Incorporating Antiques Into Your Modern Home

One word we hear a lot in design is: balance. Whether it’s in reference to color, texture, or style, designers are always aiming to achieve harmony and balance in their designs. Achieving perfect balance in a space is aesthetically pleasing but also creates a sense of calm. Couldn’t we all use more balance and calmness in our lives?

But what if you have several antiques or family heirlooms? Is it possible to seamlessly incorporate them into your modern home decor? We asked Robin Thomas of Robin Thomas Design to weigh in and share with us her thoughts on mixing antiques into modern interior design. She also shares some examples of rare finds from The Golden Triangle here in Chicago and how she integrated them into her more contemporary design projects.

The Golden Triangle has been a great source for my interior design projects for many years.  In design, the great value of antiques and vintage pieces is the surprise – each of these pieces were unexpected finds.

As a designer I may have a vague “idea” of what I’m looking for whether it’s a small lamp or an interesting table. But it is the excitement of “the find” – something that I have never seen before or even imagined that makes my job so fulfilling and ultimately makes each design project stand out.

It is a thrill to discover these one-of-a-kind pieces that have a history in our long human story of design. To then bring these pieces to a project is what creates something truly special. The Golden Triangle has consistently brought great antique and vintage furnishings to Chicago.  Truly a valuable resource.   AND – they have a wonderful staff!

In this design project, Robin Thomas Design selected this clear crystal lamp from The Golden Triangle. The elegant organic shape, with a subtle, modern nod, uplifts and refreshes the classic furnishings. The petite shade just happen to be in the right shade of red (the thrill of the hunt!) and nicely complimented the upholstery and overall composition. This space truly represents how small details can visually connect various design elements.


Golden Triangle French crystal lamp ca. 1950 with newer red silk shade.

In this North Shore home, designed by Robin Thomas, one-of-a-kind accessories are impactful in connecting an eclectic mix of furnishings.  A small yet elegant table from The Golden Triangle, bridges the modern and classic furnishings through its rich color and ornate table legs.


Golden Triangle French Walnut Jewelry Box Table ca. 1900

One-of-a-kind antique and vintage pieces are simply gems – in this North Shore home designed by Robin, a table was needed to fit in the space between the sofa sectional and arm chair. These very particular design elements often require the most patience – to find and discover just the right piece – and The Golden Triangle is always a reliable and valuable resource.  This black lacquered art deco table seems to float in the space and the top’s beautiful rich patina is the highlight. It couldn’t be more perfect, bringing just the right character and charm to this modern space.


Golden Triangle Square Art Deco Table in black lacquer

I often like to compare small furnishings to jewelry – a space (or an outfit) is fine without them, but can truly sparkle with the right piece. These small scholar bookcases from The Golden Triangle in our North Shore home are a favorite of mine – the beautiful patina, their history and rarity make them a very special and unique focal point for those areas that become illuminated with that one final touch. 


Golden Triangle Antique Chinese Scholar Chest

I am especially intrigued by pieces of the British Colonial period – they have an interesting blend of formality and relaxed styling. Here in a Michigan vacation home, this valet table from The Golden Triangle, with its own strong architecture, sits perfectly in the corner and holds the client’s family collection of vintage embroideries to create a unique artistic expression.


Golden Triangle British Colonial Valet Table ca. 1900

Robin Thomas’ Top 5 Picks from The Golden Triangle:


Pair of French Wooden Corner Chairs

This pair of wooden corner chairs is from France and was made circa 1900. Strong and sturdy, the chairs feature comfortable rush seats and are suitable for everyday use.




Vintage Brass Mantel Clock

This elegant brass mantel clock features a filigree design and an original movement. The piece dates to the late 19th Century.


Hungarian Art Deco Solid Walnut Chair

During the 1930s, Budapest, Hungary supported a thriving furniture manufacturing industry. Many makers were modernist and they enthusiastically created their own interpretations of the world’s first truly global furniture style – Art Deco. The distinguishing feature of Hungarian Deco is its simplicity and this chair is a good example. There is no extraneous decoration of any kind, just smooth curvaceous lines. Solid walnut was used and it has been lightly refinished. The original staffing has been totally replaced. The new fabric is a synthetic polyester, in keeping with 1930’s modernist principles. Origin: Budapest, c. 1935.

Sunburst Teak Wood Mirror

Natural strips of reclaimed Teak radiate from a circular mirror plate. The raw, untreated wood almost has a driftwood-like quality to it; quite different than the Baroque gilt Italian mirrors that it is inspired by.


