Minimalism + Managing Holiday Stress

If your week is anything like mine, then you are also in the weeds with Holiday craziness and scrambling to finish loose ends at work before the end of the year! I'll be traveling to Pittsburgh tomorrow to visit my in-laws and then off to my hometown the following week to celebrate with my side of the family. With so much to do, it's hard to power down enough to really embrace the special moments of the season. Going into this weekend, let's all take a moment to clear our head and think about one of my favorite aesthetic movements - Minimalism. In the art world, the Minimalism movement is defined as:   

/minəməˌlizəm/: an extreme form of abstract art developed in the USA in the 1960s and typified by artworks composed of simple geometric shapes based on the square and the rectangle

"Hang Up" by Eva Hesse (1966). Acrylic paint on cloth over wood; acrylic paint on cord over steel tube. 182.9 x 213.4 x 198.1 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago.

The Minimal aesthetic seeks a highly purified form of beauty in search of order, simplicity and harmony through literal depictions, repeated forms and direct engagement with the space it occupies. There is no display of artist emotion as in Expressionism. In fact, according to the Tate Modern, there was often a "deliberate lack of expression: With no trace of emotion or intuitive decision making, little about the artist is revealed in the work. Minimalist artists rejected the notion of the artwork as a unique creation reflecting the personal expression of a gifted individual, seeing this as a distraction from the art object itself. Instead they created objects that were as impersonal and neutral as possible." 

The movement was criticized by art critics of the day (and my husband any time we go to the museum) as being too cold and novelty. That the lack of standard aesthetic qualities that art should have was lessening the experience of the viewer and undervaluing the art object. 

The movement started to break up by the late 1960s, but the aesthetic marked a turning point in the history of modernism. The roots of the movement still remain hugely influential today for contemporary artists, architects, interior designers and product designers. You might have also heard about the Minimalist lifestyle that is such a buzz word right now.   

“The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II”, by Frank Stella (1959). Enamel on canvas. 230.5 x 337.2 cm. MoMA.

"Two Open Modular Cubes/Half-Off", by Sol LeWitt (1972). Enamel on aluminum, 1600x3054x2330 mm. Tate Museum.

For us, Minimalism means creating interiors where every element of the design is taken into consideration and distilled into its purest form. All materials selected take into account how it will resolve when meeting other textures and forms. Layouts and furniture frame shapes are kept simple as to not become busy with intersecting and competing lines. Not all Clients want a pure Minimalist room, but every design should take these elements into consideration in order to create visual harmony.

Not sure if you want to go all the way and have your living room look like the Tate yet? One safe place to inject some of the aesthetic is in the bathroom. Take a look at these jaw-dropping bathroom fixtures we are currently gushing over!

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I feel like with bathrooms like these, Holiday stress wouldn't even phase me! They feel so calm and pure, but luxurious through the material selection. I'm especially in love with the Axor Starck Organics faucet in the first photo. Their entire collection is perfection (check it out here);  Let's build your new bathroom around it! Contact us today to get started on injecting a bit of that Minimalist philosophy into your home.  

JZID Launches New Shop

I am very excited to announce a new venture for JZID. This morning I launched a new online shop on my website that offers furniture, home decor and lighting at affordable prices.

I've partnered with PlaidFox, a North American retail wholesaler, to offer great products at at least 30-60% less than suggested retail price. Whether your style is industrial, ultra modern or Californian bohemian, my shop has curated products that you will love! I've pulled some of my personal favorites.


Need help putting together your room and selecting products? Take advantage of my remote interior design services to perfect your home today - 309.371.6676

Issues with ordering? Call PlaidFox at 1.844.899.0208.

Bed Linen Loves for Fall

It's getting cooler in Milwaukee. I'm a huge fan of Fall (and not because of the pumpkin spice lattes), so the drop in temperature is welcome. Fall colors - yellow, orange, reds - aren't exclusively used September through November, but I'm definitely really feeling this color palette. 

In my latest master bedroom redesign, I created a plush bed with a grey braided quilt from West Elm and a deep yellow throw from Crate and Barrel.  Check back tomorrow to see how I used other fall colors in the master bedroom redesign. 

