Studio Brunstrum
Balance isn't something you achieve "someday".
Lately I’ve been contemplating the meaning of balance. It’s an easy concept to talk about; we all know we should be striving for balance in different facets of our life – work-life balance, relaxation-planning balance, indulgent-healthy balance, but it’s much harder to actually put into practice. There’s no firm measurement for balance, no perfectly static formula or metric to achieve that indicates we’re balanced enough – what works one week might feel completely out of whack the next. I also find that my sense of balance is completely affected by the world around me.
What’s the right balance between staying informed and taking time to unplug for our mental health? In a constantly stressful news cycle, particularly as of late with the war and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the heaviness of human emotion seems omnipresent. How do we get back to feeling balanced when we really need it the most?
I don’t have a perfect answer, but I find applying the same process I use to create balance in design helps to create balance in the rest of my life. My first objective is to often identify the non-negotiable elements in a room (or in life’s case things that I don’t have control over); identifying them helps me find the areas where I need to counter-balance. If I have black cabinetry that’s not changing, I want to find a lighter countertop or tile option to achieve balance. In life, I don’t have control over most of what’s going on in the world and I recognize that I want to stay informed, so I’ll balance that with taking time to myself to read, get a pedicure, or take a walk.
Next, I’ll force myself to walk away for a period of time and come back to the problem. Often getting that quick reset allows you to come back with a different perspective; when we can’t get a color palette quite right, we walk away and come back the next day with fresh inspiration and a different mindset. Reframing and resetting within your own life can lead to new outlooks and plans as well.
Finally, I allow myself to move things around freely. Getting stuck in a pattern leads to a finite set of solutions – when developing a floorplan or when trying to plan around life. Applying the same formula that hasn’t been working isn’t going to lead to different results. Trying a different idea or mixing things up is often my best solution to finding the right answer or the correct balance.
It's important to remind ourselves that balance isn’t always an end-goal; it’s often about finding balance on the journey and shuffling that equation as we go.
Susan, Kelsey, and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
Fortune Favors the Bold
Bold Tile. Tile is getting an upgrade, moving away from the tried and true white and gray running brick layout in favor of bolder patterns, shapes and colors. The reason? We’re seeing homeowners wanting to infuse their homes with personality in every aspect of materials and furnishings after spending so much time living and working in them. Changing your kitchen backsplash, mudroom or entry tile is not a difficult or costly project. There’s no more room for the safe or ordinary; your home shouldn’t fit a particular mold – it should fit you!

Photos (left to right): Fine Line via Tabarka Studio, Porcelanosa
Swing Into Spring
Swings. While we’re at it, let’s bring some FUN into our homes. We’ve seen an increase in requests for indoor and outdoor swings as of late – and we’re loving they playful feel the infuse into a room. Be that a porch swing, a pool swing, a reading hammock, or a statement chair – all of the options add an unexpected twist to your seating arrangements.

Photos (left to right):Studio McGee, Unknown
Let There Be Light
Lighter Floors. It’s true what they say – what goes around comes around, and that’s no different for interior trends! In this case, lighter wood floors are making a comeback and as with all things on the trend curve, are getting a bit of a rebrand. What we used to call a “pickled finish” is now being deemed brushed or light driftwood. We’re fans of this comeback story at Studio Brunstrum – the lighter and calmer floors provide the perfect back drop for other bold statements (like tile, cabinetry, and paint color) to stand out! Plus, they’re far easier to keep clean than their dark counterparts – you don’t see every speck of dust!

Photos (left to right): Divine Flooring via Smith Erickson, Unknown
The More the Merrier
Two Toned Door Hardware. While we stress that your interior door hardware and hinges should be the same throughout your home to create continuity, that doesn’t mean they have to be boring! Multi-finish door (and cabinet) hardware has been making a splash – and we’re diving into the deep end! Using a two-toned piece of hardware helps create a broader and more visually interesting palette, adding texture and layers and leaving room for you to mix metals throughout your home as well.

