Award-Winning Interior Design

Cozy Modern Living™

social icons Houzz Facebook LinkedIn googleplus

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Working from Home in Lincoln Park

Two work areas make this small office functional

A floor to ceiling bookcase provides room for books, storage and display

A large closet is concealed with bronze sliding glass doors

Glossy taupe is mixed with gray-brown wood

Woven carpet in gray and cream tones

The office before was dark and outdated

The homeowners had made due with a dark, cluttered, outdated office for long enough, when they decided it was time to update and make the space functional for both of them.  At only 140 sq. ft,  with one window, and an 8′ ceiling, every inch needed to be utilized while keeping it open and airy.

Utilizing modular Italian furniture, a custom layout was designed to suit their exact needs. Each have a separate work area with their own file drawers and storage.  A floor to ceiling bookcase provides plenty of room for books.  The glossy taupe with brown-gray wood tones  keep it modern, yet warm and inviting.  Woven carpet in shades of gray and cream make the office homey and comfortable.  A beautiful shade of purple-gray, found in the carpet, covers the walls–it is a perfect, subtle accent color.

A  recessed lighting system was selected to keep the room from feeling closed in.    This LED system creates a clean line of glare-free general illumination within the ceiling drywall and can  be formed into endless configurations, giving ample opportunity for customization. We designed a simple rectangle to direct light exactly where it is needed, over the work areas.  It is punctuated by 3 square recessed lights to brighten up the center of the room.  This combination creates a striking design on the ceiling.

To make the most of the existing closet, it was expanded to the ceiling, and filled with shelving and drawers. Matte finish bronze sliding glass doors allow light to pass through while hiding the closet contents beautifully.
This office is now a light filled, updated and functional office for two to share and enjoy.


Wednesdays Works-in-Progress (WIPs)

Lakeshore Drive Sunroom Update!

This previously underutilized room overlooking Lake Shore Drive has turned into a popular family spot.  Perfect for reading in the mornings, relaxing at night or entertaining a small group of friends.  After much searching for the perfect fabric for the windows, the roman shades have been installed.  My client’s wish was that they add a vibrant touch to the room and they really have done just that.  While we wait for the teal side table to arrive, the final task is designing the throw pillows.  They will add some color and coziness to the sofa.


Lincoln Park Bathroom Tile Ordered!

With plans started last fall, the renovation will be completed this spring.  Things are going well with a contractor secured and the tile finalized.  There are so many options for tile that it is often the hardest decision to make–and bathrooms have a lot of tile. This one will feature white penny rounds with a blue/gray tone around the edges—on the shower floor and as a stripe on walls.  White subway tile for the walls and  blue/grey floor tile which will pick up the edging of the penny rounds.  The plumbing fixtures will be finalized and ordered this week.  It’s getting close!


West Loop Great Room Gets Furniture!

Now that the kitchen is mostly complete, attention has turned to furnishing the living space.  I always recommend swivel chairs for their flexibility.  They can be turned to watch TV,  look out the window or talk to others.  These small scales ones are perfect and add a punch of color to the space.  Now on to rugs, side tables and more!!

Wednesdays Works-In-Progress (WIPs)

Bathroom Begins in Lincoln Park!

ew-project-1            ew-project-2

Renovating a small bathroom is one of my favorite projects!  I love the challenge to maximize function and increase storage while keeping the space looking and feeling open and spacious.  The before photos above show the outdated, dark, dull space which will soon be transformed into a beautiful bathroom.

ew-bathroom-11-15-16-b                ew-bathroom-11-14-16-b                    erica-wax-bathroom-materials

A transitional style will work with the vintage architecture of the apartment–clean and classic in soothing colors of gray, green and blue.  There are so many decisions to make, even for a small space. The couple, who will share the bathroom, know they want to replace the tub with a shower, but will they choose sliding doors or a pivot door as shown in my concept drawings above.

Each option offers advantages and disadvantages that will have to be considered.  A partition wall will give privacy and provide a place for recessed shelving and a towel hook, while sliding glass doors will make the room feel open and larger than it is.  The color scheme  will give the room a calming, spa feel.