Custom Marble Headboard

My Glendale, WI clients wanted a master bedroom design that was unique, yet elegant. Here is a sneak peak at one element that satisfies both of their requirements - a marble triptych headboard. I created this using three 2'x'3 sheets of OSB/plywood, Mod Podge and decorative craft paper I found at Dick Blick.  I'm waiting on a few other furniture items to be delivered, but once we are ready for install, I'll hang the triptych using French cleat picture hangers so the pieces of wood seamlessly flow together. I'll then pair this graphic headboard with rich fabrics and metallic accents to create a luxe bedroom oasis. I can't wait to show you the final product! 

Coffee Table Love

My coffee table came in... and I love it! As I mentioned in a blog post last week, I am making a few updates to my own home this summer. As an early birthday present, my wonderful mother helped me buy the Pebble Coffee Table from West Elm (thanks Mom:). I'm waiting until later this summer to post photography of my entire home and office, but I'm just too excited about the coffee table not to post about it! 

Both the shape and surface reflect the smooth river rocks that it was named forThe table is smaller than the old one Eli and I had, but it fits the proportion and aesthetic of our 800 square foot home better. Take a look at the shots I captured today of the table below. You'll also notice another early birthday present in the photos, this time from my sister - a copy of Hi-Fructose Magazine signed  by Margaret D.H. Keane (thanks Val:)

Nostalgic Paint Colors

In my family, there are a lot of things to celebrate in early Spring - four birthdays, an anniversary and Easter. This season brings up a lot of nostalgic memories for me. Tied to these memories are a few colors that have lingered in my mind. I've rounded up 5 paint colors that not only spur these moments, but are also chic when used in design.

1. I grew up in a small town in Illinois and my sister and I regularly went to my grandparent's farmhouse on the outskirts of town. The house is a vibrant red brick home, as is the shed and all of the barns. The red makes the house pop against the green corn fields and large yard that I spent hours running around. Cherry Tomato from Sherwin Williams exudes high-impact energy. This dramatic color works well as an exterior paint color or in formal dining rooms.  

2. My older sister was a fan of the 1980's cartoon Jem and the Holograms (which is now on Netflix). In the show, a young record label exec named Jerrica (on the right below) turns into a rock star diva named Jem with the help of a holographic computer. Jerrica is business savvy and charitable, but her alter ego is glamorous, talented and mysterious. Since I was named after this character, I often imagine myself as my pink-haired rock star alter ego. With a new Jem and Holograms movie coming out later this year, hopefully a new generation of Jerricas are born. Pink Damask from Benjamin Moore isn't as much of a statement as Jem's hair, but it is more versatile and sophisticated. This color is fabulous in traditional spaces, giving a warm tone to the room. 

3. Growing up, one of my favorite movies was (and still is) The Sound of Music. The image of Julie Andrews running through the wildflower covered Alps singing "Do-Re-Mi" is so iconic. The yellow flowers perfectly represent the happiness that the scene exudes. Citron from Farrow and Ball captures this happiness. The color is a great yellow that works well in entryways. You just can't help but smile when seeing a Citron room.

4. Every Easter, my grandmother makes the best decorative eggs. She is a fan of bright colors so she laboriously dyes the eggs until the colors are highly saturated. Naples Blue from Benjamin Moore is as saturated as my grandmother's Easter eggs. This vivid and charming tone works great in bedrooms or as an accent to add interest to a neutral room.

5. When I was in college I spent a semester studying at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape of South Africa. The city has deep Dutch roots in everything from the Africaans language to their architecture. A typical Cape Dutch house like the one below is ornately shaped with a thatched roof and whitewashed walls. Ever since my semester abroad, I've loved Scandinavian design. Dutch White from Behr is a stark color that exudes a sophisticated minimalism. This color is a great neutral for trim and cabinets or you can go all out and do an entire room in this white to have a clean, modern look. 

What colors have stuck in your mind over the years? Feel free to share your nostalgic moments in the comments below. 

My 10 Etsy Loves

Inspired by a recent 3 Chairs post, I spent the afternoon pretending I had an unlimited amount of money to spend on Etsy. It is a seriously addicting game and I found it difficult to narrow my selections down to 10 picks. I often overlook Etsy as source for clients, but it really does have a great selection of original decor, pottery and artwork.  See my top 10 favorite products below.

