Women Who MAKE: Simes Studios

December 14, 2017 Interviews 0 Comments
simes studios chicago owner

If you’re new to the Women Who MAKE series, welcome! This blog series features an artist, maker or creative excelling in their field. This month I’m so excited to share the history and development of Simes Studios, as told through a visit and interview with co-owner Cindy Simes. Cindy and her husband (and business partner) Jorge have been bringing the tradition of fine art and decorative painting to Chicago (and well beyond) for more than 25 years. The studio consists of many talented artists, often working together, and using their specialities to achieve beautiful results. The studio is known for their murals, painted floors, eglomise (reverse painted glass), gilding and more.

It was a treat to visit their light-filled studio, once a stable in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. Cindy gave me a tour and told me a bit about her story and some of the wonderful homes, projects and designers she has worked with throughout the years.

Photography by Anna Sodziak


Centered By Design: Women Who MAKE Interview – SIMES STUDIOS

  • Name: Cindy Simes
  • Current title/company name: President and Co-owner of Simes Studios

What are your first memories of making art or being creative?

I’ve been drawing since I was very young sitting with my Dad sketching. An art teacher in 8th grade sparked a special interest in art for me, as he had taught for 30 years and told me my drawings were the best he had ever seen in his class. Other teachers in junior and senior high were also very supportive. I did a lot of murals and art work in my junior and senior high schools.

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The Warwick Reno: Baby Girl’s Nursery

November 30, 2017 Interior Design, Warwick 0 Comments

I can’t believe I’m finally writing this post. Designing the nursery has honestly been tough! I think it’s a lot of self-imposed pressure, but also, a good friend wisely said that this is “the most important person” I’ve likely ever met. I can’t disagree, never before have I experienced this level of anticipation waiting for anything. What will she look like? Will I be a good mom? Will her nursery design make us both happy? (probably more of a designer concern – wink, wink). I’m excited to share what I’ve finally settled on; a sophisticated palette fit for a modern baby girl nursery (in a vintage house).

When designing, I always like to have a main inspiration to pull from. In this case, I knew I wanted it to be wallpaper and eventually knew I wanted it to be a floral. I love this inspiration image of a room with similar attic like ceiling lines to ours. I was having trouble settling on a print. Should it be large scale or small, spread out or tight, bold or softer? During my search I discovered that Farrow & Ball just launched three new florals as their 2017 Wallpaper Collection!

Wallpaper Application Inspiration:

modern baby girl nursery with wallpaper

Via CountryLiving Inside A Mississippi Farm House.

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Design School: Brynn Olson Design Group

November 27, 2017 Interviews 0 Comments
brynn olson design group

Welcome to DESIGN SCHOOL! A monthly series into the minds of our favorite interior designers across the country (and hopefully world soon!).

This month’s interview is with the Chicago-based firm, Brynn Olson Design Group, but if you follow Brynn on Instagram you’ll know she’s often jet setting all over the world. I’ve included a few of her recent travel snaps, as I’m living vicariously through her and I think you’ll want to as well! This hard working and incredibly kind lady has been working in the interior design industry since 2008, where she started at Nate Berkus Associates (I interned for NBA in 2015 and a lot of the same folks are still there).

Brynn and I connected in Chicago, and then again at the Design Bloggers Conference in LA last year. I’m a huge fan of her refined urban style, and love watching her company grow to new heights. Enjoy the interview with Brynn!


Every home needs:

A timeless foundation to withstand the test of time, a worthy return of investment, and provide an amazing canvas to begin layering your own personal style and flair upon…

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Chicago Design Studio Reveal!

We are SO DANG EXCITED to announce the opening of our design studio and cabinetry showroom in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago! If you are local please stop by between 4pm – 8pm this Friday at 2946 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, 60657. There will be refreshments, gift bags, a ribbon cutting ceremony and lots of good cheer, as my studio partners, Studio 912 and I have worked hard to bring this sweet little storefront to life!

We also have many fabulous sponsors to thank and lots of pretty pictures to show you:

Our front room and communal work and meeting space. Cabinetry is from the Europa and Starmark lines carried by Studio 912. Lattice Gold Wallpaper by Unison Home. Sisal rug with black border, custom order from STARK carpet. And we LOVE our Duda Stools by Sossego.

chicago interior design studio

Custom drapery available through my workroom and that vintage curio cabinet is another amazing MegMade find. We love MegMade for vintage furnishings, and we’ve got lots of door styles on display to create your dream kitchen, bathroom or built-in!

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Baby Shower Highlights

baby shower brunch ideas

Pregnancy is such a time of anticipation, with both wonderful moments and stressful ones. For lots of women and couples, I think the baby shower is one of the most magical moments. Surrounded by those who love you, and who have either done this whole parenting thing already, or the friends not there yet, but ready to cheer you on. SO MUCH LOVE! I wanted to share a few moments from my shower (sadly it got too hectic to get a group photo!) but my sister Carly, hosted at my house and it was really special to have so many women I love in my home together. Here are some baby shower ideas from florals, to food, to my favorite books and baby gifts:

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Studio Grand Opening + Powder Room Giveaway!

