Saturday, April 12, 2014

Alan Design Studio's Jody Trombley Redesigns an Old Town Bath

Jody Trombley
Bathroom After Renovation
Meet Jody!
She designed this gorgeous bathroom.

Last year, a client walked into the shop looking for some guidance for breathing new life into her recently purchased Old Town condo. She decided that she wanted to focus on renovating her bathroom – and Alan Design Studio’s Jody Trombley was just the person for the job!

We are proud to say that Alan Design Studio can deliver a design that achieves a desired look and feel of a space, on a budget.  Our client gained inspiration for her bathroom remodel from both shopping trips with Jean and Jody and reviewing tear sheets. The client fell in love with some expensive finishes, and Jean and Jody were able to draw inspiration from these more expensive items, and scale them down to a practical design without sacrificing the client's vision.

The most important goal of the redesign was to improve the room’s functionality.  Jody needed to add a shower and additional storage, as well as update the bathroom’s overall aesthetic.  Given the size of the room, Jody needed to design a shower that would make the most of the small space.  “The shower door took some thought and work with the vendor” Jody explains “I wanted the glass to sit on the outside edge of the shower curb and bench, which allowed for the maximum interior shower width”.  
"This was a bathroom of fighting for inches and taking advantage of every one".  To address the storage issue, Jody decided to take advantage of unused space below  the shower bench as a storage cubby.  For maximum mirror width, the sconces were mounted directly onto the mirror.   The lighting also needed to be addressed to flow with the bathroom’s updated design.  The unique "star" pendant fixture is a great feature item.

The color palette for the room was determined after choosing the stone for the shower and vanity counter top.  The stone selected for the bathroom is a gorgeous green granite with unique variations in coloring.  Jody selected tiles and paint for the bathroom in neutral colors that would compliment the stone, and showcase it's beauty.  They chose a classic hex tile for the floor to pay homage to the design of the historical buildings in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. 

What a transformation! Jody not only achieved the goal of improving the room’s functionality, she also made the space feel larger by updating to a calm, neutral color palette, and designing a shower enclosure that feels open and visually balanced with the rest of the room.  But don’t take our word for it, these before and after photos speak for themselves:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

HGTV Magazine Feature

Check it out!  Alan Design Studio's work was featured in the March 2014 issue of HGTV Magazine. The powder room from a project for a Winnetka residence was included in an article called "Sweet Little Baths".  The article discusses ways to create a big impact in a small space, and our work made the cut!  

When asked for tips on how to optimize a small space, Jean suggests being bold and unabashed in your use of color and materials.  "Powder rooms present a unique opportunity to take a chance in ways that you wouldn't in more important rooms in the house".  
And when she's right, she's right -- the powder room in this Winnetka residence is a beautifully unique addition to this classic Northshore home.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ADS: Sports Themed Rooms


This Chicago Bears themed bedroom was designed for the 8 year-old son of a family living on the Northside of Chicago.  Ruthie designed the family’s New York, Classic 7, Upper Westside, Manhattan Co-Op, so when the family decided to move back to Chicago, they called on Ruthie again to create a space as comfortable and homey as their New York apartment for their Wrigleyville residence.  When it came time to design their son’s bedroom, Ruthie faced the challenge of balancing a boy’s passion for the Chicago Bears, with his mom’s desire to avoid having his room look like a cluttered NFL team store. 


Once the decision to create a Bears themed room was made, the next step was to find elements that matched the official Bears orange and blue.  Ruthie searched through paint company after paint company to find the exact colors.  After finding the right paint colors, pulling the rest of the design together was relatively simple.  Ruthie said that she started by putting orange elements on the blue wall, and blue elements on the orange wall – and everything else just fell into place.  To avoid having the room look too cluttered, Ruthie made the choice only include certain pieces of memorabilia.  She suggests that “rather than displaying all your game-day memorabilia, choose a few favorite pieces and focus on displaying them sparingly, but artfully”. 