Photos (both): H. Theophile, CB2
All Photos via Studio Brunstrum
We’ll be honest with you – selecting lamps can be an absolute pain! While installed lighting (chandeliers, sconces, pendants, etc.) is often selected along with the rest of the interior materials, additional sources of light (table and floor lamps) are selected with the furnishings and are often considered as an afterthought and can be hard to coordinate into a space – especially since there are quite a few requirements to picking the perfect one. You need to consider:
Usage – What’s the purpose of the lamp? Is it needed for additional light or is it being used to fill space and add interest? Will it be in use all of the time or only when trying to read?
Height – We often find that table and floor lamps are too short – usually negating their purpose by not providing the light where it’s needed and becoming a crash hazard for taller people.
Shade – Choosing the correct shade is as important as picking the right lamp base. It’s important to keep in mind that the darker the shade, the less light the lamp will actually provide, so remember to consider usage when picking them out. Another common misconception? That the shades throughout your home have to match – they don’t! Choose the correct shade for the space and the base of the lamp – and don’t be afraid to purchase an irregular shade shape!
Brightness – Looking at the max wattage for a lamp is critical; if the purpose of the lamp is to provide additional light and the maximum wattage is low, you’re creating more problems than you’re solving.
Scale – Make sure your lamp size and base shape balance with other items in the room, particularly the pieces it’s next to or atop. Width and the size of the harp can have a big impact on how the lamp fits into your space.
Susan had the honor of seeing one of light artist James Turrell’s only North American residential installations on her recent art exhibition in Hawaii. As part of a trip with the Fellows of Contemporary Art, they were given a private tour of one of his Skyspaces – what he describes as “chambers with an aperture in the ceiling open to the sky”. Intended to reveal how we internally create the colors we see and how that forms our individual realities, Turrell uses the sky as his canvas and invites the viewer the perceive the changing colors at dawn and dusk through his installations. As an avid pilot, Turrell has spent more than enough time contemplating the sky and our relationship with it; he began experimenting with light as art in the mid-60s, with his first exhibition in a one-man show at the Pasadena Art Museum. In 1977, he began working on the Roden Crater project, an extinct volcano in Northern Arizona that he’s cut a series of chambers, tunnels and apertures into that are meant to represent heaven and earth. While Roden Crater is not yet open to the public, Turrell has installations in 22 countries all over the world. Check out his work here.
We fell in love with the Mercer Canopy Bed on a recent visit to the Anthony Inc. showroom! We were so enamored with the appearance that the bed is floating while it rests on metal legs that run the length of the bed. The metal detail neatly juxtaposes the warm dark oak and white smooth gesso finish options, while the upholstered headboard and footboard and presence and depth to the bed, lending a sophistication that’s usually lacking in a canopy.

The Dry | Jane Harper
It’s almost Spring Break – and we’ve got your next airplane book ready to go! We read Jane Harper’s The Survivors last year and loved her ability to spin a twisty and detailed mystery so much that we ordered the rest of her novels. The Dry, her debut, introduces us to financial FBI detective Aaron Falk following the murder-suicide of his childhood best friend, wife and child. As he reluctantly returns to the drought-stricken hometown that shunned him following his own suspicion in the death of a friend years earlier, Aaron is quickly wrapped up in old prejudices, theories, and relationships from his past. Asked to assist the new sheriff in proving the deaths were not a murder-suicide, Falk sinks deeper and deeper into the place he swore he would never return to. Harper’s ability to mirror the deaths of present day with the unsolved mystery of 20 years ago will keep you guessing until the very end. We couldn’t put it down!
Around the Globe
We’re so excited to be travelling again and can’t wait to share some of our recent travels and recommendations in our Around the Globe segments of the newsletter. Keep an eye out for Susan’s Hawaii recap and Kelsey’s London recap in the upcoming Reveries.
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