Studio Brunstrum
Genes are like the story, and DNA is the language that the story is written in.
What creates the framework of your home?
Our homes should be as unique as our DNA. Just as no two humans are the same, no two homes should be the same. At the center of your home’s DNA? You.
The plans and elements we use to design create the “genetic map” of the spaces we inhabit. Your personality, likes and dislikes, routines, experiences, goals and plans should all be factors that influence your home’s genetic make-up. As we change and evolve, the identity of our home should change and evolve with us.
Infusing our home with personality allows it to transcend aesthetics, giving the colors, patterns and textures in the space meaning aside from just looking pretty. Just as we use clothing to give an indication of our personalities, we should be using our interiors for the same purpose. You may see an outfit you love…on someone else, but it doesn’t feel quite right for you. It’s the same with homes – a beautiful space is still beautiful but may not be the right space for you based on your home’s DNA.
Assess your home’s DNA by asking yourself how it feels and functions. Try describing your home in a few adjectives – do those feel like adjectives you’d also use to describe yourself? If not, it may be time for some adjustments.
Susan, Kelsey, and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
Set in Stone
Carved Stone Walls. Patti’s recent trip to Morocco has us swooning over carved stone walls. At first glance, the stone appears to be an intricate wallpaper design, look a little closer and you will discover the pattern was hand carved into the stone! We love how ornate and regal carved stone feels; the juxtaposition of the hefty stone and delicate pattern creates a magnificent dichotomy.

Photos (left to right): Patti Friedler, El Attarine Medersa
Imitation Game
Replicating Heirlooms. Generational outlooks on trends have always fascinated me. Nostalgia has made a comeback as a high priority amongst millennials, and lately we’ve seen that manifest in adopting family heirlooms and antiques… but with a twist. Rather than accepting an heirloom as is, the younger generations are tailoring them to their own taste, honoring the history but redesigning or replicating the items to feel more personal, creating a unique modernization in both fashion and interiors – from jewelry, to clothing, to accessories and furnishings. We’ve even created a floor lamp base from a set of great-grandfather’s golf clubs!

Photos (left to right): Highbury, Unknown
Here Comes the Sun
Yellow. We’re seeing sunshine – and not just in the sky! Yellow, in all shades and hues, has been dominating both runways and mood boards in the last few months. The infusion of this stereotypical “happy” color brightens an overall space; we’re guessing that it’s an inherent reaction to the past few years - we all need a mood booster!  Our advice? Yellow should be used in moderation. Splash it as an accent so that the effect remains brightening instead of overpowering.

Photos (left to right): Pantone, Elle Decor
Suit Up
Menswear. Business casual at the office might be a thing of the past (or at least something we only do a few times a week), but the menswear trend is here to stay! Classic neutrals (navy, black, white, and gray) and patterns (pinstripe, plaid, checks) in tailored silhouettes are dominating the fashion scene. As we head into fall, they will become dominate in interiors but often in new hues and palettes. Think beyond the traditional colors, pair updated menswear fabrics with alpaca, boucle, or cashmere for a more approachable look or with asymmetrical shapes for a more eclectic look.

