October 29, 2021

Design Chicago

On Wednesday, Andrew dropped me off at the main entrance of the Merchandise Mart. This storied building is a true labyrinth with its many floors and wings, but I somehow navigated to the check-in area for Design Chicago. With my name tag hanging from a lanyard, I was officially in, and ready to be a designer for the day.

Design Chicago is an annual trade conference for the design world: decorators, builders, art dealers, the work. While managing broker doesn’t quite fit the umbrella, I thought it was be an educational, inspiring afternoon for me to learn about trends and an adjacent industry to my own.

And oh, it was!

My first stop was a panel held at the Schumacher showroom. Inside the breathtakingly beautiful space, there was a wallpapered photo wall with pink balloons, fabric samples galore, and a decadent spread of sandwiches and treats (with floral plates to boot!).

The panelists were three of my favorite designers, and I was thrilled to see them speak in-person. Summer Thornton, Sarah Vaile, and Clary Bosbyshell were gracious, stylish, and full of ideas. The trio spoke on “grandmillennialism” – an emerging style, coined by House Beautiful, that is a nod to all things frilly and floral. One of them even referred to the concept as “granny chic.” I loved it!

From there, I attended another panel, this one about smart homes, held at the Dacor showroom. The panelists – Julie Laux, from my hometown, was one of them! – chatted about what their clients were looking for in a 2021 kitchen. My favorite takeaway was the important of customization for each family. Even something as simple as ice cubes has so many mixed preferences from person to person.

I ended my day at the Monogram showroom, where there was a cocktail hour with Jean Stoffer. My stager for M&Co. listings, Leah of Hampton + Wells, joined me for this event. It was so, so special to talk to Jean. Leah and I were both a little starstruck – okay, more than a little. Jean was incredibly down-to-earth and kind – which, amazingly enough, I could sense from her Instagram personality.

The second I arrived home, I told Andrew I wanted to wallpaper our next home in Schumacher. It was the most inspiring day, and I’m so glad I got to attend.