Jen Talbot Design

The Sketch Book Files

Meet Jen!

Jen's spot for inspirations, inside her life as designer and artist. I share progress, tips on sources, spaces that inspire and how to push the boundaries of every space.

Be brave, and go for it.

xo, Jen

Posts in Uncategorized
Neon and Terrazo

I never thought these words would pass my lips… neon and terrazo are back! They are popping up all over in interiors, home and accessories. It’s fun, fresh and we are on board. Always looking for a color palette that excites. Yes, please, I’ll take two.

The New Rule on Ceiling Paint

Author: Sydney Piwowar

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There used to be general rules that contractors, architects, and designers alike would follow for ceiling paint. There was one Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Behr, etc. paint that we all memorized the color code of and used on every project. 

I am proud to announce that we do not have to anymore! Clients are always shocked when we show them an amazing color and suggest it goes on their ceiling. Well I am telling you its ok to break the rules - we actually prefer it at JTD. 

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That being said, there is nothing wrong with white. There are lots of amazing shades of white out there. But we think if you’re going to paint your room white, then do it right. Apply color in your furniture, walls, rugs, art, lighting, etc. 

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Color is a careful balancing act that our clients often struggle with. Do not be afraid of it, embrace it. Use it sparingly though, and in the right places or else you will give yourself and your guests a visual overload. 

Top 5 Penny Tile Patterns

Author: Sydney Piwowar

We LOVE Penny tile because it is an inexpensive material that is very customizable. We love the flexibility this product allows, giving any project an inexpensive, but high end feel. The options are endless! See our Top 5 favorite patterns right now to inspire your next tile reno.

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Mot people only consider tile in bathrooms. They are definitely needed here, but are not restricted to that application. See how amazing these Penny Tiles finish off kitchens?!

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Dont be afraid to add color. These patterns are works of art for your floor.

If a full pattern is too much for your space, this colorful border is an amazing solution.

Top 5 Kitchen Trends of 2019

Author: Sydney Piwowar

While minimalism remains a leading trend in design, we are seeing a large push back from not only other designers, but our clients for a desire of well designed space. Less in not always more people! After lots of research, I have curated the Top 5 Kitchen Trends of 2019 will be.

1. Hidden Appliances

This design trend offers a seamless integration of modern technology and classic design.

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2. Well Designed Hardware

The simple bar cabinet pull or knob just doesn’t seem to do it anymore. More designer quality hardware options are becoming readily available and are a simple way to elevate your space.

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3. Rustic Counter Tops

After years of seeing the same white marble counter tops, we are seeing a revolt. People are gravitating towards non-marble, rustic styles of counter tops such as polished concrete, quartz, and wood.

4. Contemporary Take on The Classics

The flat panel cabinet is gone people.. While I do not anticipate arched or ornate raised panel designs to come back either, we will see more design intention in kitchen cabinets. Thanks to modern technology, it is easier than ever to design custom kitchens. We will see this very evident in the panel designs of 2019.

5. More Metal

We have seen metal inlays gain popularity in the furniture of 2018, but we will see more metals popping up in our cabinetry. Not just in hardware or inlays, but in the finishing material of entire panels.

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To see more 2019 kitchen inspiration trends, see my pinterest page here!

Top Indie Wallpaper Designers

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Every once in a while we get a client that says, "oh, no way. I don't like wallpaper." Our response is, "well you obviously haven't looked at wallpaper lately because it has CHANGED!" Wallpaper these days isnt like the floral stuff your grandma used to have in her living room. Wallpaper is about adding character, drama, and texture to elevate a space. We are sharing with you another one of our top secret lists with this one - our Top Indie Wallpaper Designers. Let us know what you think of these beautiful artists. 


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Relativity Textiles 

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Funky Side Tables

Author: Sydney Piwowar

When you go out for a night on the town with your pre-planned outfit you've been waiting to wear, you never go out without jewelry. It is what completes the outfit, right? At JTD, we see side tables the same way. There is no need to wear your old jewelry to a black tie event and there is no need for lame side tables. Here are a few attractive (and practical) side tables to liven up your space

We call this one the "anywhere table" because you could literally put this in any room and it would look good. 

For a more classic approach, this cast bronze side table ages perfectly with a brown patina. This is a piece you will want to hand down for generations. 

