Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group Inc.

Browsing Tag: Chicago Interior Design

Interior Design for the Individual: Incorporating the Client’s Lifestyle

Our client asked us to design a masculine man-cave to provide more comfort and function. For Joe, this meant highlighting his love of hunting. We took this former pool table room and added a seated bar, TV, and comfortable seating with indoor/outdoor fabric making it dog-friendly.

Before Photos:

Before photo: bar area

Before photo: bar area

Before photo: pool table area

Before photo: pool table area

A bedroom was created in the adjoining room and a new lounge allowed for entertaining and relaxation. Our design team (with a skilled general contractor) added a custom bar for seating and in doing so, added more storage and function. We then eliminated the top cabinets for a more open feel.

After Photos:

After photo: custom mill work with red top cabinets

After photo: custom mill work with red top cabinets

After photo: pool table area converted into lounge

After photo: pool table area converted into lounge

Get a virtual tour of Joe’s man-cave designed by Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group through our feature on Open House or read the full article in Modern Luxury Interiors.

Contemporary wood wallpaper

We love when clients present us with unique challenges. In this case, it’s a young Chicago professional who wants a media room that reflects his love of hunting, nature and the outdoors while fitting with his modern urban home. No overt hunting lodges or folksy cabins here. The look is to be upscale, contemporary and comfortable with subtle winks towards that more rustic aesthetic.

Wood wall coverings are a perfect material for this challenge. Not panels!  This is not your 1970′s basement wood panelling! Modern wood-look wall coverings and wallpapers are made of phthalate-free vinyl with the grain of real wood. They’re amazingly realistic and versatile, ranging from sleek finishes that work beautifully to emphasize architecture to more rustic styles full of grooves and knots and color variation. The samples above are from Innovations USA Hudson line but we also love….


the Renaissance line from Concertex which comes in a variety of stains and grains…


and Maya Romanoff’s Ajira collection which comes in grain patterns like the Ajira Chevron above.

Stay tuned as this project develops! It’s such a fun concept, the final product is going to be amazing!

Accenting the ceiling with unique materials: Part 2

Let’s peek into the kitchen of our luxury Chicago bachelor pad. And like last time, we’re focusing on the ceiling. (Clearly, we love ceilings around here!)

Before: A stainless steel hood over the range and contemporary track lighting. Not the worst, just not right.

We chose to replace the hood with an updraft (which can do the job just as well and, in this home of a bachelor with little interest in cooking, the ‘gourmet kitchen’ didn’t fit with his lifestyle) surrounded by a soffit and inset lighting that shows off this beautiful antique carved panel.

Looking up!

Just like a chandelier over a dining table, this panel grounds the space…plus the slight drop of the soffit and the warm detail of the panel creates a more intimate feeling space, a special nook rather than just kitchen overflow.

 It’s architectural detail, visual art and functionality all in one! Ceilings can be wonderful things!

Accenting the ceiling with unique materials

Poor old ceilings. They’re so often neglected in the design of a room.  There’s no quicker way to take a space from “Oh, that’s pretty” to “Wow!” than to add detail to the ceiling. After all, it is the 5th wall of any room!

The cove ceiling with in-laid wood panel, recessed and pendant lighting adds architectural detail to this otherwise plain hall.

Let’s take a trip back in time and look at some pics of this Chicago condo (whose powder room was featured on the blog last week) before we got our hands on it.

It’s a great space… a big fireplace focal point, tall windows looking out onto the Chicago River, and thirteen foot ceilings.

Everyone loves high ceilings. It’s open and airy and grand, no doubt there. But there are challenges when dealing with all that height. The large volume of empty space created by high ceilings can dwarf furnishings and just feel cavernous. Add to that the special challenges of this room…the small footprint which made that  height feel out of balance, and the raised dining room and kitchen to the left, whose view of the river ran right through the vast emptiness above the living room, and we knew we needed to address the ceiling.

We began by building out a rectangular soffit, mirroring the shape of the room and defining the living area from the rest of the open plan first floor.


The view on installation day. You can really see how high the ceiling is here.


Already, it’s looking better.

Since the goal was a warm, textured room full of art and artifacts and beautiful details, additional detail was needed to bring the ceiling up to snuff. Four beautiful wood panels were installed in the soffit with recessed lighting glowing softly behind and can lights around the perimeter for flexibility.


Now the rich wood draws the eye up and pulls the “5th wall” down, allowing it to become a part of the composed space. As Deb said, “We could’ve fill this room with treasures and you would never know. They’d be swallowed up.”

Now the ceiling itself is a treasure.

The Design Team at the Circa Lighting Opening in Chicago

Our Design team was able to attend the opening for the new Circa Lighting showroom. Located at 444 North Wells Street, right in the heart of Chicago’s Merchandise District, this showroom was filled to the top with unique handcrafted top of the line fixtures. Some of the Designers pieces we were able to “awe” over were legends such as Sandy Chapman, Thomas O’Brien, Alexa Hampton, Barbara Barry, Suzanne Kasler, Eric Cohler, Clodagh, J. Randall Powers, and an extensive studio line.

Along with Circa’s stunning fixtures in their showroom, it  also featured a number of unique characteristics. Clients will find innovative merchandising displayed and meeting spaces to help keep the designers creative juices flowing.

Circa Lighting – David Easton, Snow Mass Double Sconce

Circa Lighting -Sandy Chapman Spherical Cube Pendant

Most all of these gorgeous pieces can be offered in a variety of finishes. This is great for meeting our clients needs, I know I hate when I fall in love with a piece for a client and cant get the right finish. We also found out they can have some pieces made to be customizable so you can get the proper length, height etc… how unique!

Brooke Hubbuch, CS Interiors; Gale Singer, Principal of Circa Lighting; Allison Cooke, CS Interiors

Look at this beautiful display they have in the back of the showroom. What a great place to bring clients as well see one of Circa Lighting’s chandeliers in use.

