The Rewards of a Spring Field Trip

SPRING.

The season of re-birth and creativity.

Remember Grade School Field Trips? They were my favorite. Now I realize why they were always in the Spring. They were a treat for all of us after surviving the classroom-bound months of our Chicago winters.

This week we were treated to our own version of Field Trips and I was amazed at how visceraly it touched me (and I suppose my inner child!).

We met with two groups of artisans in their workshops and got inspired by their crafts. I was physically reminded of my deep appreciation for their talents and the fact that I get exponentially energized by this aspect of the creative process. To me, this is the creative process at the deepest level — You’re not just pulling things together, you’re creating with the actual hands that make it….. Nothing digital!

Literally and symbolically we were being rewarded with some of the best parts of our job.

This got me thinking ……

What is the best version of me in design? What do I get jazzed from?

Not computers - I get jazzed from stepping inside these workshops and seeing the craftsmen with their tools and raw materials. It’s the promise of all the possibility that could happen from that partnership and that connection ……..

That’s when the true magic happens!!

These artists aren’t just in Italy, they’re in our backyard.

All that to say

Trix are for kids, but Field Trips are FOR ALL!

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2018 Highlight Reel

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

As we look forward to an exciting 2019, we want to take a moment to reflect on what made 2018 so remarkable.

In celebration of such a wonderful year, we’ve rounded up a few of Jeannie’s favorite personal and professional highlights — Enjoy!

JANUARY 2018

Celebrating the big 5-0!

Celebrating the big 5-0!

Annie and I at Paris Deco-Off and Maison Objet.

Annie and I at Paris Deco-Off and Maison Objet.

FEBRUARY 2018

One of our absolute favorite Dining Rooms!

One of our absolute favorite Dining Rooms!

We loved the challenge of transforming the Ladies’ Locker Room at a historic North Shore Country Club.

We loved the challenge of transforming the Ladies’ Locker Room at a historic North Shore Country Club.

The JBI Design Team at our 9th Annual SADS Charity event where we raised $1600 for the foundation in loving memory of my late niece, Rebecca Righeimer.

The JBI Design Team at our 9th Annual SADS Charity event where we raised $1600 for the foundation in loving memory of my late niece, Rebecca Righeimer.

MARCH 2018

A glimpse into a photoshoot at one of our Winnetka residences - Look for it on newsstands Spring 2019!

A glimpse into a photoshoot at one of our Winnetka residences - Look for it on newsstands Spring 2019!

A gut-renovation on the cusp of completion for our client’s secondary residence in Wisconsin.

A gut-renovation on the cusp of completion for our client’s secondary residence in Wisconsin.

April 2018

In-process snapshot of a decadent Master Bedroom for a dream client!

In-process snapshot of a decadent Master Bedroom for a dream client!

My version of “Lost in Translation” LOL - Balsam family trip to Japan.

My version of “Lost in Translation” LOL - Balsam family trip to Japan.

May 2018

Let the chaos begin - DEMO DAY at our home!

Let the chaos begin - DEMO DAY at our home!

A major design high — Seeing our scheme of soothing hues and textured layers come alive in the Living Room of our client’s historical Winnetka residence.

A major design high — Seeing our scheme of soothing hues and textured layers come alive in the Living Room of our client’s historical Winnetka residence.

June 2018

A fun and fresh Dining Room scheme for a fabulous repeat client.

A fun and fresh Dining Room scheme for a fabulous repeat client.

Progress at our #ModernFarmHouse new-build project in Winnetka.

Progress at our #ModernFarmHouse new-build project in Winnetka.

Pinch me! I’m honored and excited to be the newest member of the inspiring Chicago chapter of the Leaders of Design Council.

Pinch me! I’m honored and excited to be the newest member of the inspiring Chicago chapter of the Leaders of Design Council.

July 2018

It’s a dream come true for our favorite Glencoe empty nesters as they head toward the construction finish line - Making “visiting the grandparents” cool again!

It’s a dream come true for our favorite Glencoe empty nesters as they head toward the construction finish line - Making “visiting the grandparents” cool again!

Loved being featured in Modern Luxury’s Summer 2018 “The Color Issue” with our client’s secondary residence in Austin, Texas.

Loved being featured in Modern Luxury’s Summer 2018 “The Color Issue” with our client’s secondary residence in Austin, Texas.

The Amalfi Coast keeps calling us back - Cheers!

The Amalfi Coast keeps calling us back - Cheers!

August 2018

If doing laundry is on your task list, we believe it should be bright and beautiful!