18e03004_1Mid-Century Modern Italian Sideboard with Glass Top

This striking Italian sideboard features mahogany veneers applied vertically to notched-front drawers. The top is back-painted blue glass for practical use as a bar or serving surface. The drawers feature hardwood frames and dove-tailed joints. The legs appear saboted but are actually black-lacquered. The veneer surfaces are in very good condition with normal wear visible on the corners of some drawers. The piece has ten drawers for storage.

For more inspiration on mixing old and new in your own designs, check out Robin’s portfolio here. And visit The Golden Triangle at 330 N Clark in the River North Design District to browse their impressive and unique collection.

About Robin Thomas Design: Robin Thomas Design is a Chicago-based, boutique interior design firm with an in-studio gallery featuring a rare and exclusive collection of furnishings and textiles by local and international artisans. With a design philosophy based on individuality, we believe our role is to capture the essence of your vision and elevate it with our unrivaled sourcing and design expertise. This distinct philosophy begins with understanding the value of key elements from the past and integrating those important components into a new sensibility to create grounded, yet modern, individualized interiors. We welcome the opportunity to work on a broad range of projects, from complete homes to room-specific engagements.

About The Golden Triangle: Originally a store for imported collectibles from Thailand, The Golden Triangle has since grown to an 18,000 square foot design destination. For more than 27 years, owners Douglas Van Tress and Chauwarin Tuntisak have hand selected vintage and modern furnishings from around the world. Assembled in curated vignettes, the store boasts an eclectic mix of Asian and European antiques, artifacts, lighting, and other accessories. From designers and trade professionals, to collectors and simply curious shoppers, The Golden Triangle welcomes all individuals with an interest in design and appreciation for beauty. Cultural events are regularly hosted by the store highlighting: global and local design, inspiring artisans, Eastern and Western art, philosophy, history, tradition, and new collections.

Posted in antiques, chicago interior design, chicago interior designers, Chicago Showroom, golden triangle, Robin Thomas Design | Leave a comment

5th Annual RNDD Gallery Walk Preview – Part 4

Now in its 5th year, the River North Design District (RNDD) Fall Gallery Walk will return on Friday, September 6th & Saturday, September 7th 2019.  The RNDD Fall Gallery Walk is free and open to the public with the exception of two special events (more information here).

The walk will feature showrooms exhibiting designer vignettes from Chicago’s top designers as they showcase living settings highlighting artwork created by some of the brightest stars in the art world today. Showrooms will have extended hours during the event on September 6th until 9pm.  The vignettes will be exhibited until October 7th.

We have some really amazing collaborations in the works for this year and wanted to share a sneak peek with you.

Wike LaFrey featuring Linc Thelen on exhibit at Orizzonti

329 W Grand Ave. Chicago, IL 60654

A fanciful evening inspired by the imagination of artist Linc Thelen, whose large-scale oil on canvas abstract creations will be on display. Romantic music and a signature cocktail “Italian Nights” will help create the mood. An original piece of artwork, created just for this event, will be raffled for charity. Prepare to be amused.


Design by Wike LaFrey, Photography by Mike Kaskel

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Artwork by Linc Thelen

Hailey Lauren Designs featuring Jamie Tubbs with Daniel Kinkade Fine Art on exhibit at TOTO

500 North Wells St. Chicago, IL 60654

Get away and join us for a luau complete with a signature cocktail and small bites. Peruse exotic textures from artist Jamie Tubbs.


Design by Hailey Lauren Designs


Artwork by Jamie Tubbs via Daniel Kinkade Fine Art

Robin Thomas Design featuring Randy O’Brien of Vale Craft Gallery on exhibit at Lightology

215 W Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60654

“The Four Elements – Nature’s Connection to Art” – join us to explore the inspiration behind the forces of nature – earth, water, air, and fire – and how they influence works of art and light design. Stop by for a chance to win a special gift, and enjoy a carefully crafted selection of cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres.  

RTD1-Photo Credit-Carolina Mariana Rodriguez

Design by Robin Thomas Design, Photography by Carolina Mariana Rodriguez

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Artwork by Randy O’Brien of Vale Craft Gallery

Brianne Bishop Design featuring Philippe Vignal with Daniel Kinkade Fine Art on exhibit at Ligne Roset

440 N Wells St. #100S Chicago, IL 60654

Experience the sensual, moody art by Philippe Vignal hanging from the ceiling with thick black rope evoking drama over the iconic Togo seating arrangement. Join us for a night of undeniable sexy French style with French rap beats- enjoy spicy French martinis, nibbles of sweet macaroons, and create your own lavender sachets as a memento.


Design by Brianne Bishop Design, Photography by Anthony Tahlier


Artwork by Philippe Vignal via Daniel Kinkade Fine Art

Stay tuned for our next Gallery Walk preview!