Overall, we are so excited for this new location and cant wait to find new exciting trends through this showroom. Congrats on a successful event.

The Closet Re-Imagined

If you look back at the architecture of the past, you will notice that there was often less concealed storage (much to the chagrin of modern home buyers) and more room for display pieces.  Today’s modern real estate developers try to get the most storage they can possibly squeeze into a space because closets help sell homes.  However, too often we see odd, small closets cluttering up otherwise lovely walls.  These tiny closets are hardly helping solve storage solutions and can be really distracting from the aesthetic of a room.  The solution?  Built ins!

I love to create built in display and storage nooks from small, somewhat useless closets.  By removing the doors and frames and simply adding in some cabinetry and shelving, the boring becomes beautiful!

Check out some great examples….

This built in replaces a closet for a gorgeous effect (and still lots of storage)!


Red, Glorious Red

When designing a space, the decision of color is extremely important as it dictates the mood of the space.  Color theorists as early as the ancient Greeks have been assigning meanings and symbolism to different colors.  White is perceived as pure, yellow as soothing, purple as royal.

No color is as widely interpreted as red.  To many Eastern cultures, red symbolizes good luck.  Red is the color assigned to passion, romance, love and excitement.  It is also often the color associated with evil or danger.

Red is one of my favorite colors to use in a space.  While some people shy away from it, there are many ways to use it, whether as an accent or a dominant color, in a way that is calming, fun and just plain gorgeous!

I used red as a major accent in this bedroom. The color, while bold, is not overpowering and this room is still soothing and comfortable.


Lovely Landscapes

My recent feature on got me thinking about landscape art and the impact it can have in a space.  Even the most indoorsy person can’t argue that the natural world offers some of the most beautiful imagery and magnificent colors around.

Landscapes can range from photorealistic paintings to abstract art using various mediums. In my French country estate, I used abstract landscapes to anchor the bedside tables. These used colors such as black and metallic leaf to create a landscape, but even when using an abstract approach, it is unmistakably a landscape.

These contemporary landscapes anchor the bedside tables and bring elegance and drama to the room.

Traditional landscape paintings are often seen in libraries and traditional settings, which may lead people to believe that they only belong in traditional rooms.  See the gallery below of landscapes used in many different settings, all to beautiful results!

This traditional library uses a landscape painting as a beautiful compliment to the wood tones.

This beautiful landscape was used in this eclectic living room by Nate Berkus Interiors

A lovely landscape painting was the perfect compliment to the fun floral prints in my Lakeforest Coach House

This is a very cool use of a huge landscape- sectioned and individually framed it creates much more drama and a more contemporary feel than hanging the art alone.

This large landscape above the sofa brings a serene beauty to this modern room. Design by Tjasa Owen.

Are you ready to bring nature into your home?

Funky Furnishings

The world of interior design is constantly stretching and crossing barriers to come up with the coolest, most innovative home furnishings.  Sometimes this is by means of using unique materials such as shagreen, bold colors or even taking us to great heights.

Los Angeles based HStudio, creates funky furnishings by incorporating all of the above!  Their unique furniture plays with scale, color and materials.

Founder Shlomi Haziza got his start in the art world at a young age by painting found rocks.  His painted rocks were so extraordinary that he began selling them and soon had a large following.  Over the years he has worked with many mediums, including recycled Levis jeans.  He is well known for his mastery of the difficult material acrylic.  Through his acrylic art, Haziza found the furniture world.

What makes his furnishings so unique is not just the shapes of the pieces, but also the scale.  By supersizing a cool lounge chair, he creates a special bench.  By raising the back of an arm chair, the simple becomes exciting.

Check out some of his amazing work below!

What appears to be just a cool lounge chair is actually a bench! The model really helps show the scale of this unique piece.


Gorgeous Shagreen!

Much like croc and snake skin to the fashion world, the interior design industry has its luxe materials like bone, goat parchment and shagreen.

Real shagreen, much like leather, is the skin of a pearl ray.  The rough, granular surface of the skin is often dyed to highlight its unique texture.  Shagreen can also refer to a leather that is imprinted to create a shagreen-like surface.  The rays are not large and therefore yield small amounts of skin, making shagreen one of the most expensive materials on earth.

Due to its popularity, many furniture and home decor manufacturers have created beautiful faux products that emulate the original so closely, they are a great alternative to the lower budget client.

This beautiful coffee table from Made Goods features a faux shagreen cover and is available in a variety of colors.

This cabinet has a gorgeous faux shagreen lining and inset on the macassar ebony doors.

This amazing material can even be seen in Ann Sacks new “shagreen” tile.  Each tile emulates a panel like those that would be used in real shagreen.  Now this luxe look can be used in wet locations like bathrooms and kitchens.

Cool tiles from Ann Sacks emulate a shagreen panel

Don’t have room in your home for new tile or furnishings?   Check out madegoods for their full accessory lines featuring beautiful faux shagreen!


Generations Divides Highlighted in Home Design Part 2

The next demographic of people highlighted in the UNcontained exhibit is “Forever Fit”, featuring “the Zoomers”.  Zoomers are defined as people in the baby boomer generation who are nearing retirement age but still live active lifestyles.  The zoomers want their homes to not only look cool and be highly designed, but also allow them to age in place.

The forever fit pod showcases the active and trendy lifestyle of the "Zoomer" generation


Spring Into a Bright New Look

As the weather in Chicago turns from gray skies to bright, vibrant colors, we can take inspiration from the cues of nature to add some joyful color to our own homes.  Depending on your level of commitment to adding color to your home, there are several ways to do this.

