Design Details: Cement Encaustic

Author Sydney Piwowar

We have seen and heard of cement tiles for years - that is nothing new. What is special about the ones we are seeing today is that they are Encaustics. Encaustics are paintings and ceramics using pigments mixed with hot wax that are burned in as an inlay. Each tile is handmade and dries slightly different from the next, with variation in depth or bleed at the edges of the pattern. The inconsistency adds to the overall beauty of the tile when laid. There is a slight variation and shadowing in the tones of each tile, when installed in mass the result is pure sophistication and character! These beauties can be used for indoor/ outdoor flooring, in bathrooms and kitchens on the walls or floor and splash backs.

Check out these uses of my current favorite color: soft dove grey. It literally makes the space glow!

Photo Courtesy of Studio Ezra

Photo Courtesy of Studio Ezra

Photo Courtesy of SF Girl by Bay

Photo Courtesy of SF Girl by Bay

Design Hack: Bathrooms for Teens

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I did it myself as a kid, every year I wanted to re-do my room. For me, that was the first sign I wanted to become a designer, but for most it is the growing character and evolving taste of impressionable teens and pre-teens. This often leaves parents feeling frustrated as they just re-painted their room, or bought a new bed spread, new drapes, etc. We have all learned the hard way that a key to success in kids spaces is VERSATILITY.

There a few places though that the term versatility doesn’t apply. One of them being Bathrooms… tile, wallpaper, plumbing, oh my… all so permanent. This is why it is important that you feel confident that the bathroom design and palette reflects the culture of your family. Whether it be more sophisticated or young and playful. The key to getting the most out of your space is to make sure it matches you and your life style.

I have broken down design for teens into three palettes to match your family’s character. Check them out below and some Inso images for each!

Bold + Playful:

Photo Courtesy of Lonny Magazine

Photo Courtesy of Lonny Magazine

Source unknown. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Source unknown. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Photo Courtesy of Jungalow

Photo Courtesy of Jungalow

Photo Courtesy of Anna Glover

Photo Courtesy of Anna Glover

Clean + Monochromatic

Photo Courtesy of Drummonds

Photo Courtesy of Drummonds

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Elliot Design

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Elliot Design

Photo Courtesy of Cozy Stylish Chic

Photo Courtesy of Cozy Stylish Chic

Bright + Cheery

Photo Courtesy of Old Brand New

Photo Courtesy of Old Brand New

Designer Unknown.

Designer Unknown.

Photo Courtesy of Pull Design Studios

Photo Courtesy of Pull Design Studios

Top 5 Curtain Hanging Mistakes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Alright peeps - here is a sensitive topic… Drapes. Some people think that they have a hard and fast rule for drapes and that is not always the case. LESS is not always more and MORE is not always more.. as a general guide line to hanging drapes there are a few mistakes people commonly make. We have curated our list of the Top 5 mistakes

Too Low

Hanging curtains too low from ceiling causes the room to compress. Instantly, the ceiling feels lower, and your space will feel small. Hanging them high to the ceiling tricks your eye into thinking the space is taller, making it feel open and airy.

Too Short

Cutting the drapes short to match the length of the window makes the whole room feel like its floating - in a very bad way. It feels unfinished, like you were on a budget and could only afford 1/2 the fabric you need. Even if you are on a budget, get a fabric in your price range, and do it right. Your space will prove to you its worth it.

Not Enough

Wimpy fabric will feel thin an cheap on a big window. Getting a drapery grade, heavier, and thicker fabric will pay off and make the room feel more luxurious. Even if you don’t want black out curtains, you just want something light and airy, make sure to buy enough extra fabric to gather on each end of the window. You pay for what you get in drapes people!

Too Much

Now don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for vintage. Design trends cycle through like your laundry.. One second its light and airy 80’s summer style, then the next its moody 90’s winter grunge. Drapes are not cheap Forever 21 T-shirts though… You buy them RIGHT once, and keep them forever. That being said, stay away from trendy patterns... No pattern what 70’s mod patterns come back in, don’t do it. Stick with something simple, modern, and clean. Versatility is key.

Arched Window

This is what I meant by no hard and fast rule. Arched windows are so tricky dependent on their size, location on the wall, and quantity. Don’t be discouraged though, there are more than one solution. The first option is to remove those ugly drapery knobs and hang a simple, modern, rod high to the ceiling as previously mentioned. Option 2 is to have custom roman shades made to fill the arch and drape below on the lower, rectangle portion of the window. I am not a fan of that option though as most arched windows have beautiful trim features you don’t want to cover up. Option 3 is no curtains at all. For some people, that may be a deal breaker, but I think it is important to decide when you need privacy and when you don’t.

