Studio Brunstrum
An artist who works with his hands, his head and his heart at the same time creates a masterpiece.
Our apologies - it appears as if our September Reverie email had some technical difficulties and a few sections weren't displaying properly across all browsers. Enjoy the corrected version below:

A small silver lining of the ongoing pandemic? It has forced change and increased adaptability in many aspects of our daily lives. Though it seems our society still has quite a long way to go to reach positive and lasting change, we’ve taken small strides in our work, school and family lives that I think we will carry into a post-pandemic world.
We’ve changed the way we communicate (hello, Zoom), changed the way we shop for groceries (thank you Instacart and Prime), changed our daily schedules (midday runs, early evening happy hours, and flexible working and personal hours) and changed countless other aspects of our routines in an effort to continue to stay home and stay safe. We’ve broken societal norms about what a workday should look like and found ways to see the world and experience different kinds of adventures from our own homes. In essence, we’ve changed our viewpoints and mindsets in order to find creative solutions to problems we never anticipated. To me, this means we’ve all become artists.
Artists don’t always have to pick up a paintbrush or a lump of clay to be considered artists – they simply need to see the world and interpret it differently than “normal”. Translating their interpretation into a changed outcome defines their craft. So today, we celebrate craftsmanship of all kinds and the dedication, perseverance, and ingenuity it has taken all of us to become artists during this time. Celebrate the small things and congratulate yourself for your resilience to continually adapt to life’s curveballs. If you so choose, pick up a paintbrush or a pencil and create traditional “art”, but consider yourself an artist of life for making it this far into 2020.
Susan, Kelsey, and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
The Kids Are Alright
Personalized Child/Teen Bedrooms. The ups and downs of the pandemic (or what I like to call the rollercoaster of emotions) is not limited to adults; children, adolescents and teens are also trying to interpret what’s going on in the world around them and are often subject to second-hand stress from the adults in their lives. As most kids are starting to go back to virtual school, home has now also become a place to learn, play sports, and socialize. It’s important to recognize that they also need a creative outlet and a place to relax and de-stress that feels different from the rest of their day. Our solution? Let your kids personalize their bedrooms to create a space that excites them and makes it feel like they have some control. Helping make decisions about updates to their rooms also gives them a fun project to work on – we can call it art class! Our favorite easy-update ideas? Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint, creating canvas art for their walls, or picking a theme or color scheme for new bedding!

Photos (left to right): Studio Brunstrum, Unknown
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Creative Storage. The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we shop; for me, that means an influx of packages and buying essentials in bulk. It also means we need to get creative with how we store things in our homes. Creating unique storage solutions can be tricky, but once you find a system that works for you and your space your home will feel less cluttered and chaotic. Our tips? Create spaces that mimic an “inbox” and an “outbox” for packages and returns you don’t have time to unbox right away, use boxes and trays to keep open storage and bookshelves clean-lined and invest in furniture with built-in storage to keep things out of sight.

Photos (both): Studio Brunstrum
The New PDA: Public Display of Art
Public Art. While most museums and galleries remain closed, artists are getting creative by creating larger than life displays outdoors. These socially distant friendly displays span mediums and techniques – from sculptures to gardens to light installations to graffiti and murals. We love that public art is available to keep patrons engaged and inspired, while also giving artists an outlet for the creativity – usually in a larger than life display. We highly recommend googling what public art is available in your city and making a day of it like you would at the museum! Check out some of our new Chicago favorites above!

Photos (left to right): Juice WRLD Memorial Mural via CBS News, Amends Exhibit by Bob Faust and Nick Cave
Build It and They Will Come
Built-In Desks. For so long, we’ve been asked to take built-in desks out of kitchens and breakfast rooms because they felt too dated and were too “in the middle of everything”. Now, we can’t think of a better solution to working and schooling from home! Built in desks provide extra space for additional monitors and storage, mimicking a school desk setting for your kids (or creating a desk space for parents where they can keep an eye on the kids during the day!).

