Studio Brunstrum
We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.
Somehow, it’s December. We are weeks away from being done with the year 2020, and while we know a proverbial switch is not going to flip at midnight on New Year’s Eve and make 2021 magically better, having the weight of all that has happened this past year lifted and the marking of a new beginning sounds refreshing.
So, while we wait for 2020 to end, we are taking this time to check in with ourselves and encouraging you to do the same. In December, we usually talk about the stress and planning of the holidays and how we all measure ourselves against what we think the “perfect” celebration with friends and family should look like. This year, we’re shooting for joy instead and leaving the concept of perfect in the past. So, ask yourself:
  • Who or what has gotten you through this year?
  • What have you learned about yourself that you did not know?
  • What has been your silver lining amidst the chaos of 2020?
  • How has your home helped you feel safe?
  • What have you accomplished?
Congratulate yourself on the small wins. Channel your energy into your new (or old) hobbies. Embrace the things you love about your living environment. (Virtually) Hug those that have made your 2020 better and tell them you love them. Make plans to carry the accomplishments, people, activities, and moments of laughter with you into next year. Spread joy and enjoy the holidays!
We’ll see you in 2021!
Susan, Kelsey, and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
Grinchy Greens
Holiday Greenery. One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the infusion of additional greenery into my décor. From evergreen wreaths, to magnolia branches, to garland and more – you can’t go wrong with any type of earthy green for decoration. My newest favorite? Homemade garland made from dried oranges; unique, simple, with a pop of color – refreshing!

Photos (left to right): Unknown
Kitchen Chaos
Kitchen Re-Configuration. We’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on the biggest home trend we’ve seen in 2020: kitchen reconfiguration. With so much time spent at home and much more time than usual spent cooking in the kitchen, it’s no wonder the number one request from our clients has been how to reconfigure a kitchen. Our answer? Space planning. Space planning. Space planning. It is the key to functionality.

Photos (left to right): Studio Brunstrum
All For Sisal
Colored Sisal Rugs. Sisal doesn’t have to be synonymous with neutral. For so long, sisal rugs were only used in natural fibers for rustic farmhouse vibes. Boring be gone! Colored sisal is here and it’s bold! From bright colors to woven patterns, we love that colored sisal rugs have amped up the flair, while still maintaining a bohemian and earthy feel.

Photos (left to right): Annie Selke, Stark Carpet
Going Dutch
Niksen. The Dutch word that quite literally translates to “doing nothing” is the word of the year in our books – it sums up 2020 to a tee. Beyond that, it also has a place in our homes. Niksen is used to combat stress and anxiety from overworking and is meant to help you clear your mind and let go. Practicing Niksen is a skill, but one that can be helped with the right environment. Creating a space in your home that’s calm and allows you to relax for a few minutes is key – even if that space is a tiny corner of your apartment.

Photos (left to right): Quality Bath, Studio Brunstrum
Photos (left to right): Studio Brunstrum
Fireplaces? In the Winter? Groundbreaking. Fireplaces are great year-round but feel especially cozy when the temps drop and the holidays are approaching. A fireplace can improve your mood, but better yet it can instantly improve the aesthetic of your home. Often, an outdated fireplace can cause the entire room to feel drab, when a few simple updates can make it shine. Your screen should be one of your biggest considerations when updating a fireplace. As a starting point, think about safety, usage and location when picking the perfect screen and determine whether it should be inset or freestanding. If you have young kids or grandkids in the house, I suggest an inset screen. If you seldomly use your fireplace, I suggest a freestanding screen.
The Art Institute of Chicago recently opened the Bisa Butler: Portraits exhibit, and it is absolutely mesmerizing. Butler, who earned her master’s in arts education from Montclair State University, works strictly with textiles to create her pieces. Her quilts investigate both the historical and personal journeys of Black life and culture, exploring themes like family, community, and legacy. Her work has been displayed in the Smithsonian, the Epcot Center, and the Underground Railroad Freedom Exhibition, but the Art Institute will mark her first solo exhibition, displaying over 20 works. The use of vibrant color and the texture and pattern obtained from the textiles gives her work a striking quality, while the content evokes powerful emotions and culture. 
Our go-to for high quality, in-stock rugs, we love working with the team of experts at Oscar Isberian! Their wide selection and array of color, pattern, fiber and texture ensures they have the perfect rug for many of the homes we collaborate on. Their expertise on custom cutting and binding allows us the freedom to find the perfect rug and cut it down to size to fit whatever space we need – a luxury we can’t live without! We also love that they're local so our clients can see and feel the rugs in person with us in the showroom or in their homes prior to making a decision!

Rug by Oscar Isberian, Design by Michael Del Piero
Fresh Lens Chicago’s Finest Youth. We featured Fresh Lens’ latest book release on our 2020 Studio Brunstrum Gift Guide, and it’s quickly become one of our favorite books to flip through for inspiration. Fresh Lens, a Chicago-based non-profit, provides educational arts programming to under-resourced areas of the city, with a special focus on the medium of photography. At Studio Brunstrum, we believe that everyone is an artist, so we love to partner with and help organizations that are encouraging self-expression through art, particularly in areas where the equipment needed to hone a skillset isn’t readily available. The Fresh Lens book, Chicago’s Finest Youth, features the work of their advanced class, with all proceeds going directly to the students. The perfect gift for yourself or others, flipping through the pages and seeing the world through someone else’s eyes is sure to spark inspiration.

*This month's header image is a piece by Fresh Lens Student Sofia Reyes and is available to buy in print!
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse – Charlie Mackesy. Artist Charlie Mackesy never imagined himself as an author, let alone a New York Times Bestseller. Released last year, his first picture book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse started as a random drawing uploaded to his Instagram account and has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon for every generation – equally as emotional for an 8-year-old as it is profound for someone who is 98. The book details the journey of four unlikely friends (the boy, the mole, the fox, and the horse) and explores how empathy and kindness can make the world a better place. An inspiring read this holiday season!
Kitchen and Bath Design News 
Thank you to the team at Kitchen and Bath Design News for featuring our work A Family Legacy in the latest issue – we’re honored! Check out the article about one of our favorite kitchen overhauls HERE and explore the rest of the project on our website.
Design Trust Panel
Missed Susan’s panel on behalf of Design Trust and the Merchandise Mart Design Center? The full presentation discussing how to brand your business as part of the Design Center’s Business of Design Lecture Series is now live on the website – check out the full video HERE.
Gift Guide
Make your list and check it twice! We published our 2020 Gift Guide as part of last Sunday’s Sketchbook – there’s still time to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list! One of our favorites and easiest last-minute gifts? Studio Brunstrum design time!
Holiday Office Hours
The Studio Brunstrum office will be closed from December 23rd – January 1st as we celebrate the holidays and enjoy virtual time with family and friends. Happy Holidays to you all!
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