The first way is to add colorful accents like pillows, floral arrangements and bold, colorful art.  Many people believe that once you have completed a room that it should never be changed, but art and accessories can rotate seasonally to reflect the weather, similar to how holiday decorations add a festive feeling.  Check out our One room, two seasons page to see how Deb transformed a room for different seasons.

One great place to add some bold pops of color and pattern is in a powder room.  We love bold powder rooms- they are the perfect canvas for interesting textures and cool wall treatments.  Even a home that is all neutral can add some colorful sophistication in this small room.

This fun wallpaper and decorative mirror spruce up a simple powder room and because it is such a small room, it isn't overwhelming.


Hot New Trends in Bathroom Design

This past week we had the privilege of attending the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.  It was great to see the hot new trends in plumbing, tile and cabinetry.  We saw everything from 3D tiles from Ann Sacks, to amazing new quartz products from Cambria.

Cool 3D tiles from Ann Sacks

Cambria quartz slabs look like granite- some of the newest patterns now look so much like natural stone it is nearly impossible to tell they are man made!


Designing Cool Kid’s Spaces That Parents Will Love

One of the big challenges in the interior design world is designing gorgeous spaces in homes that are occupied by young children.  Between sticky fingers, crayons and markers, and messy spills, it is hard enough to design grown up spaces the whole family can enjoy.  For many the design savvy client, good design must continue into kid’s only zones like playrooms and bedrooms.  So many of the kid-focused products on the market are cheesy and too childish or colorful for a sophisticated home.  So what is a design minded person to do?

Cedarworks, a custom wood playground company located in Rockport, Maine, has come up with the perfect solution with their rhapsody line of products.  Featuring indoor playgrounds, play houses and cool beds that double as interactive play areas, these are sure to be loved by children.  The natural wood, beautiful carvings and whimsical designs will appeal to their stylish parents. By incorporating slides, artist easels, chalk boards and educational toys into the design of these wood pieces, there is no need for the brightly colored plastic products.

Check out some of the fun options!

A sweet playhouse for the elegant, traditional home.


“Hot” Fireplace Designs!

As a designer, I get emails from vendors trying to sell me their wares on a daily basis.  Much of what I see are different versions of the same thing, but once in awhile something very special and unique comes through that I have to share.  Today, I received an email from Focus Contemporary Fireplaces showcasing their incredibly special and unique fireplaces.  Focus is the brainchild of Dominique Imbert, a French chef, ethnologist and literature professor turned sculptor and fireplace designer.  After many different career attempts, Imbert settled on designing these unique pieces after he created a fireplace for himself and quickly received commissions to create more.

I have seen tons of cool fireplaces that are made to look like art or that seem to defy gravity; but while they all use an electric or gas flame, many of these are actually wood burning!

Check out the wonderful images of these amazing fireplaces.

This fireplace was Imbert's original design, created in 1968. It is wood burning (with a gas option) and is designed to swivel 360 degrees so it can be seen from any vantage point in the room.


Celebrating Incredible Artistry

Last night I attended a party at the magnificent Waldorf Astoria Chicago hotel to showcase the incredible works of R&B Faux Studio, Inc.  The artists Renata and Bozena create magnificent faux finishes using cool textures, bold colors and great finishes.  Below are some pics of the party as well as some of my favorite boards. Enjoy!


This finish was created using different textures and building up patterns around various stencils and then doing a painted finish over the plasters.

This textures mimics that dotted effect of Shagreen (sting ray skin)


Amazing Pillows Inspired by Nature’s Hardest Materials

While looking through all the beautiful images on Houzz, I stumbled upon these cool pillows/ottomans and had to share!  A rock is most certainly an odd inspiration for these soft, wooly pillows.  Maybe that is what makes them so cool?  The natural, organic shapes and neutral colors are perfect with many design styles.  Check out some great images of these fun pillows and ottomans!

These amazing rock cushions by Smarin are beyond cool!


What was old is new again- Timeless elegance at a Chicago landmark

As I discussed in a recent blog, sometimes the most beautiful aspects of interior design aren’t the ones you see straight ahead, but rather, above you.  A beautiful ceiling can be the difference between an average room and a magnificent one.  Take for example, this incredible Chicago landmark.

The gorgeous Tiffany glass mosaic ceiling


“Blown” Away!

I recently returned from a great trip to San Antonio.  While I was there, I saw some incredible sights in the area, including the gorgeous river walk.  Originally built in 1941, this urban oasis sits below street level and is a lush park ground area with beautiful paths, tinkling waterfalls and outdoor art.  It received a major expansion and restoration in the last decade and is now a popular spot for weddings and events as well.

The beautiful river walk

I also toured a wonderful glass blowing studio/shop and got to learn about the process of creating some exquisite glass art pieces.

The exterior shot of the workroom at this amazing glass blowing studio.

The first step of the "blowing" process.

The vase is placed in the furnace several times to heat and mold the glass, then heated repeatedly with a blow torch and manipulated to a flat bowl shape.

And the finished products…

The finished product!

I often use art glass in my client’s homes and found it absolutely fascinating to watch these artisans create such intricate, beautiful designs out of such delicate materials.  What an art form!

Reaching New Heights with Ceiling Design

I have been working on the office of a client that is currently a simple, rather dull space.  It does have one beautiful architectural detail- the ceiling!  It is amazing the difference a ceiling can make to the overall feel of a room.  If you take a simple room and do a special detailing on the ceiling, like add molding or beams, a wallpaper treatment, or even a cool paint treatment, you instantly turn an average room into something special.


The cool office ceiling. I can't wait to make it pop!

Here, I created a ton of visual interest in this hallway by creating a lighted cove ceiling and placing not only beautiful lighting, but a great piece of wood to create layers of color and texture.

For this installation, I created a cove and put an amazing slice of a live edge tree trunk and did cut outs for the lights.

