The Merchandise Mart: Artopolis & DreamHome (part two)

You know those gorgeous Chinese antique cabinets-turned-side tables I found yesterday?

Well, I was very tempted to go back today and get them. I got in touch with the dealer, who informed me that, five minutes after the show opened this morning, they were sold. It’s probably for the best – they were out of my budget – but I am a bit disappointed. I’m going to save up a bit and then hunt for something similar down the road.
Anyway, back to The Merchandise Mart and the other lovely things I saw yesterday.

DreamHome: The Design House at The Merchandise Mart

I’m going to start with a little tour of DreamHome, a showcase of rooms created by some of Chicago’s top interior designers. DreamHome runs until December 9th, is open to the public and is located in the North Lobby of The Merchandise Mart. And it’s free (donations are suggested but not required) – it’s definitely worth a look if you’re in the city.

The foyer – designed by Buckingham Interiors + Design

Rich leather walls and sumptuous gold accents make this Parisian-inspired space a bold opening statement.

The office – designed by Michael Del Piero Good Design

Industrial bookshelves and a Cambodian drum table give this space an almost rustic elegance.

 The living room – designed by Scott Himmel Architects

I love the mix of colours and the functionality of the slipcovered seating here, and the custom Tibetan rug is gorgeous.

The bedroom – designed by Michael Abrams Limited

The seating area in the bedroom is a modern retreat enveloped in a palette of soft grays.
I’m rather partial to nail head trim and I love the detailing on this ottoman. 
A little nook houses a glamorous vanity with glitzy wallpaper.

The dining room – designed by Frank Ponterio Interior Design

I love the vivid coral and detailing on this chair.

The kitchen – designed by Snaidero Chicago

Love the light fixtures and the marble counter tops.

The media room – designed by Lauren Coburn, LLC

The mix of modern art and antiques in the media room echoes the blend of state-of-the-art technology and elegant furnishings.
Panels in the bookshelves hide flat panel TVs.
Though I’m not sure why you’d need three TVs in one room!
(Maybe if you’re really into sports…which I’m not.)

The outdoor space – designed by 1 Design Group Inc.

Electric blue and red create a very striking colour scheme – love it.

For more information on DreamHome, visit

Art Chicago and Next at Artopolis

Art is essential to every finished room, so I was excited to check out modern and contemporary works from prominent international artists at Art Chicago and some lesser-known emerging artists at Next. There were no prints or reproductions for sale, only original pieces, so it was all a little out of my league. That didn’t stop me looking though! Here are a few of the stand-outs…

By far the most extraordinary work I discovered was by Han Young-Wook, a Korean artist who creates unbelievably detailed portraits with oil by scratching aluminium. These pictures don’t do them justice – they were breath-taking.

Face/2010, Han Young-Wook (b. 1963)
Title unknown, Han Young-Wook
I was also drawn to this simple image of a girl with a tree. I thought I had made a note of the artist but it looks like it was lost in the mass of postcards and scraps that accompanied me home. I’m considering an homage to this piece myself, I’m just not sure where it would go.
This hyper-realistic painting was very evocative.
Oceans – 2010, Isabelle Du Toit (b.1972)
I’ve always had a soft spot for pop art, and some of the greats were in attendance:
Robert Indiana (b.1928) and Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)
Keith Haring (1958-1990)
Finally, a few more honorable mentions…
Homage To Giotto #32 – 2006, Linda Touby (b.1946)
Emotion-Spring, Kim Seong-Ae
Easy Rider, Alain Bertrand