Posted in art, chicago interior design, chicago interior designers, Chicago Showroom, daniel kinkade, gallery walk, lightology, Ligne Roset, ORIZZONTI, Robin Thomas Design, TOTO, Wike LaFrey | Leave a comment

5th Annual RNDD Gallery Walk Preview – Part 3

Now in its 5th year, the River North Design District (RNDD) Fall Gallery Walk will return on Friday, September 6th & Saturday, September 7th 2019.  The RNDD Fall Gallery Walk is free and open to the public with the exception of two special events (more information here).

The walk will feature showrooms exhibiting designer vignettes from Chicago’s top designers as they showcase living settings highlighting artwork created by some of the brightest stars in the art world today. Showrooms will have extended hours during the event on September 6th until 9pm.  The vignettes will be exhibited until October 7th.

We have some really amazing collaborations in the works for this year and wanted to share a sneak peek with you.

Room & Board featuring Steven Ciezki and Kazuki Takizawa of Echt Gallery on exhibit at Materials Marketing

212 W Kinzie Chicago, IL 60654

Join us for a vignette featuring the works of U.S.-based glass artists Kazuki Takizawa and Steven Ciezki. Light bites and drinks will be served.


Design by Room & Board


Artwork by Steven Ciezki (left) and Kazuki Takizawa (right) of Echt Gallery

Vincere featuring Vladimir Bachorik of Echt Gallery on exhibit at O’Brien Harris

501 North Wells St. Chicago, IL 60654

This installation highlights a glass-scape, integrating shape, scale, and color.  Some transparent, some translucent, and some in combination, the elemental nature of his work is both visual and tactile. Stunning as individual works, the grouping creates a dialogue and references a cityscape, or perhaps even an other-wordly terrain.  The sublime and stunning surroundings of O’Brien Harris further elevate this work.  Please join us for light bites and libations.


Design by Vincere, Photography by Nathan Kirkman


Artwork by Vladimir Bachorik of Echt Gallery

Sarah Dippold Design featuring Robin Denevan of Addington Gallery on Exhibit at Organic Looms

401 N Wells St. Chicago, IL 60654

Follow your senses on a journey through nature.  Robin’s works elicit a sense of calm while reminiscent of natural horizons.  Engage with various earthly scents and indulge in mini cocktails and candies while relaxing to the music of Pink Floyd.


Design by Sarah Dippold Design, Photography by Christopher Bradley Photography

Denevan 18x32 Afterglow

Artwork by Robin Denevan of Addington Gallery

Sarah Jacquelyn Interiors featuring Cat Tesla of Chicago Art Source on exhibit at Artists Frame Service

433 N Wells St. Chicago, IL 60654

Life can be captured in a moment creating a timeless reflection: through color, through art, through us. Capture a moment with us with color-changing cocktails, light bites, and a night that will reveal your true colors.

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Artwork by Cat Tesla of Chicago Art Source

Stay tuned for our next Gallery Walk preview!

Posted in art, Artists Frame Service, chicago interior design, chicago interior designers, Chicago Showroom, gallery walk, Materials Marketing, O'Brien Harris, Organic Looms, Room & Board, Sarah Dippold Design, Sarah Jacquelyn Interiors, Vincere | Leave a comment

Discover Your Element at The Godfrey Hotel in River North

The River North Design District (RNDD) is to partner with The Godfrey Hotel in Chicago for the 2019 RNDD Fall Gallery Walk.


The Godfrey Hotel Chicago is an energetic boutique property in the heart of River North. The Godfrey’s striking cubist exterior houses a welcoming lobby, 221 spacious guestrooms, a boutique spa, fitness center, ground floor daily brunch restaurant BrunchRoom, and year-round rooftop lounge I|O Godfrey.

“Godfrey,” meaning “peace” and “welcome” in its Irish origins, characterizes the property’s hospitality spirit, and prefaces its motto, “Discover Your Element,” which speaks to The Godfrey’s individually tailored approach to guest service and hospitality.

Click here for special rates for the 5th Annual Fall RNDD Gallery Walk


Chicago-based architecture firm Valerio Dewalt Train designed The Godfrey Hotel Chicago’s staggered steel truss structure—the first of its kind in Chicago—and its cubist-influenced façade, with taut cubist forms that jut inward and outward to reveal the sleek geometric steel beneath the surface. Inside, Gettys Design Group Chicago takes credit for an aesthetic influenced by River North’s abundance of art galleries, starting with a minimalist, oval lobby that greets guests with chic white marble, a recessed ceiling, and spherical light fixtures to make an impactful and uplifting first impression. Structural seating areas and intimate alcoves encourage guests to linger, while floor-to-ceiling windows let in natural light and views of River North. Striking light and design features adorn the hotel’s public spaces, as do austere stone thresholds, textured walls, and custom woodwork. Guestrooms feature a comforting minimalist aesthetic with rich, elegant materials, plush modern furnishings, purple and gray tones, and engaging geometric elements. Custom lamps, a mirrored closet door, and large windows ensure a light-filled space.