To add additional texture and color and tie the natural wood of the lower cabinets in, I selected a beautiful piece of wood for the ceiling and inserted it into a cove.

Here, I created different ceiling heights and did a beautiful paint treatment plus a sparkling chandelier that creates a cool light effect on the walls and ceiling.

As a designer, I am constantly scanning design mags and websites for inspiration and to learn about new products.  I saw these beautiful rooms on Houzz and was impressed by the beauty of the ceilings in these spaces.

The ceiling in this room is amazing. It is wonderful how the designer (PPDS from Austin, TX) was able to create such a dazzling effect just by using a few pieces of molding.

Local designer Michael Abrams created this magnificent ceiling. The furnishings of this room are so simple and it is unfinished without any art or accessories, but with the amazing ceiling, the room really stands out.

This amazing ceiling really brings this room into a new level of design. Imagine the same room with a plain white ceiling instead of the magnificent moldings and wood paneling. Design by Murphy and Co. of Buffalo, MN.

This ceiling, designed by Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects, uses simple mdf panels arranged in a cool way and painted to create a modern beamed ceiling.

The criss cross beams of this "coffered" ceiling by Gaile Guevara makes this otherwise very simple and neutral room look very cool and modern.

This dining room ceiling reminds me of the office project I am working on. This architectural element turned this super simple dining room into a really beautiful space. Design by Enviable Designs, Vancouver, BC.

This ceiling is gorgeous! LA based designer Elizabeth Gordon wallpapered the ceiling then anchored a beautiful sunburst mirror in the center to create incredible visual interest. Bravo for taking a big design risk!

Creating a "headboard" that continues across the room adds drama and elegance to this cool bedroom by B+G Designs in Hollywood Florida. I also love the amazing cube chandelier.

The other view of this room. Super cool.

I could truly go on all day with more amazing shots of beautifully designed ceilings and the spaces that exist beneath them, but I will leave you with just one more….

This ceiling has a great dark paint treatment. I love how they stopped the wallpaper just short of the ceiling and applied molding as though it were crown to separate the wallpaper from the black ceiling. Such a cool room. Love the amazing sputnik chandelier as well!

A Private Throne

I have spent the last couple weeks comparing ancient man to modern man and referencing my trip to see the remains of the ancient world.  I have spoken about how we use many of the same products and design principals today as our ancestors did in ancient times.  One place where this is not so true… the bathroom.

While there were certainly private baths in the ancient world, many in the Roman empire (which incidentally was way ahead of other civilizations) used public bathrooms which usually required payed admission and were just that- public.  At Ephesus, I saw an area that had lines of squat toilets carved into a long stone bench with an ancient form of plumbing underneath- basically a big public port-o-potty!

Dozens of holes in a long bench fed to a trough underneath that fed into rivers. People would pay to use these public toilets, and while it is believed by Westerners that people sat on these toilets, they are actually squat toilets, still used by over half the world.

We have come a long way since then, and even in the last few years.  Manufacturers are now making toilets at seat height to make it more comfortable to sit on, are paying attention to the shape of the seat and are using air and water pressure to ensure everything stays clean and fresh.  Due to the recent water conservation legislation put into effect, manufacturers are being challenged to create toilets with maximum flush impact using less and less water and energy.  One very cool piece of technology is the dual flush toilet.  These toilets first showed up in public restrooms a few years ago but have been streamlined and made more attractive and appealing to a residential clientele.  It has two flush settings based on what you are flushing, and uses less water and energy when less is required.

You may have seen these toilets in public restrooms with the water saving handle. Luckily, this technology is available for residential use with attractive flushing mechanisms.

Although we have learned so much from our ancient counterparts, I am delighted this is one area where we continued to evolve and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Close-ups of the toilets at Ephesus. The hole in the front was so people could splash water to cleanse themselves after using the toilets, sort of like a primitive bidet.

This illustration from Kohler shows the technology of their new dual flush toilets.

Kohler's K-3654 Persuade Toilet with dual flush technology. Modern luxury and beauty with great new technology.

This painted room housed the latrine used by the Emperor of Rome, Nero. While painted with lovely colors and embellished, it still had no way of closing off the waste beneath the hole and was therefore a similar experience to having a private porto-potty!

The actual "toilet" area of Emperor Nero's bathroom

Remodeling in the Ancient World

While touring Ephesus, I was struck by the beauty of the frescoes and the incredible embellishments these ancient people put into their homes.  These paintings are so expressive, colorful and festive.  What is fascinating is that in some areas, chipping paint reveals other frescoes underneath the outer paintings.

We know that even primitive man would carve and paint drawings on to cave walls, perhaps as decoration, perhaps as a way of recording history (or both).  It is interesting to think about people thousands of years ago and how similar they are to modern man.  Even then, the fashion in home decor changed and the people who could afford to remodel changed their homes according to the latest design trends.

In my blog tomorrow, I will discuss the newest trends in colors according to Pantone.  From the photos below, we can see that the colors and trends of the time included beautiful reds, greens, golds and browns with hints of bright blue.

The Frescoes at Ephesus. Underneath one layer of paint you can see another fresco from previous decor.

Another shot of the beautiful frescoes

These frescoes, found on a Church in France, show a drastic change in decor


Happy Chinese New Year!

It is no secret that my design aesthetic often includes Asian and Indian inspired designs filled with antiques and beautiful carved, painted and lacquered furniture.  It is fascinating to learn not only about the history of these pieces, but also the culture of the vendors and tradespeople I work with from day to day.  I recently purchased a beautiful Chinese coffer for a client and wanted to send it to my refinisher to have it clear lacquer coated to protect the original finish from the elements created by the modern family it was going to.

Beautiful Handpainted Asian Coffer, also known as a Mongolian Cabinet. Dating back to roughly 1800, this cabinet features scenes most likely taken from the literature of the time. Something interesting to note is that although it is most likely from the Northern Areas of China, the scenes all depict architecture from Southern China.

