Studio Brunstrum
Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’
This May feels like a new beginning – we’re working towards a re-opening of the country as vaccine rates steadily continue, we’re celebrating Mother’s Day and AAPI Heritage Month, the weather’s finally getting warmer, and life feels like it’s steadily returning to the “before times”.
As things continue to feel fresh, exciting and new, we’re embracing them with a heart-centered aptitude. If we’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s the power of empathy and bringing communities and people together. That togetherness starts from the inside out. Last year it was centered in our homes and manifested itself by creating safe havens in the midst of chaos. This year, we’re hoping it manifests itself by a continued emphasis placed on equity and kindness outside the home.
So let’s jump into this new season (and fresh start) with our whole hearts; continuing to care for ourselves and others to create exciting new possibilities!
Susan, Kelsey, and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
Detail Oriented
Millwork Details
We’re seeing intricate and detailed millwork everywhere and we’re loving it! Millwork doesn’t have to be standard trim and doors; utilizing it to add oomph and emphasis to a space creates distinction. Lately, we’ve seen a call back to older and more detailed millwork that uses unusual patterns to create depth. An entire wall of millwork or an intricately patterned ceiling make a statement. To create an even bigger splash – make it colorful like we discussed last month!

Photos (left to right): Next Luxury, Maria Killam
Hot Topic
Clean-Lined Fireplaces
Fireplaces are inherently cozy and for so long were paired with extensive brick or surrounds to play into their warm connotation. We’re starting to see homeowners opt for cleaner lined fireplaces to create some juxtaposition with the warm and cozy they’re putting in the rest of their homes. We’re always fans of contrast, so we love the mix of styles!

Photos (both): Unknown
Chocolate Craze
Brown Furniture.
The 70s are calling to compliment the resurgence of brown furniture! We’re here to say that brown is back – and we’re excited about it! Brown accent pieces can add a richness, depth and warmth to a color palette without feeling too old fashioned. Layered in appropriately and used delicately, brown can act as a grounding neutral to lighten things up from traditional black.

Photos (left to right): Studio Brunstrum, CB2
Tile Tactics
Tiled Walls.
A fully tiled wall? Sign us up! We love to extend the reach of tile as an accent wall in a room where tile usually exists – bathrooms, powder rooms, laundry rooms or the wall around your fireplace! Breaking the barriers around tile placement can make a room feel more cohesive and create a cleaner, more modern look (that’s also easier to keep clean).

Photos (left to right): Unknown, Black and Design
All Photos via Studio Brunstrum
Dining Room Tables can make or break a room – creating a space that feels welcoming or one that feels outdated. We are proponents of the “anything goes” mentality as far as style – if you prefer modern, classic or antique, you can make that work for your space – with a few key points to keep in mind.
  • Create juxtaposition. Not everything in your dining room should match; dining room sets that were once in vogue have seen a better day. Mix chairs to create a look that doesn’t feel too “perfect” or standard. We’re partial to round dining room tables if they work in the space as they promote easier conversations.  
  • Buy the correct size table for your space. You should have adequate clearance for someone to walk around the table when the chairs are pulled out; anything less can make a space feel cramped.
  • Sit test! We can’t stress this enough – comfortable dining room chairs are a MUST. There’s nothing worse than trying to facilitate conversation when you’re uncomfortable.
  • Choose the right chandelier for the room. Your table and chandelier should pair together well. A chandelier that doesn’t quite fit can make or break your space.
Susan had the privilege of listening to renowned, Chicago-based sculptor Richard Hunt speak from his studio as part of a presentation through the Woman’s Athletic Club last month. Hunt’s work is currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he has studied since the seventh grade and where he received his B.A.E. in 1957. Hunt’s career has been defined by a myriad of groundbreaking firsts – he was the youngest artist to exhibit at the Seattle World’s Fair, was the first African-American sculptor to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, was one of the first artists appointed to serve on the National Council of the Arts by former president Lyndon B. Johnson, and was most recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Sculpture Center. The latter half of Hunt’s career has focused largely on large-scale public sculpture commissions; from Midway Airport to the State of Illinois Center, Hunt has commissioned over 150 works. Check out more of his stunning work here.
Wendy Zumpano has been one of Studio Brunstrum’s most trusted collaborators from our first year in business. Specializing in hand-drawn pencil portraits, Wendy flawlessly sketches renderings of your favorite photographs and transforms them into cherished pieces of artwork. We’ve partnered with Wendy to commission large-scale portraits for clients homes (and for our own!) and collaborate with her to create sketches of our client’s homes as our thank-you gifts to honor the relationships we create throughout our projects. Portraits and cards from Wendy top the list of the Studio Brunstrum gift guide – perfect if you need a belated Mother’s Day or early Father’s Day gift!
We’re absolutely enamored with Studio Drift’s Fragile Future chandeliers as part of their Dandelight collection. The pieces are created from three-dimensional bronze electrical circuits that are then connected to light-emitting dandelions. The fusion of technology and nature creates such a breath-taking juxtaposition that’s both delicate and machine-focused and is absolutely eye-catching. Susan met the artists behind Studio Drift on an art trip to Amsterdam a few years ago and we’ve been following their work ever since!
Kate Quinn – The Rose Code.
Nothing beats the feeling of receiving a new release from a favorite author! We’ve all devoured Kate Quinn’s past historical novels, most notably The Alice Network, and were thrilled when she released The Rose Code last month. Following three women at the onset of World War II, The Rose Code details their journeys as code breakers in Bletchley Park as they work to dismantle the Nazi regime and discover that there’s a traitor amongst them. The seat-gripping novel is one of Quinn’s best and the perfect beach/pool read as we approach warmer days.
National Realtor's Association Article
Thank you to Barbara Ballinger and the National Association of Realtors for the mention in “Spa Inspired Bathrooms are En Vogue” – check out the full article here!
Out of Office
The Studio Brunstrum office will be closed Thursday and Friday May 20th-21st as well all enjoy some time away from the city with friends and family! Keep an eye on the Sketchbook in the coming weeks for details on our trips!
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