Luxurious One Bedroom Suite At The Godfrey Hotel Chicago.jpg

When you stay at The Godfrey, you are just a short walk from some of Chicago’s major attractions, including the Magnificent Mile, Museum of Contemporary Art, the Riverwalk, and more.

At I|O Godfrey, guests can enjoy an assortment of Kitchen Cocktails – made entirely in the kitchen by mixology-trained chefs, globally-inspired shareable plates and sushi, and CBD-infused beverages.


The Godfrey also hosts interactive annual events at the hotel’s indoor|outdoor rooftop, such as the upcoming Haunted Hotel – an event that combines a costume party and haunted house with themed frights in transformed hotel guestrooms.

Visit for more information.

Click here for special rates for the 5th Annual Fall RNDD Gallery Walk


Posted in Chicago Hotel, gallery walk, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5th Annual RNDD Gallery Walk Preview – Part 2

Now in its 5th year, the River North Design District (RNDD) Fall Gallery Walk will return on Friday, September 6th & Saturday, September 7th 2019.  The RNDD Fall Gallery Walk is free and open to the public with the exception of two special events (more information here).

The walk will feature showrooms exhibiting designer vignettes from Chicago’s top designers as they showcase living settings highlighting artwork created by some of the brightest stars in the art world today. Showrooms will have extended hours during the event on September 6th until 9pm.  The vignettes will be exhibited until October 7th.

We have some really amazing collaborations in the works for this year and wanted to share a sneak peek with you.

Kadlec Architecture + Design featuring Glenn Wexler of Zolla Lieberman Gallery on exhibit at Oscar Isberian Rugs

120 W Kinzie Chicago, IL 60654

A romp through London’s Carnaby Street during its swinging ‘60s heyday.  Music, fashion, art, and cocktails collide to create a feast for the senses. One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small. Join us for a colorful, trippy scene featuring Chicago artist Glenn Wexler and Zolla Lieberman Gallery.


Design by Kadlec Architecture + Design, Photography by Mike Schwartz, Artwork by Melody Saraniti

G.Wexler-H Gallery Installation 09 032 (1)

Artwork by Glenn Wexler

JamesThomas Interiors featuring Ramona Russu with Daniel Kinkade Fine Art on Exhibit at Oscar Isberian Rugs

120 W Kinzie Chicago, IL 60654

A romp through London’s Carnaby Street during its swinging ‘60s heyday.  Music, fashion, art, and cocktails collide to create a feast for the senses. Pull-on your go-go boots, pull back the palms and discover who the woman in black is by artist Ramona Russu.

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Design by JamesThomas Interiors

Fragile .jpg

Artwork by Ramona Russu via Daniel Kinkade Fine Art

Jessica Lagrange Interiors featuring Janet McGreal of Gruen Galleries on Exhibit at Oscar Isberian Rugs

120 W Kinzie Chicago, IL 60654

A mod Maison inspired by the visionary style of the West End girls showcasing a piece by artist Janet McGreal.  Can ya dig it?


Design by Jessica Lagrange Interiors, Photo courtesy of Jessica Lagrange Interiors

Coco Chanel

Artwork by Janet McGreal of Gruen Galleries

dSPACE Studio featuring TJ O’Keefe at Molteni&C 

311 W Superior St. Chicago, IL 60654

Join Molteni&C and dSPACE Studio for an evening that embraces cutting edge craft and well-executed minimalism. The contemporary Italian design and detailed artistry of Molteni&C furniture sets the stage for the powerful work of TJ O’Keefe, a Chicago-based artist and industrial designer. Savor fine Italian wines and bites from acclaimed local restaurant Tocco as you enjoy and reflect on O’Keefe’s form-driven works that are at once streamlined and complex.


Design by dSPACE Studio, Photography by Tony Soluri


Artwork by TJ O’Keefe

Stay tuned for our next Gallery Walk preview!

Posted in art, chicago interior design, chicago interior designers, Chicago Showroom, daniel kinkade, gallery walk, Kadlec Architecture + Design, Molteni&C, oscar isberian | Leave a comment

5th Annual RNDD Gallery Walk Preview – Part 1

Now in its 5th year, the River North Design District (RNDD) Fall Gallery Walk will return on Friday, September 6th & Saturday, September 7th 2019.  The RNDD Fall Gallery Walk is free and open to the public with the exception of two special events (more information here).

The walk will feature showrooms exhibiting designer vignettes from Chicago’s top designers as they showcase living settings highlighting artwork created by some of the brightest stars in the art world today. Showrooms will have extended hours during the event on September 6th until 9pm.  The vignettes will be exhibited until October 7th.

