishes and it is a perfect transition piece from outdoors to indoors. (top left photo)

As part of ARMAZEM’s new collection, they are introducing the Arvore Generosa Stand, by Pedro Useche this piece not only offers a welcoming composition but versatility, it can be used as a stand, coat rack and side table. (top right photo)

Lastly, meet the Dix Suit Rack by Latoog. This masculine suit rack blends the clean organic lines of Brazilian design with the nostalgia of a vintage piece once common in households. This suit rack is unique and functional, it has a hanging area plus designated spaces for shoes and accessories.

Learn more here.

Try a Home Technology & Entertainment Audit

Spring is the perfect time to start evaluating your home technology and automation systems so everything is updated, functioning, and ready for summer.  However, figuring out what is available in the market, what you really need, and what it should cost can be an intimidating and frustrating process. This year consider having an independent technology consultant perform a home technology and entertainment audit to help you make educated decisions and get what you want for a fair price.  Like a fiduciary, a true technology consultant acts as an independent advisor, only making recommendations based on your best interests.  A consultant will sit down with you to identify problem areas in your existing system and discuss new trends in home technology and entertainment that could be integrated into your current systems. He or she can then assist you in finding a qualified installation contractor or work with your existing contractor ensuring a properly designed, installed and functioning system.

Jason Lehnhardt Consulting provides technology design and consulting services to the luxury residential, hospitality and light commercial markets. Jason has 20 years of experience designing sophisticated automation and entertainment systems and works tirelessly to represent his clients’ interests as an independent and trusted advisor.

Learn more here.

Bring the Outdoors In

Looking for a simple way you can refresh your home design in one weekend? Sarah Jacquelyn Interiors has you covered.

Refresh your home this spring with a fresh coat of paint! Beautiful earthy tones like Aegean Teal 2136-40 bring the outdoors in. This intriguing mid tone creates a natural harmony within the space while bringing in a touch of color. Sarah suggests pairing it Potters Clay 1221 as a fun complimentary color. 

Plants are one of Sarah’s favorite ways to refresh the home for spring. Having plants indoors is great for your health by improving concentration and productivity. Plants bring a sense of calm and peace to the space, reducing stress and booting our mood. This spring, bring the outdoors in and create a garden oasis in your home.

See more here.

Try Some Beautiful New Bedding for Spring

Color, patterns and crisp white linens can bring new life to your home this Spring. Find these and more at The Luxury Bed Collection.

Vintage chic meets experimental colors; pop art gives the queen of flowers a whole new look. This opulent ROSEMARY bed linen by Christian Fischbacher is a reinterpretation of one of the world’s most traditional motifs. (top left photo)

A touch of Luxury: CLASSIC STREIFEN / CLASSIC KARO is a pure satin quality with its characteristic soft hand and brilliant shine woven from the finest cotton. The play of matte and glossy surfaces give the bed linen its special appeal. (top right photo)

NEWTOPIA stimulates dreaming: Is it the view through a kaleidoscope into the sky or through the geometric glass panes of a greenhouse in the botanical garden?

See more here.

Posted in ARMAZEM, centaur interiors, Chicago Luxury Beds, Jason Lehnhardt Consulting, Komandor Chicago, Room & Board, Sarah Jacquelyn Interiors, Staci Munic Interiors | Comments Off on Spring Home Refresh: 8 Fresh Ideas for Putting New Life in Your Home Design this Spring

How COVID-19 Will Impact Home Design Trends in 2021

2020 was a year of new experiences when it comes to our home. First time working from home. First time attending school from home. First time cooking 3 meals a day at home, 7 days a week. You get the picture. 

Although the end of the pandemic might be in sight, the impact it left on how we design our homes is one that won’t go away any time soon. So what exactly are these new home interior design trends to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic? We asked our RNDD Designers, Showrooms and Partners to weigh in.

Workspace All Around

Dedicated workspaces for everyone in the family have become a design must-have sprouting from the COVID Pandemic.  Whether it be a well-appointed office space for an executive working from home or a fun functional space for remote learning, well planned workspaces are essential.  Even as we move back to our new normal, these spaces allow for flexible work from home at any time, for any reason. 

Mia Rao Design has compiled the “Must-Haves” when designing a home office or remote learning space in your home.

For the home office, built-in filing, space for a printer, ample desk area, integrated data access and a door for privacy are all must-haves. The functional aspects are key, but a pleasing design aesthetic rounds out the perfect home office. This includes built-in shelving which makes for a great zoom backdrop. The remote learning space should include plenty of workspace, a charging station, storage for supplies and a corkboard to display work. There are two key differences: a location that is quiet, but where mom and dad can keep a watchful eye and an injection of fun!

