The Future of the Office

As the world shifts and we re-examine how we all live and work together, the fate of the office as we know it is for us to shape. This marks an important moment in time that hasn’t presented itself since people moved from farming to factories to office buildings. The future of the workplace has arrived. 

There’s not one area of life that hasn’t been transformed forever by the current state of the planet. We now need to take so many factors into consideration to stay safe and thriving: physical distancing, cleanliness and hygiene are all new realities that employers must face while re-imagining and re-opening their businesses. 

In addition to physical safety measures, we also need to examine how we perform our jobs now — how to balance the necessity of more virtual work while creating ample opportunities for creativity and collaboration? How do employees physically distance themselves while staying engaged, intentional and productive?

One small company in Chicago greeted the “new normal” with a renewed sense of vitality and freedom. By emphasizing the life/work balance we all strive to achieve first and foremost in their plans for a new office design, the owners of this progressive firm were way ahead of the curve. 

New Office Design

Putting People First

After renting office space in downtown Chicago for years, this successful real estate branding company cemented its bright future by buying a building in a residential neighborhood of the city. This ambitious plan included the owners living above the workspace, cutting down on the cost and hassle of commuting and opening up a range of possibilities. 

They then set about creating a place so special that their employees would look forward to coming to work every day. The Inspired Interiors team took this idea and ran with it — designing a floor plan that promotes flexibility and ease of movement, anchoring their ideas with a variety of spaces that employees could utilize throughout a typical day. 

New Office Design

Designing a New Future

This appealing approach to adaptability is felt immediately in this new kind of office space. The company entrance opens into coffeeshop-style surroundings complete with cafe tables and busy baristas. No need to stop for a cup on your way to work, now you can grab your morning latte once you arrive at the office and hang around for a while for a friendly, unhurried start to the day.

Employees are no longer tied to a cubicle — they are free to work from dedicated workstations in the spacious renovated garage area of the building, in a private conference room for team meetings or from a soundproof booth to take a client call. To get creative juices flowing and encourage camaraderie, there is a basement rec room area replete with bean bag chairs, a pinball machine and a ping-pong table. A welcoming kitchen allows for family-style meals around a banquette seating area to come together to celebrate wins or just to commune with colleagues.

New Office Design

By putting the quality of life of their employees paramount in their plans, these enterprising business owners have built an office that feels more like a home. And their employees are all the more motivated for their forward-thinking plans and for their generosity of spirit.

Design Challenge: An Abundance of Bathrooms

One home, 10 bathrooms: Try to imagine the herculean task of designing 10 separate bathrooms — from petite powder rooms to a magnificent master suite — in one home. Now envision using just one product line from top to bottom in each of these distinctive plans. This assignment could potentially present a major design challenge, but not for the enterprising Inspired Interiors team.

Showcasing the comprehensive product collection from renowned Spanish tile, kitchen and bath company Porcelanosa, the Inspired Interiors designers went to work creating 10 singular bathroom aesthetics to fulfill a variety of needs and desires for their clients and their family.

Bathroom Design

Beyond the Bath

The bathrooms in this home definitely have big roles to fill. Consider a master bath with a soaking tub for two that presents an opportunity for enjoying quality couple’s time. A sitting area in the bathroom perfect for scrolling through social media while getting ready for school is a coveted spot for teen daughters. And a spacious walk-in tub allows grandma to feel comfortable and self-sufficient during her visits. 

These needs were all satisfied through a thoughtful understanding of the clients’ intentions for their spaces, a careful attention to detail and a thorough grasp of the product possibilities that Porcelanosa provided.

Walk-In Bathtub

Creative Waters Run Deep 

The clients’ request to focus solely on the Porcelanosa product line in the designs of their 10 bathrooms initially seemed limiting. How to best produce rooms that feel fresh and different with only one option?

However, in a pleasant plot twist, this approach proved to be just the opposite of restrictive offering the designers a range of quality items (from tile to tubs to countertops and everything in between) that all worked together and created a cohesive aesthetic and appeal. After a series of meetings exploring the elegant Porcelanosa showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, the Inspired Interiors team was able to tap into the entire product line to spark their creativity.

