Studio Brunstrum
I’m at my best in a messy, middle-of-the-road muddle.
It’s rare for me to reach the end of a year and not feel a sense of closure. In 2019, we were closing out a decade and looking forward to all the 20s had to offer. In 2020, we were looking for a marked shift from the tragedies of Covid-19 and looking forward to a fresh start – even if only on paper. This year, I feel I’m ending the year still in the middle.
We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, with both progress and setbacks still dominating our day-to-day lives. We’ve come a long way from the early days of quarantining, but we’ve still not reached the finality of being in the “after” – and don’t clearly have a sense of when we will. This “middleness” can feel daunting – it’s hard to plan around, it’s hard to evaluate, it’s constantly changing and disrupting. And secretly, I’ve always had a vendetta against all things “middle”, in my personal live and in my work. I love beginnings – they’re fresh and exciting, filled with possibility. I also love endings – they come with a sense of accomplishment, closure, and bittersweet memories from the journey. But the middle? I usually find it boring and frustrating – especially when you have a tendency to get stuck in the weeds.
It’s a challenge for me to remind myself that there’s often beauty in the middle ground. It’s the part of projects where we face challenges that turn into some of our most creative solutions. It’s the testing ground where you find out if the ideas and plans you made in the beginning will sink or swim. It’s the place where thoughts are connected and challenged, molded into something new or polished into something better. It’s simultaneously the chaos and the mundane – combining to create a satisfying ending.
The middle is the land of the unexpected and the unknown – and it’s time I embrace it for its worth and its beauty. So, as we head into 2022, I’m choosing to celebrate the middle. We’ve made it this far and there’s so much yet to come.
Have a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year – we wish you all happiness in the tomorrows!
Susan, Kelsey, and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
Quilting Queen
Quilting. The traditional puffer coat has been given new life in the world of fashion the past few years – with oversized and cropped versions, bright colors, and a resurgence of bold patterns. This year’s update? Quilting. The inherently English style is back in traditional colorways – olive, khaki, navy – with some fun updates into mauves, purples and reds. We fully expect quilted fabric to transition to interiors in 2022 – through quilted blankets, pillows, benches, cushions, or even a bold accent chair! We love that quilting gives fabric a bit of added dimension and texture, but remains classically cool and understated, allowing room for some non-traditional details like buttons or pattern!

Photos (left to right): Mango, Ligne Roset
Buck Up!
Buckles. Believe it or not – we still have some trends from High Point Market we haven’t shared with you yet – like the onslaught of buckles we noticed on both upholstery and casegoods. Oversized and attention-seeking – the addition of a buckle can take an everyday item and turn it into a statement piece. Our advice? Use extremely sparingly – there’s no need for every piece to be adorned with a buckle – one will do!

Photos (left to right): Hubbardton Forge, Studio Brunstrum
Even Stevens
Asymmetrical Furniture. Our world’s have been unpredictable and a bit unbalanced for the last two years – and our furniture is following suit. Clean-lined, symmetrical furniture will always be a staple, but asymmetrical furniture is having a moment – and we’re loving it! From dining table bases to organically shaped chests, we’ve been seeing an abundance of asymmetrical furniture is every product category. Take a walk on the wild side and choose a bold piece that’s eye-catching to make a statement.

Photos (left to right): Julian Chichester, Alfonso Marina
Blue's Clues
Blue. The Winter Blues are starting to set in – but this year they’ve got trendiness on their side. We’ve noticed an abundance of blue furniture – in every shade and hue. We’ve always considered navy to be a neutral, but we’re loving that other shades in the family are having their moment in the spotlight. From royal blue, to robin’s egg blue, to a deeper ocean blue – blue is said to be one of the most calming colors in the rainbow – and we couldn’t agree more. Fabrics, paint, exteriors, even casegoods – blue has no boundaries this Winter.

