Behind the Design with Susan Brunstrum

Spotlight on Gold Coast Penthouse “A Family Legacy”

     It’s not everyday when one has the opportunity to be featured on the cover of Interiors magazine. Susan Brunstrum, Principal of Studio Brunstrum, reflects on her latest January cover. Studio Brunstrum’s Gold Coast penthouse renovation entitled, “A Family Legacy,” is filled with history and creativity. As we go Behind the Design with Susan Brunstrum, uncover how Studio Brunstrum aesthetically incorporates design elements from the past to create a home for generations to come.

Countertop: Iceberg Quartzite

What design inspirations were used for “ A Family Legacy” project?

The wife fell in love with many of the 1940’s design inspiration images we used to begin a dialogue and conversation. Very “Hollywood-esque”, the images included a chandelier and a detailed ceiling design. We created a custom update for the ceilings in the living room and dining room and designed our first ever custom chandelier for the foyer.  The same paint color, a light blue/gray was used throughout the home for continuity, acquiescing to the client’s request that the interiors didn’t overshadow the remarkable views outside. The particular shade was one the wife found in a magazine and served as the foundation for the balance of the calming and serene furnishings we created, giving the family an escape from the chaos of Michigan Avenue below. The design and architectural plans focused on functionality and adaptability; it was important to not solely focus on the needs of the present, but also for the future needs of this family of five. We wanted to acknowledge and honor the emotion behind the transition from generation to generation, letting the story of the family become the focus of the home.

Did you and your team experience any challenges? If so, how did you overcome them?

The homeowners had four requests for the design of the space: the parquet flooring in what was the father’s office had to be used somewhere within the space, the condo needed to feel more cultivated and “city”-esque than their traditional home in the suburbs, the bunk room was to be nautical themed for their sons, and the colors should complement the changing blues of the Lake Michigan views out their windows.

To prioritize function, perfecting the architectural plans to fit the dual needs of the family was the first step in the renovation project. The key was to use every square inch of existing space to change the flow of the unit, while simultaneously giving it the more upscale, yet inviting feel the couple wanted. The existing living room was then split into areas for both the living room and dining room, leaving space to widen the foyer and expose the exquisite NE facing views of Lake Michigan upon entering the condo.

The office was enlarged slightly to become a bunk room, accommodating four custom-built bunk beds of our design. The en suite master bedroom and bathroom were completely renovated to mimic the aesthetic of a luxurious hotel room, re-configuring the closet and master bathroom to accommodate enlarged vanities and an enclosed, custom steam shower for the couple to enjoy with views of Lake Michigan. The kitchen was designed specifically for entertainment, changing the existing island to a peninsula to allow space for multiple people to move comfortably while prepping and hosting parties. We also wanted the peninsula to provide additional counterspace for three bar stools- perfect for three children in need of breakfast, lunch and dinner! A mudroom was also added for functionality to be used as a central location for storage as items are brought to and from the condo during their city “stay-cations”. We  wanted to make the home work for our client – so we moved mountains (and walls) to do so. Often clients don’t think beyond the confines of the current floor plan – it’s my job to transform every square foot into usable space.


Countertop: Dover White Marble

Can you walk us through the timeline from finding out your project is going to be featured to holding the issue?

We knew our client’s project was to be featured in the winter issue of Interiors, but we did not know if it was to be a 2, 4 or 6 page spread as that is the editor’s discretion as is the written copy, photos and the layout. We had no idea that the editor and publisher were considering our client project to be featured on the cover. It was a complete surprise! The day prior to the magazine distribution, both the editor and publisher reached out to me via phone call and email. What an honor! Our clients deserve our thanks and gratitude as they were a joy to collaborate with for 18 months from design inception through turn-key completion. We are appreciative that they have so kindly agreed to share their home with others.

What inspires you for creating and designing these beautiful spaces?