I received a response that he is a traditional lion dancer and is therefore in great demand during the new year festivities and my refinishing needs would have to wait.  This seemed funny to me until I realized the importance of the holiday and how significant his role was.  The Chinese new year is the most important traditional Chinese holiday.  In China, it is known as the spring festival, since the Spring begins at the beginning of the Chinese calendar year.  The new year is celebrated with similar excitement and fanfare to Christmas in America, with families and friends gathering to celebrate, exchanging gifts, having delicious feasts and decorating their homes and communities with bright, colorful decorations. Many Chinese also do a thorough cleaning of their homes to help wash away any ill fortune and make room for luck and good fortune.   The lion dance is performed by a person or people in a costume resembling a lion.  The dance is comprised of many movements similar to that of a lion.  This is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the dragon dance.

Chicago's New Years parade will take place Sunday, January 29 at 1:00 PM in Chinatown at Wentworth from 24th to Cermak. Stay for some delicious food at Moon Palace or Lao You Ju!

An example of the decorative lion dance costumes used in traditional parades and Chinese festivities.

An example of the decorative lion dance costumes used in traditional parades and Chinese festivities.

People rejoice and dance in the parade

Beautiful lanterns and lit-up scenes to celebrate the new year

This is the smaller cabinet for the same client. We are having it lightly restored on top and then clear coated to protect the finish from the damaging effects of children, food and environmental elements.

It is the year of the Dragon. Legends say that the dragon brings prosperity and that babies born in the year of the dragon will be extra successful. Experts predict a baby boom in China for the upcoming year.

A Design Treasure, Chicago Cultural Center

When I began compiling ideas for my new Monday blog series “Everything Old is New Again“, I thought about the spaces around me in my city, sweet home Chicago.  One building that instantly came to mind is the magnificent Chicago Cultural Center, sometimes called “the people’s palace“.

The Cultural Center was originally build in 1897 to be a public library.  Designed in the neo-classical style, this impressive granite and limestone building features a stunning Tiffany glass dome and sparkling mosaics.  As the needs of the library continued to grow, it became clear that the building either needed to be torn down and a larger, modern library needed to open instead or the library had to move.  Eleanor Daley, wife of Mayor Richard J. Daley, strongly believed the building should remain and encouraged her husband to save the building.  He began a committee to determine the fate of the building and it was decided it would be saved.   In the 1970s, the Chicago architecture firm of Holabird and Root were commissioned to remodel the incredible space, giving it a second life.

The cultural center is now an incredible space for the community featuring programs, musical performances, exhibitions and a private event space to host elegant weddings and other formal events.  It is a must see whether visiting from out of town or just wandering the streets of this amazing city.   Here are some shots of the amazing interior of this grand building.


A stunning shot of the stone and mosaic columns and a bit of the sparkling glass dome. Photo credit: Andrew Collings.

Beautiful stained glass dome in the Grand Army of the Republic rotunda


The stunning Tiffany glass dome is valued at over $35M

Check out the stunning multi-story windows and incredible carved ceilings.

Even the stairwell is a thing of beauty featuring stunning archways, beautiful mosaics and incredible moldings throughout the railings.

Another shot of the beautiful stairwell

Wonderful mosaic tile in a Greek Key pattern

More amazing mosaic work featuring a quote by Francis Bacon


Everything Old is New Again, Our New Monday Blog!

On a recent cruise to Italy, Greece and Turkey, I was struck by not only the unbelievable beauty of the Mediterranean scenery and incredible architecture, but also by just how much we have taken from the innovations of the people who lived there thousands of years ago.

Ephesus tile floors
These beautiful marble and mosaic floors were created over 2000 years ago in Ephesus, located on the west coast of Asia minor in Selcuk, Turkey, a town that has been both Greek and Roman occupied. Ephesus was home to the Artemesium, a colossal Ionic temple dedicated to the goddess of fertility, Artemis, and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

It got me thinking about the concept of original designs and ideas.  As a designer, my designs become my intellectual property, belonging to not just the home owner, but to me, for I created it.   I use furniture, colors, textures and materials together in a way that is fresh and original so my designs are unique to me and so each client gets their own special space.  Even so, I am constantly using products inspired by the designs of my ancient counterparts. If you walk through the showrooms at the merchandise mart today, you will find hundreds of different mosaic tiles, stone floors, bronze chandeliers, colorful woven rugs and intricately carved furniture.  Although these pieces are new, the modern designers had some help from the ancient Romans, Greeks and Turks.  For the next few weeks I will show you the beautiful pictures from my trip and how the ancient cultures influenced our modern design sensibilities.  Stay tuned! In the meantime, here are some pictures of the stunning architecture both created by, and influenced by ancient man.

More amazing mosaic floors at Ephesus

Hagia Sophia

The domed ceiling of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.



Recent Project: Mid America Club Library in Aon Building

Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group, recently completed a project for The Mid America Club on the 80th floor of the Aon Building in downtown Chicago.

The Library of this private club is a multi-function room for the members as well as its guests.  Events & cocktail parties are held in this room for larger groups. It also serves as a lounge for the members where they can come and play cards on one of the game tables or have a place to work quietly on their laptops.

None of the paint, carpet, wallpaper or wood finishes where changed so furniture was specified that would be in harmony with the existing finishes and be congruent with the furniture with the rest of the club.  With so much wood from the fireplace and flanking shelves adding some modern elements to this room kept the design updated & fresh.

  • Asian artifacts (timeless but one-of a kind)
  • Chrome accents
  • Clean-lined furniture in classic designs
  • Luxurious upholstery with much wear for a hospitality use

A custom console was the centerpiece of this room (which will be the topic of next weeks blog).  Please check back to see the process & craftsmanship that went into this magnificent piece.



