Why Commissioning Female Artists Is So Important

Demystifying the world of art is one of the most important services an interior designer can provide for their clients. For a homeowner, it can be difficult to know where to begin the journey of outfitting your home with artwork that fits your space and, more importantly, fills you with joy. 

A compelling way to go above and beyond selecting art for a client’s home is to commission pieces directly from artists who the designer knows and admires.

Inspired Interiors Founder and Designer Emily Mackie was granted a unique opportunity to collaborate closely with several female artists during the 2019 SOFA CHICAGO exhibition. In a dynamic display entitled “Still Counting,” Emily brought together personal, powerful works by 21 influential female artists in honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. The relationships forged during this meaningful project made a lasting impression on Emily, and she decided to explore these partnerships further for a particularly rewarding interior design assignment. 

A Celebration of Art and Empowerment

Emily strongly believes in the long-lasting impact of women working together, supporting each other and celebrating life together. As she puts it: “It’s vital to our existence that women support each other by sending each other business, sharing advice and swapping war stories that our mothers or grandmothers might not be able to based on their own experiences.” 

In other words: We owe it to each other, and to ourselves.

For this recent home design project, Emily called upon four of the artists from the SOFA exhibition who she knew would make a great fit for the client’s ebullient aesthetic; her love of color, music and family; and the various spaces of her home she wanted to furnish with pieces she cherished. 

Nancy Pirri is a ceramicist who sculpted familial figures that nestle in a nook in staircase area, providing a welcome moment of reflection.

 

Nancy Pirri

 

Bojitt created two vigorous, vibrant paintings for the home, one a soulful piece adorning a spirited place to listen to music, and the other offering a colorful backdrop in a home office (which has become the client’s favorite place to take her Zoom calls, a rather timely consideration).

 

Bojitt

 

Sheila Arora presented pieces now displayed in the living room that evoke a serene sense of calm and relaxation. Emily loves Sheila’s work for its high level of intellect and small scale that invites the viewer to get lost in its depths.

 

Sheila Arora

 

Shelly Perry crafted bold metal blooms that enliven a gazebo space with vivid green and blue hues. Emily aptly refers to Perry as the “flower child” of the group thanks to her go-with-the-flow, let’s-make-it-work joie de vivre.

 

Shelly Perry

These talented and creative artists followed explicit instructions and careful parameters but were also granted a healthy dose of freedom. The process turned out to be the ideal way to collaborate and resulted in significant pieces that were perfect for their placements and for the emotions they evoke.  

Relationships That Resonate 

During these projects, Emily and her team learned a lot about commissioning artwork and collaborating with artists. Your interior designer will keep several things top of mind if you’re considering this type of partnership to fill your home with meaningful and highly personalized artwork: 

  • What is the artist’s price range?
  • What is the turnaround time for their work?
  • What conditions does the artist like to work under (i.e. pieces for indoor rooms as opposed to outdoor spaces)?
  • Does the artist prefer to work in certain formats or with specific materials?
  • What are the rights to the work (i.e. not to publicize, crediting the work in a specific way, not to reproduce)?

By taking these types of guidelines into account, your designer, the artists you work with and you are sure to form a beautiful bond.

The Power of Art to Bring Us Together

Emily and the Inspired Interiors team welcome future collaborations and commissions with artists for an array of residential and commercial interior design projects. Connect with us if you’re an artist looking to collaborate or a homeowner hoping to fill your surroundings with artwork that moves you.

The Top 5 Spaces Every Woman Should Have In Their Home

Where in your home can you focus on “me time?” As wives, moms and working professionals, women typically take on the caretaker role of the household, and too often their own needs go unmet. If you can’t name one space in your home that’s dedicated to your own self care, it’s time to remedy that situation. 

Some rooms are designed for functionality (think: the kitchen, your home office). Living rooms and dining rooms are meant for socialization and family time. But what areas of your home are dedicated to the pursuit of your own pleasure? These sacred spaces don’t need to take up much room or be expensive to design. What they do need is an intentionality that inspires you to actually use them regularly for your own enjoyment. 

Here we present the top 5 spaces every female homeowner should cultivate in their surroundings to carve out moments of comfort and contentment. 

 

Bathroom Design

1. A beautiful bathtub. Your bathtub can be so much more than a place to clean up. Think of it as more of a wellness destination, surrounding it with an enticing display of fragrant essential oils, luminous candles and luxurious bath and body products that you can’t wait to put to use. (Weekly spa night, anyone?)

 

Bedroom Design

2. A cozy reading nook. A favorite design trick of our founder Emily Mackie is to place a chaise lounge in the bedroom (she even has one of her own!). This elegant piece of furniture serves as a place to wind down separate from your bed (where you’re more likely to drift off). Brew a cup of calming tea, read a few pages from the latest best seller and create a nightly ritual that invites relaxation and rest.