I believe your home should whisper to you, “Welcome Home. Come Inside.” The end result should not just be a beautiful space, but rather a confirmation of the client’s own values as the home tells their story and journey and will hold their memories for as long as they live there.

Studio Brunstrum’s portfolio, view here 

Marbleous, Let’s Talk About It!

Always Imitated, Never 100% Duplicated.  Put Your Hands Together For the OG: Marble!

Let’s face it, marble has a long history with exteriors and interiors. It has been around for centuries, and it’s not going anywhere.  Whether you’re remodeling or simply redecorating, incorporating marble is the easiest way to add a classy yet modern touch to any space!

Stay Classy!

Sophisticated and timeless, marble is the first choice for luxurious home interiors. Having the power to turn any space into a work of art.  Since marble is a natural stone, slabs and tiles vary in veining, adding character to any application. From classic and traditional to farmhouse and industrial interiors, marble can add a glamorous touch.

On the flip side, marble is also the perfect balance to a busy décor.  You can easily balance busy textures and/or vibrant colors with it’s subtle beauty!

marble natural stone slabs

marble natural stone slabs


Be Bold!

Yes marble has the girl next door reputation, but in fact marble can also be edgy and bold.  Not all white marble features subtle light gray veins, think deep veining with a high contrast and a whole lot of attitude.  Marble has the power to transform any room!

marble natural stone slabs

marble natural stone slabs

Marble Everythang!

Marble everywhere has gone to a whole new level, full slab backsplashes and floor to ceiling walls are taking over homes everywhere. This ultra luxe trend is clean and modern and has us feeling goo-goo eyed.

marble natural stone slabs

marble natural stone slabs

Accessories with Marble!

From throw pillows to phone cases, marble is popping up everywhere when it comes to decor.  (Side note, we’re not complaining, because duh it looks stunning on everything!) Especially if you’re not ready to go full blast Marble mode, you can start by adding a few small accessories that will add a big impact.  Adding something as simple as marble print bath accessories to your bathroom, can add just the right touch of luxury.

Have you heard about Azerocare?

For all those worried about etching, staining and all that other good stuff – we introduce you to Azerocare by Antolini Italy. Antolini’s top secret development is unlike anything else.  It effectively makes porous stone non-porous.  Keep in mind this is not a sealer, it’s the first of its kind factory process. It does not have to be reapplied  every few months or years, this is the first permanent treatment done during the cutting and prepping of slabs.  And the cherry on top is that there is basically no maintenance.  No need for harsh chemical cleaners or special polishes, soap and water will do the trick.

Style tips from our crew:

“It’s Marbleous!  Nothing quite competes with the beauty of true Marble.  Hands down you will find the best Marble selection the Midwest has to offer from all over the world right here at T&M!  Truly you’re building on a classic, stunningly  beautiful statement when you choose marble in your home.  You definitely will be kicking it up a few notches!”

– Diane Collins, Design Consultant

“Whether you are doing a modern farmhouse look or a classic look in your home marble is the perfect fit.  It’s timeless charm makes any kitchen or bathroom look gorgeous.  Be bold and add a pop of color to any space.  I especially love our Acqua Honed quartzite paired with a white marble.”

-Liz McParland, Contractor Sales

“Marble is one of the most beautiful stones! A classic material that has been used in different structures for centuries and will never go out of style! It brings the feeling of luxury and wealth, evoking images of sophisticated elegance! We’re lucky enough to procure some of the finest materials from across the world for our client’s. Not to mention, T&M has access to the most exclusive and the best natural stones.”

–  Kamila Pasko, Design Consultant

“Marble is a true classic and timeless material.  It adds appeal and sophistication to any space.  Whether traditional, modern or edgy style, marble is sure to elevate any design.” 

– Emily Van Tassel, Architectural Sales Rep

“There’s a reason Marble has been around for hundreds of years – it’s as timeless as it gets in the design world, and every alternative you see does its best to mimic it.  One of my favorites is our Calacatta Chiara because can go warm or cool, depending on the client’s color palette, and with its honed finish and pattern, I think a very forgiving Marble option.”