Furniture Plan for Mid America Club Library

After: Modern Vinyl Chairs, Sofa in Mohair Fabric & Double Ottoman in"Theme" Fabic

Lounge Chair: Vinyl Seat & Mohair Fabric

After: Seating Area by Fireplace

Fabricut Introduces a New Line by Charlotte Moss

If you are feeling the winter blues – post holiday season, Charlotte Moss’s new fabric line for Fabricut will brighten your spirits.  This colorful line pulls from nature as Moss incorporates plants & flowers mixed with bold colors. Bringing the outside indoors!

Featured in Architectural Digest, Moss encourages mixing of patterns in unexpected ways, “People are often afraid of mixing patterns for fear the result will look too busy…but I love the conversation that the layering of fabric creates.”

These patterns & color pallete will remind you of spring and help heal those winter blues!

Contact us at Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group for pricing and additional information for this fabulous line.



Charlotte Moss for Fabricut

Caroline Current

Fanny Delft

Freya Dawn Mist

Bath Design Product: Whist Glass Sink by Kohler

Kohler recently revealed its new Whist Glass Sink.

Featuring serene colors and a concentric line pattern reminiscent of waves, this sink would be perfect not only for a spa-inspired bathroom, but in any bathroom where you want to add a touch of glamour and affordable luxury.

Aside from their aesthetic value, these sinks provide several wonderful features:

  • Painted back color conceals personal items within the vanity
  • Durable and easy to clean allowing for ease of care
  • Works well with most faucet styles and standard sizing fits most vanities
  • Available in 3 colorways; Dusk (a blue gray), Dew (a blue green) and Doe (a warm gray) or in an unpainted clear glass option
  • Affordable luxury ranging from $231-$301


Shown in the Doe and Dusk Colors

Start the New Year Right with help form Closet Works!

With the New Year approaching, home organization is priority on many peoples New Year resolutions list.  Closet Works is a Chicago based closet design company and one of Deb Reinhart Interior Design Groups’ trusted & preferred vendors.  Closet Works designers can help get the most organization out of any space.

  • Professional, on-time installation
  • Quality manufactured products from our Elmhurst, IL plant
  • Licensed, Insured installers
  • Professional Partner Incentives tailored to fit your needs
  • multi-unit pricing
  • residential and commercial solutions
  • one week turn-around

Closet Works has complete customization abilities for each unique application.  Many options are available including finishes, styles & a tiered price range to complete your project. Weather it is a pantry organization or a Master Bedroom Suite closet.

With the team of Deb Reinhart Interior Design Groups‘ trained interior design eye for detail and Closet Works combined effort we can help you start your New Year right.  We even have a on-staff organizer to help oversee all the details!

Please call (847) 256-9510 or email us with questions for your project.


Master Bedroom Closet


Fold Out Bed Stored

Fold Out Bed

Office Cubby

Deb Reinhart in Chicago Home and Garden Magazine

Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group is proud to be featured in this month’s issue of Chicago Home & Garden.

Our bedroom design was featured in a series on color.

“In less able hands, bright colors such as the ones in this room by Deb Reinhart ( might seem childish.  But when combined in sophisticated accents, fuchsia, turquoise, and lime evoke just the right sense of fun.  Maintaining a roughly equal representation of each member of this trio is key to pulling it off.”

Pick up the new issue of Chicago Home and Garden to see the full article!



Decorating the Ulitmate Small Space

Many people ask for ideas on decorating small & compact spaces.

Check out this video features the ultimate small apartment in Hong Kong.

Ultimate Small Sapce on Youtube

Contact us for questions on decorating your small space!


Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group






Featured in today’s Elle Decor’s Designer Registry.
elle decor logo
City Beach House Dining Room


as seen in Chicago Life

featured in a recent issue of Luxury Home Quarterly.

Only 9 Days left, showhosue closes May 22nd!

Lake Forest Showhosue Logo
Thorndale Manor

2011 Lake Forest Showhouse

Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group, Inc is proud to be participating in the 2011 Lake Forest Showhouse.

Our interior design work will be showcased in the coachhouse master bedroom 5C – which features our custom designed millwork installation fabricated & installed by Modern Millwork Innovations.

The 2011 Lake Forest Showhouse opens April 30th to May 22nd.  Tickets can be purchased online, please  use this link  to further explore details of the 2011 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens.

The Lake Forest Showhouse is an opportunity for select designers to showcase their talent and express their artistic abilities in a prestigious location, all proceeds benefit The Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group has previously worked on  The Lake Forest Showhouse, below are some images of  the  2007 showhouse  where we redesigned a guest bedroom in a Country French Manor.

Please check back soon for more updates & photos of the 2011 Lake Forest Showhouse.


Featuring: Designer Madeline Weinrib

Madeline Weinrib, a seasoned designer that takes inspiration from her worldly explorations, is an inspiration to Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group. Her use of bright colors and bold patterns defines her style and separates herself from so many others. Madeline’s striking prints and patterns are produced for the essentials: carpets, pillows, and fabrics to the trade. Her showroom and website also offer a collection of beautiful vintage furniture pieces reupholstered in the timeless textiles. Madeline has recently been featured in Living, Etc, Elle Decor, and Veranda. We recommend you take a look at some of our favorites and visit her website at

Of the rugs:

Of the fabrics:

Lighting – Tips from the Interior Design Industry

We highly endorse saving the information in this blog-

Lighting is key to comfort and function in any environment.

The author-Lisa Barter articulated very clearly some important tips for lighting various areas-successfully.

contributed by Lisa Barter [lumenologist / interior architect with 3i Design, LLC]

Interior designers are often called upon to give input about lighting in residential environments. However, many solutions specified in kitchens and baths waste energy and do not get light where it is needed, but are repeated again and again because people are not sure how to light those spaces well. Sometimes, knowing what NOT to do can help make you look like a pro. Here are nine common lighting mistakes to avoid.