Highlighting such eye-catching design touches as illuminated mirrors and intricate tile patterns that designate different areas of the bath, the Porcelanosa product line is on full dazzling display in this stunning residence. And because the company designs, manufactures and distributes all of its items, they ship together and install easily, making them cost-effective and user-friendly, proving that beautiful bathrooms don’t have to be prohibitively expensive or super complicated to achieve.

Bathroom Vanity

The Inspired Interiors team loves to take your design challenges and turn them into your dream spaces. We’re here to collaborate, create and use design to transform the way you live, love, work and function.

How Interior Design Guides You to #LIVEINSPIRED

 


 

 

What does it mean to #LIVEINSPIRED? For Inspired Interiors Founder Emily Mackie, it’s a very specific intention and sensation that you feel when you enter a space. “To live inspired means that your space has been designed to prompt your feelings and actions through the five senses,” she explains. 

Especially these days as we’re all spending more time in our homes (as well as rethinking how offices should be designed to improve employee health and safety), it is now more vital than ever to create spaces that transform the way we live, love, work and function.

Spaces That Speak to You

From welcoming guests in an inviting foyer and designing open hallways that allow for free movement to creating comfortable areas to gather with family and friends, intentional interior design establishes spaces that radiate their function for you. 

When designing a room, it’s essential to evaluate what activities will take place and what emotions you’ll want to feel there (think: an appealing entryway, a relaxing family room, an amorous bedroom, a productive office). How can you bring forth and foster those feelings in your living and workspaces? 

The Pleasure Principles

By carefully considering elements such as light, texture, form, pattern and proper placement of furniture and artwork, the interior design of your home and office creates memorable moments throughout and reminders of how life can perform both effortlessly and beautifully. After all, a place where we spend as much time as a home or office should make people feel peaceful, purposeful and at ease.  

The Inspired Interiors team is well versed in all of the ways to #LiveInspired. Connect with us to reimagine and revitalize your home and office spaces to ensure their ultimate usefulness and maximum enjoyment.

 

 


 

5 Top Tips for Preparing Your Patio

Every spring we turn our attention outdoors and prep our patios to fully enjoy the warm weather ahead. This year, in particular, we’re craving our private outdoor spaces more than ever — a haven to host an impromptu Zoom meeting (with an extra-appealing backdrop), unwind with family or just chill out with an alfresco Netflix session. 

This year, let’s focus on ways to make our outdoor spaces fulfill many functions, from practical to more emotional. Here are the top 5 patio trends the Inspired Interiors team is loving to freshen up our essential outdoor spaces this season. 

It’s all about accessories. Future-proof your patio by purchasing well-crafted furnishings in neutral colors and durable materials. Then, have fun with bright, bold accessories that add pops of color without a lot of commitment. Think: throw pillows, rugs, planters and outdoor-friendly serving ware that make a big style statement (until you’re ready to swap them out).

 

Outdoor Dining Table

 

We are living in a material world. Add texture and visual interest to your outdoor space design with the addition of decorative rocks, gravel beds and heavy-duty rugs that neatly designate your patio as a permanent party place distinct from the rest of your yard.

 

Outdoor Patio Set

 

Take it from the top. Suspending items from above — think plants, candles, objets d’art — draws the eye up and creates a serene, seductive sanctuary ripe for intimate conversations and reflective moments. Throw in a touch of ‘70s-era, Carly Simon-inspired macrame for those easy, breezy California vibes (no matter your zip code).

Make room for refreshments. Never mind your square footage, you’ll want your patio to be a place of respite and relaxation. Even if you can’t accommodate a full dining table, you’ll want a perch surrounded by comfy seating for enjoying light bites and beverages.

 

Outdoor Seating

 

Don’t forget the mood lighting. When the sun goes down, you’ll want to set the scene with flickering candles, perfectly placed pendant lamps or landscape lighting that casts a lovely glow. 

Inspired Interiors is just a phone call, email or DM away. Connect with us to discover all of the ways we can collaborate virtually to create the outdoor oasis you’ve been dreaming about.

Our Interiors Have Taken On New Meaning

A note from Inspired Interiors Founder Emily Mackie on exciting changes and updates for the future of Inspired

While news of the current state of the world has been flooding your inboxes, the Inspired Interiors team has stayed ahead of the curve! At the end of February, we closed the doors to our brick-and-mortar location in Chicago’s River North neighborhood and took our entire operation remote and virtual, hallmarking a new era for our almost 17-year-old company. 

