Back in action

vacantI have been talking to a few friends of mine about blogging again, and several people mentioned how much they liked “the design blog.” Truth be told, I did/do, too, but once I got most of the decorating settled in my old apartment, I think it fell by the wayside, ranking lower on my ever-growing list of things to do.

In November, I finally moved out of the cramped, itty-bitty apartment in Lakeview, journeying over to a much larger apartment on the border of three neighborhoods in West Town. The neighborhood is so much a better fit for me, and I am infinitely happier where I am now. Chicago is such a city of neighborhoods, each of which have very distinct personalities, and finding the one that fits you is pretty critical to your happiness in this city, I believe. The apartment is also oh-so-much better for me. I now have room to spread out and do my photography work (which is fortuitously going quite well), the kitchen is actually condusive to cooking, and personality-filled hardwoods make for a much happier home.

These past few months have been insanely busy for me (all in a good way), and getting the apartment together has been a very long, slow process. I have rooms that are still pretty much empty, and I’m still trying to perfect organization in my enormous hall closet, but within the past couple weeks, I’ve been finding bits of time to focus more on the home. As such, my design addiction is back in full force, and large portions of the day are spent furtively scouring the ‘nets for the perfect pieces for my place. Since I was always moving so much during college and pretty much lived with other people’s furniture in subleases up until this apartment, I’m largely starting from scratch. It’s daunting (i.e., expensive) and somewhat difficult, especially since I don’t know how long I’ll stay in this apartment, but it is nevertheless exciting to be able to basically make things how I want them, even if I can only afford to buy select pieces at a time.

Anyway, all that prattling on was basically code for my saying: the blog is back! I am going to try to get several posts all scheduled up for the week so content is new and fresh every day (and I have so much I want to write about), so please do come back around. I will also be needing advice and opinions as the weeks go on, so do come around.

Here’s hoping your home remains (or becomes) happy and fabulous.

Edit: In my excitement, I attempted to change the theme, and as such, made this site look not so fabulous. Hopefully tomorrow I will actually buy up a domain and edit some CSS to make it look pretty.  



I’m not usually the biggest supporter of black and white, being a bit of a colour addict. However, something about these black and white damask sheets from Plush Living makes me so very excited. They look so crisp and fresh, and I would love to see how well they pop against a bright accent wall.

Florence Damask Bedding Duvet Set, $168.95 from Wrapables.com

the g hotel

I’ve been thinking a great deal about travelling again. During college, I was more or less known as the resident globetrotter, studying in four countries and interning in D.C. twice. My first foray into studying abroad was a quick summer in Brighton, England, and that taste quickly made me addicted to discovering new places.

Although I’m much more hungry to return to Guadalajara or another city in Central Mexico (I’m currently reading On Mexican Time, and San Miguel de Allende is quickly rocketing to the top of my list), I’ve been looking up some information about some other cities I visited in my travels. While putsing around, I came across the g hotel in Galway, Ireland. I studied in Cork, the second largest city in Ireland, in 2004, and went to Galway twice, once on a retreat with the University College Cork Chorale, and later returned for more sightseeing and debauchery with a friend. Galway was a lovely city–very artsy, slightly bohemian, and extremely friendly and gorgeous. One thing Galway isn’t, however, is flamboyant, and that seems to be exactly what equally flamboyant milliner Philip Treacy has created at the g.

I can’t fully suss out my feelings on the design of the space. The mirrored bar, lush colours, and the bespoke desk make me swoon, but the psychadelia-meets-traditional pink room is a bit questionable. That said, Treacy certainly seems to have designed an uncharacteristically glamorous Irish space that presents quite a different image for hotels on the island. Although I’m curious to see how it works with the calmness and serenity of Galway, I’d be more than willing to falling down the rabbit hole of what Tatler equated to Alice running about in the Mad Hatter’s mansion.


I was kicking around Sprout’s website when I came across Tord Boontje’s Tablestories line of dishware. It’s not a hot new product, and I recall having seen it quite a bit before, but now that I have my red, white and blue kitchen in full swing, I suddenly take a much greater notice to similarly colored plates and cups. The plate above is my favourite in the line, but Unica also has a full selection, including a blue line that strikes me as a modernized version of the traditional blue and white china that I have inexplicably always had a thing for.