Photos (left to right): Unknown, Studio Brunstrum
Photos (top, left to right): Elle Decor, Coco Republic
Photos (bottom, left to right): Jenni Kayne, Decor Life, DMVF Architects
Lately, we’ve been intrigued by the Dutch concept of Niksen – “the art of doing nothing.” In stark contrast to mindfulness, where one aims to be present and with oneself, Niksen encourages one to just be. I’ve been finding myself practicing Niksen unintentionally, staring out the window or taking 15 minutes to myself to just sit and wipe my mind clean. Not only is Niksen supposed to increase overall wellbeing and happiness, I’ve found that it lessens my stress and lowers my heart rate, clearing my mind from the daily drama and chaos of COVID. Our favorite place to practice Niksen – a window seat or bench! Window seats are the ultimate cozy spot (especially when adorned with upholstered bench cushions and pillows). A window seat or bench carves out a nook within a bigger room that feels secluded from the rest of the house – and provides a great spot to sit and stare out the window! A few things to keep in mind – the height of your window seat should mirror traditional seat height (18"-20") with a depth that's wide enough to fit an adult (typically 16"-20"). Remember - a window seat or bench is always nice when it has a lovely view, but not necessary; carve a space out anywhere within your home to create a cozy spot that feels secluded!
I was lucky enough to meet artist, vice president and buyer Donna J. West while shopping at my go-to neighborhood store, Londo Mondo (the ultimate spot for year-round bathing suits and accouterments). Reflective of her lifetime love of fashion, Donna’s work transforms and interprets what clothing and fashion mean to her. Heavy on texture and inspired by her Chicago surroundings, her oil brush and palette work exude passion and authenticity. Focusing primarily on women’s fashion, we also love that her work explores the beauty of the female figure and the power and confidence of a woman who uses fashion as a form of self-expression. Check out more of Donna’s craftsmanship HERE.
Often, single room renovations feel like completing a 1,000 piece puzzle – finessing the floorplan and stealing inches of square footage from other areas to make the room functional and cohesive with the rest of the house. These clients returned to Studio Brunstrum to renovate their master bathroom after having completed their laundry room, dining room, living room, family room and hall bath a few years prior. We completely transformed their outdated “builder grade” suburban master bathroom into a sophisticated oasis. After moving the toilet across the room, enlarging the shower, removing the bathtub and replacing a closet with by-pass doors to a wall of cabinetry to maximize storage space, we still faced the challenge of making the formal marble that our client adored fit with the rest of their comfortable and casual home. By introducing the pale green crackle-glazed tile in the shower and wood grain porcelain plank on the floor, we toned down the formality of the marble slabs to ensure the bathroom was cohesive with the rest of the home. Check out the full project HERE.

Catch us soaking up the last of the summer sun in the new, undeniably cool Bikini Lounger by Tonik. Molded from polyethylene plastic that’s resistant to sunblock, salt and chlorine, which also includes UV light stabilizers to prevent fading, these chairs are the ultimate minimalistic (and ergonomic) pool or beach side must-have. Available in an array of colors, from bright and bold to neutral and serene, they’re amenable to almost any outdoor space. We'll be dreaming of being poolside on vacation until further notice; you know where to find us when we say we’re “working from home”.
Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult.
Kelsey recently finished Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult and was heartbroken that a novel centered on the issue of racism in America that was published in 2016 could be just as relevant 4 years later. The plot focuses on a lawsuit between a Black labor and delivery nurse and the White Supremacist parents of an infant who died from complications shortly after birth. Told from the perspective of the nurse, the lawyer, and the father of the baby, the story not only confronts what it means to be Black in America but also how to come to terms with and confront stereotypes, beliefs and ideals within ourselves that seem harmless but help to perpetuate systemic racism. Timely, poetic and engaging, Small Great Things will challenge you to become uncomfortably introspective and meditate on your own beliefs and actions.
Weekly Reverie Update
Art and craftsmanship often include lots of fine-tuning and tweaking – especially when creativity is part of your day job! For us that means running lots of tests and making adjustments along the way – for color palettes, fabric schematics and even our Reveries! Stay tuned for some exciting updates and tweaks coming to the Weekly Reverie in this Thursday’s edition!
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