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 tagged familyroom
Vintage Rugs: Semikah Textiles

I will forever have a soft spot for vintage rugs. But at one point in time and perhaps in a near future they will all be collected and sold. They will be gone. It has been harder to and harder to find the special ones that stand out from the usual. Here are a couple we have loved and used over the years. This is my favorite source.

Wilmette Livingroom

Wilmette Livingroom

Adam St Loft

Adam St Loft

Wilmette Family Room

Wilmette Family Room

Bucktown Modern

Bucktown Modern

Palm Wallpaper – Lake Forest Sunroom

After 5 years in NYC transplanted to LA and then migrated to Chicago, this client was craving the sunny, relaxed vibe of Southern California they left behind. The inspiration was to feel as though the outside came in for tea. The space is a central hub of activity of kids and mom play dates., were the family continually gathers. We included a bright palm wallpaper, pop of black and white pattern and boho rug to tie the room together.

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5 Tricks to Make Your Sofa Last Longer

Author: Sydney Piwowar

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Early in our lives have we all overpaid for a sofa that barely lasted 5 years. We all felt the cushions start to cave in after a year in our favorite spot… its heart breaking to waste the money. As designers, we have been trained in this knowledge to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck in both aesthetics and quality. To help ensure your sofa will withstand the test of life, I have curated a list of 5 Tricks to Make Your Sofa Last Longer.

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1. Quality Framing

Be sure to look at the materials and reviews. If you are working with a designer like us, you can be sure we are considering these things when we source for you. That cannot be said for all decorators though so be sure to as blatantly. 

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2. Cushion Fill 

Not all sofa cushion fills are made equally. If you read one of my recent posts, you will see my review of RH’s Cloud Sofa. Though harsh, it was true. Some cushion fills require much more maintenance while others synthetic blend of fibers are self sufficient. Not to say that poly blend it better though - once you find a compression in the cushion, it is not repairable. You will continue to develop a sink hole till you replace the cushion. This is why it is important to find a balance of the two. I prefer a down feather wrapped poly core with more feathers than synthetic fibers. For everyone the ratio of soft to firm will vary with preference though. 

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3. Check the Upholstery

Faux leathers will age the fastest and the worst in my opinion. Once you form cracks or minor holes from regular use, there is no going back. The second worst is linen. I love linen to death - I love the way the fabric softens with age, the relaxed and welcoming texture it provides… But I do not have kids yet. One drop of mustard, coffee, tea, or red wine and it is game over. There are several fabric lines, like Perennials, who are creating linen look-alikes that feel and appear to have the same texture, but are far more durable. You will find these synthetic blends are farm more stain resistant, resistant to fading, and easier to clean. 

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4. Rotate Your Cushions

Some cushions are made reversible so that you can flip them over should there be an issue with the upholstery on one side. This is also helpful to do for maintaining the rate of age. If you are able to rotate the cushions, you will be able to stop the one cushion that gets sat on the most from getting trashed before the rest of them. 

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5. Ask the Manufacturer

Many furniture manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on their products. Even if there is something outside of your warranty, like your dog urinates on your sofa, many offer replacement parts at a fraction of the cost. It is always worth checking with them first before trashing your perfectly good sofa and purchasing new. 

5 Steps to Tasteful Family Photo Wall

Author: Sydney Piwowar

We all love our families (mostly) and its hard to tastefully show them off. Oversized canvas oil paintings hung over the fireplace aren’t style anymore... At the same time though, I do not think it is fair to cut all evidence of family in a home… it is after all what makes a house, a home. We were asked in a recent install how to do this successfully. Well, I am here to share with you all my secret: framed prints with oversized mattes. Yes, simple and understated. What makes this method unique is the color quality of the image and the placement of it. Here are the 5 steps to ensure your framed prints turn out perfect:

Curate Your Photos

Go through the old hard drive because you want to plan out your photos ahead of time. The photos don’t all have to contain the same colors or people - feel free to change it up. This is where you get to show off your family’s unique characteristics.

Print With HIGH Quality

The most common mistake that people make is framing pixelated photos. Make sure that you are printing high quality images and don’t be afraid to send them somewhere nice to print - don’t cheap out on this because you will get what you pay for. Something else to consider is if you want to print in color or black and white. For someone who wants to print in color, going to a good printer with high quality color is important.

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Find Frames

Frames can be sourced from anywhere. Whether they are custom or ordered online from Ikea, you will notice a large gap in cost. The most influential decision you make will be upon the frame’s finish. This color and texture will be framing the image, literally and figuratively, in a way it is possible to influence your perception. For example, if your image has LOTS of texture and color, choosing a frame that does as well may only distract form the richness of the image. It would be better to chose a simple frame that allows all attention to be focused on the specialness of your image. The second factor to consider is if you want a more unified or eclectic gallery. For a more unified approach, I would consider finding a store that sells the same profile in several sizes as you may need for your collection. For those that want a more mix-and-matched approach, I suggest shopping resale shops, garage sales, and local boutiques for an interesting combination.

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Find Matte

There are several colors and finishes to matte. I prefer a stark white matte as it gives a certain freshness. Be careful though as they come in several shades of off-white, ivory, and cream — especially if you are trying to match to previously framed images.

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Hang Art

It is hard to generalize for every one when it depends on the size of the frame and the space… My best tip is to map out the wall with painters tape first though to ensure you are happy with your placement — you don’t want to see a dozen holes in the wall from where you moved hung them previously. Some key areas I think it is more peaceful to hang family photos include: hallways, stairways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and basements. Try to stay away from the large print over the living room fireplace — its tacky.

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For more tips on how to frame family portraits, see my pinterest board HERE!

How to Add Color in Your Home, Naturally

In the last several years, I've noticed a trend in the striping of color from wardrobes and adding it to environments. Color can be tricky and much harder as a sweater paired with someones complexion. In art school students are first taught to draw in pencil, only using black and white- in order to understand highlights and low lights.  If color is introduced too soon students are not able to get a full understanding of how light affects a shape and ultimately affects the color when finally applied.

The same rules apply when adding color into your space, be thoughtful and selective about which colors and how much color to add.  Pick two colors and keep with those two mixed with neutrals. Feel free to use a variation on tones of the color you picked- meaning not all blue need to match to feel cohesive. If you mix the tones of blue, it will make the space feel more natural. Often times the use of selective color can make that highlighted color stand out more than if a multiple of colors were combined together. 

Be Brave! xo, Jen

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