Hello, Goodbye

Change happens.  This time, it’s a good and exciting change!  I’ve updated and changed my website, although you’ll find me at the same address: www.catherineschagerdesigns.com.  I’m closing down this blog site and will have the new one at the address above.  For those of you loyal fans who have subscribed, you’ll have to re-subscribe on the new site (sorry!).  Please check it out, comment, and let me know your thoughts!  I think the new site is a better reflection of my company and what I can do for you.  There’s also an e-book that you can download that gives you a “blueprint” process to follow if you’re planning on doing a remodeling project.  Please also check out my Facebook page www.facebook.com/catherineschagerdesigns where I’ll be able to interact with you and have some fun!

Thank you for being my “subscribers” and readers and I hope to connect with you again very soon!

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Four Fabulous Finds

Ugh.  I can’t believe it’s been nearly two weeks since I last posted!  Sorry.  Sometimes it’s challenging to come up with new stuff twice a week and I backslide.  Ah, but let’s move on to some new fun, cool, and unbelievable stuff I’ve found recently.

Kohler's NUMI toilet with motion activated seat and lid!

#1.  Kohler’s new NUMI toilet.  Ok, this is the unbelievable one, so I had to lead off with it.  This little baby will set you back a mere $6400, but here’s what you get for that:

  • A motion activated seat and lid, so you never have to touch it
  • A built-in bidet (check it out at www.kohler.com if you want more on that- I’m not going there)
  • An air dryer (see above)
  • A heated seat
  • A foot warmer (it blows heated air on your tootsies)
  • And, last but not least, built in speakers for your iPod.  No kidding.  Yes, it’s for the person who has everything.  Would you ever want to come out of there???

Call me crazy, but I find this stove sexy!

#2. The Bertazzoni range.  It’s from Italy.  You know, the land of Ferrari.  Need I say more?

Dornbracht's Deque tub filler. Love the color!

#3.  The Dornbracht Deque faucet.  This is pretty cool.  Check out the website www.dornbracht.com

Isn't this gorgeous? Check out http://www.thinkglass.com for more!

#4.  Think Glass.  Ok, this one is way cool with a bunch of applications that can make for a very unique look.  You can get glass countertops up to 4″ thick and with built in LED lights!

Ok, which is your favorite?  Stay tuned for more design info as I’m back in the swing!

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NeoCon News

This week marked the annual madness and mayhem known in the design industry as NeoCon  at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.  It’s three full days of the largest trade show and conference for commercial interiors with over 700 showrooms and exhibits and attendended by about 50,000 designers, architects, and buyers.  Yes, it’s crazy, crowded, and convivial!

Although most of my practice is in the residential arena, I enjoy going to NeoCon because I take a number of seminars to further my education and I love to learn about new products.  Often, I can see how a product that is supposedly for commercial projects could be used in residential ones.  Here are a few of my favorites from this year’s show:

  • Wink- a product that you apply to a painted wall that turns it into a dry-erase surface.  Very cool option for a customized application!  For instance, a kid’s room (wow, coloring on the walls without getting into trouble!) or even a home office or kitchen.  www.wallsloveink.com
  • 3Form’s new Light Art line of lighting.  I’ve talked about 3Form before, but it’s still one of the coolest products out there and now they even have lighting! www.3-form.com/lightart
  • Aren't these gorgeous pendants?

  • Armourcoat’s sculptural line of wall surface designs.  These are panels that can be attached to a wall to create a very textured wall.  I think this could be fabulous in a number of applications- although it lends itself best to a more contemporary aesthetic. www.armourcoat.com
  • This is one of several different patterns!

There are so many products it’s dizzying!  Interestingly enough, I attended a seminar about how the amount of choices that we now have in the design world have changed the buying habits of our clients.  Very interesting, and I’ll talk more about it in another post!  In the meantime, which of these do you like??

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Fascinating Farnsworth

I hope you have all been enjoying the heat in Chicago as it’s about to change tomorrow!  As the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather stick around 10 minutes and it’ll change.  Which brings me to the topic of Summer homes.  Yes, I know I’ve written a few posts on the topic.  Today I want to hone in on a particular summer home that I find fascinating.

It’s the Mies van der Rohe classic “Farnsworth House” built in Plano Illinois in 1951 for Dr. Edith Farnsworth as a summer retreat.  What I find intriguing and fascinating about it is its minimalist design, set amid a very bucolic setting.  It’s also interesting for the interplay of warmth and coolness evident in the interior, and the detail.  There’s a reason for every small  detail.

