Studio Brunstrum
Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience. 
“When one door closes, another opens.”
“There’s always a silver lining.”
“Look on the bright side.”
Confusing times and daunting situations are often met with common sayings and optimistic platitudes (like those above) that promise everything will be alright. When we’re in the midst of ongoing uncertainty, it’s hard to stay positive – especially when we have no clear path forward, no foolproof solution, or even a hazy endpoint. Being stuck inside for a few months, with a strong likelihood of renewed quarantine on the horizon, I’ve been feeling anxious, listless and uninspired. Those feelings are cyclical – at times I often feel grateful and humbled that I have my health, that I’ve been able to stay connected with family and friends, and that I still get to do what I love every day! I’ve also made it a personal goal to use this time to figure out what inspires me and improves my mental health.
For me – I’ve realized how much I rely on nature for my overall wellbeing. It’s important to me to get outside every day and I’ve recognized how much I need my own outdoor space. The pandemic has also placed a renewed importance on clean, natural products; I want to feel safe and secure in what I’m bringing into my home and have even found myself longing to test out my (long-retired) green thumb. I’ve placed an emphasis on getting fresh air for myself and in my home every day, making sure I get ample natural light from open windows and doors and setting aside time to talk a walk, all of which is galvanizing the use of natural fabrics, colors, and motifs in my designs.
This newsletter (and this month’s Weekly Reveries) focus on all the good nature brings us – both outside and in. May it inspire you to soak up the rays of summer sunshine and find what inspires you.
Susan, Kelsey and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
Maximalism is Out. Maximalism has been one of the trends that transcends seasons and styles for the past few years – in both fashion and interiors. Borne into an era of self-love and individuality, from a generation that valiantly fights against the status quo, Maximalism was a way to show off your true self. Bright, bold, and eye-catching, the trend had a well-deserved place in the industry. Though it was never my personal favorite, I loved that it pushed boundaries and amplified the idea that your home should reflect YOU. However, in light of the global pandemic, I predict Maximalism is on the downtrend. With so much more time being spent in our homes, Maximalism is going to start feeling overwhelming and loud. While I don’t think the pendulum will swing completely the other direction back to the all-gray days of yesteryear, I do think we’ll see the overuse of color and pattern being toned down and used with reason rather than in abundance.

Photos (left to right): Architectural Digest, House and Garden
Got Silk?
Silk. Splashed across runways (or rather Instagram feeds) this Summer, silk has proven itself the it fabric of the season and shows no signs of stopping when we head into Fall. True silk is a natural protein fiber best characterized by its shimmery appearance and soft, subtle texture. Often regarded as luxurious (usually thanks to the price tag) and high maintenance, we tend not to use silk in high traffic areas or on well-loved furniture. Now that we’re in our homes more often – I say why not adopt the trend in a few key places – like your bedding and your window treatments. Or if you’re feeling bold – your wallpaper.

Photos (both): Studio Brunstrum, photographed by Aimee Mazzenga
Metal Heads
Heavy Metal. I’ve always been a sucker for metal accents, particularly when it comes to mixing metal hardware in a room and throughout a home. But why stop at accents? Amp up the drama with a metal backsplash or peninsula – or even a full metal wall. The use of heavy metal instead of just an accent makes a bold statement that feels hip and modern without being overwhelming. Metal is also a great way to liven up an outdated or “boring” room with a material that will never go out of style.

Photos (left to right): Atelier Lionel Jadot, Eye for Design
Expect the Unexpected
Unusual Paint. Need a weekend project or just want to make a few changes to your interiors without starting from scratch? Try painting an unexpected or unusual element in your home with a bright color: an HVAC duct, electrical outlets, book spines, closet interior, wicker furniture, an old mirror, a radiator, or even cheap or outdated plumbing fixtures. The pop of color will bring added dimension to your space and add some cheerful exuberance to your home. The best part – if you get sick of the color, you can simply paint over it.