This room is without a doubt a Bears fan’s paradise.  Coordinating accent pieces, bed linens and rugs pulled the design together and carried the theme throughout the room.  Beyond Ruthie’s selective display of memorabilia, she also allowed for other aspects of her client’s son’s personality shine through – like his drum set and guitar.   By doing so, Ruthie created a space that showcased the boy’s passion for the Chicago Bears in a tasteful manner, without overshadowing his other interests.  

Ruthie’s work to create a balanced sports themed room has not gone unacknowledged.  She was asked to share her tips on decorating a sports themed room in an article last spring (, and was quoted on the subject in a yahoo news article as well.  After looking at the finished product, it comes as no surprise that she received such praise for her design. 

      Saturday, January 25, 2014

      ADS Originals: The Rock Table


      Preliminary sketches of Rock Table construction
      This table was inspired after talking with a client about designing a coffee table unlike anything else.  After tossing around a few ideas, Ruthie came across a photo of a rock and decided she wanted to design a stone table that mimicked the rock’s shape.  She sent the photo to her client to see what she thought about the idea.  The client responded simply by saying “did you just send me a picture of a rock?”
      The photo prompted a discussion between the two about materials, and although Ruthie’s initial thought was to use stone, the client suggested using wood.  After considering the construction process a bit more, they decided on using wood.

      Once the choice of material was made, Ruthie purchased an Elm tree sourced locally through Horigan Lumber to make the table. The next step in the process was to find a woodworking artisan with the skills to construct such a table.  After finding the right woodworker, it took a series of sketches and brainstorming sessions to determine the best way to make this table.  They came to the conclusion that the table needed to be hollow, so the tree trunk was cut into boards.  The outer portion of the table is composed of these long boards and the sides of the table are made of squares of end grain.  It was then shaped by hand to give it that river rock shape.   

      Staining the table a warm, rich color was the final step in creating this unique “rock table”.  Ruthie took on the challenge of designing a coffee table unlike anything else – and boy did she deliver.  The extensive design process certainly paid off because this table is stunning!  Take a look for yourself:  

      Thursday, December 12, 2013

      Sparkle! Polish! Glitter!

      Square Tips with Red Stripes
      and Sour Candy, 2013.
      Alan Design Studio teamed up with Bert Green of Bert Green Fine Art to host a nail art event for friends, old & new -- and the night was a huge success!    The event featured an exhibition of photography by Helen Maurene Cooper titled Hard Candy: Square and Stiletto, as well as the opportunity to have a nail art session with a nail artist from NaughtyNail’z in Logan Square.  

      The nail art movement has taken self-expression to a new level and created a culture all its own.  Hard Candy is an “investigation into the geographical, cultural, and socio-political influences on the aesthetics of Chicago nail art”.  Cooper creates colorful works that showcase the uniqueness of each nail design, and Sparkle! Polish! Glitter! was a chance for our friends to become a part of the art! 
      Our table filled with a variety of delicious items -- Nail tech adding gems to a guest's nails -- Colette, Fabi, and Julie enjoying a nail art session

      It was great to see everyone getting creative with ideas for their custom nail art – the best part about the event was walking around the party and seeing what others had chosen for their nail art designs.  There was even an opportunity to get an exclusive portrait taken of your nail art!  Helen Maurene set up a studio in the back room for people to photograph their nail art with an array of colorful props and backdrops.  
      Helen Maurene Cooper creating a colorful background -- Jean Alan showing her manicure to Rosaire, Laura, and Eunice -- Glinnus of Naughty Nail'z having a nail art portrait taken

      We hope that everyone had as much fun as we did!  Works from Helen Maurene Cooper’s Hard Candy will be on display in our showroom until the end of the year.  If you weren’t able to make it to the event, be sure to stop by and see the art for yourself!

      Alan Design Studio team getting a nail art portrait taken -- Carrie, Gina, and Jasmine of Naughty Nail'z -- Monique Moyet in the middle of a surprise performance