I'm seriously in love with the mix of vintage and modern pieces above. I'd love to pair the fruit pillows with the Birossi vase in an eclectic room! Feel free to share your favorite Etsy products or shops in the comments. 

Tips and Picks for purchasing artwork

Good art that fits into an already designed room can be VERY hard to find. Unlike furniture and lighting, which should be both functional and decorative, art is purely decorative. Everyone's aesthetic tastes are different and artwork can be quite expensive, so there is a lot of pressure for you to really love the pieces in your home. 

With my art background, it's probably no surprise that I often draw inspiration from the art world for my own designs. I've even filled my own home with a large variety of art - paintings I've found from Goodwill, sculptural figures from my travels, beautiful pottery, family heirlooms and my own creations. I love almost all types of artwork and personally want to surround myself in things I like. The more the better! 

If you love artwork but don't have the time or funds to purchase from galleries and auction houses, then don't worry - you can now browse artwork online through a variety of sites (see image source credits below). While gathering images for this post, I was literally finding artwork while watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix... 

To help you in your artwork hunt, consider the following tips: 

  1. Go big. Skip the 8"x10" prints, they're too small to make an impact in your home and run the risk of looking generic. 
  2. Try buying a standard size. This will help save you money on framing, which can be shockingly expensive. Check IKEA or Target before going to a specialty framing shop. With that said, if you invested a lot of money in a painting, then it could make sense to have it professionally framed (these shops really do a nice job).
  3. Buy original. Sure, I have some amazing Modigliani and Picasso prints that I wouldn't have been able to buy original, but I also mix the classic works in with original works from emerging artists. A collection with just reproductions can seen incomplete, especially if you really value and support the arts. Buying from emerging artists also gives your collection a chance to appreciate over time; who knows, maybe you are buying the next Warhol. 
  4. Make a statement. Don't let all of your artwork fade into the background. At least one piece should be a statement or conversational piece in your home. This doesn't necessarily have to be a graphic graffiti piece, but can be something personal to you.   
  5. Don't get freaked out by pricing. Buying original can sometimes be expensive. But, if you really love the piece and you value artwork in your home, then just remember that you are paying for years of talent, training, and honing of vision. 

If you want to spruce up your home this spring by bringing new artwork into your home, then take a look at my top picks below. Which is your favorite? 

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Do you need more assistance in selecting, purchasing and framing your new artwork? Contact me today and I can lend a hand. 

The new Bezar

Yesterday the state of internet shopping got a little more 'bezar'. Brandford Shellhammer, founder of, and his team just launched with the purpose of connecting emerging artists with online shoppers. Taking the same model from places like Fab, Gilt, One Kings Lane and Joss and Main, is a members-only flash sale site for the most unique and curated design goods.

The New York City-based e-tailer combines the words "bizarre" and "bazaar" for its name, stating, "We're bizarre and totally cool with you calling us that."  

The site features product from four categories: ART, HOME, JEWELRY and ACCESSORIES. Each sale will last for only about 3 days, so we will get introduced to 120 new "makers' and brands, emerging and iconic, each month. I'm totally captivated  by the aesthetic. It is selection is contemporary and whimsical with a touch of New Age aesthetic. I know I'll be able to find great, unique items for clients here! 

Here is a look into what is for sale today - 

You can join for free, I just did!

My Favorite Fabrics

I've been spending a lot of my time looking at fabrics for drapery and upholstery for clients. There are thousands of fabric choices out there all ranging in price and usage and it can often be overwhelming when trying to pick just one to feature in your home. One quick tip I have for my readers when choosing fabric is that if you are in doubt when you see it in a showroom or online, then don't hesitate to have a sample cut for you. Take it home and live with it for a few days. If you still love it after the trial period then make the leap and order a few yards.

Here are some of my favorite fabrics that I've come across recently. I tend to be drawn to more graphic, whimsical prints that will be feature statement in a room. The fabrics below depict fantastical scenes of interacting animals and mythical creatures. I would love to use either of these prints on an accent chair or ottoman. A small hint of whimsy in a room can help inject an eclectic aesthetic into your home.