If doing laundry is on your task list, we believe it should be bright and beautiful!

Our “loss” is Fordham University’s gain - Congrats, Mira!

Our “loss” is Fordham University’s gain - Congrats, Mira!

September 2018

Proud to be a Chicago Design Alliance member supporting St. Jude with the team in September 2018. JBI raised over $2,500 for the 5k with your help!

Proud to be a Chicago Design Alliance member supporting St. Jude with the team in September 2018. JBI raised over $2,500 for the 5k with your help!

A peek into my little slice of heaven - Our newly renovated Master Suite.

A peek into my little slice of heaven - Our newly renovated Master Suite.

I learned that it’s hard to be your own client, but I’m so grateful that the 2018 North Shore Cooks’ Tour provided the deadline to make my personal home a priority.

I learned that it’s hard to be your own client, but I’m so grateful that the 2018 North Shore Cooks’ Tour provided the deadline to make my personal home a priority.

October 2018

We’re convinced that Annie’s designing until the very last minute paid off with her quick and smooth delivery - LOL!

We’re convinced that Annie’s designing until the very last minute paid off with her quick and smooth delivery - LOL!

Layered neutrals create a soothing Master Suite for our North Shore clients.

Layered neutrals create a soothing Master Suite for our North Shore clients.

The newest member of the JBI Design Team… Reese James Liddle! We feel so blessed. 🎀

The newest member of the JBI Design Team… Reese James Liddle! We feel so blessed. 🎀

The Mediterranean table decor we designed was the perfect partner for our Avec restaurant pairing at the Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago’s Chef’s Night Out!

The Mediterranean table decor we designed was the perfect partner for our Avec restaurant pairing at the Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago’s Chef’s Night Out!

November 2018

Our version of the “Winter Blues” - In a classic blue and white Kitchen…

Our version of the “Winter Blues” - In a classic blue and white Kitchen…

In our client’s chic Living Room…

In our client’s chic Living Room…

And finally, in this stunning Dining Room as it comes together for a Thanksgiving feast!

And finally, in this stunning Dining Room as it comes together for a Thanksgiving feast!

December 2018

Big things are happening at our fun repeat client’s new Northfield residence - An exciting Spring 2019 move-in is on the horizon.

Big things are happening at our fun repeat client’s new Northfield residence - An exciting Spring 2019 move-in is on the horizon.

Simply put, December was a rug frenzy! It was fun to act as Christmas elves with the Oscar Isberian team at each delivery.

Simply put, December was a rug frenzy! It was fun to act as Christmas elves with the Oscar Isberian team at each delivery.

The Jeannie Balsam Interiors ROCKSTAR Design Team celebrating our best year at our annual Skokie Country Club holiday dinner.

The Jeannie Balsam Interiors ROCKSTAR Design Team celebrating our best year at our annual Skokie Country Club holiday dinner.

Thank you for your role in making this year so successful!
We are extremely grateful for our amazing clients, inspiring design partners, and supportive family and friends.

Cheers to 2019!

Something for Yourself

Now that you’ve survived the “sales of the season” AKA Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday & Cyber Monday, we wanted to share Jeannie’s home-run hits that deliver extreme value, regardless of a sale price.

Not to say that we don’t appreciate a good deal (we do!). However, Jeannie’s highlighting a few personal finds that are so spot-on, they’ve practically paid for themselves based on her proprietary “Cost per Compliment” or “Cost per Wearing” calculation.

These tried-and-true staples will revitalize you and your wardrobe.

Tis the season for conscientious shopping!

  1. Veronica Beard / Fabian Tweed Jacket / $695
    These blazers are definitely investment pieces — I try to find a special one each year. The interchangeable “Dickeys” make them extremely versatile.

  2. Anthropologie / Capri Blue Incandescent Jar Candle (Volcano) / $30

    The gift that keeps on giving! Our studio’s tried-and-true candle scent.

  3. Tees by Tina / Sleeveless Mock Neck (One size fits most) / $46

    Shoutout to my friend Linda V. who turned me on to this brand. I’m addicted to the sleeveless mock neck, which prevents bunched sleeves when worn under a blazer, and yet is perfectly chic on its own.

  4. Giorgio Armani Beauty / Master Corrector (Color 1) / $40

    Kayla at Neiman Marcus-Northbrook Court shared this miracle product with me. Simply draw a soft “V" shape under your eye and lightly blend with your tinted moisturizer for a quick, fresh-faced look.

