Studio Brunstrum
In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.
When was the last time you were in nature unencumbered? No phone, no to do list, no responsibility, just letting yourself enjoy the world around you?
In all honesty, it’s been too long for me. Now, I’m by no means a camper; in fact, my children often tell me I belonged in the movie City Slickers. But I absolutely love being around and in nature. For me, that comes through gardening, long walks through the park, the occasional trip to a dude ranch or lake, or simply sitting poolside.
Nature serves as a mindfulness reset for me and provides ample inspiration in my personal and professional life. The colors and patterns are simultaneously grounding and thought provoking. I love to look at the unique shapes and combinations present in the world around me and take in the textures and smells.
So, as summer gets into full swing, I’m challenging myself to spend more time outdoors – sans technology or guilt. I’m allowing myself to work and relax outside and make room to make that practice part of my day to day. I hope you find time to get outside and enjoy all the world has to offer this month and feel as inspired and refreshed as possible.
Susan, Kelsey, and Patti
The Studio Brunstrum Team
A Bug's Life
Insect Patterns. We took the theme and ran with it this month, but it seems as if the entire design industry did as well! We’ve been seeing an influx of tasteful bug patterns everywhere – from beetles to dragonflies to butterflies. We have to say – we’re loving it! Add a level of sophistication by choosing a darker hue or one with a bit of metallic and opt for large scale over smaller to avoid feeling too child-like.

Photos (left to right): Fliepaper, Samuel & Sons
Breaking Pattern
Patterned Tile. Portugal reignited our love for colorful, patterned tile. We don’t often think of tile as an overtly personal choice in a home; it typically functions as a connecting element instead of a standout. Not anymore! Why can’t it be personal and colorful and….fun? Yellows, blues, greens, purples – the choice is up to you. Choose to make the tile in your home standout instead of blend in – we always love a taste of the unexpected.

Photos (left to right): Home Front Build, Yellow Cloud Studio
Back to Basics
White Walls. If we’re taking away a connecting element through tile, we need to place the burden of cohesiveness somewhere else. Lately, we’ve noticed that’s fallen to wall color. An influx of white walls has been the balancing act of choosing bolder, more personalized elements in other areas – tile, furniture, window treatments, rugs and cabinetry color. It can’t be all maximalism all the time. While some may think of white walls as boring, we choose to see them as a blank canvas. Fill them with art and surround them with your story and they’ll come alive!

Photos (left to right): L'Essenziale, Jonathan Adler
Tree Trunks. If you can’t be in nature, bring nature to you! We’ve noticed an abundance of tree-trunk formed furnishings that utilize the shape and size of the trunk as the starting point for the design. From chairs, to stools, to table bases, we love how organic and natural the pieces feel, incorporating nature in a way that doesn’t feel forced or manufactured. We’re all in on this trend – I even have a camera roll of photos of unusual tree trunks I find inspiring!

Photos (left to right): Roby Macedo Architecture and Design, Unknown
Top: All Photos via Studio Brunstrum
Bottom (left to right): Farmhouse, Studio McGee, Studio Brunstrum
Summertime and the livin’ is….messy. Summer schedules are chaotic at any age – if you have kids, that often means summer camp, sports, and playdates, as you get older, weddings, vacations, and BBQs. We find that leads to one thing – disorganization, especially in mudrooms. They often become the dumping ground as we’re entering and exiting and can pile up quickly with shoes, sports equipment, packages – you name it! We find that a well-designed mudroom or entryway can help keep the mess in check:
Tip #1: Be honest with yourself. Everybody has piles and a place we tend to dump things – a “clothes chair”, a bench, a certain space on your kitchen counter. Corral your dumping ground by allowing it to exist within an enclosed space. Transition from a dumping spot to a drawer or cabinet that can be as messy as you’d like – but out of sight. The piles will still exist, but they won’t drive you as crazy if they’re shut away.
Tip #2: Give everyone their own designated space. Keep things in check (especially with kids) by deciding whose space is whose. When everyone has their own spot to keep things (throw things, drop things, shove things) it allows for more organized chaos and prevents the “stuff” from becoming a free for all. In these instances, cubbies and hooks tend to be the best design solutions.
Tip #3: Boxes are your best friend. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – corralling items in boxes or trays can take something from a messy pile that looks out of place and transition it to a purposeful element within a room, especially in a mudroom or entryway. Boxes, trays, and labels will give everything a place to go and that’s often the key to keeping a lid on the chaos.
Tip #4: You must have seating. Benches or stools, or even a built-in resting place, are one of our go-to design solutions for mudrooms. Everyone needs a spot to sit to put on shoes, to leave a purse while you zip up your coat or rest while you organize your bag on the way out the door. Adding seating to a transitional space helps to slow down the energy in a mudroom, taking it from a come-and-go spot to one that feels more relaxing and less rushed.
As interior designers, we’re fortunate to get to work with a variety of vendors across an array of specialties – contractors, metalsmiths, painters, plumbers, furnishings manufacturers – the list goes on. One of our most important collaborators? Realtors!
Studio Brunstrum collaborator and friend, Brenda Mauldin of Baird & Warner, is one of the most notable and respected real estate brokers in Chicago. With 17 years of experience in the industry, she brings exceptional knowledge of the city’s neighborhoods and keen understanding of the market conditions. Recognized as one of the top real estate brokers by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2020 and 2021, her negotiation skills and dedication make the real estate experience seamless for her clients – and for us! Partnership and trust between a real estate agent and a designer enhances the buying (and selling) experience for our clients and helps to ensure that the space you purchase is best suited for you and your lifestyle.   
Gabriella Crespi’s Bohemian 72 Collection is being put back into production 50 years after its initial design as part of a relaunch for Gubi. The Italian designer and Valentino muse was infamous for wanting design that didn’t block light or breeze; her furnishings collection is designed with the same aesthetic in mind. Consisting of mostly rattan and bamboo, the designer wanted to convey strength and flexibility within the collection, while still bringing elements of warmth and light. We’re enamored with the transitional lounge chair – perfect for both indoor and outdoor spaces, adding the lightest bohemian touch to a design.
Woman on Fire | Lisa Barr
Travel through history as Lisa Barr (Fugitive Colors and The Unbreakable) spins a gripping story of the race to recover a Nazi-looted masterpiece that disappeared 75 years ago. Woman on Fire follows rivals Jules Roth, a rising young journalist on assignment to track down the missing artwork for world-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum, and powerful gallerist Margaux de Laurant, searching for the painting to add to her art collector family’s millions. Secrets, international scandal, and a story that illuminates the cruelty and greed of war – we couldn’t put this book down!
Coverings Panel 2022
Susan’s panel discussion as part of the Coverings 2022 convention is live on the website! Tune in as she and fellow designers and Luxury Daily Women in Luxury Amanda Cunningham and Michelle Workman discuss strategies to tap into the luxury market.
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