We have some really amazing collaborations in the works for this year and wanted to share a sneak peek with you.

Amy Kartheiser Design featuring Sarah Raskey on Exhibit at Chicago Luxury Beds

440 North Wells St. #100N Chicago, IL 60654

The night kicks off with the Official RNDD Gallery Walk VIP Kickoff Party at Chicago Luxury Beds. Vibrant colors, bespoke beds, natural stones. These are just three of the things to expect when joining us for the exclusive River North Design District Gallery Walk. Amy Kartheiser Design and Sarah Raskey Fine Art collaborate to create a truly revolutionary party inside Chicago Luxury Beds. Works of art and curated vignettes work together to tell a story and create the mood for the rest of the night. A portion of the proceeds will change the lives of children in a developing country via buildOn. Tickets are $35/each, and space is limited, so get yours now!

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Design by Amy Kartheiser Design, Photography by Werner Staub

Stardust Effect - Illuminated mineral wall installation at Loews Miami Beach Hotel - 11ft x 36ft.jpg

Artwork by Sarah Raskey

PROjECT.interiors featuring Amanda Morrison on Exhibit at Transceramica with a special installation from Theodore Alexander

314 West Superior St. #100 Chicago, IL 60654

MATTER: [noun] physical substance: earth, fire, crystal, water; distinct from mind and spirit. [verb] be of importance; have significance.
PROjECT. interiors, Transceramica, and Theodore Alexander present the official Gallery Walk VIP After Party, an after-party that matters. Celebrate community, creativity and our collective power to inspire change all while getting our groove on. Vibe high with spinning beats, tribal rhythms, and singing bowls; ground yourself in sculptural installations by Amanda Morrison and Sarah Raskey; get mystified, shake it down and make design matter.  A portion of the proceeds will change the lives of children in a developing country via buildOn. Tickets are $35/each, and space is limited, so get yours now!

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Design by PROjECT .interiors, Photography by Gianni Franchellucci


Artwork by Amanda Morrison

Yamini Designs featuring Julian Wasser and David Gamble of Hilton | Asmus Contemporary Gallery on exhibit at Casa Spazio

222 West Hubbard St. Chicago, IL 60654

Wig Out!  Swing through Casa Spazio and wig out in the wild and carefree glam of ‘60s Hollywood. Inspired by the photography of Julian Wasser and David Gamble at Hilton | Asmus Contemporary, Yamini Designs has envisioned a hip and swanky lounge where Wasser would have entertained the celebrities he photographed in the City of Angels—and collected works like Gamble’s bold and vibrant silkscreen prints. Look for a young Jack Nicholson, Anjelica Huston, Dennis Hopper and Andy Warhol among the Wasser prints as you vibe with the sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Then grab a dirty martini and a retro appetizer, sink into an Italian sofa and take in Gamble’s limited edition “Wig” series featuring Warhol’s own iconic silver-white hairpiece and glasses.  Julian Wasser will be on-site at Casa Spazio to greet visitors to the vignette from 5-6:30 pm on the 6th!

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Design by Yamini Designs, Photography by Spectrum Studio, Inc.




Left: artwork by David Gamble. Right: artwork by Julian Wasser

Steve + Filip Design featuring Christophe Gausparro on exhibit at Studio41 

225 West Hubbard St. Chicago, IL 60654

Christophe Gausparro’s triptych represents three major bodily systems: skeletal and organ (left), the circulatory and glandular (right), and the sexual and reproductive (middle). Each piece has the ability to compositionally stand on its own but stands truest when combined. The campy fun vignette created by Steve + Filip Design will be a cool space to enjoy a signature cocktail and dessert inspired by Christophe’s installation.

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Design by steve+filip Design

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Artwork by Christophe Gausparro

Stay tuned for our next Gallery Walk preview!

Posted in art, casa spazio, chicago interior design, chicago interior designers, Chicago Luxury Beds, Chicago Showroom, gallery walk, PROjECT., steve + filip design, studio 41, Transceramica | Leave a comment

5 Tips for Selecting the Right Art for Your Home

When it comes to select art for your home, it can be a difficult process. There are so many styles, sizes, colors, and price points. And art galleries can be intimidating for some. Art can be an investment piece as well so that can add to the pressure of making sure you make the best and most educated choice. That’s why we have called in the professionals to help. We talked with Chicago interior designer, Lauren Svenstrup of Studio Sven to get her top 5 tips for selecting the right artwork for your home.

1. Size Matters

Scale is everything when selecting the perfect piece of art for your space. Make sure that the piece is appropriately sized for the wall and the overall composition of the room.

