Talk of The Town: October 2021

Design Globally. Shop Locally.

This month we’re highlighting some of our favorite globally-influenced design trends… and where to shop for them. Whether your style is richly textured, bold and colorful, or simple and elegant, we think you’ll be inspired!

If these ideas have you contemplating a new home­—and a fresh palette upon which to work your decorating style—let me help you find the perfect canvas!

Globally Inspired

Decorating styles from around the world have long influenced home design in the states. Here are some of our favorite trends and ideas.

Described by interior designer Leni Calas as “a combination of Scandinavian functionality and Japanese rustic minimalism,” JAPANDI-inspired spaces are minimal with each piece carefully chosen for its artisanship, simple elegance and functionality. Look for natural materials, like unfinished wood or bamboo, and reduce clutter with built-ins, boxes and baskets made of natural materials, and even folding screens to conceal the accumulations of modern life. Calas also suggests using muted colors with hints of pale green and incorporating a few well-chosen plants. Focused on sustainability, Japandi is a thoughtful response to our one-time-use habits; it encourages the patient acquisition of pieces that will stand the test of time and be loved for years to come.

Authentic and timeless, British Colonial furnishings offer a look that is classic, dramatic and warm. Rooted in the 19th and 20th centuries when their Empire spanned the globe, this style reflects British design fused with local influences. The results are furnishings that are at once genteel, elegant, relaxed and comfortable. Think of the classic planter’s chair with its gently curving back—carved from dark teakwood that enhances the warm hues of the woven rattan. For a full-room makeover, consider pairing chalky white walls, dark brown shutter doors, and billowing pale drapes with a richly stained hardwood floor and layered rugs, like a small Oriental laid atop a highly textural jute rug. Plenty of greenery, a well-worn leather traveling trunk, exotic fabrics with Indian, Caribbean and North African motifs, and vintage maps are simple ways to incorporate British Colonial style.

As rich as the country itself, Indian Interior Design reflects a melting pot of cultures. The hallmark of this look is perhaps the bold use of vibrant, jewel-tone colors for upholstery, artwork, rugs and pillows—paired with earthy tones like ochre yellows, rich browns and burnt oranges for walls and floors. Cabinets and side tables inlaid with glass, stone and metal can also add a bit of Indian-inspired flair to more traditional spaces. India also has a rich textile tradition and these dramatic fabrics can be used for drapes, bed coverings or simply thrown over the back of an armchair.

Local Resources 

We’re fortunate to live in a world-class city with no shortage of globally-inspired, locally-owned furniture and design businesses like these:

  1. Plane-Spoken, Chicago: Using premium, sustainably-harvested hardwoods, furniture artisan Craig Klucina handcrafts bespoke traditional Japanese pieces including Shoji screens, Tansu, platform beds, and tables. planespoken.com
  2. Scandinavian Design, Skokie: For over 50 years, this family-owned business has been a local favorite for simple, clean-lined, fine quality furniture for any room in your home. scandinaviandesignfurniture.com
  3. Uma Sarees, Chicago: Along with colorful and traditional Indian clothing for men, women and children, this lively emporium is a good source for beautiful fabrics. facebook.com/UmaSareesChicago
  4. The Golden Triangle, Chicago: In addition to refined Asian antiques and architectural artifacts from India, this gallery showroom offers a large and finely curated collection of British Colonial furniture. goldentriangle.biz

Need to Refuel?

If you’re hungry after all this visualizing, designing and shopping, here are some local restaurants where you can continue to seek your global inspiration!

Tre Kroner, Chicago: Owner/Chefs Patty Rasmussen and Larry Anderson look to their Scandinavian heritage to create a delightful dining experience for everyone who enters their charming Nordic bistro on the city’s northwest side. swedishbistro.com

SVEA, Chicago: Famous for their Swedish pancakes and hearty Viking Breakfast, this Andersonville landmark also serves a variety of smörgåsar, the traditional open-face sandwich of Sweden. 5236 N. Clark Street

ROOH, Chicago: This stylish West Loop eatery offers the traditional flavors of India prepared with fresh ingredients and contemporary gastronomic flair. roohchicago.com

Table to Stix, Evanston: A nice selection of appetizers complements their extensive ramen menu that includes the classic, silken-broth Tonkatsu Ramen along with Miso Veggie, Shoyu Prawn, and more. tabletostix.com

Blu Fish: With locations in Glenview, Park Ridge and Vernon Hills, this suburban classic offers an extensive sushi menu along with Japanese-infused hot appetizers and entrees. blufishsushi.com