Archive | June 2011

New Ideas for Faux Paint in Homes

Can’t afford high end wood doors in your home? Need to do something interesting with your front door? I love these ideas for faux painting from Allison Cosmos:

1. A stria finish on a plain double panel door makes the door look far more high end. A high gloss black or hot color would have looked great as well!

Here is the same door in a dining room with fabulous wallcovering. Look how much better a wood finished door looks over a white!

Here is a close up of the finish. Gorgeous!

Here is another great pic of those doors in the living room. See what  a huge difference its makes?

2. I like interesting ceilings in dining rooms, so I like this darkened ceiling. It makes the room feel more intimate, and I’m sure this is some kind of pearlized copper leaf finish. It looks more finished.

3. This cute table for a hallway area gets a facelift. Before:


4. A sweet but dated bedside chest. Before:


Take stock of what you have around the house, and what could be improved with sophisticated painting techniques



How Décor Can Help You Look Younger

Just as outdated clothes scream that you bought them years ago, outdated home décor can loudly show that your home’s interior design is from a different era. Design site ShelterPop did a great piece recently, cutely pointing out “The bad news: Your decor is aging you. The good news: Redecorating is less painful than botox.”

The rest of the article goes over ways your décor can make you seem younger. A couple of suggestions include updating drab florals with more current ones, like metal flower-shaped accessories, or switching from overhead lighting to the younger look of lamp lighting. Like we said, it’s a light-hearted but interesting article, and we suggest you check it out.

If you really want your décor to make you look younger, hiring an interior designer who knows what’s current will do the trick. Contact CMR Interiors for help updating your old Chicago-area interiors.

Image: Arteriors via ShelterPop

Carpet Helps Prevent Allergy Problems

Tai Ping Carpet

Outdoor allergies have been affecting a lot of people this spring, but indoor allergies can be just as bad. Shaw Floors has done a really interesting article related to allergens and carpet. Although this may seem counter-intuitive, the article reports that:

“It has been demonstrated that carpet is quite efficient at keeping allergen and other small particles such as pollen out of the air. In fact, data from a Swedish government study indicates that when use of carpet declined, the number of people reporting allergy problems increased.”

Though at first you may be worried about having allergens trapped in your carpet, it’s actually going to stop allergens from affecting you. The allergens affect you when you breathe them in—when they’re airborne, which they’re not when they’re in the carpet. You can also get these allergens out of the carpet by vacuuming and cleaning. Check out the Shaw Floors article to learn more—it’s an interesting read.

Image via

Orange Cat Needs a Great Home

We would like to find a home for Orange Cat. He is the last of our brood of random orange alley cats.

He needs a private farm, estate-like house with a pet loving couple or person where he can have his insulated custom house and his own area away from obnoxious dogs. He’s domesticated and needs to be fed daily. Outdoor cats are not meant to be unfed–they are not lions with an abundance of gazelle running around.

He gets lots of attention–a few minutes a day in the winter, but more time in the summer when we do yard work and gardening. He loves attention and is very friendly but loves treats!

He is very social, has his claws and needs them to be an outdoor cat to protect himself.

He is HIV Cat Positive, which hasn’t really meant anything to us; he seems completely no different than our other cats except for the fact that he has gastro problems. We built this house for him because he was outside and all alone, always getting into garbage. He wasn’t healthy, so we started feeding him and taking care of him.  I think he goes to the bathroom in the two empty lots next to us…he is smart enough not to go around his house which I find amusing. Cats are smart that way–the way they bury things.

He was the major stud of the neighborhood, and a big alpha cat who likes to fight. Now he is fixed, wanders a lot less, and fights a lot less as well. Occassionally I see a scratch on his nose or ears but its usually from a female. The vet says he is in good shape and his teeth are doing well. He has his microchip, has his claws, and all his shots; they were given to him at Treehouse Foundation.

I would take him inside if I didn’t have cats already, but he is a fighter and very alpha, so that won’t work since our cats are all male.

I’d like to find the ideal situation for him, which would be a private house, fenced-in private yard where he could live, and yes, he totally lives in his house at night when it’s cold. I have straw in there and a little micro fleece bed. Straw works best because it stays dry.

He gets fed every morning around 8 or 9. He is domesticated and needs love and comfort, and we bring him inside when the weather is under… or when a blizzard is coming.

Let me know if you have any interest!