Oops! #1| Installing recessed downlights everywhere. This is one of the most common errors that lighting design professionals see. Builder spec versions of can lights can be very inexpensive, and people often assume that laying them out in a regular grid gets light everywhere. Unfortunately, this is not so. The optics of inexpensive can lights often allow only slightly more than half the lumen output of the lamp to escape. What a waste! In addition, can lights, unless they are adjustable or wall wash fixtures, typically don’t put sufficient light on vertical surfaces, which is where the eye perceives light. With an array of cans, we might waste nearly half our watts and still have a space that feels like a cave because the walls are dark. Also see Oops! #7.

Oops! #2| Forgetting task lights in the kitchen. The idea of adding a row of can lights over the counter falls under the category of Oops! #1. There are many better ways to light the counter, and one of them is to use fluorescent (T5), xenon or LED task lights under the upper cabinets. We do not recommend halogen because of its heat output. If your kitchen design lacks upper cabinets over some work surfaces, despair not! This is a situation where wall-mounted or ceiling recessed adjustable fixtures with the right lamp make all the difference. Adding several low voltage halogen fixtures with a narrow flood beam distribution, infra red lamp technology, and focusing them on the task area will do the trick. Remember to choose your fluorescent or LED color temperature wisely.

Oops! #3| Using downlights over the vanity without adding lights on the side. Remember the grade school trick of holding a flashlight under your face and seeing the shadows magnify your visage into a gruesome caricature? The same is true in reverse. Standing directly under a downlight, without any light at the sides of the face, creates exaggerated and unflattering shadows. In the bathroom, using a downlight over the sink is fine to accent the expensive polished nickel faucet you’ve specified, but it’s insufficient for tasks like shaving, tweezing, and applying makeup. For this, we need light at the sides of the mirror at eye level to minimize shadows and provide even distribution. This can be achieved with sconces flanking the mirror.

Oops! #4| Using incandescent or halogen sources without dimming. While we are all finding ways to retrofit lighting with more efficient, longer lived light sources than incandescent, it is still a viable and important part of lighting in a residence, provided it is dimmable. By dimming, we decrease energy and heat output, and we elongate lamp life. It’s important to educate your clients that they must dim incandescent sources as low as the task allows. For more in depth information on this topic, read here.

Oops! #5| Forgetting to incorporate ambient, task AND accent lighting. Lighting designers understand that all well-designed spaces incorporate different types of light. Ambient light is general lighting for walking around, conversing, and identifying objects. Task lighting provides higher, more concentrated lighting for tasks such as chopping vegetables, shaving, or reading. Accent light is used to highlight artwork or architectural features, such as the beautiful glass tile you’ve specified in the bath or the ceramic collection your client will showcase in open shelves in the kitchen. Combining all three types of light gives greater functionality, interest, and likelihood that you will have sufficient lighting. Also see Oops! #6 below.

Oops! #6| Neglecting to control different types of light separately. As mentioned in Oops! #5, it’s important to combine different types of light in each space. For maximum efficiency and flexibility, each type of light should be controlled separately, and any incandescent or halogen light, or dimmable LED’s (check with the manufacturer for specific requirements) should be dimmed. Controlling multiple sources can be achieved by the old school method of multiple light switches, but there are many more sophisticated ways to achieve control. From a simple programmable wallbox system for single room control with preset scenes, to wireless controls that generate their own power and can be reprogrammed from a laptop or phone, controlling the lighting yields energy savings combined with the right amount and type of light for different times and uses.

Oops! #7| Putting recessed downlights in a high ceiling for ambient light. A corollary to Oops! #1, this tactic results in a lot of wasted light and a very dark space. Light originating at high ceilings needs to have a very focused, tight beam spread with enough center beam candle power (CBCP), such as that from a ceramic metal halide or high wattage halogen source. Better yet, using wall-mounted or pendant sources to reflect light off a light, matte ceiling surface often provides much better illumination than punching a lot of holes for recessed downlights.

Oops! #8| Choosing dark colors everywhere without adjusting the lighting. While dark, saturated colors can provide a very enticing interior setting, they absorb light, requiring more energy for the space to have the same illuminance level as one with lighter values in the finishes. Many LEED-certified buildings, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s new headquarters, use high Light Reflectance Value (LRV) finishes as a way to reflect as much light as possible. This can create a significant energy savings since both daylight and artificial light are reflected deep into the space. Where possible, limit use of low LRV finishes to spaces where task lighting or high lighting levels are less critical, like powder rooms that aren’t used as full baths, formal dining rooms that do not double as work spaces, or on accent walls or trim. If you must use dark colors in spaces where higher light levels are needed, add additional light sources and use higher wattage lamps.

Oops! #9| Decorating with light. Lighting designers think about light as an actual dimension, imagining the distribution and output from each fixture, as well as the quality of the light and color. Decorating with light fixtures, or choosing fixtures based on how they look rather than their light output, performance, and distribution often results in a waste of energy and less than optimal light output. For assistance with architectural (and yes, decorative) light fixture choices, consider hiring a professional lighting designer who can transform your space through light, while providing adequate task lighting and often saving energy.

Decorating Tips for Your Living Room (or any room!)

Real Simple has a wonderful online article of 40 Decorating Tips for Your Living Room.  We decided to feature some of these great tips and show how we have used these in some of our own projects here at Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group.

Check out the entire Real Simple article for more ideas.

Tip #13: Use a rug to draw the eye in the direction of furniture you want to highlight, like a gorgeous tufted sofa.

In this City Beach House living room the Odegard carpet was the design inspiration for the entire room.

Tip #19: Perk up a bare wall with lightweight two-dimensional tiles.

Custom glass art tiles were used in this French Estate Bedroom.

