The 10th annual DreamHome brings to life the talents of six of Chicago’s top interior design firms who each designed a room in the home using the luxury resources only available at the Design Center at the Merchandise Mart’s showrooms. This year-round design installation will be open to the public April 11-December 7, 2014. I had the opportunity to preview the rooms and meet the designers. They were free to design the rooms any way they desired and it pretty incredible to see how it all came together. Take a peek at these fabulous spaces but you must visit DreamHome to fully appreciate the details.
The Foyer | Jeannie Balsam
When designing The Foyer (pictured above), designer Jeannie Balsam was reminded of her newlywed days with a new home, a limited interior design budget and a quest for inspiration. Prior to HGTV, HOUZZ, and Pinterest her inspiration came from magazines and evening walks voyeuristically viewing timeless design in our established neighborhood. Classic red walls and historic art was the emblem of style. “I’ve reinterpreted this feeling with a less formal approach by incorporating cleaner lines and brighter finishes.” Jennie told me, “I used traditional elements in a classic way. The use of rustic elements give it friction, which is what makes a room beautiful.” An example is the blue fabric from Robert Allen/Beacon Hill that looks like an antique rug contrasting the straight lines of the traditional chairs.
The Study | Jessica Lagrange
The study has been created for a devoted art collector who appreciates all aspects of fine design. The furnishings, fabrics, fixtures and artwork all come together to create a rich, enticing space. Jessica Lagrange Interiors believes that true luxury is the result of thoughtful attention to detail, be it classic or contemporary. This collector’s study dictates a keen eye went into this room as much as the artwork itself. “We had fun putting this room together and there is a part of all of us here.” Jessica told me, crediting her design team.
The Bedroom | Kara Mann
Designer Kara Mann combines unexpected pieces to achieve a modern space that never feels spare. Custom moldings and a recessed niche flank the bedroom’s entry, while Blackman Cruz Compass sconces mark the entry to the library. Kara’s chandelier for Jean de Merry serves as a centerpiece in the room, which also features an Azadeh Shladovsky Diva Stool in smoky brass, a long-haired Patagonian sheepskin pulled up to a Jean de Merry Lyall console table and Dessin Fournir Saxon mirror. The Italian Gregorius Pineo iron bed is centered between Christian Astuguevieille bedside tables and Dessin Fournir hand-painted panels.
The Outdoor Dining Room | Susan Fredman
Inspired by Chicago’s magnificent skyline and all the fabulous rooftop decks that adorn it, the design team created an intimate, yet dramatic outdoor living space that combines textural details with luxury finishes. An illuminated, knotted rope fixture pools on the ground in the dining nook, as the concrete cocktail area intermingles with the lush, soft lounge area to its right. Interlocking cocktail tables mix metallics and natural elements to peak the eye’s interest as well. This urban rooftop oasis brings luxury to life, high atop the city lights.
The Dining Room | Erik Kolacz
Erik Kolacz found inspiration for the dining room partly from my travels to California wine country. “The relaxed environment reminded me of my large family dinners around a great big table. It made me want to design a space that would inspire the family to spend meals together again. This year’s dining room is warm, inviting, inspiring and beautiful.” The large dining table symbolizes the strength of today’s modern family, rooted in nostalgia. The rich tactical textiles in conjunction with the warm golden wall hues create a space that no one would want to leave.
The Living Room | Tom Stringer
“In developing the concept for this living room, I imagined that my design heroes, Billy Baldwin and his young friend Albert Hadley were invited to Sister Parish’s home for the evening.” Tom went on to say,”The trio had much fun, consumed many bottles of champagne and then decided to make-over Sister’s living room together. Sister and Billy tackled fabrics, Billy and Albert commandeered furniture, and all three fussed over art and accessories.” The result is a lively and comfortable living space filled with imagination and joie de vivre!
For more information visit Merchandise Mart Design Center
2014 DreamHome at the Merchandise Mart Photos by Dave Burk, Hedrich Blessing