Side Tables for Sale!


img_9359                        pd_1208_env1

I’ve been perusing side tables lately.  It seems everyone is in need of that perfect little perch to put next to a chair.  Here are some favorites that I’ve seen around Chicago.
Shown above is a perfectly shaped little table that is sculpture-like.  It comes in many rich and neutral colors in glossy or matte finishes.  Available at Jesse Chicago.  To its right are the Drum Poufs from Design Within Reach.  They are covered in soft felt fabric and can be used as an ottoman or tray table.  Removable tray comes in several wood tones


pi-large-modern-side-table-walnut_2_1                  img_9595

From Bluedot, the Pi side table (above left) mixes powder coated steel with wood.  Small scale to work between 2 lounge chairs or at the end of a sofa.  Comes in other colors and sizes.  Also from BluDot, the Note table can be pulled up close to where you are sitting.  Available in powder coated steel red, black, gray and white and lilac (shown).  It can easily be moved around as needed. Adds a pop of color and lots of function!
Check out the Blu Dot store which just opened at 1953 N. Clybourn, 20% off sale going on now!

Wednesday’s Works-in-Progress (WIP’s)

Oak Park Great Room: Completed on Time!

11-2-16-photo-1             11-2-16-photo-2
The room was finished just in time for a big birthday party! It was the first one in the newly renovated living room and dining room. This time there was plenty of seating for everyone—at the large expandable dining table and in the living room where benches are plentiful.

Food and drinks were set out on the long buffet that distinguishes the dining room from the living room.  A glass door cabinet provides a place to display glassware.The TV is mounted within a niche above the fireplace mantle.  Blue accents appear at the back of the bookcases, in the pillows and in the veining of the quartz.

11-2-16-photo-3             11-2-16-photo-4

Two small navy chairs in the bay window create an intimate sitting area.  The benches provide a cozy spot to stretch out by the window.

The renovation gave this family much needed storage and seating.  This new “Great Room” is now perfect for entertaining or spending time together.  The children’s toys can be stored away and brought out when needed.  The built-in cabinetry and hidden storage allows this room to function for casual gatherings with children (and their toys) or for adult dinner parties.


Wednesdays Works-in-Progress (WIP’S)

 OAK PARK built-in cabinets installed!

oak-park-view-from-dining-room      oak-park-fireplace

The custom cabinetry is now in place!  Its bright white color against Benjamin Moore’s Smokey Taupe on the walls, looks crisp and bright.  Now there is plenty of storage and space for display. The benches will be especially useful during the frequent large family gatherings.  The backs of the bookcases are painted a soft blue which will be the accent color throughout the living room and dining room.

oak-park-long-bench    oak-park-fireplace-close-up

Caesarstone Quartz in Himalayan Moon

While keeping the space open and airy, a long bench separates the living room from the dining room . Facing the dining room are cabinets with pullout shelves, which are perfect for storing serving platters, placemats and tablecloths.  The quartz top allows this surface to act as a buffet for serving meals.  The fireplace surround and hearth in the same quartz unifies the two areas.Items left to do include installing the door pulls and hanging the    TV.  After all the construction is complete, the new furniture and bench cushions will be delivered– just in time for a birthday party the family is hosting at the end of the month!

WEST LOOP kitchen gets backsplash!

west-loop-backsplash             west-loop-light-fixture

The backsplash is finished–it’s the perfect complement to the quartz countertops. In the banquette niche the pendant light is being installed.  Next up is painting the great room and kitchen.

Toilet Trends 2016




Toilets have transformed from an everyday necessity tucked behind a wall or door into the talk of the design world. With new styles, colors, shapes and high-tech options, toilets are becoming a must-see, statement-making part of every stylish bathroom.

Here are the top toilet trends that go beyond dual flush, comfort height and the elongated seat, with which we are now familiar.


Wall-mounted tanks                                                                                                                                                

An elegant metal and glass base hides the tank and serves as a “headboard” for the bowl. It is easy to install and requires no construction. A wall or floor mounted toilet can be attached.    The Gerberit Monolith  is available in many colors and additional options.



Square shapes

With modern, sleek shapes, square edges and narrow profiles, toilets can make a sculptural statement in your bathroom.  Kohler’s Reve  is a one piece toilet with soft square edges and dual flush capability.





LED Lighting

Toilets equipped with nightlights mean no more tripping and banging into counters and doors while navigating through the bathroom after dark.  Kohler’s night light toilet seat features LED lighting and is sold separately so it can be attached to your existing toilet.





 Hands free operating

Eliminate the need to touch your toilet with a hands-free operating feature that works by waving your hand in front of the the sensor.  American Standard’s Clean Activating Touchless Toilet  has a concealed trapway, offering smooth sides for a hassle-free clean up and a smooth, permanent EverClean surface that inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew.