– Tina Brittain, Design Consultant


Meet & Pair!

This may be a pumpkin spice latte but these stones are anything but basic!  Meet the new fall staples of stone. If you’re currently remodeling or renovating your home then keep on reading!

Meet Blue Dorato Soapstone:

There’s not a soapstone we met that we didn’t like. Especially Blue Dorato Soapstone, that gold veining is everything! If you’re not familiar with Soapstone, it’s comparable to your favorite pair of jeans, you just fall in love with it more and more throughout time.  

Perfect Pair:

(Bianco Genesi 26, Grigio Tracce 3 Superfici, Antracite CG Cemento)

Meet Nero Levanto AZC:

Talk about dramatic! If you’re looking to make a statement then this is the marble you want in your kitchen! And guess what, this is available in Azerocare, low maintance, no etching & no staining!

Perfect Pair:

(Italian White Carrara, Black CG Architecture, Statuario Grigio CG Marmoker, Antracite Genesi 13)

Meet Oyster Grey:

For all those cool tone lovers, Oyster Grey is here!!

Perfect Pair:

(Kerrala, White CG Architecture, Statuario White Extra)

Meet Aculla:

New Arrival, Aculla, sure stands out! We love the beautiful quartz crystals found in each slab!

Perfect Pair:

(Tortora Genesi 13, Porto Rotondo CG Sardegna, Chicago Avondale Glass Mosaic)

Meet Capri:

Get lost, in the wild veining of Capri! Mother Nature never disappoints, Capri wows from every angle!


Perfect Pair:

(Malta, Bardiglio Imperiale CG Marmoker, Scandinavian Oslo Glass Mosaic, Statuario Grigio CG Marmoker)

Remodeling 101 – Everything You Need to Know About Slab Selection!

If the idea of remodeling your home has kept you in the same kitchen for years then consider yourself lucky for stumbling upon this blog.  We know that any kind of remodel/renovation can seem like a scary task to take on. But with the right information, a helpful Professional Designer and a Fabricator it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Below are a few helpful tips that will make the process of choosing a new slab easier.  If you still have questions, simply call and talk to one of our helpful Design Consultants. (Clockwise from top: Maggie, Leona, Margaret, Robbi, Diane, Liz & Monika)

Image from iOS (1)

First things first, find a local Fabricator that works for you.  Just to make your life easier in the end, it’s better to know exactly what you need before starting to look for slabs or doing your research.  No matter how big or small your project, have a Fabricator come out and measure exactly what you will need. Eyeballing doesn’t always cut it.

Remodeling 101 Tip:  Pick your countertop first and then move on to the backsplash.  Remember you need your dress before accessories!

DIFINITI, Marble, Natural Stone, Porcelain, Quartz, SlabsDesigner: Spectrum Design Group

Once you have your measurements, you can begin brainstorming.  Getting ideas online is great, besides the good ol’ google, there’s also instagram, pinterest & houzz.  You can also view live inventory at

Remodeling 101 Tip: Our website is completely live, you get to see our actual stock online. (How cool!?) You can view material by type, color, or price level.  (Please note that prices are shown by levels, level 1-10, level 1 being the lowest to level 10 the highest. It’s helpful to find out from your Fabricator what price levels you should be looking at.)

DIFINITI, Marble, Natural Stone, Porcelain, Quartz, Slabs

At this point you should have a pretty good idea of how you want your home to look like and what you’re looking for.  And if you don’t, that’s ok too, that’s what we’re here for.  You don’t need an appointment to come in and look at slabs but it is helpful to make one.

Remodeling 101 Tip: Bring anything you can that will make the decision of choosing a slab/s easier.  The more you bring to the initial meeting – the better. Cabinets, wall colors, photos, and even sketches will help tremendously in the end.

DIFINITI, Marble, Natural Stone, Porcelain, Quartz, Slabs

Designer: Studio Brunstrum

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