Studio Brunstrum
August slipped away like a bottle of wine.
This month, we’re living August like the French do!

In France, it’s common for nearly half the working population to take the month of August off as holiday. For those that don’t, they still actively try and focus on relaxing and rejuvenating. The French try and give themselves time to enjoy the winding down of summer days – enjoying life as it comes and putting worries on the back burner until September.
Since a month-long vacation isn’t the norm in the U.S. (who do we petition to make that a reality?), we’ll be incorporating this mindset into our workdays and our weekends. That means putting down the to-do lists (we checked our goals progress last month) and saying yes to all things indulgent – be that another glass of wine, a delectable dinner, an extra cookie for dessert or saying yes to long, summer nights with friends and family around the bonfire. It means taking in your surroundings without worrying about what’s next and what needs to be done. Be present and enjoy!
We’re translating the sentiment to our homes by focusing on how they make us feel. Amp up the comfort, stay in bed for a late morning (or even have breakfast in bed), enjoy a bubble bath, sit in your robe on the sofa until dinner time, grocery shop the European way by deciding what you want the day of – the possibilities are endless. Let yourself just “be” this month and focus on what makes you happy.
Susan, Kelsey, and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
Saturation Infatuation
Saturated Color. Turn it up! The color, that is. As we gear up for Fall, we’re leaving the muted hues of Spring and Summer behind and swapping them out for deep, saturated colors – in our wardrobes and our homes. Pick a favorite color, or two or three, and dial up the saturation to create a more dynamic color palette that feels grounded and rich. We’re not saying you need to opt for neons – your favorite neutrals and jewel tones can add saturation as well. Accent with metallics and ground with soft colors (see, they haven’t gone away completely – they’re just no longer center stage) of the same family to pull everything together. Some of our favorite saturated shades from Benjamin Moore: Peony, Deep Ocean, Vine Green, Spring Moss, Orange Burst, Mulberry, and Fire and Ice.

Photos (left to right): Unknown, Elle Decor
Houndstooth. Houndstooth feels inherently sophisticated to me; commonly used in English homes and wardrobes, the checked pattern is classic for a reason. Typically black and white, the pattern feels warm and cozy, but can also be used as a great transition piece as we hover between seasons. In the home, we love to use houndstooth as an accent fabric for benches, ottomans, barstools or pillows. To ground the pattern, we love to mix it with other luxurious textures like leather, boucle, or faux fur.

Photos (left to right): Blanco Interiors, Unknown
Organized Chaos
Mudroom Cubbies. It’s back to school season! The kids are almost back in school (hopefully) and with that comes an influx of….stuff! From sports gear, to backpacks, to lunchboxes and coats, this time of the year always seems to feel scattered as we settle into a new routine. Now that most schools will be back in person, we’re feeling the need to keep extra organized and keep that stuff behind closed doors. Our favorite Studio Brunstrum solution? Mudroom storage! More specifically, cubbies. Creating personalized cubby cabinetry for your home is a great way to stay organized (even if you don’t have kids in the house) and ensures that all the “stuff” you don’t know what to do with has a home. If you have kids, each one gets a cubby for their things. If you don’t, use the cubbies for extra household items, your own exercise equipment, or essentials like umbrellas and winter wear that don’t have a home. To make it feel cohesive with the rest of your home, match it to your other cabinetry throughout.

Photos (left to right): Stephenson Wright, Studio McGee
Open Sesame
Open Storage Kitchens. While we want our mudroom storage to keep things out of sight, we feel the exact opposite about our kitchens! Open cabinetry storage is en vogue and we’re loving the way in lightens up a kitchen full of cabinetry. Since our tableware and dinnerware is usually fairly easy to organize, why not display it? Open storage shelves for glasses or glass panels to store plates, cereal bowls, soup bowls, salad plates, platters and serving pieces make kitchens (especially in an open floorplan) feel less perfect and more “lived in”. Plus, guests won’t have to guess where your glasses are!

