Archive | March 2011

3 Trends Emerging in Tile Design

Kitchens and baths are two very popular rooms to remodel, and both tend to include tiles, whether on the floor, walls, or as a backsplash. Of course when it comes to tile—and most aspects of design, for that matter—specific colors, textures and shapes emerge that are clearly the most popular for the time. Design site ShelterPop recently reported on tile trends that are popping up, so we thought it’d be fun to let you in on what’s currently in vogue in the world of tile:

  • People want white tiles, but not just any white. Custom shades of white are big, as are more colorful, ethnic patterns.
  • With sustainability so huge and tiles lasting a long time, faux wood tiles are also in.
  • There’s nothing like texture to add visual interest, and carved tiles are adding dramatic dimension these days.

What are your favorite tile looks? Leave a comment to let us know!

Image: Artistic Tile via ShelterPop


Decorating the Nursery

We’ve already talked about decorating a playroom on our blog, but kids’ rooms can also be a challenge. If you’re stumped by how to design a stylish nursery, don’t worry—it can be done. Nurseries need to be functional, but they can also be fun, like design blog Decorati Access points out. These spaces can stray from formality and embrace a bit of decorating playfulness. Look at this nursery from our own portfolio:

Stylish, yes, while also creative. Look at the fun wall design. You probably wouldn’t see colorful circles like these in a formal living room, but they work perfectly in a nursery. Here’s another one of our nursery designs:

It has all the functional elements, like a crib and reclining chair, but it doesn’t compromise décor. A pretty window seat houses throw pillows and stuffed animals, framed by complementary drapes.

If you’re interested in a beautiful and practical nursery design, contact CMR Interiors today.

Buy Made in America

Last week they had a story on ABC on a couple who wanted only Made in the USA for their home. Not an easy task and certainly a more expensive endeavor. But a worthwhile assignment.

Typically cheaper goods are made over seas………and that is because U.S. labor does cost much more than in countries where they don’t have the same rights, freedoms and basic same labor laws. There are many furniture manufacturers who tried manufacturing overseas but the quality just wasn’t there. Those companies who tried to make a go of it in China, India, have returned and are back on the East Coast.  And its true. You can see the difference if you are an experience buyer of quality goods as I am. The handcrafted furniture such as lines like David Iatesta are second to none when compared to lines from Europe and especially China or India.

The Merchandise Mart in Chicago is full of stylish boutique lines where the artisans make the goods right here in the USA.

Appliances &  Plumbing Fixtures

1. Blue Star Ranges: My personal favorite!  Made in PN. Like way more than my Wolf Range.

2. Wolf

3. Subzero: WI

4. Thermodor

5. Jenn Aire

6. Delta: Not all parts are made in America but they are still manufactured in Indiana.

7. Newport Brass: Made in California

6. Kallista (a higher end division of Kohler for plumbing fixtures):  Gorgeous!

7. Kohler

8. Just Sinks: Great stainless steel sinks made here in IL    (

9. Maytag & Whirlpool : Still manufactured here (yet many parts are now made overseas and a certain percentage of goods)

High End Lighting:

1. David Iatesta   (most stunning chandeliers)

2. Urban Electric Co :

3. Remains Lighting:   Made in Brooklyn

4. Niermann Weeks:  Made in Millerville Maryland

5. Urban Archeology: NY

6. Nancy Corzine lighting:  Made in Carson California

Custom Cabinetry & Custom Crown:

1. Janik Custom Millwork: Hodkins IL (off I55) Refurbish old bars, fix &  repair larger projects, and can make custom Crown Molding. They don’t take on kitchens

2. Woodmode:  Cabinets Made in Pennsylvania

3. Romar Cabinetry :  IL      Many a Hinsdale house does have Romar cabinetry and buying here in IL creates revenue-which makes your taxes cheaper!

4. Star Moulding & Trim Co: Chicago, IL   Company makes any size custom mouldings and can duplicate if you need to copy something for an older home

Faux or Fresh Flowers for Home Decor?

I have a client in Lincoln Park, who was absolutely sick to spend $600- $800 for  flowers monthly, though she adored them. When the flowers died then her thrill was gone-not to mention her money!   Lets add this up: Over a years time that is nearly $10,000 + people.  That’s another vacation, a fab find for the home, extra landscaping out front, or charity.