See more here.

Modern, Adventurous Interior Design

Working from home and staring at incomplete house projects, or simply dreaming up a design refresh has become very common throughout COVID. What Encore Gallery has found is that people are becoming more adventurous in their home design.

There has been a trend of getting away from plain white subway and going for more bold colors and unique sizes and shapes. You no longer have to guess how something would look in your space as you will likely find a photo posted by someone who has ventured off the beaten path, which coaxes rehabbers into trying something fresh. Although there is still a place for farmhouse design and traditional subway tiles, many have chosen to go the opposite end of the spectrum and are opting for more modern designs.

Generally speaking, there has been a huge uptick into more modern aesthetics, a trend that really was validated over the past 10 years or so with the dominance of quartz countertops in kitchen construction versus more traditional granites. This is now carrying over to whole house design, and with the introduction of new gauged porcelains (porcelain slabs) into the tile industry, the combination of modern counters and modern tiles has solidified a foothold in kitchen and bath renovations.

See more here.

Entertaining Spaces in the Home

Spring is in the air! And in some ways 2021 feels like Spring – there is a renewed energy in the air, buds are coming out as we emerge from our social bubbles with enthusiasm and optimism about the future. As friends and family get their COVID vaccines, our sense of hospitality is starting to reawaken. We are eager to welcome people back in our homes or to join them for a night out to enjoy their company. At Armazem, they believe that in 2021 people and businesses will focus on reopening their doors and making their guests feel invited. Either in their homes, or at a restaurant, bar or café they believe this year people will reconnect and gather with those we have missed. So why not get your home entertaining-ready? is proud to unveil the Brick Sideboard Bar for all things entertainment; and the Ninho Armchair whose design was inspired by the sense of protection and embrace offered by a nest.

See more here.

Investing in your Happy Place

According to Ligne Roset: ‘staying home is the new going out to a fancy place’ and ‘a place to live becomes a place to love.’ For them, the idea of making home your ‘happy place’ is not a new one, and they pride themselves on helping customers create a home that’s equal parts livable and inspiring. Now, this idea is catching on in a real and tangible way. Chicagoans are taking investments they may have used for vacations or excursions outside the home, and instead investing right back into the interiors and exteriors that have had to work much harder for them over the past year. We’ve seen a lot of upgrades in these areas:

  • indoor and outdoor dining set ups for at-home cooking and eating with the family
  • multi-functional spaces such as living rooms becoming a place for work, play, and relaxation
  • bedroom upgrades to truly make this room a personal oasis – in some cases the only room in the house where the office doesn’t creep in with new work from home arrangements

To help make the design process as collaborative and enjoyable as possible, Ligne Roset created a new Design Center at their Chicago store and are in the midst of unveiling a stunning floor display with a new outdoor corner specifically designed for Chicago clientele inspiration.

See more here.

A Reliable Home Network

If it hasn’t become all too clear in these times, we are all very dependent on our data links to the world at large. From online shopping to Zoom video conferences, our home networks have become vital links to staying connected with everything important in our lives. While the effects of the pandemic and Zoom calls will subside over time, there’s no question that reliable connectivity is and will continue to be a necessity.

With all the strain current home networks are under, it might be a good time to review your system. Is it keeping up with all the high-resolution video streaming for video conferences and entertainment? Are your security cameras delivering you a quality feed when you want to see something? If not, you might be in need of some upgrades. Barrett’s Technology Solutions can help provide a professional home network installation to keep your home connected in the fast lane.

See more here.

Home as Sanctuary

The pandemic has given a new meaning to the phrase, “home as sanctuary.” Yamini Designs has found in the last year that clients have been craving comfort, stability, and functionality within their living spaces. They seek warmth and solace but also a feeling of productivity and organization. A healthy environment with a focus on nature, greenery, and multiple light sources is also a much sought after design requirement.

Here’s how Yamini Designs provided a Logan Square client with some of these nurturing attributes within their home.

  • Warmth and Texture: Yamini and her team imbued this living and dining space with velvets, patterns, warm metals, and rough hewn wood textures, providing a feeling of comfort, safety, and stability.
  • Nature Inspired: Golds, greens, and browns, the colors found in nature, as wells as live plants and branches bring the outdoors into an enclosed city row house with limited windows.
  • Multi-functional: The living room, with an easy-to-move cocktail table, does double duty as an area for yoga in front of the fireplace, and the dining room serves as a stylish and clean-lined WFH space. 
  • Dedicated Lighting: A combination of ambient and task lighting contribute to the functionality and overall feeling of this home. Here, a mixture of recessed lighting, lamps, and decorative light fixtures support all the tasks to be accomplished in this COVID era interior. 