This was a huge and thrilling year-long undertaking that just happened to coincide with decisions many companies of all sizes are now facing. As luck would have it we had incredible foresight.  By thinking outside of the box or the office, as it were we have been able to harness opportunities that we otherwise couldn’t have reached. We are flourishing in ways we could have never imagined! Our risks were rewarded during a chaotic time for this country.

inspired interiors team

The results have been nothing short of astounding for our team. For me personally, I have captured an additional 10 hours a week that I used to spend commuting from my home on the North Shore into downtown Chicago. This gift of time has been game changing, optimizing our workflow and allowing for unprecedented growth and expansion for the business.  Not to mention my daily relationship with my children has been incredible!

By becoming a completely remote and virtual company, I have been able to add designers to our team who are working in other parts of the country. We now have designers located in North Carolina, New York and Mexico, as well as a native Brazilian who now resides near me on the North Shore. These remote designers are additions to our existing team that has been working on our virtual platform throughout the last year.

home office ideas

For our clients, this means we are able to assist you from anywhere using the power of collaborative technology. One example, we can set up a GoToMeeting to view your home virtually and advise you on taking photos of your space. Using these photos, we can digitally enhance them, recommending products and reconfigurations that transform your interiors! Our virtual design platform will remotely redesign your rooms and even provide expert product recommendations. 

While we’re all currently spending more quality time at home, you are likely to identify new interior design needs, such as a workable home office or an expanded kids’ play area, so that we can all live, love, work and function more meaningfully. To further fuel your creative spark, we’ll be filling our social media feeds with inspirational images and would love it if you posted your design aspirations, as well. Our team is here for you — we encourage you to engage with us to rethink your own home’s future.

Still Counting: Inspired Interiors Marks a Movement at SOFA CHICAGO

I am endlessly inspired by the power and passion of women working together. It’s why, as an entrepreneur and a mother of three, I founded Inspired Interiors as a place where work-life balance takes precedence and women feel supported to succeed. 

Over my career, I have helped coordinate and have contributed my work to several exhibitions focused on women’s empowerment, an endeavor I find most rewarding in my work. This week, I will have the incredible opportunity to showcase an assemblage of works by 21 influential female artists, all representing indelible moments in the fight for women’s equality, at SOFA CHICAGO, the premier gallery-presented art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design. The exhibition has an opening-night preview on Thursday, Oct. 31 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 3 at Navy Pier.

Honoring the 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote, “Still Counting” brings together personal, powerful works provoked by the number of years it has taken to receive equal rights in a list of categories essential to living in true gender equity (think everything from Supreme Court appointments and Presidential nominations to the right to economic identity). Each art piece is showcased in a vignette designed by Inspired Interiors and is paired with a bold red number representing the length of the fight. 

As part of the exhibition, I have gathered a group of thought leaders to participate in a compelling panel discussion from noon-1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3. I am honored to join these esteemed professionals to deliberate on our personal experiences and goals for our industries in this era of unprecedented change. The conversation will be moderated by Sally Lou Loveman, former audience producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show, and will feature Audarshia Townsend, a food and culture writer, editor and on-air personality; Shaylyn Cullen, founder and president of Cullen Construction Management; Anuja Gupta, a physician and real estate developer; and Michelle Rivas, a Latina healthcare writer and adjunct professor at DePaul University’s College of Communication.

Each of the thought-provoking pieces from the “Still Counting” exhibition will be auctioned off via an online art auction site, open through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, with 50 percent of proceeds benefiting a women’s rights organization. A live onsite painting during the event will blur the lines between artist and attendee, with silhouettes of guests continuously layered over another, illustrating how we’re all connected in this ongoing quest for equality. 

Top Tips for Curating an Art Collection

The pieces of art we collect over a lifetime illustrate who we are and what we value perhaps more than anything else we own. Sure, furniture can speak to our preference for traditional or contemporary design, but the paintings, sculpture, photography and objets d’art we choose to share in our homes offer glimpses into our soul.

In our ongoing Dare to Live series, we invite you to reveal yourself through your interior design. Here we’ll discuss how to curate and display those pieces of art that mean so much to you to give them the careful consideration and care they deserve.