Photos (left to right): Unknown, Isabel Lopez Quesada
All Photos via Studio Brunstrum
“Seating must be comfortable” is a constant refrain at the Studio Brunstrum office – which is why we always encourage clients to sit-test prior to purchase (if possible). While comfort is high priority for sofas, occasional chairs, and dining room chairs, we find it’s oft overlooked when it comes to bar/counter stools.
When selecting the right stools for your home, we recommend considering four factors:
  1. Comfort. How often will the stools be used? If you entertain often, make sure that your barstools are cozy enough to sit in for a few hours. If your kitchen island is the go-to breakfast spot for your kids, make sure they’re easy to maneuver and have a bar that little feet can reach.
  2. Functionality. Do the stools need to swivel based on your floorplan? Do they need arm or back rests? If your stools have arms, check the height of the arms and the height of your counter (to the underside) to make sure of the fit. Use a tape measure to determine if you need counter height or bar height stools! Guidelines: Counter height is 35-36” from the floor to the underside of the counter so you will need counter height stools that have a seat height of 24-26”. Bar height is 40-42” from the floor to the underside of the counter so you will need bar height stools that have a seat height of 28-30”.
  3. Quantity. We often see too many or too few stools. Cramming in an extra stool is always tempting. Clearance should be a priority, so you can comfortably get in and out (or on and off) without feeling like you’re in a crowded bar!  Spacing guidelines: If your stools are 16-18” wide, leave 6” between each one and at the ends of the counter. If your stools are 19-22” wide or they are smaller but swivel, maintain 8-11” between each stool and at the ends of the counter.
  4. Aesthetics. Bar and counter stools should be eye-catching and stand out from your island, table, bar or counter, instead of disappearing into it! Introduce an unusual element such as acrylic, bamboo or woven leather. We often upholster the seat and back in different fabrics with lots of texture to add interest to a spot that’s often overlooked.
The Cezanne exhibit is officially open at the Art Institute of Chicago, and we’ve already been twice! This exhibition marks the first major retrospective of Paul Cezanne’s work in the United States in more than 25 years, showcasing a vast amount of his work across an array of mediums, including 80 oil paintings, 40 watercolors and drawings and two complete sketchbooks. Designed to analyze his work in a new light, the exhibition features perspectives of art historians, current artists, and conservators to reframe his work in modern times, illuminating how the renowned artist became a pioneer in his own right. Often regarded as an “artist’s artist” Cezanne found admirers in Monet, Matisse, and Picasso for his commitment to upholding personal truth in art. The exhibition runs until September 5th – don’t miss it! And give yourself time… I spent 2.5 hours each visit!
We’re honored to have recently joined LadyBoss – a Chicago-based platform for women in business to engage in a high-powered network. Founded in 2015 by Courtney Wright, LadyBoss aims to create a community of lasting connections that support women in their professional endeavors whilst expanding business networks, sharing advice, and creating camaraderie amongst women in different industries.
We’re enamored with Rosemary Hallgarten’s ombre stair runners. While ombre isn’t new, the transitional effect of using it as a stair runner perfectly captures the movement and purpose of a staircase, while adding a dramatic impact in a space that’s often considered nondescript and ho-hum.
The Last to Vanish | Megan Miranda
Receiving a notification that a favorite author has a new book coming out always brightens our day – and sends the title directly to the top of our “to be read” piles. We’re thrilled that Studio Brunstrum favorite Megan Miranda (NYT’s bestseller, All the Missing Girls) is releasing her newest novel, The Last to Vanish, next week. We’ve already pre-ordered! In classic Miranda fashion, the thriller centers on a mysterious disappearance in a small town. The Last to Vanish takes us to Cutter’s Pass, North Carolina, a resort town home to The Passage Inn – an upscale resort marketed to the outdoors-inclined, with access to the Appalachian trail, known to the locals as the vanishing trail. The book opens with a series of unsolved disappearances, brough back into the spotlight with an out-of-town journalist investigating the trail becomes the latest to disappear. When the journalist’s brother turns up searching for answers, the town slowly closes ranks, turning neighbors into suspects and coworkers into threats. We can’t wait to take this book to the pool or the beach – it’s sure to be a page-turner.
J. Petter Galleries Meet and Greet
Join us this Saturday, June 23rd from 4-6 PM for a meet and greet with Susan and artists Gail Mancuso and Eve Ozer at J. Petter Galleries in Douglas, Michigan. We’ll be discussing the process of creating art and how to choose the right art for your space. We hope to see you there!
Congratulations, Patti!
We’re celebrating at Studio Brunstrum – congratulations to Patti and her fiancé Ben on their engagement! Wishing you both a lifetime of love and happiness!
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