Tip #20: Use plush pieces―an oversized couch, an ottoman―to give a stately look to a space.

This Lake Shore Drive Living Room has oversized plush furniture to highlight the grandness of the room.

Tip #26: Create a cozy conversation area by grouping seating around a large window, taking advantage of light and views.

This master bedroom's seating area highlights the stunning views of Lake Michigan & Navy Pier.

Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group – Recent Media

This month has been a exciting time for Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group .  Not only did our office receive a ASID Design Excellence Award but we have had the honor of being featured in two publications.  Chicago Home Improvement Magazine featured Lake Shore Drive Condo on the front page of their publication and in a article about  home remodel.  The Chicago Home Improvement Magazine has a listing of where you can pick up a copy. We also are featured this week on the home page of for a minimialistic look in the Streeterville Contemporary condo.

Chicago Home Improvement Magazine Cover front page Mimimalistic Look

Interior Design Product of the Week

Natural light-sky lights by Velux.

Velux introduces a skylight which gurantees no leak!

As we approach the dark winter months in much of the country; increasing the natural light in our homes can affect how we feel.  SAD – seasonal affected disorder, is a proven cause for depression and lethargy.  A skylight can offer more light than a window.  Positioning a skylight is key, however a southwest facing skylight can increase heat in the home, fade furnishings & cause glare for activity.

Choose the appropriate exposure for your home – and whether the skylight needs to open or not for ventilation.  Note: the warranty from this vendor will include installation instructions; use caution to follow the vendors recommendations to avoid voiding the warranty.

The no-leak skylight for fuss-free illumination by Velux.

Click to read the full blog by 3rings Designer Pages .

The “No-Leak” skylight. Designed by Velux.

Velux has created a guaranteed “No-Leak” skylight that takes the fear out of installing skylights. The “No-Leak” skylight has three layers of water protection as well low-e glass for better energy efficiency, light transmittance and solar heat gain. Velux offers a fixed skylight, a manually opening skylight and an electrically operating skylight depending on the need for ventilation. With the guarantee of a well sealed skylight, the possible uses are endless, as there are few architectural situations where added light from the sky would not be welcome.

Chicago Luxury Builders, Interior Designers and Landscape Architects

PowerHouse SMART Symposium

Chicago Interior designers, luxury home builders, Chicago lenders and North Shore  real estate professionals attended a business symposium created by PowerHouse Advisers and hosted by Lewis Carpet in Northfield. Power House Advisers is a unique consulting firm which targets the luxury home building market place by bringing the leaders of this industry together for business development. Wendy Cohen, founder of Power House Advisors, led the Social Media Marketing Now!  symposium along with tech advisers to  create a road map for effective social media applications. blog will have a summary report.

Linked in, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were all discussed in the context of their applications and market share. The key to this program is the consumer friendly dialogue with information relevant to both sides of social media-the audience as well as the business. Specific tips from this Strategies Symposium will be posted in tomorrow’s blog.

New to PowerHouse Smart, Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group, Inc looks forward to building a network of professionals lead by a very unique consulting firm PowerHouse Advisers.

“Great” Interior Design


What is wrong with ‘good’?

Is “Good” good enough?  Why would we at Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group say ‘good ‘ is not good enough for our interior design clients?  Is doing a ‘Good ‘ job –an example of quality work?  Is providing ‘good’ client service – appropriate?

If our team asks our vendors for a ‘good’ client installation-a ‘good product or a ‘good’ delivery, how will these key parts of an installation perform?  Is the statement  ‘it looks good’  a compliment?

This week I heard a succinct quote which sums up the standards here at Deb Reinhart Interior Design Group.

“Good is the enemy of great”-David Foster (record producer & leader in the music industry)

6 words pack a lot of power.

Many of our clients wonder when we pause , frown and shake our heads-at a point in the design process and say “we can do better”.

If a design ingredient  is  likable-that is much different than exceptional.

If a trades person does a good job—what than did he or she NOT do for a great job?

We have never met – nor will we—but I thank you David Foster, for defining our business approach-so succinctly

Good is the enemy of great—and what a ‘great’ philosophy.

The Golden Triangle Sidewalk Sale

Our world is about value and we love to share great values with you!

This coming week (August 12th – 21st) at The Golden Triangle a clearance sidewalk sale offers Asian antiques, re-purposed wood products and European flee-market finds.

You are welcome to go to this fun event on your own.   If you should want a interior designers critical eye – we still have appointments open at this time.  To book an appointment please email or call (847) 256. 9510.

For more information on this event please visit

Happy New Year

We first of all would like to thank all our clients, team members and vendors.

Our next set of posts will highlight some of our Chicago interior design projects from 2009. We will use these installations for a series of design tips which apply to a home any where.

Solid design concepts can apply to any space.
A row house in Lincoln Park, a large estate in Lake Forest, a family vintage
home in Wilmette or a large new construction in Oak Brook, human comfort has
some basic needs which are the core to the interior designer.

The first featured project is a condo in a high-rise located on Lake Shore Drive. With views of Lake Michigan from each window a blue sky and water provides a amazing backdrop for bold color and ethnic accents.

This international family requested a dignified one-of-a kind space with the ability for easy wear, which will be primarily used by their college children and international guests. This condo design was accomplished with some of theses design features:

  • Solution dyed fabric, extremely durable and resistant to stains (You can pour bleach on it with no damage. Seriously! We have tried it.)
  • Bold color with blue venetian plaster walls to mimic the feel of the lake
  • State of the art lighting and electrical system includes a control panel for all rooms at the condo entrance
  • Electronic natural wood shades – to protect against the harsh lake reflected sunlight
  • Asian antiques and art to make the furnishings truly one-of-a-kind

Please look for the next blogs to see in detail how we accomplish design features in our installations, such as the use of color, lighting and furnishings.