Fresh flowers are great in home decorating, offering lively blooms and fragrant aromas. But in this economy, even wealthy clients—are opting out of this expensive habit. Only doing so on special occasions.  Other clients use their nannies to try to create the same look with little luck….and then there are other alternatives. Here are my tips on floral deals & steals:

I have found that you can take your great containers to Whole Foods who have great fresh flowers daily– and have them put together in a tight arrangement –for about 1/3 of the cost of a floral shop.  All it takes is more work on the clients end of project managing : getting the containers and having a clear, precise vision of what you want and being flexible on the blooms since they have what they have in stock and you have to work with them.  But even this done on a constant basis is still somewhat costly.

Or go faux: Jeff Jonen used to work for Zuvernicks (a past faux floral shop) and now has a company called Fresh or Faux? who works with clients who want faux but something that is realistic looking and not cheesy. Again, you have to be specific about what you like and what you want. He will often arrange something for your house that is faux and if you like it, you can buy it. He at least goes through the trouble of creating it based on the clients wishes, and then asks for feedback,  and his pricing is reasonable.

The other day  had to run something by my clients house. I walked in admiring the flowers when I walked in,  assuming it was the week when floral comes,  and these faux flowers looked just like the  talented florist’s work-where she gets her flowers from. I was surprised to find out that they were all faux-and that she had found Jeffrey who helped her create the same look for far less. And they would last.

Tips for getting what you want cheaper, than a typical florist:

  • For real floral, go to whole foods with your container, have a picture of how you want them to look and be specific. If planning for an event, do a test model.
  • If for an event, remember that they would have to order more flowers if they would usually not get in enough for your event and they will probably make you pay in advance for that floral that is coming in
  • You have to pick up and deliver. Have a plan for this.
  • Or go Faux….faux just isn’t what it used to be.
  • Fresh or Faux?   Jeffrey   (773) 388. 2395

So, which flower camp are you in: fresh or faux? Contact CMR Interiors today for beautiful interior design that will enhance fresh or faux flowers in your home.


How to Work with a Tiny Master Bath

There are times when you have a teeny tiny master bath to deal with –and nothing can be done about moving the mechanicals or plumbing—you are stuck !   I have a client like this in a townhouse in Dearborn Park, here in Chicago. So we met to discuss with Monica and her husband Kurt to determine a game plan on how to make it work. There are better ways of making the space seems larger than it is…..and by using higher end materials in some aspects, you can still bring desire for the townhouse without going overboard. Here were my suggestions and here is an example of a small bathroom maximized for space with new products from Toto:


  1. Pocket Doors Essential in Small Bathrooms: Find a way to get in a pocket door; when you have a tiny bathroom, a regular door is just in the way– not to mention annoying, especially when two people are trying to fit into a cramped space!
  2. Use Fewer Contrasting Materials in tile:  Instead of using various mismatched sized tiles of the same stone and try to keep the bathroom monochrome and light in color so it looks larger and less cut up. To save money on tile use an attractive limestone, buy in larger sizes, and then have a stone company cut the pieces for you so you can have different sizes in different places. Its more precise to have a stone fabricator cut up than your tile guy who will charge more in labor.
  3. Walk in Shower or tub?   My client wanted to get rid of the tub and just have a walk-in shower—this helps because then they can do a half pane of tempered glass across the front and not have to run across-which save money and not having a high step-in tub and instead having a walk-in shower makes the space seems larger as well.
  4. Floating vanity: When you have a tiny bath but really need storage in your vanity, then float the vanity so the room again feels a little larger. Having space under the floating vanity makes the room seem deeper. Although you have to run the tile and finish the baseboard under the vanity, it’s nice-looking and worth the extra expense.
  5. Lighting: You want to make sure you have enough lighting so there are no dark corners in the bathroom—at least two 4-inch cans in the shower and one can over the faucet, as well as ample sconce lighting with wall lights on both sides of the vanity walls, either on the side walls or two on the back wall.
  6. Details: A custom medicine cabinet that offers more storage and has built-in tube lights (like this one from Kramer Design Studio) would work really well.
  7. A great toilet that’s streamlined & clean: Take much consideration to your toilet and try to get something that looks small and compact and not bulky. Also comfort height is a must.
  8. Velux Skylight : This client had one small sun light that didn’t allow for any ventilation and didn’t have controls. I suggested the Velux skylight that is double the size in length because more natural sunlight makes the space feel more open , even if it’s not and with Velux you can get in fresh air ventilation at a control of a button. Nice.
  9. Accessories: Hooks go in the back of the shower for towels so they are not out in the open and are where you need them when you get done with your shower.
  10. Hidden Toiletries: Niches are great  in the back of the shower for shampoo and toiletries so that they are hidden. Plan around your towel hooks .