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

5 Steps to a Modern Holiday Table Setting

Author: Sydney Piwowar

  1. Pick a Theme

This year, I am keeping a simple Scandinavian winter theme with a neutral palette. Natural textures, greenery and soft candlelight create a relaxed setting where the focus can be on the great food and conversation around the table.

Setting by Ruby and James

Setting by Ruby and James

2. Simple Textures

Layering up textures is very important. Here, starting with a layer of white linen sets a soft tone. A rough grey linen runner lines the table adding needed balance against the perfect white. Notice that the grey and white tones call back to the dive grey dishes set on the table.

Setting by Bukatron

Setting by Bukatron

3. Natural Accents

They say that scent is the strongest memory trigger. The smell of pine at this time of year reminds me of all the great holidays of my past and to come. Using the left over tree trimming is an easy way to add a more festive feel to any holiday table.

Setting by Julie Banner

Setting by Julie Banner

4. Add Height

I don't like focus of a table setting to be down. I like to give the eye eye freedom to travel around the room. One easy trick is to add height which is easily done with the addition of a few tall candlesticks. In the winter months, candlelight is essential to any gathering. Burning candles creates the ultimate cozy ambiance. Another trick to fill up a larger table is to add a combination of tall candlesticks and low tea lights scattered along the table foliage so there's light at different levels. 

Photo Courtesy of Home Ease

Photo Courtesy of Home Ease

5. Simple Accessories

Black and brass candle sticks are a simple, yet gutsy way to go. This trend pays homage to traditional candles, but adds a fun and celebratory feel. This is also an opportunity to showcase special occasion cutlery that is more exciting than the everyday stainless steel set. Textured or patterned napkins serve as a pop against the white setting here.. Tying the edgy black stainless steel in with the rest of the clean, elegant, table setting.

Setting by Katarzyna Tusk

Setting by Katarzyna Tusk

To see more amazing table setting inspiration images, check out my Pinterest board HERE!

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

Tips on Subway Tile Patterns

In the last 10 years of its rise, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of subway tile. Everyone loves it though - its simple, easy to clean, and inexpensive! Despite its versatility, I cringe when clients ask for the classic subway pattern. There are so many amazing ways to lay tile, why should we limit our selves to the Running Bond pattern? I say no. I say get creative. If you aren’t sure where to start, I have curated some of my favorite LUXURIOUS & MODERN ways to lay the classic tile.

Cross Hatch

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The 4-Stack Parquet

Different Scales

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Combination: Traditional + Diagonal Herringbone

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Stacked Bond

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Vertical Stacked Bond

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Top 5 Black Framed Shower Doors

Author: Sydney Piwowar

When they became a trend back in 2017, you had to pay BIG bucks for these beauties. Now that the trend has set in though, there are so many amazing vendors selling them stocked and ready for you! Here is our round up for Top 5 Black Framed Shower Doors.

For Large Showers:

For Small Showers:

For Industrialists:

For Minimalists:

For Those On A Budget:


For inspiration on matching hardware and bathroom accessories, see our blog post on Design Details: Toilet Paper Holder and The Anti-Trend: Black Hardware.



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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Jen Talbot Design.jpg

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.

Design Details- Toilet Paper Holder - JTD.jpg

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

Top Indie Wallpaper Designers

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Every once in a while we get a client that says, "oh, no way. I don't like wallpaper." Our response is, "well you obviously haven't looked at wallpaper lately because it has CHANGED!" Wallpaper these days isnt like the floral stuff your grandma used to have in her living room. Wallpaper is about adding character, drama, and texture to elevate a space. We are sharing with you another one of our top secret lists with this one - our Top Indie Wallpaper Designers. Let us know what you think of these beautiful artists. 

KATE ZAREMBA

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Relativity Textiles 

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Unexpected Wallpaper Applications

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Behind Built-Ins

This modern geometric pattern provides a sense of luxury and relaxation in this classic application.

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Gamble Interiors

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Gamble Interiors

Inside Kitchen Cabinets

Look how GREAT Kelly Wearstler Channels Wallpaper POPS against these crisp white cabinets.

Photo Courtesy of Alice Home Collection

Photo Courtesy of Alice Home Collection

Inside Closets

I love the fact that no matter your closet size, you can add an element of design to a space that is primarily just functional.