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5 Monochromatic Tile Color Palettes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I call it the “Modern Mural”. Artists used large scale murals to tell the most elaborate, and beautiful, stories through tile mosaics. So many different cultures have done this through the years and I think America has found its own. It features clean lines, purposeful choice of grout colors, and a hand made nature, expressing the amazing new technologies we have to impact our spaces. I have curated a few of my favorite images and combinations to inspire you and a tile guide to inspire your next renovation.

Photo Courtesy of Remodelista

Photo Courtesy of Remodelista

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3 Tips To A Perfect Dry Bar

Author: Sydney Piwowar

As society modernizes, I believe the perception of alcohol in the home does as well. Where once the home parlor was filled with cocktails and conversation, it turned to a plastic covered furniture living room. Now I believe we are in a full swing back to the original cocktail room we all knew and loved. Not every once looking to implement these in-home bars has the ability to add plumbing for a wet bar… This is where the Dry Bar steps in. It is the perfect space to call home for your best drink ware, wines and spirits. To elevate yours to the next level, I have curated 3 tips to make your Dry Bar the topic of the night!

Build It In

I know it isn’t a wet bar, so there is no need for built in components, but is important that it feels integrated into the home. If you are trying to add one into an existing structure, the easiest way to do this is to replace a built-in or unnecessary closet.

designer unknown

designer unknown

Make It Feel Special

The most unsuccessful dry bars are the ones that feel left over kitchen cabinets you just put in the living room. They key to a good dry bar is to make it feel special. Consider special finishes on the cabinets, an upgraded stone counter top, a backsplash (could be tile, wallpaper, paint, etc.), and even lighting.

designer unknown

designer unknown

Add Lots of Storage

At first it will seem overwhelming because you have not began to curate your collection, but over time you will need it. Whether you need shelves for your Whiskey collection, or racks for your wine bottles, be sure to maximize on storage. Consider how your collection might change over time as well. For example, purchasing more glasses, changing from a red wine to white wine collection, will you need refrigeration?

By Greg Natale

By Greg Natale

For more bar ideas, check out my painters page HERE!

Top 5 Edgy Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Tired of white subway tile? We are too.. While it is a great budget friendly option, we encourage you to find creative ways to give your space more character. You should feel free to explore color, pattern, and material! Here are our Top 5 Edgy Kitchen Backsplash Ideas to inspire you in your kitchen makeover.

The Unexpected:

Photo Courtesy of Nikole Ramsay

Photo Courtesy of Nikole Ramsay

The Trend Setter

Photo Courtesy of Dezeen

Photo Courtesy of Dezeen

The Pattern Lover

Photo Courtesy of Peter Valli Christiansen

Photo Courtesy of Peter Valli Christiansen

The Luxurious

Designed by Grant Gibson

Designed by Grant Gibson

The Glamorous 

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Common Art Hanging Mistakes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Art is crucial in making a house feel like a home, and good art is not cheap! Nothing ruins your perfectly good piece of art quite like bad nail placement. We have curated the top 3 mistakes that people make when hanging art and are going to share simple solutions.

Hanging Too High 

You have most likely hung your art too high, leaving it to float away from the furniture underneath. To tie the pieces together (and make your room more visually harmonious), shoot for roughly five inches of space between the bottom of your art and the top of your furniture.

Small Art in Large Spaces

Scale is the key to maintaining a harmonious relationship between the walls and furniture. Using a frame that is too small tricks the eye into thinking that is is smaller than it actually is. An easy trick to make it feel proportional is to reset it in a larger frame or to get a larger piece for the space all together. The general guide you should have when approaching art is to chose pieces that are about two-thirds of the length of the furniture.

Grouping Too Far Apart

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Separating your art is like separating fighting kids to their time-out corners… Its awkward for all of us. Whether you’re hanging twin paintings or simply grouping pieces, everything should act as one. Make sure that they are close, separating frames no more than 3 inches apart.

Exposed Edge Backsplash

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I have been secretly waiting for this trend to gain popularity for years! Because seriously, who actually likes bullnose? Its not exactly an inspiring way to end tile. To prove how amazing exposed edge tile can be, I have curated a few of my favorite applications below. See more inspiration here, on my pinterest board.

Designed By KLH Homes

Designed By KLH Homes

Photo Courtesy of Topps Tile

Photo Courtesy of Topps Tile

Design By Coco Lapine Design

Design By Coco Lapine Design

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Designed by Doherty Design Studio

Designed by Doherty Design Studio

Top 5 Kitchen Trends of 2019

Author: Sydney Piwowar

While minimalism remains a leading trend in design, we are seeing a large push back from not only other designers, but our clients for a desire of well designed space. Less in not always more people! After lots of research, I have curated the Top 5 Kitchen Trends of 2019 will be.