Photos (left to right): House Beautiful, Everyday Old House
Photos (upper left to right): Four Generations One Roof, Studio Brunstrum, Studio Brunstrum
Photos (lower left to right): Iron Door Works, Studio Brunstrum
We’ve discussed the importance of exterior lighting and outdoor furniture to make the area surrounding your home just as home-y and beautiful as your interiors. The most important element in that equation? Your front door. Serving as the entry point into your home, your front door sets the stage for what’s inside. It should be welcoming, noticeable and give a peak into the personality of your home. Proportion is key; make sure the scale of your door (or doors) fits with the size of your home. Door style and color should be determined by the facade of your home and the rest of your furnishings. Do you love color? There’s no rule that says you can’t have a colorful door. Hardware and window style are equally important; ensure that the styles of both fit with your home. An extremely modern door on a Victorian home (or vice versa) creates an unwelcome juxtaposition. Bottom line – when you walk through your front door, make sure it feels like you.
Patti discovered Michael De Feo (aka The Flower Guy) on Instagram and immediately fell in love with his whimsical work. Based in NYC, De Feo’s work is rooted in street art, with a focus on florals, the circle of life and growth. He often creates new works of art from famous paintings or editorial images, painting over them in a wide array of pastels and flowers. His 25-year career boasts work throughout 60 countries, spreads in Vogue, Forbes and the New York Times and multiple exhibits in the world’s most esteemed modern art museums. With two books in print, The Flower Guy is on track to becoming the next Banksy (his signature flower has been known to pop up unannounced in cities throughout the world). We love that his work feels fresh, fun and cheerful – his flowers can’t help but bring a smile to your face. Check out his work and learn more about The Flower Guy HERE.

One of our favorite outdoor projects to date was an empty, carriage house turned three-season, cozy garden room for our single suburban client and her two pups. After completing a whole-home update, the attached outdoor garage and patio felt outdated, under-utilized and cold (both physically in the Chicago winters and metaphorically as it contrasted with her warm and inviting interior). We replaced and enlarged the windows for better visibility to the front and backyard, used vintage barnwood accents (interior trim, exterior shutters), increased the size of the patio for entertaining and made it curvaceous to mimic the flower gardens. We also designed the wood pergola and of course furnished both spaces inside and out! The result? The perfect indoor and outdoor spaces to soak up her beautiful garden! Check out the rest of the project HERE

Susan and Pam connected at a Deerfield High School Reunion years ago (her husband graduated with Susan) and bonded over their creative passions and businesses. With over 25 years of experience in the landscape architecture industry, Pam has built her own extremely successful firm specializing in site planning, landscape design an urban design services for both commercial and residential clients. With notable projects from Northbrook Court to Michigan Avenue – Pamela Self Landscaping is one of the premier firms in the Chicagoland area, harnessing the beauty of nature and transforming it into art. Learn more about her firm and her work HERE.

The utterly unique Star Vessel from DeAurora is the perfect statement piece for a dining room table, coffee table or entryway. Made from carved onyx, each piece is defined by its individual veining, creating a delicate array of texture and pattern derived from the natural stone. The juxtaposition between the curvature of the bowl and the harsh jagged edges harmonize to create a stunning visual that makes a splash.

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The Lying Game – Ruth Ware. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Southern English countryside, the Lying Game weaves the story of four old friends brought back together fifteen years later as a dark secret threatens to resurface. With more to lose and secrets of new lives kept from each other, the group’s bond threatens to break as lies and games from their past have the potential to ruin their futures. Can the power of old friendships and the pull of their favorite place save them? The Lying Game reminds us of the power certain places and people have on our memory and what we will do to save one another. With colorful descriptions so powerful you can almost feel the ocean and a mystery so suspenseful it will keep you guessing until the very end, Ware’s The Lying Game is the perfect summer book to read by the pool or the park or anywhere outdoors!
Kitchen and Bath Awards
We’re unbelievably honored to have won the Gold Award for Best Kitchen in the 2020 Kitchen and Bath Design Awards! Thank you to everyone at Kitchen and Bath and congratulations to all the other recipients! Keep an eye out for the August issue of Kitchen and Bath magazine for a look at the other winners and check out our winning project HERE
BUILD Awards
We’re also overjoyed to share that we’ve won our second consecutive BUILD award for Most Client Focused Residential Designer (Illinois). Our clients are at the heart of everything we do; we’re excited and honored to be recognized on behalf of them. Thank you to everyone on the BUILD team!
Congratulations Patti!
A huge Studio Brunstrum congratulations to Patti on her promotion to Designer | Project Manager. Patti is an integral part of the Studio Brunstrum team and we’ve loved watching her designs and selections transform throughout her tenure with us. We can’t imagine our office without her Southern charm – she even has us saying “Y’all”!
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