For a more rustic or natural look, a pop of wood in its nearly original state brings a very raw and organic feel to the space. 

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For those that need some storage to hide coasters, remotes, and all those not-so-pretty things. 

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Jen Talbot Design featured in Chicago Tribune

Exciting News and forget to post on the blog! Jen Talbot Design was featured in Chicago Tribune for our work we did for our West Shore Dr client.  One of the things we love about what we do is the people we touch. This family was in a special category of their own.

Click HERE to read the full article. 

xo, Jen

Flor Carpet Square Catalog

Hi Lovely Readers, 

The spring FLOR Carpet Square catalog is finally out! I though it would be fun to show the behind the scene or how the room before the FLOR team came in a place their product in the space we designed. 

Before FLOR

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After FLOR

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Before FLOR

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After FLOR

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Goes to show how much a rug can change the space dramatically! 

xx, Jen

Project HOPE – Designs for Autism

We were super honored to get the invite to submit an idea for a piece of furniture through Leathercraft and Traditional Home! The top design gets put into production and some proceeds go the Autism research. We had such a great time designing a piece of furniture for this wonderful effort to raise money. Well we could not decide which one final design. We even put it to a vote on Instagram and both the Bolster Pink Bench and Leather White Chair got the most votes. 

Here is the furniture plan and inspo images. Winners are announced at April High Point Market and we should know in a couple weeks if we were selected! Fingers Crossed! :)

Boho Powder Room – Relativity Textiles

Powder Rooms are the best place to take a risk in your home design. We don't shower in them. We don't do our makeup in them. We don't spend a lot of time in them. Because of this we can never go too dark, too dramatic or too edgy. 

My of my current wallpaper crushes is with a extremely talented artist and lovely human, Erin Minckley Chlaghmo of Relativitiy Textiles. Her work is fresh thoughtful and checks all the boxes. 

xo! Jen

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Chicago Life Magazine + Jen Talbot Design

Lighting is my jam. I love that it has finally caught up and become artful, thoughtful and special. Rewind 15 years ago and all lighting options were traditional, not inventive and snooze worthy. Then designer and artists got a hold of the light industry and shook things up. One big collective, Thank you, from all of us!

I got to share my thoughts on lighting trends in the most recent edition of Chicago Life Magazine. Check out the full story on page 16.

xx, Jen ♡

UncategorizedJennifer Talbot
Holiday Table Setting Guide

Retailers have been stocking their shelves with holiday decorations the weekend of Halloween. I know that is too early for the average person to be planning that far in advance, but now that Thanksgiving is around the corner it's time we face the music start making our list. 

The holidays can present stress to source the perfect thoughtful gift or spending time with unsavory family, I say lets have some fun with our table scape this year. Let's not dig our our red and green holiday plates, instead let's introduce a fresh color palette! 

Blush pink is all the range, mixed with hints of brass brings it to the next level for holiday entertaining. Here are a couple ideas to pull your table together.

UncategorizedJennifer Talbot
Historic Prairie Style Home – Gets a Modern Update

I love the mix of high and low. This combo inevitably creates an interesting visual of texture, line and color. Tapping into the classic lines of a vintage piece mixed with something new is really exciting when it's done right. One of my most creatively challenging projects, which ultimately became the most rewarding, was a project I did for the historic Poppy House in the Kenwood neighborhood of Hyde Park – Chicago. 

We could not touch the wood work, because of the historic value and the house is on the national historic list. As you can image in a praire style, Frank Loyd Wright inspired home, there is a TON of wood work, so my biggest challenge was to embrace it and incorporate it. I needed to bring it into the 21st century and blend with my clients modern, eclectic aesthetic.

Starting in the Living Room, we covered the sections of ceiling between the beams with deep mocha colored grass cloth, updated the wall sconces and painted the walls a cool tone of cream to draw out the yellow from the room and covered up the dated flowers painting in the corners that was added by the former owner in attempt to "update".

I wanted to create a space that balanced out the history of the space and was a slight nod to the 60's, pulling in creams, warm leather and a pop of jade green. The coffee table we found on Charish and the other pieces were custom created for the space. 

For the family room, which is a part of an addition added in the 80's the wood work was not a factor. We had more of a clean slate to work with and started by ripping out the dated built in, creating our own custom floor to ceiling built in. We painted the walls, molding and built in all Hale Navy, which created an elegant streamline look. The modern cranberry velvet chairs were mixed in with a new sectional, silk rug from ABC Home and petrified wood stump side tables. 