What started as a small sub-lease on little storefront this spring has now become an official INTERIOR DESIGN STUDIO! I am so very excited for all that this new space holds! My partners in the space, Studio 912, are Wendy and Randy (Wendy and I actually met in design school) and R+W have been working in the kitchen and bath industry with their company since 1995. Wendy is a huge asset to all my kitchen design projects, as her knowledge of the ins and outs of cabinetry orders greatly benefit my clients, as does Randy’s extensive contracting knowledge. Our storefront will serve as my interior design office and studio, and Studio 912’s cabinet and countertop showroom and city location.

We are hosting a Open House to celebrate and show off the spruced up studio and we’d LOVE for you to pop by and say hello. Please join us on FRIDAY, NOV. 17th from 4pm – 8pm.

We also have a FABULOUS contest as part of the opening. We are GIVING AWAY a full powder room makeover courtesy of our sponsor Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. I had a wonderful time with Traditional Home and Ferguson last March at the Design Bloggers Conference, and was thrilled when this opportunity came up. I jumped at the chance to give away this makeover – b/c what is better than a sponsored makeover for someone in need?!

For all the contest / giveaway rules read on to enter:

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The Warwick Reno: Master Bedroom Design Plan

October 25, 2017 Interior Design, Warwick 0 Comments

It’s time for an update on #thewarwickreno and I’m very excited about how far we’ve come upstairs! We are nearing the finish line and this will be our first “master bedroom” — complete with things we really love like a window seat (me) & coffee bar (Luke)! I’m also sharing a little bit about dormers as they can prove challenging to design around, but can become very useful spaces.

Remember where we started? Ugh, I can’t handle the paneling and the yellow:

Here is where we are at today: drywall went up over the paneling, new baseboard, faux wood floor removed (carpet going down), fresh coat of paint, radiator replaced, electrical moved/added and the beginnings of the window seat! The coffee bar will be outside the french doors, to the left, bathroom is to the right – more on those in another post.

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Design School: Lindsay Speace

A Cape Cod native now based in Raleigh, North Carolina Interior Designer Lindsay Speace’s work originally caught my eye due to her bold use of color and pattern (no wonder, she used to work for a European textile house!). I signed up for her blog/emails, and love the quick doses of design knowledge and unique finds she shares with friends and followers on her self-proclaimed sporadic blog, The Pursuit of Style.

Lindsay’s flair for vintage and mixing patterns is top notch! Her work has been featured by shelter outlets such as Domino, House Beautiful and more. You can find more daily inspiration from Lindsay Speace on Instagram. I’m thrilled to have her here with us on DESIGN SCHOOL:

Every home needs: Original Art

My secret styling trick: 

Group items in odd numbers when creating tablescapes.

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CBD on Million Dollar Decorating Podcast

The interior design podcast community is growing (see my list of favorites below) and we’re honored to be featured this month by one of the industries leading podcasts, Million Dollar Decorating. You can check out my 30-minute interview for yourself with host James Swan below. I discuss a little bit about my background, how I went back to school for design, started the business/blog, and share some of my favorite decorating tips!

Listen to this episode



Before + After: Using Neutrals with Style

abstract paper art

If you are consistently drawn to decorating with neutrals and bright or bold colors are just not your thing, fear not, you CAN decorate with neutral colors and still have an interesting and unique space. Today, I’m sharing a recent project reveal and I’ll explain some of the design process, and tips I use when trying to create neutral rooms that still feel fresh and interesting (and not like a total snooze fest!).  Before and after photos will help explain.


Lots of great millwork, but the cream and pale green was a very hard color palette to decorate with. The client wanted a much more modern and contemporary look, which translates to cooler colors. When you are decorating with neutrals think about warm vs. cool. Do you want a warmer white and coordinating paint colors, or a cooler white and coordinating colors? The color of your floors or existing furniture pieces may help you decide. There is no right or wrong, but in this case, we wanted cooler colors for a more modern feeling.


You can see how instantly with the cooler neutrals (more blues/grays/black in the paint) the space feels for modern and contemporary. We used a cool white, Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace on the ceiling, crown and wainscoting. On the upper walls we used Farrow & Ball Cornforth White (pale gray) and to make the millwork on the built-in stand out we painted the entire piece in Farrow & Ball Worsted (med. gray).

I added some warmth back into the space by playing off the tans, browns and creams in the fireplace stone. Using some tans in the drapery, adding gold accents and cognac leather helps the space from feeling one note. Also, I love a pop of black and often feel that is makes a more modern room complete. It’s used on the lamp shades and in the art work for a nice grounding touch.

abstract paper art

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