 

At Home Yoga Space

3. A serene yoga/meditation space. Light a few candles, burn some incense, stretch your body and mind and let the day fall away. You don’t need much space to practice yoga and meditation at home — even a corner of the basement would do. It’s the setting you create through your senses that is truly transcendent.

 

Garden Design

4. An idyllic outdoor oasis. Whether you have a petite patio or a sprawling backyard, make the most of your outdoor space by adding areas where you can hang out alfresco. Have a cafe table be the new spot for your morning coffee. Enjoy a glass of wine near a fire pit or soaking in a hot tub. Being outdoors in the fresh air is always a natural mood elevator.

 

Tea Service Set

 

5. An elegant beverage display. What’s your drink of choice? You may be a coffee aficionado, a tea connoisseur or an oenophile. These elixirs deserve to be shown off with an opulent tea service set, a state-of-the-art espresso maker or exquisite crystal decanters. Invite a friend over for coffee talk, tea time or happy hour and start a new tradition.

Inspired Interiors is a women-led interior design firm focused on capturing moments of life through design. Connect with us and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to share your ideas, insights and inspirations for creating moments of self care in your own surroundings.

How to Meaningfully Incorporate Philanthropy into Your Business

Corporate social responsibility is a term that’s top of mind for many business leaders in today’s transforming marketplace, but there’s real meaning beyond the buzzwords. More and more companies are looking to use their influence and dollars to improve society in some way, but if those efforts, no matter how well-intentioned, are superficial, informed consumers quickly see through the facade. 

“Philanthropy has always been important to me because I believe there is an underlying reason for everything you give comes back to you 10 fold, and the more you put yourself out there by giving to others, the more is likely to return to you,” says Inspired Interiors founder Emily Mackie. “That’s why I’ve always incorporated it into my business.” 

Philanthropy and Business

Last year, Emily wrote about her commitment to causes that promote women’s empowerment, as embodied by an inspiring showing of works by 21 female artists during the prestigious SOFA CHICAGO exhibition. These pieces (some of which are shown here) all depicted milestones in the ongoing fight for women’s equality, creating an indelible moment as part of the movement. This is just one example of Emily’s passion for philanthropic causes and giving back, which for her, are inherently personal.

Philanthropy and Business 

“It’s important to make sure that the philanthropy you choose aligns with the core elements of your work,” she explains. “For me, that’s always had to do with art, design and supporting women. It’s always been about trying to find ways to tie in philanthropy that surrounds those elements. I think when you tie all of those things together and there’s a synchronicity to it, it’s more heartfelt, it resonates on a higher level and it makes sense for a business.”

Connecting Your Company’s Vision With Your Personal Values

For Emily, that also translates into a work environment that is, of course, centered on art and design, but is uniquely structured to support the work (and the increasingly complex work-life balance) of women. As a female leader and a mother, Emily understands what it takes to create a nurturing network that lifts us all up. This lends an authenticity to her business and philanthropic initiatives that makes the inextricable connection between the two that much stronger. 

“The mistake that people potentially make with businesses and philanthropy is that they choose something, anything, but maybe it does or doesn’t tie into what they do as a business,” she says. “But when the two align, business and philanthropy, you can get a lot of traction. And the end result is traction that what’s needed for the philanthropy and by utilizing the business as a tool and a resource to make traction for that philanthropy, you get winning results.”

Emily is always happy to connect to share insights, inspiration and ideas. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and share your thoughts with us. We’d love to start a conversation about how incorporating your vision with your values is the blueprint for true satisfaction and success, both professionally and personally.

3 Signs That Tell You It’s Time to Update Your Home

How do we know when it’s time to make changes to our spaces? Maybe you’ve considered updating your home but weren’t sure if you should move forward. We’ve outlined three identifiable signs that signify it’s time to update your surroundings.

 

3 Signs That Tell You It's Time to Update Your Home

 

1. When you have rooms you’re no longer using

If there are rooms in your home that you’re scarcely entering, it’s time to rethink and reconfigure those spaces. Whether it’s because the layout isn’t functional or the furniture isn’t creating an environment that works for you to live in and enjoy, these dead spaces should be reclaimed and utilized to their full potential. 

Repurposing the square footage of unused rooms can significantly improve your life experience within your home. Learn more about how interior design can elevate your daily routines.

3 Signs That Tell You It’s Time to Update Your Home

 

2. Rooms are emotionally flatlining

When you walk into a room and you don’t have an emotional reaction, or worse, you experience negative vibes, it’s time to update your home. These are spaces you don’t want to go into, you don’t want to bring guests into, and overall, leave you feeling dissatisfied.

