Thursday, April 21, 2011

Smart Home 2011: Don't dream it, be it...

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
via Museum of Science and Industry

It's that time of year when temporary "design" homes start popping up all over Chicago. Last week saw the debut of this year's Dream Home at the Merchandise Mart with rooms designed by some of Chicago's top firms, but what's really got us excited is tomorrow's opening of the Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home with interiors designed by Andersonville-based boutique, Scout. Billed as "the greenest home in Chicago," each year the Smart Home gets a redo by a Chicago designer - which doesn't sound incredibly green, but let's not split hairs here - and this year marks the first that the Smart Home will feature all vintage furnishings. Also, tomorrow is Earth Day - see how they did that - and what better way to celebrate it than by not killing mother earth with highly unsustainable and toxic new furniture?



Here at STUDY we're also celebrating Scout owner, Larry Vodak's coup in getting to overhaul the entire Smart Home as we've been fans and customers of his for a long time.

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
via Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
Framing by Foursided - They just did our Chateau print!
via Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
Custom lighting by Ted Harris
via Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
via Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
Sofa originally from Brownstone Antiques
via Scout

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
via Scout

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
via Scout

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
via Museum of Science and Industry

I already know that some people are gonna take a look at this and say, "It's so spare... everything's old... what's with the shag rug?"

Well, that's the point! Scout does an amazing job at repurposing furniture that was formally cast off and using it in a way that is fresh, warm and thoroughly modern. And not that everything is old. Those absolutely perfect Knoll loungers are actually reupholstered in, no joke, cobalt blue rubber made from recycled tires.

Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home 2011: Green and Wired, designed by Scout Chicago
Reupholstery by Comfort Upholstery
via Scout

We can't wait to see how the Smart Home fully takes shape and if you're going to be in Chicago this summer, put this down on your must do list.

And now for the other point of this post...

We visited the Dream Home on it's opening day last Friday and came away generally impressed with the rooms (special shout outs to Michael del Piero and Buckingham Interiors on that front) but the overall concept of the Dream Home leaves a few things to be desired:

a. It's Tiny - You're in the Merchandise Mart for christ's sake. You know, the largest building in the world at the time of it's construction. When you've got over 4 million square feet of floor space and your crown jewel design event feels cramped, there might be a problem.

b. It looks like a storefront - If I want to visit the Kohler showroom, I'll go walk over to the Kohler showroom. It's not until you actually enter the space that you know it's anything special. From the outside, it may as well be just another Jimmy John's.

c. It's all indoors - Every year the Dream Home includes a Garden/Outdoor room as it's final room and every year this room suffers from being incredibly cheesy due to fake foliage and the absence of daylight. All I've got to say is pony up Merch Mart! You've got a little bit of outdoor space around the building so let's get a real garden in there. Or better yet, build an actual modular home that can be moved in and out from year to year and sits just outside the entrance for a few months a year. It's right on the river, it looks incredibly odd/enticing and would be the best advertising you ever imagined.

d. It's all on one floor - See item above. Take this event outdoors and you've solved this problem.

We didn't intend to make this a treatise on what's wrong with the Dream Home, but I guess it's a little late to go back at this point. In short, it's a great event with great designers that deserves to be more fully realized.

Now it's your turn to visit both locations, come away with your own opinions, then come back here and talk about how great the Smart Home is.

The Museum of Science and Industry's Smart Home is open April 22, 2011 - January 08, 2012. Tickets available here.