Photo Courtesy of Domino

Photo Courtesy of Domino

Photo Courtesy of  Real Simple

Photo Courtesy of Real Simple

Stair Risers

This contrasting wallpaper mural completely changes the mood of what could have been a boring, white space. Love the sense of artistic creativity added here.

Photo Courtesy of  Design Sponge

Photo Courtesy of Design Sponge

Stair Stringer

Unknown Designer

Unknown Designer

Over Doors

Doors don’t need to be boring anymore. There are so many great peel and stick wallpapers out there that you can use on flat panel doors.

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

Upset because you don’t have flat panel doors to do this to? Don’t worry! You can totally apply this method to trimmed panels too. See below.

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Winham Interiors

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Winham Interiors

Framed Wallpaper

Wallpaper is a work of art.. Framing your left over wallpaper or samples is a great way to showcase your favorite patterns without the permanence of pasting it to a wall.

Photo Courtesy of Remodelista

Photo Courtesy of Remodelista

Top 5 Stylish Mirrored Medicine Cabinets

Author: Sydney Piwowar

It wasn’t until recently that companies like Restoration Hardware emerged, providing aesthetically pleasing options for a very functional piece of decor. Traditionally, stylish mirrors are just surface mount mirrors, with no storage. If you wanted something more practical, you were stuck with the same utilitarian, old fashioned mirrors we have seen since the 50’s. We have curated a list of our top 5 modern medicine cabinet options to provide both aesthetics and needed storage.

  1. Black Framed Mirror

Photo Courtesy of Home Services Directory

Photo Courtesy of Home Services Directory

Photo Courtesy of Felix Forest

Photo Courtesy of Felix Forest

Photo Courtesy of Ema Peter

Photo Courtesy of Ema Peter

Photo Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Photo Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Photo Courtesy of Brooke Holm

Photo Courtesy of Brooke Holm

Brass Swing Arm Sconces

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Heres the truth about swing arm sconces - people are too afraid to use them. A light that attaches to the wall and sticks out far into the room can be intimidating because it is very permanent. Their placement can determine the layout of a room. With the help from your favorite designers at JTD, we are here to tell you that they are aren't scary. They take a designer with the right experience to make sure you are putting them in the right place for your space. We have curated a few of our favorite applications to prove it to you. 

1. Ambient Lighting - Long Swing Arm Sconce

2. Bed Task Lighting - Short Swing Arm Sconce

3. Direct Lighting - Short Swing Arm Sconce

4. Task Lighting - Bent Swing Arm Sconce

Designer Unknown

Designer Unknown

5. Spot Light - Directional Swing Arm Sconce

The Anti-Trend: Black Hardware

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Everywhere you look you see it - brass hardware! It is one of the biggest trends in both the design and fashion world, we love the classic warmth it provides. At JTD, we respectfully choose not to follow the trends sometimes though. I want to introduce something we are calling the "anti-trend" - BLACK hardware. Yes, black. While its not conventional, it is the perfect alternative for an edgy flare. If you don't believe me, see below and let these amazing pieces inspire you! We have pulled together a few of our favorites and curated a images that will inspire you to choose black hardware on your next project. 

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By Coco Kelly

By Coco Kelly

Top Indie Fabric and Textile Designers

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Im going to let you in on one of our BIGGEST trade secrets, we have a top secret list of our favorite up-and-comers. One of our responsibilities as a designer requires constant research for new furniture, fabric, and finish designers. Our knowledge of unique artisans is one of the biggest reasons why you hire us. As artists ourselves, we appreciate the creativity and hard work that many of these Indie designers put into re-defining textiles and the classic patterns. Please see our current Top Indie Fabric and Textile Designers list below.. Remember to spread the word to give these artists their much deserved credit as you won't see these designers in mainstream fabric shops. 

Imogen Heath

Viaduct Fabric - Blue 

Viaduct Fabric - Blue 

Eskayel

Medina - Cyrrus Woven Jacquard

Medina - Cyrrus Woven Jacquard

St. Frank

Terracotta Classic Kuba Cloth

Terracotta Classic Kuba Cloth

Savanna Hayes

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Vienna Fabric  in Nectar

Vienna Fabric  in Nectar

Quercus & Co. 

 No. 5 in Black Ink

 No. 5 in Black Ink

The Foundation Shop 

James Malone Fabrics

Khafra in Bronze 

Khafra in Bronze 

 Jetavana in Peachbrown

 Jetavana in Peachbrown

Holli Zollinger 

Geo Series

Geo Series

Caryn Cramer

Aten Inca

Aten Inca

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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