  1. Hidden Appliances

This design trend offers a seamless integration of modern technology and classic design.

Three Birds Renovations

Three Birds Renovations

2. Well Designed Hardware

The simple bar cabinet pull or knob just doesn’t seem to do it anymore. More designer quality hardware options are becoming readily available and are a simple way to elevate your space.

Designed By Shareen Joel

Designed By Shareen Joel

3. Rustic Counter Tops

After years of seeing the same white marble counter tops, we are seeing a revolt. People are gravitating towards non-marble, rustic styles of counter tops such as polished concrete, quartz, and wood.

Caesarstone Counter Tops

Caesarstone Counter Tops

Designer Unknown

Designer Unknown

4. Contemporary Take on The Classics

The flat panel cabinet is gone people.. While I do not anticipate arched or ornate raised panel designs to come back either, we will see more design intention in kitchen cabinets. Thanks to modern technology, it is easier than ever to design custom kitchens. We will see this very evident in the panel designs of 2019.

Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Lawson Design

Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Lawson Design

5. More Metal

We have seen metal inlays gain popularity in the furniture of 2018, but we will see more metals popping up in our cabinetry. Not just in hardware or inlays, but in the finishing material of entire panels.

Designed by Hammer and Spear

Designed by Hammer and Spear

To see more 2019 kitchen inspiration trends, see my pinterest page here!

5 Steps to Tasteful Family Photo Wall

Author: Sydney Piwowar

We all love our families (mostly) and its hard to tastefully show them off. Oversized canvas oil paintings hung over the fireplace aren’t style anymore... At the same time though, I do not think it is fair to cut all evidence of family in a home… it is after all what makes a house, a home. We were asked in a recent install how to do this successfully. Well, I am here to share with you all my secret: framed prints with oversized mattes. Yes, simple and understated. What makes this method unique is the color quality of the image and the placement of it. Here are the 5 steps to ensure your framed prints turn out perfect:

Curate Your Photos

Go through the old hard drive because you want to plan out your photos ahead of time. The photos don’t all have to contain the same colors or people - feel free to change it up. This is where you get to show off your family’s unique characteristics.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Designer Unknown.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Designer Unknown.

Print With HIGH Quality

The most common mistake that people make is framing pixelated photos. Make sure that you are printing high quality images and don’t be afraid to send them somewhere nice to print - don’t cheap out on this because you will get what you pay for. Something else to consider is if you want to print in color or black and white. For someone who wants to print in color, going to a good printer with high quality color is important.

Photo courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Photo courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Find Frames

Frames can be sourced from anywhere. Whether they are custom or ordered online from Ikea, you will notice a large gap in cost. The most influential decision you make will be upon the frame’s finish. This color and texture will be framing the image, literally and figuratively, in a way it is possible to influence your perception. For example, if your image has LOTS of texture and color, choosing a frame that does as well may only distract form the richness of the image. It would be better to chose a simple frame that allows all attention to be focused on the specialness of your image. The second factor to consider is if you want a more unified or eclectic gallery. For a more unified approach, I would consider finding a store that sells the same profile in several sizes as you may need for your collection. For those that want a more mix-and-matched approach, I suggest shopping resale shops, garage sales, and local boutiques for an interesting combination.

Photo courtesy of designmom.com

Photo courtesy of designmom.com

Find Matte

There are several colors and finishes to matte. I prefer a stark white matte as it gives a certain freshness. Be careful though as they come in several shades of off-white, ivory, and cream - especially if you are trying to match to previously framed images.

Photo Courtesy of Yellow Brick Home

Photo Courtesy of Yellow Brick Home

Hang Art

It is hard to generalize for every one when it depends on the size of the frame and the space… My best tip is to map out the wall with painters tape first though to ensure you are happy with your placement - you don’t want to see a dozen holes in the wall from where you moved hung them previously. Some key areas I think it is more peaceful to hang family photos include: hallways, stairways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and basements. Try to stay away from the large print over the living room fireplace - its tacky.

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee

For more tips on how to frame family portraits, see my pinterest board HERE!