Bedrooms should provide feelings of intimacy and relaxation, while your bathroom should give you a sense of comfort, calm and serenity. Interior design can create emotional connections to our spaces, which you can read more about here. Find ways to transform your spaces so they provide the emotional connection you crave. 

 

3 Signs That Tell You It’s Time to Update Your Home

 

3. All your best moments take place outside your home

Do you find yourself wanting to get out of the house more often than you should? Is the best part of your day when you leave your home so you feel that you can experience and enjoy life? Updating your home can change this pattern by creating functional and pleasant spaces for you to make memories within.

Instead of going out for coffee and breakfast, create a gorgeous coffee station and breakfast bar in your own kitchen that adds a luxurious feel to your mornings. Add productive space to your home by converting a lifeless room into a yoga and meditation studio. With countless workout apps available, you can bring the yoga studio experience into your home with the right space to practice. Discover more ideas on spaces to create memories within your home. 

Ready to update your home and make it a place where you make your best memories? Get in touch to discuss your next project.

Creating Emotional Connections to Our Spaces

What emotions are stirred in you when you spend time in certain spaces of your home? Comfort? Intimacy? Happiness? Ideally, your surroundings evoke warm, welcoming feelings, but if your current space is more utilitarian than joy-provoking, you can create interiors that bring forth an emotional connection to our spaces that makes life more meaningful and enjoyable.

We believe that the best way to design a room is to envision how a person will live their lives within those walls. Do they want to be playful with their kids? Romantic with their partner? Hospitable with their family and friends? By making emotions our guiding light, we create surroundings that help manifest those special moments. 

Bathroom Lighting

See the Light

Proper lighting is paramount to the overall vibe of a space; think about how you feel in a light-filled room vs. a more shadowy setting. Considering how much natural light a room gets can help set the right mood; bright, sun-dappled spaces bring about a sense of awakening, which can also be re-created through the ideal incandescent bulbs. Dim down the lights (via a lower wattage) and turn up the heat in rooms where romance and intimacy are desired. (And don’t forget the candles!) 

Outdoor Patio Design

All the Feels

Texture is another powerful emotional connector — it can even dictate how long you stay in a specific space. Super tactile fabrics and surfaces would feel all wrong in, say, a medical office, but are right at home in a snug living room, luxurious bedroom or cozy outdoor retreat where coming together for rest and relaxation rules the day. 

Kitchen Design
Cooktop by Wolf/Sub-Zero

Life’s Simple Pleasures

The anticipation of that first shot of espresso in the morning. The draw of a warming cup of tea on a cool fall afternoon. The release of a glass of wine in the evening. These rituals, while simple, add up to sensory delights that we look forward to each day. That’s why we have such emotional connections to our kitchens — it’s one of the places in our homes that brings us pure, unabashed pleasure. We believe in kitting out our kitchens with appliances that make these practices even more delicious, such as beautifully designed servingware, a top-of-the-line coffee maker or a separate fridge reserved for our favorite vintages. These culinary bells and whistles are always worth the investment.

Wine cooler at the Miele Experience Center Chicago

Establishing surroundings that evoke an emotional response is easier than you think with the guidance of the Inspired Interiors team. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and share your home photos with us. We’d love to collaborate on an interior design that dares you to feel deeply and live boldly.

How Interior Design Can Elevate Your Daily Routines

We all have our daily routines, those moments in time that mark our days and carry us through our schedules. Those routines may have been transformed in the past few months, with all of us spending more time in our homes. But keeping routines is important; they allow us to feel comforted by the structure and connected to our spaces. 

By rethinking these routines and the rooms where we move through them — from how you make your morning coffee to how we exercise our bodies and minds — can take your day in surprising directions. By transcending the doable to the aspirational, we can forge a life filled with more beauty and meaning. 

Bathroom Design

Bathing Beauties

The bathroom serves many functions, of course, but why can’t it serve a higher purpose as a place to relax, recharge and, yes, even to dream? Take a page from those crafty, creative interior designers of the Victorian era; homes of that time period often placed the bathtub in its own space, in a boudoir or the bedroom, removing some of the basic functionality and infusing a sense of specialness. (Tab through this House Beautiful gallery for more swoon-worthy bathroom inspo!)

Even if you don’t have the luxury of extra space, separating the bathtub from the rest of the bathroom creates an intentional area for thoughtful self care. Pro tip: Build your own bubble bath bar filled with luxurious items that transcend utility. Some ideas for inspiration: beautiful soaps, fragrant oils, lush candles, even rose petals. Make it as exploratory and exciting as you wish!

