DreamHome: A Dream For Chicago’s Design Community

Everyone loves a good show, and The Merchandise Mart Design Center’s 11th DreamHome opened last week with enough substance and glitz to keep everyone engaged for the whole six-room spectacle on the building’s first floor. Though JLI didn’t participate in this one (but has twice in the past), it’s a huge asset and an important tool for all Chicago luxury interior designers and our clients, as it showcases our profession, the resources we use and new “possibilities.”

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Anne Coyle’s Dining Room at the 2015 DreamHome

And the possibilities are boundless, as evidenced by the dazzling fixtures, furnishings, wall treatments, textiles and art packed into each space. Since all are created by different Chicago luxury interior designers, viewers have six very different plots to digest, and each one offers up lots of fun eye candy.


Marshall Erb’s foyer at the 2015 DreamHome

For first impressions, Marshall Erb’s swanky foyer makes a great first impression. Its most compelling features—a majestic inlaid-wood, round table, cool metallic chandelier and soaring bronze sculpture—are so impressive it’s easy to miss some of the subtle details he’s infused in the space, such as the long, trippy leather fringe he used to trim a lounge chair, giving it a totally current update.

Dining Room

Anne Coyle’s Dining Room at the 2015 DreamHome

Anne Coyle based the vivid dining room she designed on what she imagines Baroness Karen von Blixen’s life would be like after returning to Denmark from her adventures in Africa. It morphs into something else—in this case an office and sitting room—and speaks to the need for making multi-purpose use of our dining rooms today. But with its historic and ornate trappings, it’s also a poignant reminder that there’s so much more to Danish design than the streamlined, mid-century iteration we focus on now.

Living Room

Eva Quateman’s Living Room at the 2015 DreamHome

Eva Quateman’s living room, imagined for a glamorous sophisticate who likes to entertain, embraces the softer side of the mid-20th century. The furnishings feature sleek lines and luxe materials, but she’s infused them with bold, game-changing color from a bright green and inky black palette. And the upholstered wasabi green walls, glossy ebonized trim and a bubbly chandelier add high drama to the mix. It’s easy to imagine a New York socialite holding court here.

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Anne Coyle’s Dining Room at the 2015 DreamHome

There’s also a study by David Kaufman and Tom Segal, an outdoor dining room by John Cannon and Cary Frank and a bedroom by Frank Fontana. We could go on and on about these gorgeous rooms, or the two we’ve done—a sustainable kitchen in 2007 and a collector’s study in 2014. But it’s something everyone should experience in person—and certainly can—given that DreamHome will be up through Dec. 6. It’s easy to take a long-term show house like this for granted, and even procrastinate stopping by because it’s up for so long. But our team always marvels about there’s something we didn’t notice earlier when we make repeat visits, so DreamHome is a not-to-miss worth seeing more than once.

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JLI’s Collector’s Study from the 2014 DreamHome

Why make the trek? The Merchandise Mart Design Center does an incredible job promoting DreamHome—and consequently the luxury interior design community—in Chicago and beyond. And unlike the typical short-lived show house, the venue makes it possible for DreamHome to stay up for eight months. Consequently, it attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually, garners tons of publicity and helps us show clients what we do. All that makes our jobs as luxury interior designers so much easier, and we’re all for that.

30 Apr 2015

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