“Our living spaces sustain us. Whether they are used for work, play, or rest, they need to be functional, beautiful, and nurturing environments.”

Yamini Hingorani

See more here.

Functional Storage

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the home has become more important then ever. Many people begun working from home and have had to adapt existing space into a makeshift office or build out a new home office. According to Komandor Chicago, future home designs will likely move away from the open floor plan trend. Instead, designs will create pockets of privacy for working, studying and zoom meetings.

And one of the most important design features in these spaces? Storage. Functional storage. In a world where two week quarantines are recommended after potential exposure to a virus, having ample storage spaces for groceries and household goods – in addition to office supplies – is essential.

See more here.

Clean, Durable Surfaces

Cambria Quartz Surfaces is the highest quality Quartz in the market. Family-owned and American-made in Lesuir Minnesota. Cambria is the only vertically integrated quartz company and control the process from the excavation of Quartz in their own mine in North America to installation. 

Being vertically integrated, they have complete control of the manufacturing process thus ensuring quality control and bringing the best new designs to life. Cambria Quartz being completely non-porous, Cambria cannot harbor any bacteria which makes it easier to eliminate germs from the surface which is of the utmost importance during an international pandemic. Rest easy knowing you can spill a glass of wine on the surface and it will wipe clean as the day it was installed. And after the year we just had, who hasn’t suffered a few wine spills?

In addition, Cambria develops new innovations all the time and regularly launch new designs. In 2020, they launched 34 new designs, 6MM material thickness, and true book-matching ability. So you can protect your home from common germs and bacteria and reduce maintenance without the sacrifice of quality design and application restrictions.

See more here.

Left Image: Cambria Material Designer: Design Tuttoilmondo, Photographer: Ryan McDonald, Design: Skara Brae, Polished, Application: Book-Match.
Right Image: Designer: Margaret Naeve Parker, Photographer: Aaron Dougherty, Application: Vanity with Integrated Sink, Rose Bay, Matte

Outdoor Space Enhancement

Millie Rosenbloom, a top realtor with Baird & Warner has noticed a big trend already this year towards outdoor living space enhancement. People who have realized they are going to be home a lot more at least in the near future have looked for ways to enhance their outdoor space.

One of Millie’s favorite examples of this trend is from Centaur Interiors, a fellow RNDD Member. Centaur has been working on outdoor kitchens, media setups with TVs and lounge areas, and play spaces for kids to keep them entertained while at home. One amazing project Centaur recently finished involves a built-in play set and play house plus seating for adults. 

See more here.

Posted in ARMAZEM, Barrett's Technology Solutions, Cambria, centaur interiors, Encore Gallery, Komandor Chicago, Ligne Roset, Mia Rao Design, millie rosenbloom, Yamini Designs | Comments Off on How COVID-19 Will Impact Home Design Trends in 2021

Real Estate Experts Predict What the 2021 Chicago Housing Market Will Bring

It has been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world and turned everything upside down. This time last year, the real estate market was put on hold due to stay at home orders but luckily, that was short lived. Although the pandemic has affected many industries, there is one thing for certain: the residential real estate market has been resilient and 2020 ended up being a record breaking year for many real estate agents.

But how are things looking for 2021?

As we enter the Spring Real Estate Market, we enlisted two experts — Millie Rosenbloom, a top realtor with Baird & Warner and top producing broker, Janet Owen of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago — to share their thoughts and predictions on what’s to come with the Chicago Real Estate Market this year.

A 2021 Real Estate Forecast from Millie Rosenbloom

A look back
As you may have heard, 2020 was a record-breaking year for the real estate industry. Baird & Warner, as well as my Lincoln Park office, broke several sales records, which was unfathomable in April of last year when the market came to a halt and sales activity dropped 50% below 2019’s YTD numbers. However, by May, the market had quickly reactivated and continued to build momentum due to low interest rates, remote working, and social unrest. The market not only exceeded our expectations, but it remained strong for the duration of 2020.

A look ahead
Heading into 2021, the market should be more predictable because we better understand the dynamics of COVID and how they impact our local real estate market. Like any marketplace, Chicago’s housing market is driven by two primary forces — supply and demand. Let’s take a look at where we expect those factors to be as we head into 2021:


  • Despite lenders imposing initial loan limitations on some loan products due to the fear of the pandemic (unemployment, forbearances and loan default) access to money is now more readily available.
  • Conventional loan limits increased at the end of 2020 to $548,250, which increases the purchasing power of borrowers for a conventional loan. Interest rates remain at record lows with a 30 year fixed rate loan below 3%.
  • Consumer confidence is increasing thanks to distribution of the vaccine, the presidential election behind us, and optimism in the general economy.
  • People spent more time in 2020 evaluating their home than ever before, placing a greater importance on the functionality and location of their home, as well as home-ownership in general.


