Cool Elegance

    Inspiration knows no limits. So, when Chicago-area designers created the interiors in Merchandise Mart Properties’ latest DreamHome, a temporary product and design display dubbed “Cool Elegance,” small spaces didn’t restrict their vision. In fact, their on-trend decorating choices will likely influence your home furnishings shopping this fall season.

    Consider the deft use of neutrals and textures in the bedroom by interior designer Jeannie Balsam. Her soothing presentation tips the scales when it comes to texture, beginning with a ceruse finish on the David Iatesta Loire four-post walnut bed. The driftwood-inspired tone provides a framework for the platinum room.

    A wool area rug (Iceplum in Ash) from Tufenkian, Venetian plaster painted wainscoting, a damask-embossed grass cloth wallcovering, cashmere-blend draping and bedding, a limestone fireplace, and Italian velvet on the vintage-inspired Cantrell chairs from Hickory Chair round out the room’s organic and luxurious tactile experience.

    As is often the case when working with layers of neutrals, Balsam adds a jolt by way of a strong accent color. Here, Clementine, a reddish orange shown on the ottoman, as well as a few gold accessories, are complements.

    Outdoor living is on the rise in all parts of the country, despite the fact that year-round use isn’t an option in Chicago. Recent research has found that the emphasis today is on outdoor living rooms, not necessarily outdoor cooking areas. The vignette in the 2010 Dream Home, designed by Michael Schmechtig, Christopher Michiels and Toni Callahan of Schmechtig Landscapes & InEx-teriors is a product-packed example of what it means to gather and entertain outdoors.

    The Ebel Inc. sofa, which features outdoor fabrics from the Mart’s Holly Hunt showroom, wraps around a Phillips Collection  contemporary artisan table. Notice the dining nook behind the fireplace; the counter-height stools are from Kingsley Bate.

    The boutique hotel trend, which continues to influence bathroom design at luxury and high-end price points, is evident in the DreamHome bathroom. Designed by The Kohler Store’s William Collins, the space is surrounded by luxurious products from the Ann Sacks brand. For instance, Palladium, an Italian travertine floor tile, offers a unique silver-and-cream coloration with subtle blue-gray veining. The iridescent bamboo tile, also from Ann Sacks, adorns the discreetly angled wall, which is intended to enhance a sense of “seclusion of mind and body.” Pendant lights from Boyd Lighting frame the Baker steel sculpture between the vanity mirrors.

    Epitomizing a move away from predictable, traditional spaces, the DreamHome foyer offers an “exaggerated reality” that creator Summer Thornton intended to stimulate viewers’ sense of the unexpected. The Christopher Becker landscape photograph is, perhaps, first to engage in this modern-day cabinet of curiosities.

    Peeling back the next layer, the eye is drawn to the dramatic Tronchi glass chandelier and the Brunschwig & Fils wingback chair in chartreuse cotton velvet. Meanwhile, a malachite-inspired wallpaper from Cole & Son and a floor painted a black-and-white harlequin pattern wrap the space in whimsy and fantasy.

    DreamHome is on display on the first floor of The Merchandise Mart in Chicago through Dec. 10. Click here to view more photos from the 2010 edition.

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