Three-dimensional artwork blurs the lines between the piece and its viewer, inviting the eye and the mind to come closer. From free-standing sculpture to pieces that require hanging and mounting, 3-D art demands a precise attention to detail. Aspects to consider: optimal environment for viewing, availability of natural light and proper placement to appreciate the tangible qualities of the art from all angles.

The first question we ask when engaging with a client is to view their existing art collection. That allows us to make strategic decisions that create a cohesive design that lets the pieces really shine. We don’t subscribe to the tired notion that bold artwork should always be offset by stark white walls and nondescript furniture. Sometimes, a vibrant background is the best way to bring forward and showcase the hues of a vivid painting. Apparently, the Louvre agrees; the museum is known for pairing complementary interior wall colors with its priceless works of art.

You know what they say: Location is everything. We work with clients to assess the available vertical real estate in their homes to perfectly pair with their art collections. Make an opening statement about you and your lifestyle in a foyer. Hang something sultry and romantic in a bedroom. Provide guests with something contemplative in a powder room. It’s that thoughtful planning that makes a home interesting and worth living in.

Nothing throws off the presentation of artwork more than improper use of scale. Considering the size of a piece in conjunction with where it will be displayed is paramount to its overall effect. Large-format works look striking above a staircase to continue the upward motion. Gallery-style arrangements of detailed pieces tell an ongoing story in a living room where the viewer can take their time to ponder. Intimate settings call for small, intriguing pieces that could get lost elsewhere.

Finally, your artwork should evoke a feeling or emotion in each area of your home. To make a lasting impression on all who enter, choose subject matter that stimulates the senses and illuminates your intentions.

Artwork is such an integral part of not only a person’s home but of their beliefs, their dreams and their desires. The Inspired Interiors team is here to help you showcase your collection so that it’s truly a masterpiece of meaning and artistic vision.

The Art of Seduction: From Bedroom to Boudoir


Your bedroom should not only serve as your home’s sanctuary and your escape from the outside world, it should also be the place where you feel your most sensual. As such, your bedroom deserves thoughtful attention to the design and decor to set a seductive mood, whether you’re single, dating or happily coupled up. Follow the below interior design tips to create an enticing, enchanting ambiance that no one will be able to resist.

 

Put Away the Family Photos

For obvious reasons. As one of my clients once stated: “Don’t put my family photos in the bedroom; they don’t need to see what happens in there!” Rather, cover your bedroom walls in tactile coverings, paint with plush, thought-provoking colors and hang alluring artwork that portrays how you want to feel when ensconced in your luxurious lair.

DON’T: DO:

 

Set a Sexy Stage

I’ve seen many clients, particularly bachelors, make the mistake of not properly outfitting their beds. Make it the most inviting destination with proper (and plentiful!) pillows and soft and silky sheets. Obviously a high thread count is nice, but bamboo sheeting is a less-expensive but still-sensuous alternative. Top with a fluffy duvet that feels like you’re both sleeping on a cloud.

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Breakfast in Bed

An essential in the art-of-seduction arsenal? The breakfast-in-bed tea tray. Bringing your partner breakfast in bed on a beautiful tray shows appreciation for the activities of the night before and, perhaps, anticipation for the morning ahead. Coffee, tea or me?

DON’T: DO:

Keep it Red Hot with a Fireplace

If you have the opportunity to install a fireplace in your boudoir, by all means go for it. Nothing stokes the flames of desire like a fireplace, especially when paired with a Mongolian sheepskin rug and a bottle of Pinot Noir. Hey, if it worked for Burt Reynolds…

DONT: DO:

 

Watch for Emily’s appearance on Fox 32 Chicago this Saturday morning, Sept. 29, for more inspired interior design tips for the bedroom and beyond!

Our Tips for Hosting an Unforgettable Party

There are really only two types of holiday hosts: the one who researches recipes during an August heat wave, has a linen closet perpetually stocked with freshly pressed holly-embroidered tablecloths and obsesses over individually placed pumpkins at each place setting (we’ll call her the “Monica Geller”).

Then there’s that rare creature who makes holiday entertaining feel effortless and stress-free by focusing more on creating meaningful moments than carefully crafting a five-course gourmet meal. (Editor’s note: We know there’s no such thing as “effortless entertaining,” only hosts who make it all feel effortless and, in doing so, put their guests immediately at ease. This is the art part.)