The other major change we made was to the dining room and added Philip Jefferies grass cloth wallpaper on the walls and cove ceiling to create a dark supper club look. The light fixture became a sticking point once the room was finished. My client had a hard time letting it go even though the size and proportions were all wrong for the space and was the last piece of the puzzle to creating an amazing space. 

UncategorizedJennifer Talbot
Fall Color Inspiration: The Anti-Gray

Author: Sydney Piwowar

For those of you who are inspired by the seasons and the changing of colors, like me, you are probably trying to figure out the best way to bring these fall and winter colors into your home. I'm not talking about tacky turkey napkins and paper gourds I'm talking those beautiful autumn shades of burnt umber, cadmium yellow and deep reds. 

I love Brian Paquette Interior's application of the deep and bold coral colored door juxtaposed by the darker ceiling. It is the perfect balance of visual texture.

Embrace the warmth and rich tones of fall, all year with warmer textile colors choices. There are other neutral color options other than gray, that are classic and will stand up over time. I love this example of a burnt ocher used by Tempelton Architecture

Be bold! Paint is just paint. It is not like a bad hair cut that will take months to grow out. If you don't like the paint color- paint over it. But it’s important to have fun and take risks in your space, as Fernandez & True Interiors did here in the 2012 Atlanta Show house.  Of course we can not change our furniture to match the season like we do our wardrobe, however, if you are craving to add something new, check out your local antique stores for a special piece that can temporarily freshen up the color palette. 

Every space should be an extension of that person. We have different facets of ourselves; likes, interests and passions. Your home can become an exploration of those layers. I love this office designed by Steven Gambrel that seems to visually explaining that person. This space is so well composed, I can almost imagine the story and background of this person. 

Painted Surfaces

Gone are the days of the classic feature wall, but using paint in a creative way is it a great way to bring interest and break up the space.  I love highlighting details of the existing space, if the space has some history. You can also play with scale in the space by painting unexpected sections of the top of the wall or ceiling. 

Check out a couple of my favorites. Paint is not dead!

Who Doesn't Love a Good Before and After?

This summer, I have had the pleasure of transforming several rooms of an historic home in the Kenwood neighborhood of Hyde Park. For the locals, everyone knows it as the "Poppy House". It is famous for the poppy stained glass windows through out the original part of the home. The second owner added an addition, which included kitchen and family room. 

My client has a modern eclectic style that needed to blend with the history and the prevalent wood work. My goal was to blend a modern vibe with the prairie history. For the living room, I wanted to keep it elegant, calming, layered textures- with a pop of jade green. 

Below is the living room, next week I will share the before and after of the family room with a lovely rug from ABC Home. 



UncategorizedJennifer Talbot
One Room Two Ways

It is not often there is an opportunity to design the same room twice! When my client first moved into her new house she had two kids and which naturally translated to a girls room and boys room. Flash forward to a year later and her third kid on the way, I had the opportunity to re-design the space as a gender neutral room to accommodate her son and daughter. 

The first image is the space as the son’s room. The second image is the room transformed into a black and white gender neutral room.  As you can see the only items we reused were the window treatments, rug and a black & white pillow. Have a favorite? Share it in the comment box.

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UncategorizedJennifer Talbot
Boho Office Make Over

I think we all dream of a sun filled room, a "clear of clutter" desk to set the stage for a productive day. I recently wrapped this office redo for a wonderful client on the North Shore. She is the best kind- open to my ideas, loves what I pitch and willing to take little risk. This partnership has garnered the best results because she trusts me and therefore then gets the best work from me. The creative juices flow freely and she gets to reap the benefits because she was able to give up a bit of control. Miss J, hats off to you! 

We carved this office out of a room formally overcome by HVAC. The window and cove ceiling is original and was simply lost in a tangle of ugly pipes. We reconfigured the HVAC system to fit under the new built in bench and shelves.  I, sadly, do not have before pictures so you can not truly appreciate the make over. Below are links to a couple key sources. Enjoy!

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  1. Semi flush light, Cedar & Moss

  2. Black and brass fan, Target

  3. Desk Sconce, Cedar & Moss

  4. Desk Chair, CB2

  5. Indian Boho Rug, Semikah Textiles