Folkland Fabric - Admiral  by Robert Allen for DwellStudio.

Folkland Fabric - Admiral by Robert Allen for DwellStudio.

Ming Dragon Fabric - Midnight  by Robert Allen for Dwellstudio

Ming Dragon Fabric - Midnight by Robert Allen for Dwellstudio

Toile fabrics can come off very traditional, but when paired with minimal design the fabric choice can be contemporary. According to Wikipedia, toile is a type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme.

The two fabrics below when paired with white walls, lacquered furniture, concrete accents and stark decor will come off as a pleasantly unexpected touch. 

Miyako Blue  for Calico Corners

Miyako Blue for Calico Corners

Bird Parade Teal  for Hillary's

Bird Parade Teal for Hillary's

My last 2 choices are reminiscent of the Pop Art movement. The prints below are graphic and look as if they they could have been screen printed onto the fabric. 

Not sure what fabric to use in your home? Then give me a call - 309.371.6676 - and I'd be happy to pull a few selections for you. 

5 Lighting Solutions for your Home

A common theme throughout my consultations with clients is that they aren't in love with the light fixtures in their homes. Whether the fixtures are from the previous home owners, installed by contractors during the construction or chosen by the client's themselves in a moment of frustration, clients aren't feeling like their lighting matches their aesthetic. With so many great light fixtures on the market right now (many of them with low-budget options), there is no longer a need to have contractor-grade lighting. I compiled a list of the top lighting designs that can help solve even the trickiest design challenge.

Feeling overwhelmed by the choices? JZID can help select lighting that matches your aesthetic and functions for your home. And did I mention that the light fixtures can be purchased with my Designer Discount? You'll never have to pay full price for lighting again! Contact me today to get started.  

1. Exposed light bulbs. This trend started back in 2012 when a fresh new line of fixtures (mostly pendants) hit the market flaunting their naked bulbs. At first the look was received with mixed reviews. How dare bulbs emerge from behind their shade! Despite the naysayers, the trend is still going strong.

To make exposed bulbs work for your home, use them sparingly in accent lighting that hangs above eye level. You don't want to be staring directly into the light accidentally. Also, the bulb type matters - upgrade to Edison or artisan bulbs, it's totally worth it.  You don't have to splurge to get the look - a lot of stores are now selling lighting kits that enable you to screw in a bulb and plug the cord in for an instant fixture; the DIY possibilities are endless.

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2. Oversized statement pieces. I'm talking about big fixtures here, like pendants more than 20 inches in diameter. While I still recommend choosing lighting that is in proportion to the size of your room, these oversized pendants are great with open-concept layouts. They can be used to divide a space and define separate areas. You can incorporate these fixtures to help transform your favorite coffee table, dining space or even the kitchen island into the focal point of the room.

This trend isn't limited to ceiling lights. Oversized floor and table lamps are flooding the market. Use these lamps sparingly to lend visual excitement and an element of quirkiness to the room.

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3. Customized light level.  The concept of dimmer lights is anything but new; people have had these in their home for decades. This, however, doesn't mean that the functionality of dimmer lights isn't still fantastic and totally applicable to contemporary design. Most LED and CFL bulbs are dimmable and you can pick up the switches from your local hardware store. Not only does a dimmer switch improve your quality of life at home by choosing the right light level for whatever you're doing, but it also saves energy and money. 

Below is an innovative product from Danish product design studio, GamFratesi, that takes the dimmer concept and elevates it to contemporary design. Named the Volume lamp, it takes inspiration from the buttons on the old stereo amplifiers and allows users to turn the light level up and down. 

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4. A mix of timeless materials. The days of the wood lamp base with a linen shade are over. There is no limitation to the combination of styles you can achieve through your fixture (think iron and crystal, marble and glass, bronze and wood, blown glass and natural fibers, et cetera). Lighting can be as eclectic as any other piece of home decor and can help bring a room to life in new and unexpected ways. If your style is hard to categorize, a lighting fixture with mixed materials may be the decorating solution you need. 