When we think back on the holiday memories that never fail to put a smile on our face, it isn’t the roasted turkey or Grandma’s china that we remember, it’s those times spent gathered around the dinner table laughing, connecting and reminiscing. In other words: It’s who’s at the table, not what’s on it. In our mind, the best hosts are those who take the time to set up those memory-making moments and allow that special brand of magic to unfold.

Here are our five favorite tips for getting the dinner party started and ensuring that the memories last long after the punch bowl is packed away.

1. Set the stage. Now’s the time to pull out all the stops. You don’t need to OD on red and green and tinsel, but if you’ve been collecting hand-blown glass ornaments or vintage decorations from the 1960s, make sure they get their chance to shine. Stage beautifully framed family photographs from past celebrations. Spin a festive playlist. And add generous dashes of plush textiles and glam sparkle holiday decorating is your home’s once-a-year chance to really show off.

2. Make your guests feel one of a kind because they are. Yes, gathering a diverse group of guests (especially if they’re related) carries a certain amount of angst. But, if you look past the differences and find the common ground, you’ll remember why you’re all there, together in one room. So, really, a lesson in navigating life itself.

3. Whip up a signature cocktail. Nothing says “this is a party to remember” than a cocktail crafted especially for the occasion. Have fun with it! Bust out those gold-rimmed martini glasses or Champagne coupes that have been gathering dust. Find a simple-to-prepare and easy-to-please recipe online. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint or mini candy canes. Bottoms up!

4. Banish boring place cards. “Best smile.” “Class clown.” “Most likely to name drop.” Rather than seating guests by name (ho hum), choose stand-out personality traits (think of your high school yearbook) and let your guests suss out who’s who. This will surely mix up the seating chart in interesting and unexpected ways.

5. Craft creative conversation starters. Choose a question designed to draw out an interesting answer (“What advice would you give your childhood self?” “Who has been your biggest inspiration?” “What is the first thing you do in the morning?”). Write it on a piece of paper and tape it underneath one of your guest’s dining chairs. While you’re enjoying dessert around the table, ask everyone to look under their chairs for a surprise and let the chosen person have the floor. You just might be surprised at what you learn.

The Inspired Interiors team wishes you and your family a very happy holiday season filled with meaningful moments and once-in-a-lifetime memories. We’re looking ahead to 2019 when we will reveal our “Dare to Live” series exploring how design can help us all live life more fully. We hope you’ll join us on the journey!

Blending Historic and Modern Home Design

It may seem intimidating or even downright impossible, but blending historic and modern interior design in your home isn’t as tough to pull off as you might think. By taking into account your home’s essential interior and exterior elements, you can add furnishings, fixtures and other flair that introduce a more modern attitude and best represent you and your individual aesthetic.

In our ongoing Dare to Live series, we explore how to harness the power of interior design to create surroundings that are a true reflection of our personalities and lifestyles. Here we’ll delve into the myriad ways to combine traditional and modern aspects into one harmonious home design.

Europeans are far more free when it comes to embracing the juxtaposition of the historic and the contemporary. (When your buildings date back centuries, you tend to find creative ways to inject a sense of currency.) Design-minded travelers will find these bright, colorful front doors throughout the continent, and we love the energy they emit, especially when paired with traditional exterior masonry. Why not spark interest in your abode and stand out from the rest of the street?

It may seem counterintuitive, but a sleek steel-and-glass staircase can lend an appealing airy quality to a more staid space, such as in this English Tudor cottage. It’s a strategic way to not be hemmed in by a home’s classic bones and a brilliant use of space.

In the Midwest, we see an abundance of Prairie-style residences, often with coffered ceilings and wood millwork. Rather than attempting to cover up these decidedly traditional design elements, it’s more alluring to play off of them by introducing bold contemporary furnishings that imbue the space with fresh energy and positivity.

Intriguing modern furnishings are a welcome breath of fresh air in a historic space. The seemingly paradoxical pairing is refreshing and highlights the more traditional elements of a home such as wainscoting in surprising, satisfying ways.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your home, by all means, show it off! Incorporating modern mirrors, furniture and lighting into the room pays homage to the hearth but still offers a compelling contemporary edge.

We believe that anything is possible for your surroundings when you open your mind and, of course, work with an experienced design professional. Connect with the Inspired Interiors team to discover how we can collaborate on an interior design that embodies the historic and the modern in equal measure.