Now, there are some things about it that I know wouldn’t work for me but that I find interesting anyway.  For instance, there’s far too much glass and too little privacy.  While I would enjoy viewing the gorgeous outdoors all year round, I need some place where I can close the door to the outside world.  The only place to do that in the Farnsworth House is in the bathroom- which is functional but certainly not lavish.  Also, the house was built without a closet, and there was supposedly a lot of unhappiness on the part of the client for that!

Farnsworth House

Living Room of Farnsworth House

What do you think?  Is it a place that you’d be comfortable in? Have you ever taken the drive out to Plano to see it?  If you ever have an opportunity and enjoy architecture, it’s worth the trip.  You can check it out at www.farnsworthhouse.org

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Today I honor and give thanks to all the brave men and women who have served our country in the armed forces.  Whether it be Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or the Coast Guard, I’m grateful to those who have secured the freedoms that I enjoy today.

Long may she wave!

In my own family, I honor my grandfather who served in WWII in a tank unit in Europe.  He and my Uncle John, who had served in the Pacific, would occasionally swap stories, but the war was never a big topic of conversation.  I don’t think it was because they weren’t proud to have served- I think that after seeing what they had seen, they preferred to keep it to themselves and those that shared that time with them.

My Dad served during what he’s always called “The Korean Occupation”.  He served his time in France in the radio corps.  I’m grateful that he wasn’t involved in combat.

Field of Honor in Northbrook's Village Green

My cousin Tony and my cousin Jim both served during Vietnam.  Tony was in the Air National Guard and didn’t see any conflict, but Jim went to Vietnam as a Marine and returned with a Purple Heart.

My brother Andy served in the Navy for 17 years and spent time in Beirut and also was part of the Naval blockade during Desert Storm.  He liked to say that being on the ship and firing was as close to combat as he wanted to get.

I hope that as you enjoy your picnics and gatherings that you take a moment to remember those in the service of our country and perhaps offer a prayer of thanks.  Their sacrifice has made our picnics possible.

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Super Summer Fabrics

If you’ve been in Chicago for the past few weeks, it doesn’t seem like Summer will ever arrive.  Yesterday I actually saw people wearing winter coats and hats, AND IT’S THE END OF MAY!!

So, while I’ve been dreaming and longing for Summer I came across some new fabrics that would be fabulous in a Summer home.  You know, that little weekend cabin, cottage or condo that’s the place you go to kick off your shoes, open the doors and windows and relax with a cool beverage.   Take a look and see what you think.

For the seaside retreat on the East Coast:

Robert Allen Peninsula    

This would be fabulous on a couple of club chairs, paired with off-white and perhaps a little cherry red, grass green or even coral thrown in.

For the Northwoods cabin:
Robert Allen

This would be great as pillows on a leather sectional, with a couple of Ikat patterned chairs!

For the sophisticated condo :
Kravet Samaria 635

This could work as a drapery fabric, pillows, or even on some rattan chairs.  Paired with a subtle stripe and a carmel solid it evokes the islands without being too “beachy”.

These can be a jumping off point, a place to start and let your mind wander.
What kind of summer place do you own or dream of?
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There’s A Summer Place…..

Ok, call me old.  I don’t mind.  “There’s a Summer Place” has been one of my favorite pieces of music since I was a little girl. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRu4aLAG2AI

For me, it embodies the best of Summer memories.  Memories that encompass not only my childhood summers but much more recent ones as well.

My childhood summers were spent visiting.  I’d visit my grandparents in Zion who had a large house and yard and my bedroom window faced the “Zippy’s” neon sign. It was somehow comforting to see that sign at night. My two brothers and I learned to ride bicycles there, and we could stay out until we couldn’t take the mosquitos anymore.  I also visited my friend Betty, who had a cottage on Fox Lake.  I can still smell the Lake, and feel the water up my nose as I practiced diving off of her pier.

Just a simple cottage, but what a great place to be!

More recent memories involve the many years that my husband and I along with our friends and kids, would travel 6 hours up to Big Sand Lake Club in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  I’ve always thought of it as a summer camp for grown-ups.  The lodge is a great big old log cabin with more than 20 rooms.  No one locks their room doors- because you can’t, there’s no air conditioning, but they do give you box fans if it’s really hot, oh, and you have to go down the hall to shower or use the facilities.  Yes, it’s a little rustic.  I find that charming.  There’s also a great big fireplace where people gather to chat and catch up on each other’s lives.  There are no phones and no TV’s in the rooms.  The dinner bell rings at 6:00 and everyone spiffs up for cocktails and dinner.  Evenings are spent outside looking at the stars and hoping to see the Northern Lights, or inside playing some ping pong.

Inside the Lodge at "Big Sand"

While my “Summer Place” includes  actual  places, it’s really the feeling of comfort that I get in remembering times spent enjoying what really matters in life- great friends, great family, and getting to just be with them.

Do you have a “Summer Place”?

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