To have and to love series: Chicago Home

Continuing with this series of rooms that I-drool-over-but-want-to-make-my-home-look-like-it- too...or "to have to love", I want to focus on this glamours Chicago living room. 

There are many attractions about these rooms, but it was really the designer Alexandra Kaehler's attention to the art that caught my eye. Here is a quote from her about the whole house when asked by Domino what her personal favorite part was:

"I think my favorite component of the space is the art that we have collected and commissioned together for the home. A commissioned Amanda Stone Talley for the dining room that very gently reflects the rose detail in the chairs. A Linc Thelen (a local Chicago artist) piece for the great room that is a very subtle and understated representation of the Last Supper finished this room off so perfectly....We also scattered lots more small, meaningful pieces throughout the home. Art just brings everything to life."

Yes it does. 

However, if the rest of the room stinks then the art doesn't look as good as it could. SO, let's figure out why two rooms in this house work and how we can add the concepts that the designer uses to our rooms.

  1. Where does your eye go first? To that fun black and white floral. Instead of picking a few different pieces to fill up the wall space, the designer picked a piece that was as wide as the chest that went below it. There isn't a lot of black in the design, but I do think it's nice to contrast all the color in the room with this neutral piece. How does this help us? Well, when you are trying to figure out what should go on wall like this, bigger pieces can actually make the room feel bigger. The scale of art makes you feel a certain way in a room. If you are trying to figure out what size you should have (don't think about price right now, just focus on what is good for the room), mark out in tape the size of the ideal piece you need. Sometimes knowing a size is half the battle. After you know the size, just start looking around at art that would be the right size you need. Once you get an idea of pricing, then you can start saving towards what you need (and feel confident that your money will be put to the best use!)
  2. What a fun print on that settee! I absolutely love this little piece of furniture. Since the rest of the upholstery is solid, I love that this settee really pops. If you're wondering why it really works, it's because of the size of the print and the color. If this was a small print, it wouldn't look as good. If this was a black & white print or another neutral it wouldn't work. The designer decided to make that fuchsia color the accent in the room, by not painting the walls with it, but by putting it on a large piece in the room. Then she "connected" it with the pillows and other accessories (like an orchid). SO, if you have solids in your room and you want to bring in bit of excitement, add a fun large print in an accent color. Then "connect" it with other small elements like pillows, flowers, objects etc. 
  3. I get bored with mirrors above fireplaces, but in this case I am in love with it. It's the shape of the mirror that does it for me. She could have picked a starburst or another shape, but this simple mirror helps you "breathe" in this room. Not fussy. Not ornate or complex. Just simply beautiful. It also works because it has a little curve to it, which repeats the subtle curve in the back of the sofa, the shape of the sconce and even in the baby grand's shape. Repeating small details like this are what really make a room amazing.
  1. This piece is what Alexandra was talking about in her quote. So different and yet so meaningful. I love that this piece is unapologetic in it's style. It is as if it's say "I am a piece of art that doesn't have to 'go' with what it's in the room in the way you might think, but I make the people who live here happy". And it's from a local artist. I'm calling attention to this piece because I think it's important to support artists in your area. They don't have to be someone famous or someone who is even in a gallery. You just need to love their work. Having local art is almost like having a piece of "home" at home.
  2. I love how these sconces are so old school in their placement. Before overhead lights, everyone had sconces with candles around the room. So, instead of installing overhead lighting, the designer chose to use a simple sconce between every break in the molding along the walls. I love that. If you don't have overhead lighting in your home, I recommend doing something similar to this. You might not have molding or other things that would make it easy to know where to put sconces, but I think that it could be incorporated easily in a variety of ways: on either side of art, an entry way or a bookcase. 
  3. There's nothing special about these wingback chairs, but it's probably the first place you would want to sit in. The part that I love the most about them is that they are really practical. They are comfortable, the cream color balances out the dark sofa and the fuchsia settee and they have a high back which adds variety among all the other low back pieces. If you can't figure out what type of chairs to put in a space, wingback chairs are always a great go-to option. 
  1. I'm dying over this painting! My favorite part is that the chair fabric inspired it! There is a lot of beautiful fabric out there and when you fall in love, you fall in love. It's all you can do to not put it everywhere. What I love about what the designer did was that instead of looking for art that went with the fabric, she gave the artist the fabric as an inspiration and told her to have fun. She wanted the artist to make a piece of art like they normally would, but think about how the fabric could connect with it. SO COOL!! If you fall in love with a fabric or wallpaper or any kind of pattern and aren't sure what to do about the art- don't be scared to talk to an artist! Artists love to make pieces that are intricately woven into the design of a room. In the end you have a room that is filled with things you love :)
  2. The fabric that inspired the painting is like a painting in and of itself. What I really like is that the designer used a chair with black edges, to connect with the living room palette, and then used the fabric on the front, back and seat of the chair. She put it all over. If you really like a color or a fabric/pattern, it's okay to repeat it in 2-3 places around the room. Don't go overboard, but you can liberally apply it to the room.
  3. This light is gorgeous. It's like everything else in this room- simple and elegant. The light really works well because of it's curved arms. If it's was an angular shape or a drum shade, it would probably be fine too. But I love that it's open and has a classic shape, like the chairs. Depending on the style of your room, depends on your style of lighting. However, classic ones like this can go with a lot of options. It's always acceptable to have classic light fixtures.  

I can't tell for sure from the pictures but I think the living room and dining room are close in proximity to each other. That's why their colors are similar and the paint color is the same. When you have two rooms close like that, it's perfectly fine to repeat the similar colors in each room. It helps the rooms flow and unifies the home's design. 

What do you love about this room? Are there parts that you don't like or don't know why it "works"?