Coffee Bar

The Heart of the Home

How much time do you spend in your kitchen? If you’re anything like us, the answer is a lot, now more than ever. Designing this ever-so-popular place is paramount to the overall feel of a home, a place that serves as its center and properly hosts you, your family and your guests. 

Do you like to gather together every morning for breakfast and a quick check-in before everyone starts their day? A breakfast bar with an array of cereals, toppings and grab-and-go items is a clever nod to a hotel buffet. Are you a coffee aficionado or a wine enthusiast who can’t imagine a day without a delicious cup or a lovely glass? An excellent espresso maker or a separate wine fridge make life that much sweeter.

Outdoor Movie Theater

The Pleasure Principle

We’re firm believers in the fact that entertainment and enjoyment should be built into every day. By creating spaces that allow joy to unfold, you can find the time for soaking in life’s pleasures. An outdoor oasis featuring a movie screen, comfy seating and a sprinkling of candles is hard to resist. A cozy reading nook beckons even during the busiest days, encouraging you to press pause and take a moment for yourself.

Reading Nook

Strong and Centered

Home gyms are hot, hot, hot right now; even post-pandemic, making our workouts more accessible is a total no-brainer. Reserve a room in your home for your physical and mental wellbeing — from a stocked weight room to a serene yoga/meditation space — you’ll have the freedom to flex your muscles and settle your mind, all without leaving your home.

Home Gym

Yoga Studio

Life’s Passageways

The entryways to and from a home are oftentimes overlooked as purely utilitarian, but their potential should not be ignored. Those doorways we pass through set the tone for the entire ensuing space. Do you want to create a sense of calm? Do you desire a more active life? The design of your foyer can help guide you in new directions or even establish new routines — from finding moments to meditate to embarking on daily walks. Such is the power of design.

Carving out spaces within your home that take your daily routines to a new level is a passion for the Inspired Interiors team. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and share your home photos with us. We’d love to start a conversation about how we can help design your surroundings that capture life’s most meaningful moments.

Time Spent Creating Memories in Your Space

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

This famous Benjamin Franklin quote appears on a sign outside of the Twelve Oaks plantation in Gone With the Wind, attesting to its universally held truth that there is never enough time to go around. As busy humans living in an increasingly hectic world, we are constantly aware of the effects of time — and how it always seems to go so fast. 

Another popular adage has to do with regret — we’ve all heard of someone facing the end of the road lamenting that they wished they had spent more time doing something they loved. For acclaimed British economist John Maynard Keynes, it reportedly was drinking more Champagne (man after our hearts). But wherever your passions lie, you have the power to manifest them here and now — before it’s too late. And your home is the perfect place to start in creating memories in your space.

Outdoor Design

Make Your Place a Playground

Whether you have an abundance of square footage (and funds) or are more limited in your approach, you should feel free to carve out spaces in your home that facilitate joy, beauty, creativity, togetherness and, yes, fun. These interior design projects need not be huge undertakings (although if you have the means to turn your backyard into the fantasyland setting as above, by all means, go for it). Speaking of the above space, we love how the homeowners let their imaginations run wild — from maximizing the grassy lawn area for impromptu pool parties to creating a more serene setting on the patio for intimate family dinners to installing that completely genius rooftop deck. We’re beyond impressed with the joie de vivre this home absolutely oozes. 

 

Small Space, Big Dreams

As mentioned, you don’t need a ton of room to manifest happiness in your home. By thinking about how you can optimize the ways you spend your time through the creative interior design of underutilized spaces — think a breakfast nook, a large closet, your garage — you not only reinvent your square footage, you revitalize your mindset.

Small Space Design

 

For families with kids, a separate space for encouraging entertainment, learning and creativity is a true gift. A dedicated place for children to play, read or watch favorite TV shows and movies creates special everyday moments and memories. If you have the option to add vintage velvet theater seats (as seen above), even better. Who knows? You may even inspire a future interior designer (as celebrated in this charming Architectural Digest feature!). 

Taking a look at your space with fresh eyes can help open up new possibilities. Take a typical window seat. It may seem like a waste of space upon first inspection, but add a curvy, comfy sofa and suddenly you have a welcoming spot for family gatherings, lazy lounging sessions and cherished conversations. 

Intimate Home Design

 

Stay tuned for all of the exciting ways we’ll explore this topic and more that invite you to live inspired. In the meantime, rate your responses on the “How Fun Is Your Space?” checklist below (and let us know your responses!), and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for unlimited interior design ideas that will serve as your guide into transforming your home into a place filled with opportunities to live life to its fullest.

 

Fun Interior Design

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.