Deer in forest plate, $60.50 at Sprout Home (745 N Damen)

When I signed up for a mediabistro.com subscription last year, I was told that I would be receiving a free year of New York Magazine. I was excited to receive a glossy each week in my mailbox, but I didn’t expect to be particularly taken by the publication, assuming that all of the pieces would be NYC-centric to a fault. However, with tight, well-written features, colourful photography, and that addictive grid, it has become one of my favourite publications.

I know the issue has been talked about before, but I finally received my copy of the Home Design issue yesterday (thanks, inefficient Chicago mail!). At any rate, it was as wonderful as everyone suggested. My favourite feature showcased Sharon Coplan Hurowitz’s rental. Although the wallpapered walls (intense, but fabulous) suggest that she didn’t have all the constraints of a typical rental agreement, the piece reminded me, once again, that a rental is not the kiss of design death.


Another piece I enjoyed detailed the next wave of designers. Seeing people who are doing great things get recognition they deserve is always enjoyable, and discovering designers I haven’t heard of is even better! My favourite designer from the list is Amy Lau, whose rich, yet quirky designs are just fabulous.


You can check out the rest of the excellent issue at NYMag.com.

My sincerest apologies for yet another long break in blogging. Things quickly became a little out of hand toward the end of April, with many exciting things transpiring. I started a bit of a “detox” programme, largely an effort to improve my life in a variety of ways. I decided to become a more dedicated vegetarian, finally deciding that poultry wasn’t really worth hanging onto, especially when I can get just as much protein in an even tastier form via tofu/TVP/soy gluten/etc. I will still allow the very occasional fish/shrimp (I’ve had a few shrimp and a slice of salmon), and I would allow free-range, organic chicken, although that seems very difficult to come by.

Anywho, in addition to that rather major decision, I also celebrated my birthday with a week of celebrations, welcomed some new cameras thanks to Matt, hosted Kate for a weekend, and have been enjoying some new friendships. I spent Friday at my friend Alicia’s house in Roger’s Park, dancing until three a.m. (a decision my hips are regretting). I need to make my way up to Roger’s Park during the day at some point; prior to going up there, I was told it was dangerous and not very nice, but every time I visit for a party, I do get a really lovely sense of community that I occassionaly miss in Lakeview. She and her roommate, Jeff, take community-building to a level that no one else I know does, doing a variety of theatre projects and fundraisers (Friday’s event was for an underground radio station out of Humboldt Park) in their converted storefront-cum-apartment. It’s pretty much the most minimal space I’ve been in in terms of decor, but their place is a prime example of how one can make an abode feel inviting and cool, largely with the company one keeps.


Finally, I spent a large portion of the last month obsessing over Apartment Therapy’s Smallest Coolest contest. I decided to enter my apartment at the last minute and was deeply surprised to make the semi-finals in the Midwest. Seeing all of the entries from across the country (and really, the world) was wonderful. I’m always fascinated by seeing how design is so influenced by environment. I remember looking at some of the NYC ones, many of which worked with the white, minimalist, almost sterile look, and thinking of how rare it would be to see such a space in Chicago (at least in my experience). Matt came down on Thursday for a visit, and we went to the final party at Design Within Reach on Ohio, truly one of the most special places I’ve been in Chicago–floors and floors of design in a gorgeous building with an adorable green courtyard, smack in the middle of River North. While no one from Chicago placed, spending time with a few other design-minded folks made for a nice start to the evening.

My computer is on the fritz, and will probably be out of comission for at least another week. That said, I’m hoping to get the blog back in business, so please do keep coming to check it out (and thanks to those of you who have commented in the past!).

Fact 1: I love plants. I buy them weekly.

Fact 2: I also love herbs.

Fact 3: I have a black thumb. A black as coal thumb. Plants I  buy die in days, and I wouldn’t know the first thing about actually growing a plant.

And that, my friends, is why I am beyond infatuated with the prospect of the Aerogarden. NASA-approved, this nerdy garden for city dwellers is utterly ingenious. No dirt! No mess! No plethora of pots taking up all your counter space! plant-copy.jpg

If you love the idea of having some clever industrial designers solve turn your black thumb to green, the Aerogarden is available over at Sur La Table for the somewhat steep (but one-time-only) price of $150  .