Word's Out: Interior designers have secret sources—especially those who focus on a luxury clientele with exacting needs, as we do at JLI. Essentially, these craftsmen and artisans enable us to execute our clients' wishes and maintain the high standards befitting a luxury interior design practice. Many are available only to the trade, but some welcome business from the public. To thank our trusted Chicago design sources that are willing to be shared, here's a huge shout out in appreciation for their talented workmanship. We highly recommend them. But know if you use them directly, you're on your own when it comes to professional design advice.
Fabric Life did an extraordinary job spot cleaning this delicate, and unusually sensitive, silk rug. Photo: JLI Pied - À - Terre
Art Services: Great framing can be confusing and costly. More significantly, it’s part art, part science. One JLI secret source that has both parts of the equation down is Lake View Art Supply. Their guidance on custom frames is impeccable and their 10-day lead time on all custom pieces is incredible when you're in a pinch. When it comes to hanging art, from a single work to salon-style grouping, art installer David Kargl, a fine artist in his own right and owner of Arts Installation & Service, is our go-to guy. He excels in problem solving, from installation geography (what to put where or how to craft the perfect gallery wall) to how to work with difficult surfaces. One creative example is a wood mount he created so we could attach a major piece of art to a mirrored wall.
Our incomparable art installer, Dave Kargl, was able to mount these enormous artworks for us on a pristine ceramic tile wall. Photo: JLI Pied - À - Terre
Furniture Help: Furniture workshops are among every interior design team’s most closely guarded secrets. We have two treasured sources. We swear by Bernacki & Associates for restoring, refurbishing or refinishing fine furniture and accessories of every ilk, from antique or vintage metal lamps to museum-quality case goods, tables, chairs and upholstery. They even re-cane chairs and restore textiles. Finishes by Partida, another luxury design source and family business, focuses on renewing, restoring and repairing wood furniture, cabinetry, and doors but also can add new luster to silver and gold leaf and bronze surfaces—a skill that’s hard to find and greatly appreciated in our business.
Both Bernacki and Partida can refinish pieces to match; in this room we had the bedside tables redone to echo a fine antique bureau. Photo: JLI Astor Street Residence
Spotlight on Lighting: Shaky harp, no finial, outdated shade or worn wiring that needs upgrading to meet American UL standards? All are common dilemmas with lamps, a functional and decorative essential we can't live without in the world of luxury interiors. Fortunately, we don't have to. A Lamp & Fixture Shoppe in Chicago and The Lamp Shader in Glenview each meet our lamp needs with a plethora of shades—including stock so you don't have to wait weeks for a custom order, and in-house lamp "doctors" who can update wiring, retrofit European lights and reconstruct chandeliers.
A treasured pair of vintage neo-classical floor lamps were revived and rewired by A Lamp + Fixture Shoppe. Photo: JLI Astor Street Residence
Cleaning Aids: As soon as we install upholstered pieces, window treatments and carpets, we call on Fabric Life to protect these luxury furnishings from dirt, UV rays and wear. For cleaning challenges, as well as expert pressing, steaming and renewal of furniture, drapery and pillows, we head to Davis Imperial Cleaners. Both companies use treatments that are hypoallergenic, odorless, don't leave residue or cause discoloration—and know how to work with the high-end, and often tricky, fabrics that are used to fabricate these goods. For cleaning carpets and rugs, plus disaster restoration from spills, floods, fires, and moths, Mathew Klujian and Sons is a world-class master.
Fine bed linens require the fine touch of an expert, which is why we rely on Davis Imperial Cleaners to clean, steam and press these textiles. Photo: JLI State Parkway
Hardware Hook: Choices don’t abound for metalwork, be it fabricating custom pieces or finding, restoring and fixing hardware. We use two sources that we can’t praise highly enough. Christopher Gentner, who has an eponymous Chicago studio, is one of the nation’s most accomplished master metal smiths and a local treasure. We use him to fabricate custom furnishings and accessories that don’t even exist on the market, such as consoles with exacting and unusual shapes and specs or custom pot racks. For finding, restoring and fixing hardware, we head to Al Bar in Wilmette for impeccable service and craftsmanship in dealing with historic and new finishes such as lacquer, wax and powder coating, as well as skill in replacing parts.
Al Bar restored and cleaned this pair of exquisite antique andirons, giving them a new lease on life. Photo: JLI State Parkway
Secret Sources That Aren't Only to the Trade-Part IDownload [pdf]
12 Feb 2016