Soucie Horner for DreamHome
We recently sat down with Martin to discuss the inspiration behind his DreamHome living room. Needless to say, we were transported back in time. “Shea and I were students studying in Paris, traveling and taking in the designs and architecture around us. We absorbed, embraced and were forever altered by her charms,” recalls Martin. Though it could have been as simple as walking in the rain along cobbled stoned streets or stopping along a tourist-laden bridge to take in the intoxicating beauty of the pink sky enveloping the Seine, to Martin and Shea, every corner of the City of Lights was imbued with Joie de Vivre. Quite appropriately, the room was entitled as such. From the furnishings to the objects, every aspect of the room was infused with this sentiment.
While heavily inspired by Jean Michel Frank’s signature minimalistic, yet opulent design aesthetic, Martin and Shea mixed periods and textures to reflect a personal touch. Thus, the room is filled with a curated collection of their favorite things such as an intricately detailed paper sculpture by Chicago artist Betsy Birkey and the ‘Portalis Buffet’ by Holly Hunt for the bar area. The latter actually represents a design dream farther back than their days as design students in Paris. It harkens back to a young Martin daydreaming about building a glamorous bar in his room as a 7th grader. As Martin recalls with a laugh, “I always imagined having a great bar with a moody ’80s aesthetic.”
Colors, textures and a variety of fabrics, such as Holly Hunt’s snake console and Edelman Leather’s bison rug are an integral design component to create layers. A beige couch from the Barbara Barry Collection at Baker Furniture was reupholstered with amber colored fabric from Holly Hunt to provide rich contrast to the living room. Every detail was thoughtfully considered and selected from a wealth of resources provided from the showrooms at Merchandise Mart.
While childhood dreams and student aspirations played a significant role in the concept, it is wholly a sophisticated and reimagined vision of their fantasy flat in Paris. “When people walk into this room, I want them to feel comfortable and feel invited. It’s like they want to sit down and have a cocktail, sitting on the chaise lounge, listening to some beautiful Gershwin on the piano. That is what I want them to feel,” says Martin. Visit the DreamHome exhibit through December 4 to experience a taste of Paris revisited. More of Martin’s video interview can be viewed here.