Nothing seems more exciting than receiving an email from a friend. Recently an email came from our friends at Sweet Peas Design in Libertyville, IL. The owner, Susan Brunstrum, attended HCC University along with one of her associates. They shared this very special installation using many Hickory Chair pieces in this email. We hope that you will be as inspired as we when you read her story and see the creativity in these inspirational roomscenes below!
Interior designer Susan Brunstrum drastically downsized last year from a 7,500-square-foot home to a charming 1927 bungalow located in the coveted Heritage area of Libertyville, an older section of this upscale North suburb of Chicago.
The Craftsman-like home, where she and her two college-age children live, weighs in at a mere 2,000 square feet: intimate, but not cramped. It is located near the all-American downtown and commuter train station, two attractive perks.
With respect for the area’s history, Brunstrum preserved the bones and footprint of this vintage cottage, including the hardwood floors, which she refinished, arched doorways and textured ceilings, but she gave it a contemporary makeover that’s refined and a little glam. The neutral color palette and uncomplicated design are what she craves after long days working with color and patterns for clients.
She turned to Hickory Chair for furnishings that would help interpret the tailored, sophisticated style she calls “rough luxe.” The firm is an old friend that she often relies on to create custom looks for her clients, but this time it was her turn.
The result is a casually elegant mix of masculine and feminine elements that’s a bit like “GQ Guy Meets Cosmo Girl,” and she found more than 20 pieces from Hickory Chair to make that look work.
Here are the results:
It all started in the kitchen. The handsome grey kitchen cabinets and the quartzite countertops inspired the neutral color palette for the whole house. Susan fell for the soothing quality of this men’s suiting hue and its versatility with many other colors. On either side of the Milo Made 2 Measure dining table in the breakfast nook is a pair of Bistro Banquettes in Vacona Downy Gray. The Dara side chairs have a dark walnut finish with antique rub silver striping and elephant colored fabric.
This is where Susan put some whimsy and a lot of texture to work while creating the illusion of more space. A standard sofa would have consumed most of the room, so she chose two Leigh Low Arm Chaises in espresso, embellished with a flange welt and butterfly corners, and separated by an Andrew Side Table in Weathered Stone. The open Sullivan Bookcase Rack lets the eye roam through the shelving to Susan’s signature burlap fabric wall treatment, hand-fringed and applied horizontally, producing long sight lines. Exotic pillows, aqua glass vases and a custom zebra rug complete the picture.
Through the kitchen and just past the butler’s pantry is the formal dining room where Susan designed the area rug so the floral motif sits at the corners, skirting the silver leaf, Sutherland Table Pedestal and dark walnut Sloan Table Top. The Bridgewater Chest adds warm, walnut contrast and there’s a clear-cut feminine/masculine contrast in the glass bead Zia Privin chandelier, Barbara Barry narrow glass ront armoires and Christopher Guy chain link mirror.
Now that she doesn’t have to worry about peanut-butter hands, Susan dared to dress the living room in elegant ivory. She designed the square-in-square hide rug by Edelman that anchors the space and secured the pair of Curtis Sofas with espresso finish. The antique ivory Taylor Chests provide extra storage for this cozy cottage while the mirror-backed Lorenzo Cabinet displays hand-picked treasures. The fireplace is a clever bit of designer detail – Susan had it painted to look like the flagstone she installed on the front walk. A snakeskin parsons table by Edelman, two mohair ottomans made by Nelson Paiz and another Priven chandelier fill out the room.
Susan tells us this is her refuge. The quaint angles of the ceiling create a quiet niche for a comfy bed made up with an Ann Gish French knot cover. Flanking the leather Christopher Guy headboard is a pair of Lancaster Side Tables in contrasting Rustic Silver and Sable. Kravet fabric covers the ottomans and the Reagan Hayes chair, and for a girlie-girl finish, there’s a McLaughlin acrylic perching chair with long-haired goat seat and Barbara Barry desk.
This lower level is a “man cave” that women love too. Who wouldn’t want to stretch out on this flannel, Silhouettes Seating sectional. Susan designed the Thomas McNeil cabinetry and the pear-green leather ottoman made by Nelson Paiz. The Eliza Chair with large nail heads and flat tape trim provides an extra seat, while the glass Evan Lewis tables collect iPads, laptops and drinks.
One last note: Even though Susan downsized by 75 percent, she didn’t sacrifice anything in quality of materials or workmanship. Smaller can still be luxurious.
Thank you to Susan for sharing this great story today! Do you have a story to share? Send your story and pictures to email@example.com and we will be in touch!