  • Chicago will be the tale of two geographic markets where supply will be impacted differently: downtown Chicago vs. the periphery neighborhoods and beyond.
  • I expect to continue to see low supply (2-3 months of inventory) in the surrounding Chicago neighborhoods outside of the downtown area, including single family homes, as individuals and families continue to seek more space (including outdoor space) at an affordable price. The low supply coupled with a very high level of demand from buyers results in a situation where we expect prices to appreciate, and for homes to spend less time on the market.
  • The challenged markets experiencing high supply (10+ months of inventory) include high rise living and luxury buildings in the Gold Coast, River North, the Loop and the South Loop. This high supply/low demand condition generally means lower sales prices and more time on the market. I expect that to continue into 2021, though as consumer confidence rises and more people begin to go back to work every day in these areas, I believe we could start to see improvement and more activity as a whole.

In summary
Overall, I’m extremely optimistic about Chicagoland real estate, and I think 2021 will bring a very productive and healthy real estate market. The turbulence of 2020 is a reminder that, now more than ever, we all need to have a savvy real estate broker on our side to help develop an agile and realistic real estate strategy. As always, I am here to support your real estate goals and am happy to discuss your specific strategy. I encourage you to reach out to me with your questions and share with your friends and co-workers who may be interested in this information as well. I truly look forward to connecting with you!

Learn more about or connect with Millie Rosenbloom here.

A New Line of Luxury at 60 E. Randolph!

Developed by Moceri+Roszak, designed by Thomas Roszak Architecture, and located on Randolph Street and Wabash Avenue, the well-appointed private condominium residences offer a bespoke experience that’s unique to The Loop. The duplex penthouse occupies floors 25 and 26 of the building offering spectacular, panoramic city views. This unit includes 4 bedrooms, 4 full and 1 half bathroom and 3,555 total square feet with a 1,000 square foot top floor terrace along with a 234 square foot terrace on the main level. Delivery is late summer 2021. This spectacular unit features designer finishes, top-end appliance brands of Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove and spa-like bathrooms. Outfitted with Snaidero cabinetry, quartz countertops and Grohe fixtures.

The building offers three separate floors of amenities plus indoor parking and storage. Amenities include an indoor pool, sundeck, fitness center, common landscaped terrace with dining area, grills and fire pits, spacious dog run and more. With the city’s incredible theaters, restaurants, shopping and recreation in your backyard, Parkline is Chicago living at its finest! Contact Millie Rosenbloom to learn more.

Chicago Spring Real Estate Predictions from Janet Owen

Chicago’s Spring Market. Those three words make a real estate broker’s heart beat faster. Especially this brand new year!

After an unprecedented year dealing with the COVID-19 virus, mandatory shut downs, quarantines, social distancing, masks, dining in tents, zooming everything from visiting a museum to family and friends and watching every series imaginable on TV… a new and very welcome attitude seems to be emerging.

There now appears to be a very welcome optimistic light at the end of the tunnel! The vaccines are rolling out and becoming more and more accessible, the snow from our latest Arctic Blast in Chicago is melting, we are soon going back on Daylight Savings Time (March 14th) and Spring is just a few weeks away followed by Chicago’s glorious summer! 

Along with all of that, there’s more good news: the real estate market has most definitely picked up. Smart Sellers are pricing their properties correctly, Buyers are coming out of deep hibernation and they are not only seriously looking at properties, they are making offers and purchasing! It feels like the “good old days” prior to 2020 and the optimistic attitude is contagious (with no vaccine needed!)

In my segment of the upper end luxury market in Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast and the Michigan Avenue neighborhoods, we are seeing record breaking sales and inventory shrinking as Buyers take advantage of well priced properties and low interest rates. 

Chicago is still and always will be a wonderful place to live, work and play! 

A One-of-a-Kind Lake Shore Penthouse

One of my favorite listings in which to live, work and play is showcased below. A marvelous, one of a kind penthouse at 199 East Lake Shore Drive featuring a 1,000 square foot private Terrace overlooking Lake Michigan and the city skyline and is the is the very best place to spend the upcoming Spring, Summer and Fall (and Winter!) It’s time to live life to the fullest!  

Please enjoy this link to the drone video sweeping over Lake Michigan onto the Terrace and you can view more photos of the residence here.