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5. Plug-in sconces. A lot of clients hesitate to change out lighting because they don't want to go through the process of finding, hiring and scheduling an electrician. A quick solution to this is the plug-in fixture. Most sconces come with an accessible on/off switch and are easy to install - all you need is a drill and an outlet. These fixtures work great for task lighting in areas that you don't need a ton of light. I love this solution so much that I actually have the Factory Wall Sconce (image on the right below) flanking my bed - it is the perfect light for bedtime reading.

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10 of the Best Home Furnishings in 2014

I'm always on the hunt for innovative products and industrial design that will help boost the service offerings that I provide my clients. With 2014 just about over, I thought I'd take a look back and compile a list of the top 10 home furnishings that inspired me this year. Enjoy!

1. Desk 01 from Artifox

This minimalist home office desk is perfect for today's modern workflow. The surface is solid wood with a dry erase panel; cables are managed out of sight, while tech devices such as tablets and mobile phones dock seamlessly within the desk surface. Eliminating the need for superfluous equipment, this design provides space and encourages efficiency.

2. Urbild Table Clock from Slab Homewares

Designed by Nordic firm Forsberg Form, the table clock is a modern, minimalist twist on a traditional grandfather clock. The Urbild table clock is made of pigmented concrete and is a replica of the grandfather clock Urbild in scale 1:3,6. 

3. The Desk Collection from Grovemade 

A new collection of leather, maple, and black walnut finish modern desk organization accessories add order, beauty, and even improves ergonomics.


4. The Astronomy Floor Lamp from CB2

Designed by Barcelona-based design group Mermelada Estudio, the lamp is inspired by vintage telescopes and the revelations of Italian scientist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. The lamp is an interesting mix of other popular 2014 trends - the tripod lamp and the popular Neil deGrasse Tyson show, Cosmos.

5. PS 2014 Storage Table from IKEA

With young city-dwellers, who live in smaller places and move more often than an older demographic, in mind, “On the Move” became the theme of IKEA's PS series. This is the 8th iteration of the IKEA PS Collection and this one covers every room in a host of bright colors, lightweight materials, and has multifunction built right in.


6.  Copper Real Good Chair from BluDot

Now available in a copper plated finish that is intended to patina naturally with handling and age for a unique look. This copper-plated chair ships flat and folds out to become a remarkably comfy (not to mention strikingly handsome) seat for your dining room, living room or bedroom. Welcome to the fold. 

7. VARMLUFT Pendant Lamp Shade from IKEA

This paper pendant gives a soft glowing light, that gives your home a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It is easy to assemble and the cord is long enough to hang at any height. I just love this light - it's hanging above my office desk right now! 

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8. String Pocket from String

It’s not always the case that a design classic can look refreshing year after year, but the shelving system from String keeps reinventing itself. String released Scandinavian-styled photography this year to introduce the String Pocket shelf's new options in green and cobalt blue. The shelves are a great piece of design in addition to being multi-functional. 


9. Magma Rug from Martín Azúa

The Magma Rug series is a contemporary take on traditional Spanish Esparto grass rugs. The rugs are handmade from 100% natural material in Spain by local teams of women. The rugs start from different centers which expand to finally generate an organic surface full of energy. Rugs present 3, 4, or 5 central circles in different sizes. They have a very nice specific smell of grass and have a great feel.

10. Marble Wall Clock from Design Within Reach 

Norm Architects from Denmark have designed a wall clock with clean lines, stripped of all unnecessary details. The minimalistic Marble Wall Clock’s design allows you to read the hour and minutes of time in timeless fashion. Norm Architects designer Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen says: “With smartphones replacing traditional clocks in our society we’d like to see a renaissance of the classic wall clock, an object not only beautiful but also highly distinguished. The Marble Wall Clock exudes nostalgia, and we’ve chosen a material combination that speaks to most human senses, something very important as a designer."


One of my favorite Danish design brands is Muuto. You may have come across these products while at Design Within Reach, or featured in Scandinavian furniture and lighting stores/websites. This company draws from the Scandinavian design tradition and puts an original twist on it. With Muuto, you get objects made sublime through new perspectives. 

Below are some examples of my favorite Muuto products. I love their combination of soft, natural colors with whimsical lines. Each piece really looks like it has its own personality! 

You can check out their catalog here: 2014 Autumn Catalog 

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Image Source: Muuto