 Integrated Bidet Functions

Integrated functions save space by eliminating the need for a separate toilet and bidet.  Look for models that offer up three spray options, lights, heat and other upgrades such as Duravit’s P3 Comfort Model




 Wall mounts

Wall mounted toilets have a concealed tank hidden behind the wall for a sleek, seamless style.  Available in variouis colors and shapes, they are easy to clean and can be mounted at your preferred height.   Kohler’s Veil model incorporates dual flush technology making it an eco-friendly choice.  An elongated seat for added comfort, an integrated bidet and an LED nightlight make this a fully functioning, wholly luxurious toilet.


kohler veil


Pure Luxury

All these new options mean that purchasing a  toilet is no longer a simple task, but you can count on it being a fun one. For those of you who want a toilet that does it all or just want to see what it’s all about, look for Kohler’s Numi Intelligent model.   Simply walk in front of the toilet and watch the lid rise just for you.  If the user turns around to face it, the seat rises, too! The $6,338 list price includes: dual flush, self-cleaning, automatic lid and flush, adjustable heated seat and foot warmer, three mode washlet, ambient colored lighting, Bluetooth music sync capability, touch screen remote, air drying and deodorizing filter.  Now that’s something to flush about!


IMG_8401           Hero_Template (1)

Backsplash tile goes in at Lincoln Park Kitchen Renovation!

My favorite part of the kitchen renovation is when the backsplash tile is installed.  Not only does this step signal the imminent completion, it often ties the whole design together.



It can be sleek and clean or multi-color and varied, the tile adds a unique touch.  Often it is the hardest to select because there are so many great options.  Materials range from glass to metal and clay.  Shapes can be small square or round mosaics or large rectangles, hexagons or circles.  Surfaces come in matte, shiny, smooth or textured.


In this kitchen, the goal was to create an light, airy and calming space, in a classic modern style.  A monochromatic color scheme of white, cream, champagne and taupe was chosen to accomplish this goal.  A ceramic subway tile from Mission Stone and Tile  features a raised geometric design, adds a timeless element with a modern twist.



The walls have been painted and the space feels suddenly light and airy!  The tile will be grouted, the pendants will be hung and the vent hood and microwave will be installed this week.  Almost there!

Wallpaper as Art

Trends in Wallpaper

wallpaper 11            wallpaper 9             wallpaper 6

Going to the Maya Romanoff  wallpaper showroom at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, is like visiting an art museum.  I wandered in there last week, and was in awe of the variety and beauty of the full length samples hanging one after another.

wallpaper 13             wallpaper 7              wallpaper 12

Maya Romanoff is the largest manufacturer of handcrafted wallcoverings in the United States. For more than 40 years, their artisans have incorporated glass beads, gold leaf, seashells, wood and stitching right in a Chicago studio.

wallpaper 5  wallpaper 4  wallpaper 3

Wallpaper is a great way to add warmth and character to a space.  It can be placed on one wall (or ceiling!) as an accent or in an entire room.  It can work in any room from the Bedroom to the powder room.   Add some depth and pattern above a fireplace or behind open shelves.  The colors, patterns and textures are endless.  Current trends include retro geometrics, textures representing nature, metallic and matte patterns, floral and hand-sewn details.

wallpaper 2


Lincoln Park Kitchen Renovation Continues

Update on Lincoln Park Kitchen Renovation

The white cabinets are all in place and the lighting has been installed.  The bar area will be completed with textured glass doors and glass shelving.  The room is coming together!

blog 5 9 16 A

I am feeling good that everything is going so smoothly, when I see a photo come through from my contractor.  From afar it looks perfect, but upon closer examination, I see that the crown molding doesn’t quite hit the ceiling.  Panic begins, but then I remember that the ceiling was very uneven and that it would require a filler to close the gap.   I’ll be onsite tomorrow to discuss how this will be done and if any extra material will need to be ordered.  In almost every renovation, there is something that needs to be reordered–either there wasn’t enough or something came in the wrong color or quantity.

blog 5 9 16 B

By tomorrow, I should have the template drawings for the countertop.  After the onsite measure, a shop drawing is submitted for our approval.  It will indicate the measurements, the colors, thickness and where seams will be located if they are needed.  Once this drawing is approved, we are in the home stretch!