“When in doubt, the bigger the better!” – Lauren Svenstrup

If you fall in love with a smaller piece of art, that’s fine too! Just make sure you are being intentional with it. Think of other ways to visually fill the wall, consider painting the wall a bold color, or try flanking it with sconces, or floor lamps, something to fill the rest of the space.


Design by Studio Sven

2. Switch it Up

Make sure to switch up the mediums of the artwork you select for your home. There are dozens of styles of artwork out there. Explore everything. Then mix and match a few of your favorites. There’s photography, abstract, drawings, dimensional pieces, and framed objects, just to name a few.

“I love a good abstract, but not on every wall of the house.” – Lauren Svenstrup


Design by Studio Sven

3. Framing Changes Everything

Framing can be as understated or dramatic as you want and it can totally change the feel of a piece of artwork. For example, try taking a contemporary painting and put it in a traditional gilt frame. Or take a traditional piece of art and float it in an acrylic shadow box for a modern twist. One of Lauren’s favorite ways to play with framing it to “over-frame.”

“You can take a small piece and over-frame it with a huge mat for more impact.” – Lauren Svenstrup

When it comes to framing artwork in Chicago, no one does it better than fellow RNDD Member, Artists Frame Service. They offer many custom framing choices. Choosing mouldings, mat colors and glass options can be overwhelming. But don’t worry about it. Their expert framing consultants make it effortless and enjoyable to get your framing done beautifully.


These are trained professionals who will start by asking questions like where will this piece hang and what’s your personal style? Their artistic perspectives will ensure you land on the combination that was made for you.


4. Make it Deeply Personal

If you are going to invest in a piece of art and it’s going to hang on the walls of your home for years to come, then you had better love it. If you are having a hard time finding a piece that speaks to you on a deeper level, Lauren would urge you to keep in mind that anything can be art if you frame it right.

“I’ve taken a World Series baseball base and had it floated it in an acrylic box and all of a sudden it is art.” – Lauren Svenstrup

Bring your art, photos, treasured objects or favorite print into one of Artists Frame Service’s locations to begin your framing adventure.

“We frame what inspires us. Getting the things that speak to you on a wall is why I love framing.” – Josh, Frame Consultant at Artists Frame Service.


5. Explore All the Resources Available to You

When you are looking for the right piece of art for your home, don’t restrict yourself to online searches. Seeing a piece in person makes a world of difference. Utilize all the resources you can, including: art consultants, art galleries, art fairs, and vintage shops. And don’t forget photographs! If you come across a photo you love, contact the photographer and ask if they are willing to sell you a print or one time print rights.

“I was looking for the perfect portrait for a client’s home with an extreme hobby and stumbled upon the most amazing self portrait of Cory Richards on the cover of National Geographic after he survived an avalanche. I contacted him and purchased a one-time usage right to print a 8′ tall photo for my clients home.”


Design by Studio Sven

The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting the right art for your home is that everyone is going to have an opinion, but yours is the only on that matters. One of Lauren’s favorite quotes is from Marie Corelli and sums up her thoughts perfectly: “An opinion which excites no opposition at all is not worth having!”


About Studio Sven: STUDIO SVEN designs in response to how you live in and interact with the space around you — your daily challenges and the life you aspire to live — to create a space where you thrive. We are firm in our beliefs and committed to our methodology: WE DESIGN OUR CLIENT’S LIVES, NOT JUST THEIR HOMES. Lauren Svenstrup founded STUDIO SVEN with a belief that a truly beautiful design is one that solves problems. If it doesn’t work in the context of your life, it doesn’t belong in your home. Lauren is comfortable treading the fine line between following “the rules” and breaking them. Her vibrant and sophisticated designs easily mix contemporary elements with vintage finds and killer art. Her working style is informed by her studies in furniture design and human-centered design, as well as her extensive experience in project management. STUDIO SVEN considers a wide range of projects and budgets, from residential to boutique hospitality. We collaborate with architects, contractors, artisans, and craftspeople, and are well-versed in every aspect of project management, from conception to turnkey installation.

About Artists Frame Service: With locations in River North, Lincoln Park and Highland Park, Artists Frame Service has been providing Chicago’s best framing since 1978. As the largest picture frame store in the country, Artists Frame Service offers a breathtaking and unmatched selection of frame mouldings from all around the world. The company pioneered the one-week turnaround and operates its own 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, giving it unparalleled control over framing quality and craftsmanship from conception to completion. Founded by Chicago entrepreneur Jay Goltz, Artists Frame Service was named the city’s Best Picture Framer by Chicago Magazine and has been featured in publications such as Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Tribune and Architectural Digest.