Photos (left to right): reDesign Home, Lilyann Cabinets
All Photos via Studio Brunstrum
We could talk about kitchens for days – color trends, cabinetry dos and don’ts, our favorite new countertops, must haves for entertaining, the list goes on. But, before we get to any of the aesthetic features we love about kitchens, we always put ample effort into how the kitchen functions. As the heart of the home, your kitchen has to flow for your lifestyle. We firmly believe no two kitchens should be the same. So, where do you start?
Start by asking questions…of yourself and every member of your family! (That includes your furry friends too). Figure out how you use your space and what about it isn’t working right. Some great questions to ask:
  • How often do we entertain? Do we want to entertain more than we do?
  • Do we have enough storage space? If you like clean countertops, do all of your appliances have a home?
  • What’s the traffic flow of your kitchen like?
  • Is your countertop used as a second desk?
  • Do you have more than one cook in the family and need multiple work surfaces?
  • Do your pets like to follow you around when you cook and is there enough walking space so they don’t get trampled?
  • Are your appliances accessible?
  • Is your trash can in a convenient location? How about your dishwasher? (HINT: never stick a dishwasher in a corner)
Starting off with these questions will help you determine what you need out of your kitchen. From there, you can move onto cabinetry, seating, color palettes, etc. But your perfect kitchen will always start with getting your layout just right!
Frida Kahlo is an easily recognizable name in the art world, but do you know much about her life and art? The Timeless Exhibit at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art aims to explore the artist behind the art and the role Mexico City and her surrounding world played into her work. Kahlo often explained she “painted her reality”, this new exhibit attempts to bring that reality to life with 26 original works, 100 photographic images of her life, and a full timeline with replicas of notable objects throughout her years as an artist. I spent last Saturday at the exhibit with my friend Marigale and we were both surprised at how dark and mysterious her work and her life was from what our connotations with her name had been. As with most now-renown artists she was ahead of her time – in her style, art, and politics. She explored all aspects of her rather turbulent life through her painting – including her rocky marriage to muralist Diego Rivera, complications with childbirth, and lasting injuries from a bus accident as a teen. Her signature style celebrates her Mexican heritage and has forged her name into the icons of the world – her work is simply timeless. Check out the exhibit before it ends September 12th!
Back to Cali we go! Susan and her friend Connie spent a few days in Paso Robles (the daytime temperature was a very hot 112 degrees but it was definitely worth the drive from LA – especially as they drove through the scenic Central Valley, home to some of the richest farmland in the US that produces more than 300 types of crops and is responsible for a fourth of the food consumed in the country). They stayed at the Paso Robles Inn in the heart of the town across from the town square, attended Bruce Munro’s “Light at Sensorio” at sundown, visited the Pasolivio Olive Ranch and toured the Mission San Miguel. While Paso Robles is known for its vineyards, they decided to focus on art instead and they had recently returned from the KY Bourbon Trail. Her trip journal is below:

Our first stop? The Pasolivio Olive Ranch. Needless to say, after an hour-long olive oil tasting and learning all about the health benefits of olive oil (especially those picked on the ranch) I joined the Pasolivio Club and took home bottles of their Tuscan, Basil, Garlic Lemon and Citrus Olive Oils along with their Citrus Champagne, Blackberry Balsamic and Raspberry Basil Vinegars. I’m all set for every summer dinner menu I can think of that includes salads, chicken and fish!

The Field of Lights during sunset was gorgeous- a 15 acre walk through experience, the installation is comprised of more than 58,800 stemmed spheres lit by fiber optics that appear as though flowers are blooming and waving across the hilly landscape. It reminded me of our spring visit to the Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam - only a quieter color palette and of course the flowers weren’t real tulips!

Our last stop was one of the 21 California Missions established by Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen The Old Mission San Miguel Arcangel is a historical landmark founded in 1797 and is the 16th of the 21 missions forming a link between San Antonio and San Luis Obispo- each a day’s journey apart. The inside of the church was breathtaking- all originally hand painted by local artisans in soft colors of mint greens, blue, pinks, reds and yellow - combined with the patterns it was inspirational!  
Damnation Spring, Ash Davidson.
In Ash Davidson’s debut novel, Damnation Spring, he takes us into the Redwood Forest of California and into the complicated lives of Rich Gunderson, his wife Colleen and their son, Chub. A logger by trade, Rich’s entire family has lived and worked on Damnation Grove and nearby 24-7 Ridge as far as he can remember. With most woodlands protected by new laws, the grove is a logger’s paradise. When the opportunity arises to buy 24-7 Ridge, Rich empties the family savings in hopes that he can provide a better life for his son, unbeknownst to his wife. On the flipside, his wife Colleen, begins to doubt their lifestyle and livelihood as she’s witnessed and experienced heartbreaking miscarriages as a midwife and mother. She can’t help but feel the miscarriages aren’t without cause, as she connects them to increasingly dangerous and frequent mudslides and the disappearance of salmon from the creeks in their home. Her investigation leads her to the supposedly safe herbicides that the logging company has used since its inception, an investigation that has the potential to unravel their lives and livelihood. A passionate portrayal of a town that lives and dies by logging, it questions what we do when our ways of life turn perilous.
RNDD Gallery Walk
We’re helping host the 6th annual River North Design District Gallery Walk and we couldn’t be more excited. Join Susan and fellow hosts Candace Jordan, Nick Mariano, Patrick Sansone and Kelli Zaremba, along with sponsor Daniel Kinkade, on September 10th for a night of art and design. The walk will feature 25 artists and 18 designer vignettes, with opening night parties benefitting Digs for Dignity. Buy your tickets here!
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