Colorful Christmas: Parent and Kid Approved Decor

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Every parent does the battle once their children are old enough to want to put their own ornaments on the tree. My mom could not bare to let me ruin her perfect, glowing tree. She solved the issue by buying me my own mini tree to keep in my room, away from the holiday party guests. That worked through elementary school when I was still making ornaments out of popsicle sticks, but when hit pre-teen years, I wanted to help with the REAL tree. Being an aspiring designer, I had my own opinion on the color scheme of the tree every year and could not settle for silver, gold, and crystal ornaments. One year it was teal and silver, the next pink and gold, then the colors all combined in year three… the list goes on… As I have grown, I have learned that I was not wrong at age 12. There is no rule book that says Christmas trees must only contain the pre-approved colors: green, red, gold, silver, and glass. This year I am spreading the word - COLOR IS GOOD! Color is exciting and festive! To prove it to you, I have curated images of my favorite colorful Christmas Decorations sure to be approved by both parents and kids.

Styling by Heather Nette King

Styling by Heather Nette King

Designer Unknown

Designer Unknown

Photo Courtesy of Target

Photo Courtesy of Target

Table Setting by Coco + Kelly

Table Setting by Coco + Kelly

Design by My Scandinavian Home

Design by My Scandinavian Home

Top 10 Office Chairs

Anyone who has ever worked in an office, designed an office, or sat in an office before knows this struggle. Pretty and practical do not meet in Office chairs. We have all seen the Knoll, Steelcase, an Herman Miller office chair solutions. They are some of the best office chairs on the market. Only issue is that they are not terribly attractive. We searched the market and curated a few chairs we guarantee meet all your needs. 

Baxter

Sedia

Sedia

CB2

Channel Suede Office Chair

Channel Suede Office Chair

Rouka Velvet Office Chair

Rouka Velvet Office Chair

Gubi

Beetle Meeting Chair

Beetle Meeting Chair

West Elm

Steelcase

Arper 

Catifa

Catifa

Kinesit

Kinesit

BuzziFloat

BuzziFloat

Sean Dix

Ronin Pedestal Chair

Ronin Pedestal Chair

Suite NY

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For more inspiration, take a look at our Pinterest board: Attractive and Ergonomic Chairs

Best Soft Touch Matte Finish Paint

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Benjamin Moore released a new line of paint in 2017 called Century. It is the world’s first Soft Touch Matte Finish paint with never-before-seen depth in 75 exclusive colors. We are obsessed with the level of depth in these colors and find it is very comparable to the infamously expensive Farrow & Ball line. The best part of these soft, cozy colors is that they are curated to look good all year long. See our Top 5 below!

Q5 Obsidian

Q5 Obsidian

R8 Acai

R8 Acai

C9 Red Mahogony

C9 Red Mahogony

04 Veronese Green

04 Veronese Green

Top 5 Interior Glass Walls

We were all in shock when the trend hit in early 2017 and have been drooling over them since. Black powder coated steel framed glazed partitions. In other words, those beautiful black framed window walls that we are seeing in interior spaces. After the swoon faded, I discovered a very practical issue with these walls… Arent walls supposed to separate spaces and provide privacy? Well, not these ones. The goal of these window walls are to separate zones in space without compromising on light, still maintaining the open feel of the space. To prove it to you, I have rounded up our top 5 favorite PRACTICAL applications for these.

  1. Interstitial Spaces

Designed by: De Rosee Sa

Designed by: De Rosee Sa

Interstitial spaces can be a pain to design. Often, they become this weird in-between space with no purpose other than to offer a transition in space. These glass walls offers a connection from the outside in, making a smoother and aesthetically pleasing transition.

2. Studio Dividers

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Anyone who has ever owned a studio apartment or condo knows the struggle of defining zones within a larger, open space. We have seen endless Ikea temporary hacks, but for those who are in it for the long run, this offers a solution that embraces your small space.

3. Quiet Zones

Since the development of open concept, our clients have come to us with lots of noise control issues. Families are finding that noise carries through the house in unwanted areas. No one wants to hear the kids playing cops and robbers while you’re trying to make a work call in our home office. These glazing walls offer create barrier between spaces, blocking some sound, and separating quiet spaces like your office.

4. Stair Railings

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It sounds contradictory to build a wall to open up the space, but this glazing wall offers a protective railing for the stairs without the cluttered, repetitive lines of balusters.

5. Messy Spaces

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There are some spaces, like mudrooms, that unfortunately receive a lot of light as they are connected to the exterior of the home, but get VERY messy. Frosted glass partitions offer a way to carry in that light without seeing the mess! This can be a great solution for spaces like kids play rooms, pantries, offices, etc.

This is a steel and glass wall we did for a modern condo in the West Loop to split the master bedroom from the main living area. We also had custom cast brass door handles made.