Photos (both): House Beautiful, Unknown
Photos (Top, Left to Right): Unknown, Four Hands, Studio Brunstrum
Photos (Bottom, Left to Right): Unknown, Unknown, Crate and Barrel
We get asked about bookshelves more often than we can say – how to accessorize them, what style to choose, if the dimensions are appropriate – we could go on! They can be tricky to incorporate into every space, so we’re sharing our quick and easy rules to determine how to make them fit in your home.
Start by asking yourself what purpose they will serve in the room? If you want to put them in an office, will they be use to store books or paperwork – do they need to accommodate baskets and bins of a certain size? If you’re wanting to put them in a family room or living room – do they need to accommodate a television? Using them in a den or hallway – will they hold accessories or books? Determining the end use can help decide if you have enough to fill the bookshelves – often the biggest problem we see clients face. They feel the shelves are too empty and could’ve used a different piece of furniture to contain what they needed.
Next, look at the size and scope of the room. If the room is big enough or the space can accommodate them – are built-ins appropriate? If you’re tighter on space, opt for standalones or bookshelves that can screw into the wall. To determine style, remember that the bookshelves will be filled – they shouldn’t be a bright and exciting piece in the room, but rather functional enough to let their contents shine.
Finally, let’s accessorize. There’s no perfect formula for accessorizing a bookshelf – and we like to change it up from time to time so it doesn’t feel stale. Our rule of thumb – incorporate items that you love and use a mix of found objects, books, florals and candles to keep everything visually interesting. Then follow a pattern to keep everything symmetrical or choose a more organic feeling shelf where items are stacked, grouped or turned on their sides for an unexpected twist.
We’re celebrating the life of the late Virgil Abloh, an extraordinary artist and fashion designer who recently lost his private battle with cancer. A Chicago native, Abloh earned a Bachelor’s degree civil engineering at the University of Madison Wisconsin as well as a Master’s of Architecture of the Illinois Institute of Technology prior to pursuing fashion. He learned the basics of fashion from his mother, who was a seamstress throughout her career. Abloh’s big break came through a connection to Kanye West, whom he met at 22, signing a deal to create a sneaker collaboration for him and Louis Vuitton. After debuting at Paris Fashionweek in 2009, the collection quickly became the cutting edge of fashion, re-inventing the concept of streetwear. Through his collaboration with West, Abloh became the creative director of Donda, created his own brand and collective Off-White, and was eventually recognized by Louis Vuitton, rising to become the brand’s artistic director of menswear, making him the most powerful Black executive in fashion. Abloh transformed streetwear into luxury wear, forever changing the landscape of fashion design and what was considered “high end”. He was named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of the year in 2018, opened a major exhibit, Figures of Speech, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2019, and established the “Post-Modern” scholarship fund in 2020, raising $1 million to encourage Black students in fashion. His legacy in the fashion and design world will always be one of pushing limits and breaking barriers to create a truly unique vision and culture; he’s created new limits for what’s possible and defined what it means to have extraordinary vision.
A sofa named after Kelsey? Of course we had to feature it in our newsletter! We fell in love with this customizable Chaddock piece at High Point where we thoroughly sit tested it to make sure it passed the Studio Brunstrum comfort test – it did! The standout detail? The angled, sloped arm curvature that juxtaposes beautifully with the squared-off back. Stunning!
House of Gucci – Sara Gay Forden.
House of Gucci, starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, hit theaters over Thanksgiving weekend – we saw it and loved it, but not before devouring the book by Sara Gay Forden. Promoted as a story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed – the novel certainly didn’t disappoint. Based on the sensational true story of the murder of Maurizio Gucci, heir to the eponymous fashion dynasty, the novel follows the subsequent arrest of his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli, nicknamed “The Black Widow” by the press, and her sentencing for arranging his murder. Forden explores her purported motives for the murder – his impending marriage to mistress Paola Franchi? His out of control spending habits? For control of the dynasty? Or is it possible she was innocent and didn’t kill her ex-husband at all? House of Gucci is a must read (and must-see) for anyone with a love of fashion, chronicling the rise, fall and resurgence of one of the world’s most renowned fashion houses in captivating prose. Father, Son, and House of Gucci!
Humble Design
Our team was honored to spend last Monday and Friday volunteering at Humble Design, designing and helping a young mother and infant son move into a new home. Humble Design aids those exiting homelessness by facilitating and creating beautiful spaces they can call home. Read more about the charity and ways to get involved on their website; we’re looking forward to future volunteer days with the organization and are pleased to be making a donation on behalf of Studio Brunstrum this holiday season.
Holiday Office Closure
The holidays are almost here! Our office will be closed 12/24-1/2 as we spend time with our loved ones! See you all in 2022!
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