Please contact Janet Owen if you have friends, family or clients who might be interested! 

Posted in janet owen, millie rosenbloom, real estate, realtors | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Real Estate Experts Predict What the 2021 Chicago Housing Market Will Bring

RNDD Welcomes Relic Design

The River North Design District (RNDD) is excited to welcome Chicago interior design firm, Relic Design to our organization.

Relic Design is a boutique firm that specializes in residential interior design, serving both the Chicagoland area and beyond. Formed in 2014, they create cohesive and thoughtfully designed spaces filled with personality.

Sophisticated and Inspired Interior Design

Terese Poulos is the Founder and Principal Designer at Relic Design.  With over a decade of experience and a background in fine art and interiors, Terese’s artful eye and distinct point of view go hand-in-hand with her attention to detail, expert coordination, and project management skills.  She founded Relic Design with the mission to bring sophistication and cohesion to her clients’ homes, and has been serving clients since 2014. 

Terese’s experience spans commercial photography styling, furniture showrooms, and luxury interior design firms.  Layered designs with personality are Terese’s specialty.  She combines her love for textiles, patterns, and textures with beautiful furnishings and finishes to create homes that are artful, functional, and unique.

I’m fascinated by the juxtaposition of objects old and new. I love how all objects, even newly created ones, have a history and meaning. I’m passionate about layering these into my clients’ homes so that each design tells a story.”

— Terese Poulos, Principal Designer

Interior Design Services Offered

At Relic Design, each design is based on tapping into each client’s personality and providing a sophisticated vision for your home.  They provide a strong point of view on what will make your home look the most luxurious and cohesive. Services provided include:

  • Full Service Design
  • Object Curation
  • Design Consulting
  • Remote Design

Get Expert Design Help, Near or Far

With everyone living and working differently this year, perhaps their most unique service is their Remote Design option. Whether you live near or far, you can work with a talented and experienced interior designer virtually. Just provide them with your space measurements and Relic Design will provide you with their artful eye and sophisticated taste through a scaled space plan, style boards and links to recommended furnishings and finishes. Get started here.

Welcome to RNDD

Please help us welcome Relic Design to our River North, Chicago design community. You can visit their website here to learn more about their work and services provided.

Posted in chicago interior design, chicago interior designers, Relic Design, RNDD Members | Tagged , | Comments Off on RNDD Welcomes Relic Design

RNDD Welcomes Alissa Johnson Interiors

The River North Design District (RNDD) is proud to welcome interior designer firm Alissa Johnson Interiors as a new member of our design community. We pride ourselves on connecting you with the best and most talented Chicago interiors designers and Alissa fits that profile. Her work features a range of luxury residential and commercial interiors and we are excited to introduce her firm to you.

Interior Design that Enhances Peoples Lives

Alissa Johnson Interiors (AJI) is a full-service interior design firm based in Chicago, IL with a concentration in residential & boutique commercial design. Led by principal Alissa Johnson, her firm believes that interior design truly enhances our lives and our homes. She is committed to creating sophisticated spaces that are reflective of each client’s style and identity. When you work with Alissa, you know you are going to end up with a design that is uniquely yours.

“I create timeless, beautiful and functional interiors inspired by each client’s unique personality and lifestyle.”

Alissa Johnson

Every project and every client is unique.  With engagement in every detail from conception to completion, AJI takes a unique approach to each client and space. From new builds to a simple quick makeover, AJI is dedicated to designing elevated yet approachable interiors that will expertly reflect your personal taste and style.

Meet Alissa Johnson

Alissa Johnson is the Founder and Principal Designer of Alissa Johnson Interiors. Alissa is a firm believer that interior design enhances peoples lives and there is a big difference between a house and a home. Her most important objective is to create spaces that are elevated, yet warm and functional. No matter the style, she creates the unexpected while maintaining a sense of timelessness. 

Prior to launching her firm, Alissa worked for award-winning design firms based in San Diego/Los Angeles and Chicago. Her previous experience at those firms allowed her to develop and incorporate a range of styles from a laid back California aesthetic to contemporary design. Most recently, Alissa was the Chief Operating Officer and Lead Designer at RDID where she led all operations and design projects while playing an integral role in the rapid growth and success of the business. 

Welcome to RNDD

Please help us welcome Alissa Johnson Interiors to our River North, Chicago design community. You can visit her website here to learn more about her work and services provided. Or contact her directly to schedule a consultation.

Posted in chicago interior design, chicago interior designers, interior designers, RNDD Members | Comments Off on RNDD Welcomes Alissa Johnson Interiors