Posted in art, Artists Frame Service, chicago interior design, chicago interior designers, Framing, interior designers, Studio Sven | Leave a comment

A Custom Home Design that Embraces Family Living

When this family of five was looking for a new home, they decided to build a custom home that was tailor made for their family and their lifestyle. They worked with the team at BGD&C Custom Homes to handle the architecture and design/build of the home and then brought in the talented Kadlec Architecture + Design (KA+D) firm for the interior design. The final result is a stunning home that embraces family living with a multitude of details that make it a true example of strict quality control.

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This 13,000 square foot home is located in Lincoln Park and boasts classical French style architecture with limestone façade, lavish exterior gardens, and roof deck. BGD&C and KA+D worked hand in hand to bridge the classic French Provincial style of the exterior with relaxed, informal finishes and furnishings.

“Architectural elegance was paramount and was created with clean lines, beautiful rich limestone detailing and a traditional mansard roof.” Rodger Owen – President, BGD&C


In an effort to accommodate family time, as well as provide a highly functional, world-class kitchen they designed an integrated family room and kitchen with enough space for a sizeable breakfast table, a large island with stool seating, and a significant amount of storage and counter space.  Special touches included a painted tongue and groove ceiling, O’Brien Harris hand-painted cabinetry with pewter hood, walnut countertop inset and quartzite countertops.

“We designed the space to be both formal and relaxed for intimate get-togethers as well as casual family time.” –  Steve Kadlec, Founder + Principal, KA+D


One of the most important rooms in the house, the Mudroom had to accommodate everyone’s needs coming and going.  As such, this nerve center of the home has ample storage, space to pull off your boots, and a house desk to drop keys, school books or briefcase. Kadlec Architecture + Design combined clever details using O’Brien Harris stained oak millwork, foundation brick subway tile, and a custom-designed “chalkboard” mural.


A playroom, loft, craft room, and lower level pool provide ample space for the children and for spending time together as a family. The lower level spaces, including a pool, provide a contemporary departure from the rest of the home.

“The client dreamed of a fun family space so we designed an underground pool with adjoining yoga/exercise room (visible through the operable ipe custom shutters!) complete with locker rooms and spa.”  – Rodger Owen


See more photos of this beautiful, custom home on BGD&C or Kadlec Architecture + Design‘s websites.

Architecture, Design & Construction by BGD&C
Interior Design by Kadlec Architecture + Design
Kitchen & Mudroom Cabinetry by O’Brien Harris
Exterior Photography: Tony Soluri
Interior Photography: Nathan Kirkman

About BGD&C Custom Homes: Founded in 1986, BGD&C is a full-service design/build firm specializing in well-crafted homes within Chicago’s Lincoln Park and Gold Coast neighborhoods. With over three decades of architectural design and construction expertise in both new and renovated residential properties, BGD&C has earned a reputation for its exceptional quality and unparalleled service. Headquartered in the iconic John Hancock Building, BGD&C’s focus is ‘distinctly Chicago’ and its historical love of architecture. Each project offers the opportunity to create a unique home that is as singular and remarkable as its clientele. As stewards of quality and craftsmanship, BGD&C produces homes with passion and precision.

About Kadlec Architecture + Design: We are disciplined in pursuit of the personal. Our design philosophy is reflected in who we are. Quietly confident, enduringly accessible, casual, yet thoughtfully considered. Our studio was founded in 2004 to convene a tightly knit team of designers with exceptional experience. At ten people we remain deliberately small, working closely to give each project our full and focused attention. With every project, we work to build a lasting relationship with our client. It’s through this relationship that we develop meaningful perspective into our client’s needs and aspirations. This clarity of perspective informs the simple and direct design solutions we believe in. We’ve worked with growing families and empty-nesters, young professionals and established executives, shopkeepers and developers. While each client relationship is its own, every project is connected by our thoughtful, disciplined, and detailed approach.

About O’Brien Harris: O’Brien Harris are manufacturers of luxury fitted furniture for every room in the house, with a special focus on kitchens, butler’s pantries, master baths, dressing rooms, and paneled libraries. Melding the rich furniture heritage of Great Britain and America, O’Brien Harris creates hand-made cabinetry with the pure lines and precise proportions synonymous with interiors of tailored sophistication.

Posted in BGD&C, custom cabinetry, custom homes, Kadlec Architecture + Design, O'Brien Harris | Leave a comment

Living in Place with GRAY | WALTER Interior Design

Are you living with things from decades ago? Does this lovingly assembled collection of artwork, antiques & other ephemera have your head spinning?

Below is an excerpt from a recent article written by Kenneth Walter of GRAY | WALTER Interior Design, centered around the concept of “Living in Place.” When you experience life changes – expected or unexpected – it can be difficult to know how to adapt your environment. Kenneth can help you determine what to keep and how to incorporate it into your home design.