  5. Uniqlo / Ultra Light Down Compact Jacket (Olive) / $60

    This jacket was sold out in Uniqlo’s Tokyo store during our visit back in April, so I finally made it to their Michigan Avenue location to see what all the hype was about. I have to agree - It’s a fun and functional layering piece that won’t break the bank… Multiple colors purchased ;)

  6. Linea Paolo / Felicia Wedge Bootie (Black Perf Nappa) / $120

    OMG - These shoes are amazing! I can wear them from morning until late in the night. They give a bit of lift and style with the wedge and tons of support thanks to the sneaker sole - They’re the perfect hybrid.

  7. Chantecaille / Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara / $72

    $72 for mascara - Are you kidding…? Nope! Chantecaille took their original Faux Cils mascara formula and enhanced it with lash-lengthening peptides. I really think it works!

  8. Linea Paolo / Felicia Platform Wedge Bootie Sneaker (Camo Net Fabric) / $120

    I know a good thing when I find it, so why not get multiples? This is #6’s hipper younger sister — Even my teenage daughters were impressed when I showed up in these!

  9. Uniqlo / Ultra Light Down Compact Coat (Grey) / $80

    In case you haven’t caught on yet — When I like something, I tend to buy in bulk! For this one, refer to #5 for further details as it’s simply the longer version of the jacket (Yes, I own both!). Make sure to choose the grey colorway, which is “heathered,” because it looks much more expensive. People have literally stopped me on the street to ask me where I got it!

ITALY ON MY MIND

This month we'll be headed to Italy, home to some of our absolute favorite places in the world:

Positano, Capri, and Rome.


POSITANO

Photo via Gray Malin.

Photo via Gray Malin.

I first found Positano in 1994 while studying for my MBA on Loyola University Chicago's Rome campus.  I can vividly remember grabbing a few of my buddies, hopping into our little yellow stick shift convertible we nicknamed "limoncello," and heading south along the Italian coast... I was naive enough to drive this tiny rental car from Rome all the way down to Positano, which totals almost 200 miles and probably 400 hairpin turns.

Photo from our trip back in 2012.

Photo from our trip back in 2012.

I found myself there again in 1997 for my honeymoon -- Doug and I loved exploring this beautiful beach town and surrounding coastal towns like Ravello together.

It was during this trip that we first stumbled upon Ristorante Donna Rosa.  It instantly became a favorite of ours thanks to the amazing family who owns it and their incredible food and hospitality.  When you enter you may hear them singing Neil Diamond.

It was so special that we felt we had to return again 15 years later, this time with our three girls.  We took this sweet photo (below) of all the girls (Mamma Raffaella, her two daughters Erika and Rosida, and our girls Mira, Alexa, and Petrea) doing a "girl power" pose.

Our girls with the ladies of Ristorante Donna Rosa in 2012.

Our girls with the ladies of Ristorante Donna Rosa in 2012.


BLUE GROTTO

Sweet Alexa in front of the Blue Grotto back in 2012.

Sweet Alexa in front of the Blue Grotto back in 2012.

During our time on the Amalfi Coast, it was a must to visit Capri and the Blue Grotto on the way.

We loved visiting this sea cave last time because of how stunning it was when the sun pierced through the water, illuminating the entire cavern in a bright blue reflection.


JK PLACE CAPRI

The iconic JK Place Capri.

The iconic JK Place Capri.

During our time on Capri, I'm especially looking forward to visiting the iconic resort hotel - JK Place Capri.

This hotel's decor inspired the entire look, feel, and color palette of one of our most exciting projects to date.  We were chosen to redecorate the ladies' locker room at one of the North Shore's most historic country clubs.

The crisp white interior is balanced with deep navy hues, bright brass accents, and contrasting pops of high-gloss black accessories.  Look for me there enjoying an Aperol spritz (or two)!

An interior shot of JK Place Capri.

An interior shot of JK Place Capri.


ROME

One of our very favorite restaurants in Rome - Ristorante Roscioli.

One of our very favorite restaurants in Rome - Ristorante Roscioli.

Since we fly out of Rome, we plan to spend a couple of days eating our way through the city.

A must-visit while dining in the city is Roscioli - This unconventional restaurant is home to a salumeria/deli, restaurant, and wine bar all in one.  Upon entering, you'll be enchanted by the secluded spaces available to dine in.  It's quite romantic and wildly delicious!  This hidden little gem wows us and every friend we send there every time!!

Our family in 2012 before a plate of bolognese was dropped on Doug.

Our family in 2012 before a plate of bolognese was dropped on Doug.


Have any recommendations for Positano, Rome, or Capri?!  I'd love to know them so be sure to leave a comment below!!

XO,
JEANNIE