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Design Details: Toilet Paper Holder

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I have decided to start a series called Design Details where I touch on the details of a space. There are so many little things that effect your every day life that people don’t think about. This week topic is: Toilet Paper Holders!! Yep. That’s right. Everyone has a specific method they prefer (upright, side ways, open ended, spring bar, etc.) Who knew there were so many options?!

I have curated a list of a few of my favorites to liven up a very practical detail in design.

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Ottomans To Make you Kick Your Feet Up

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Some people have those rooms where you better not get caught with your feet on the table - we encourage COMFORT at JTD. If you can't live in your home, then your home isn't right for you. Ottomans are essential for kicking up your feet and settling in after a long day. Not only are they very practical, but can be beautiful accessories. Take a look at a few of our favorites for getting cozy this fall!

ECC

ECC

The best part about ottomans is that in small spaces, they can double as an extra seat! Here are a few sturdy stools we love for their functionality and looks!

For more inspiration, go to our Pinterest page: Ottomans + Stools

How to Design a Wet Bar in 5 Steps

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Step 1. Pick out your storage method

Will this include open or closed storage? Will you need to store bottles? Glassware? Both? Will you be including a refrigeration system?

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Step 2: Pick out your Plumbing Fixtures

Never doubt the importance of plumbing fixtures in small spaces.. Every detail counts.

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Step 3: How to finish your backsplash/wall

Paint, wallpaper, and tile OH MY! So many options.. This is a great space to showcase a pop of color or pattern.

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Step 4: Cabinet Hardware

Cabinet hardware can be a great accessory. In this image below, the lack of hardware makes a much more powerful impact on the space.

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Step 5: Style and Accessorize

Here is your opportunity to showcase your bar tools, coasters, and beautiful glassware.

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Top 5 Trim Options that AREN'T White

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Contrast trim became famous for providing non-contractor grade options for trim. It was a missed opportunity for years to provide another aspect of color and depth to space. Rather than just picking the base grade or what ever is cheapest at Home Depot, we encourage you to put an interesting spin on a building necessity. Here are our current Top 5 Favorite Contrast Trim Colors now.

  1. Classy Black

We have all heard of the black trim trend at this point. At JTD, we appreciate the unique ways people are using black in space. Here is a great space where the designer chose to trim a unique white wallpaper with black.

Designed By Anne Hepfer

Designed By Anne Hepfer

2. Calming Grey

Although providing a visual contrast, this soft grey brings a sense of comfort into the space.

Photo By  Tessa Neustadt

3. Eclectic Green

We love the way this emerald toned trim compliments the original stained glass windows. This is a great way to modernize traditional spaces.

Photo By  Homelife

Photo By Homelife

4. Pretty In Pink

If your kids are anything like I was, they constantly want to update their room. An easy, non permanent way to do that is to paint trim. No need for painting or wallpapering whole walls.

Designed by Hedda Pier

Designed by Hedda Pier

5. Buoyant Blue

This soft, baby blue paint color was pulled to compliment the paper pattern.

Photo By:  Shanon Montrose

Photo By: Shanon Montrose

Funky Side Tables

Author: Sydney Piwowar

When you go out for a night on the town with your pre-planned outfit you've been waiting to wear, you never go out without jewelry. It is what completes the outfit, right? At JTD, we see side tables the same way. There is no need to wear your old jewelry to a black tie event and there is no need for lame side tables. Here are a few attractive (and practical) side tables to liven up your space

Photo by  Lawson - Fenning

We call this one the "anywhere table" because you could literally put this in any room and it would look good. 

Photo by  Caste Design

Photo by Caste Design

For a more classic approach, this cast bronze side table ages perfectly with a brown patina. This is a piece you will want to hand down for generations. 

Photo by  Essential Home
Photos by  Pinch Design

Photos by Pinch Design

For a more rustic or natural look, a pop of wood in its nearly original state brings a very raw and organic feel to the space. 

Photos By  Baxter

Photos By Baxter

For those that need some storage to hide coasters, remotes, and all those not-so-pretty things. 

Photo by  Mr. Brown

Photo by Mr. Brown

Black, White and Brass Cabinet Hardware

Author: Sydney Piwowar 

Sometimes when considering cabinet hardware, brass just isn't enough.. You know that phrase less is more? Sometimes more is more. Sometimes when we can't decide one, we decide both. You're probably thinking, "What the heck, you can't have multiple types of hardware on a cabinet." Well, you're right, that might look a little weird. But that doesn't mean your hardware only has to be one finish! Take a look at these amazing multi-colored cabinet hardware pieces and you'll know what I mean. They have a very classic, yet fresh approach to accessorizing cabinets. 

 

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