Read the full article on Living in Place on his blog here.

63e1b796-4fa7-4422-831e-f6762ef88696-300x225The concept of Living in Place transformed my interior design/architecture practice to a new dimension. Yes, we still do interior design, of course, we’re solving problems by creating new ways of living for our clients. My younger clients often inherit items their loved ones have cherished for years. Many times the benefactor sees these things as a burden and wants to get rid of them. Not everything is a treasure even though it’s been lovingly kept for decades. I’m sentimental about my things too so I get it.

“Sometimes a renovation is exactly what the doctor ordered.”


We advise our clients on these important decisions: what can be given to loved ones, sold at auction, put in the “estate sale”, put on e-Bay or donated to charity. Some clients have one house, others are consolidating multiple homes full of furnishings to a single address. It’s a lot of work but our team lets you sit back and relax.

We’ve been doing this for years and know what we’re doing. We’ll help you keep the best and most meaningful things. Sometimes that means we go through storage containers with you, some of our clients can’t do it so we will. There will be some tears of course, but you’ll be happy when the cherished items go to someone who appreciates them. I cannot begin to tell you how pleased my clients are once they’ve parted with things that no longer matter to them.


Are you remaining in your home, trying to figure out what to keep? Do you need to relocate or downsize to something that makes more sense? Oftentimes it’s a combination of two or more of these things. Now that you’ve made the important decision to change your life we’re here for you. Experts at reusing what you already own. Your things will be integrated into your home whether new or reimagined. Perhaps you want a new place to hang your hat or renovate your existing digs. It could mean a new kitchen, bathrooms or renovating the existing spaces so they now fit your lifestyle.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make the changes you’ve dreamed of. The possibilities are endless. We’ll help you in ways never imagined. Don’t you worry about a thing, all it takes is a phone call.

Here’s to new beginnings~

About GRAY | WALTER Interior Design: GRAY | WALTER is a studio based in Chicago founded over two decades ago. The firm’s scope of work extends from ground-up construction and renovation to interior architecture, design and decoration for hotels, restaurants, private clubs, residential, corporate and other commercial spaces. Their aesthetic is characterized by diversity and unified by an essential clarity. Design evolves out of intimate dialogue: between the client and the designer, between the designer and the site.

Posted in chicago interior design, chicago interior designers, Gray Walter Interior Design, kenneth walter, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Premium Design Products for the Bathroom From KEUCO

Keuco is one of Europe’s leading companies in the bathroom industry. As a German medium-sized, family-owned business with a strong commitment to quality, service, and design excellence, the Kueco program includes premium design products for the bathroom including furniture, faucets, accessories, mirror cabinets, light mirrors, and basins. Here are a few of their newest products that we are currently coveting.

Edition 400

The main characteristic of EDITION 400 is its sensuously beautiful style. The fittings present themselves like filigree sculptures. Virtually works of art, their extraordinary presence almost makes you forget their actual purpose. Conceived by renowned design firm Tesseraux + Partner and awarded the coveted “Design Plus” seal of recognition, they stand out as prominent stylish elements in any bathroom design.


Attention to detail is what makes EDITION 400 fittings especially stand out. The washbasin mixers, available in seven contemporary polished and matte finishes and in five different sizes prove this in excellent terms. An adjustable aerator integrated and hidden in the spout is a special feature. The EDITION 400 program includes fittings for sink and tub applications, including a pillar tap, a single-lever mixer with a swivel spout, a wall fitting, a three-hole fitting , and a freestanding tub mixer. Matching accessories, vanities, mirror cabinets and light mirrors are available to complement the contemporary design.  The program also includes matching shower fixtures, so the bathroom can be completely rounded out with EDITION 400.


Plan Powder Room

The holistic furnishing concept of KEUCO PLAN now offers sensual functionality even in the smallest of bathrooms – the powder room. Developed by Tesseraux + Partner design agency from Potsdam, the small-scale washbasin ensemble comprising of a ceramic washbasin, high quality vanity unit, and slim LED light mirror impresses with its aesthetic unity – and is perfect for small bathrooms.


Coordinated in width and color, the washbasin ensemble forms a single harmonious unit. Available in five colors each piece of furniture is convincing with its straight yet unobtrusive design. For a stylish upgrade of the narrow vanity unit, there is also a modern version with legs in the same color. Whilst the LED light mirrors are strong in presence, they exude an almost cautious calm. And with their luxurious surface finishes, they exactly match the color of the chosen furniture.

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Learn more about KEUCO and their line of products at or visit one of the area showrooms that carries their products including fellow RNDD Member Studio41 in River North at 225 W. Hubbard.

Posted in Bathroom Design, Bathroom Fixtures, KEUCO | Leave a comment