Photos: CMR Interiors

Master Bedroom: Before and After

Have you ever been faced with an empty room? For a lot of people, it can be an intimidating experience. This was a condo project at the Chandler building in Chicago.

How should you choose a color scheme? Or find the perfect furniture? Or, for that matter, know where to place said furniture once you do find it? Decisions, decisions.

One of our clients came to us with a completely clean slate—which designers love. Makes the job easier for the client and the designer because we can have one consistent statement through the house instead of it looking hodge podge.

Here’s what it looked like before:   inflated bed on the floor and that’s about it. And a view with no window treatments.

I took the colors from outside…those greens and terra cottas and brought them indoors….gorgeous green iridescent grass cloth wallpaper–which makes these shoebox like condo’s so much more warm. Worth every penny. Linen bedding, all custom casegoods except for the dresser. Drapes for blackout at night that go all the way across on a sliding track. A few textural Pillows and one print…..Here’s what it looked like after transforming it into a comfortable and beautiful after. I wish we would have had a larger budget so I could have done a better chair in the room but this client was adamant on their budget and money only goes so far in these projects…so to me the chair is okay, but it could be better. It should be taller to give height to that side of the room and be more in line with the bed.

If you have trouble envisioning the perfect after look for your space’s barren before, contact CMR Interiors. We offer interior design consultation and selection expertise in the Chicago area.

Photos: Designs by CMR Interiors

Road Trips & Wine Classes in Denver

Colorado Ranch Country

Ranch Country, Colorado above, Dad with a Cabernet in Mexico 2004

I recently drove to Denver Colorado  to take a 2 day course in Wine at The International Wine Guild over a weekend. .

So, I meet many clients who want a wine cellar or have one and so its an intelligent choice to know the basics of wine and pairing and learning the history is totally fun. The International Wine Guild is top five of wine schools according to both Food &  Wine and the New York Times, as being in the top 5 of all wine schools.  It was basic boot camp for those wanting a real world education about wine, presented without pretention.

In the first part of the class, you learn all about chemistry, different grapes, serving temperature, fermentation, US wine labeling vs European labeling,  basic wine making for whites and reds. Along the way you learn so much about wine making and its fascinating history which dates back all the way back to 5B.C. The second day, which was fun,  is all about tasting wines with foods…throughout the entire Level One Certification weekend you taste about 43 top wines. You try so much that it does become a bit of a blur.

Even though you take tiny sips…you are taking a tiny sip about 100x before finishing your food pairings. So make sure you don’t drive home from the second day of class .

Here are good points to remember from Level One Certification:

  • To Wine Experts, wine is considered a sauce, to be paired always with food and to complement, not to overpower the food.  Or have the food over power the wine.
  • The Grandfather of the California wine industry is Robert Mondavi, who started his winery in Napa in the 60’s. He fell in love with the European wine culture while serving as a  2nd lieutenant in WW2 -what a patriot- and wanted to bring that wine culture back to the United States
  • Wine is paired to food, not food to wine
  • You must have a broad understanding of wine to be able to pair wine to food
  • You must have an equally broad understanding of food, its sauces, cooking techniques to choose the right wine
  • Wine is an in-mouth experience. Neither the color or smell of the wine or food are critical for pairing
  • The major part of the dish establishes the pairing
  • The texture of the food has to match the body of the wine
  • The flavor intensity has to match the intensity of the wine: example, if you are having a sweet dessert, you will need a sweeter wine or for contrast, which many like, you can have coffee. for something like pecan pie, you cant get a wine sweet enough. That is why coffee is so popular with desserts….many people like the taste of contrast
  • Only drink a smokey wine with smoked meats
  • Light foods, light wine
  • Heavy foods, heavier wine
  • Sushi is high acidity as all fish are, so have a light bodied wine which tend to be more acidic
  • Muscadet is a great wine with seafood
  • When eating meats that tend to dry out, (thanksgiving turkey) serve a wine, that will make you salivate rather than something tannic which makes your tongue feel  a little sand paperish. This way it will compliment the turkey and makes it seem more moist-even when its not.
  • If having to wait at the bar before being seated for dinner have the bartender serve you a light acidic wine that will keep your palette neutral….not something heavily tannic like a merlot or a cab which can ruin your meal
  • Also hard liquor is said to kill your palette for wine before a meal for about 45 minutes… I’m undecided on this opinion….I’m going to have to test it out next time I’m dining out

I highly recommend to all of those wanting a genuine excellent education on wine.