Studio Brunstrum
Every moment is a fresh beginning.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m tired of hearing the phrase “New Year, New Me”. While the sentiment has the best of intentions, I find it often has the opposite effect on me. This is the time of year that we see ads and posts on social media like “30 Days to Healthy Living”, “The Best Workout Program to Make Your January Count”, “How to Be the Best Version of Yourself in 2022” – just reading those headlines makes me feel tired. While I have nothing against resolutions (they work for some people!), constantly being bombarded with ways to better ourselves can make us feel like we’re not doing enough and that we’re starting the new year on the wrong foot.
So, this year, I’m hitting the reset button – on everything. I’m turning off social media, saying no to plans that don’t entirely excite me, scheduling time for myself, and allowing myself the time to discover what I really want. Does this involve some work? Of course. But I won’t be berating myself if my ever-growing to do list isn’t accomplished by the end of the month. Instead, I’m focusing on happiness, in whatever form that takes. My only goal for myself this year is to write down one thing each day that brought me joy, in hopes that it will help me re-focus on the people, places, and things I want to put my energy into. After two years of a global pandemic, there’s no point in spending time on things that aren’t exciting to you.
I’m applying the same mentality to my home. I want to feel inspired by my surroundings again, instead of simply existing within them. Let’s hit reset. Ask yourself – if you could design your home from scratch what would it look like? Is there an element you’ve always wanted in your dream home that you can incorporate into your current space? Are you simply just tired of your color palette and need a refresh? Reset your expectations and let go of the limitations you’ve set for yourself in your mind. Help yourself discover what will bring you happiness in your surroundings and then create a plan to make it happen; instead of limiting yourself into strict confines of what is and isn’t possible. You might be surprised by what’s draining your energy and what’s invigorating it and how you can see it all more clearly when you let yourself reset.
Susan, Kelsey, and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
Tactile Everything. Homes shouldn’t only look good – they should also feel good. We’re embracing an abundance of texture in 2022 – from our fabrics, to our casegoods, to our accessories and walls. Mixing textures throughout your home creates visual interest, while also creating a deeper connection to your space by inviting our brains to use multiple sensory receptors at once. There are no limits to the amount of texture a space can hold; focus on creating a balanced home by introducing different textures throughout.

Photos (left to right): Deborah Leamann Design, Edelman Leather
Purpose Driven
Functional Decorative Objects. We’re saying goodbye to static and stale objects in our home and inviting more movement to our space – especially with our decorative objects. Our new rule of thumb? If it doesn’t serve a purpose to your space, there’s no room for it. That purpose can be as simple as a vase to hold flowers, a tray to place books, or a found item from your travels that serves as a conversation piece – you get to make the rules. Donate or find a functional purpose for the items throughout your home that aren’t pulling their weight.

Photos (both): Studio Brunstrum
In Another Dimension
3D Art. Art installations aren’t just for museums – they belong in your home too. We love that art for the home is breaking the mold of the two-dimensional, making room for more authentic and personalized collections. 3D installations can add visual interest to large spaces like hallways or foyers to create movement and transition from one space to the next.

Photos (left to right): Bradley Sabin, Daniel Canogar
Color Codes
Colorful Tableware. It’s 2022 – we’re breaking all the rules this year. “Classic” glass, white porcelain, and stainless-steel tableware and cutlery have always been considered home staples. Open 99% of kitchen cabinets in the United States and that’s what you’ll find. We’re breaking those barriers this year and saying that your tableware should have personality – one that represents you and your home. Amp up the color and texture and don’t be afraid to introduce new finishes and materials into your collection.

Photos (both): Unknown, Architectural Digest
Photos (Top, Left to Right): Studio Brunstrum, California Closets
Photos (Bottom, Both): Studio Brunstrum
My “reset” method almost always involves cleaning and organization; I function better when my belongings are put away in their respective places. Part of this process for me is evaluating how I’m using my space; square footage means nothing if you aren’t utilizing it to its fullest potential. My biggest task in any project is asking the question – how can we do more with the space we are given? For me, and most of our clients, that means finding new and creative ways of mastering our “stuff management” techniques. We should always be exploring new ways to add storage or built-in organization to help manage the amount of “stuff” we naturally accumulate throughout the years. Some of our favorite methods to utilize space more efficiently come from asking the following questions:
Can you add a shower niche to help corral your bathroom items?
Are you using every inch of your kitchen island and the ends of it?
Is there room for storage drawers under kid’s bedrooms or your kitchen banquette?
Do you have space under your stairs to add suitcase storage?
Are there closets you don’t know what to do with – can you transform them into something else like a bookshelf or an inset bar?
Do you have a collection you don’t know what to do with?

While these questions aren’t all encompassing, they start us down the right path of ensuring that your space functions for you; your life and home shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by stuff. If it does – it’s time for a change.
I’ve met Chicago-based artist Gail Mancuso numerous times through various friends over the years; in fact, she’s speaking with one of our favorite lighting designers, Lucy Slivinski, at the WAC this Spring. I’ve loved watching Gail’s unique perspective and technique shift and grow throughout the years I’ve been following her work; she tends to capture oft overlooked silhouettes through her camera lens, with a focus on the female form and the urban landscape. With awards and showcases throughout the world, Gail’s talent is reinvention – creating abstract compositions and experimenting with her own processes so that she’s constantly evolving. Her award winning Synchronicity series is one of my favorites – described as a collection of urban photomontages, created from hundreds of individual photographs she took in each of the four cities she featured. Moi and La Femme are other favorites from her portfolio – they encapsulate the constant movement and change of the female form and journey. Check out her work here.
I find lighting in today’s world one of the hardest pieces to select for homes; of all home furnishings it has the tendency to be over-replicated very quickly, making it difficult to find something that’s truly jaw-dropping. So when we say these Pearl Necklace Chandeliers from Semeur d’Etoiles Paris were love at first sight – we mean it! The pieces are customizable to any shape and configuration, created from mouth blown glass with brass accents. We love the inherently feminine feel of these pieces – our should we say j’adore
Not Dead Yet: Rebooting Your Life After 50 | Barbara Ballinger and Margaret Crane.
I recently got to listen to long-time friend (and the first writer to ever publish Studio Brunstrum’s work) Barbara Ballinger and her writing partner Margaret Crane discuss their new book in a presentation at the Woman’s Athletic Club – Not Dead Yet: Rebooting Your Life After 50. Ballinger and Crane’s 11th book together focuses on navigating a new stage of life after you turn 50, advising their aging readers that NOW is the time to tidy up their lives and focus on living fully in the moment – a very apropos lesson in connection to today’s newsletter. While life after 50 certainly brings challenges, it also bears the advantages of wisdom and opportunity. Needless to say, I bought a copy immediately and will be purchasing it as a gift for all my friends this year!
Library Update
We’re taking our own advice and organizing the library to give ourselves a fresh start to the new year! The Studio Brunstrum library is our creative space; so we want it to feel inspiring. We’ll be hitting reset as we organize and clean out our samples – stay tuned for what we rediscover!
We can’t believe we started our Daily Reverie Journals almost two years ago – and have since added Weekly Reveries and Sketchbooks in addition to our Monthly Reverie Journals! We’ve shared a lot of content with you all, but want to know what your favorite things to hear from us are – let us know what you love, what you don’t, and what you want more of so we can help you find extra happiness this year.  
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