Posts Tagged ‘Harrington College’

Yesterday, Karen shared some differences between the construction of older furniture vs. new. Keep reading below to see if reupholstering your furniture this summer is worth your time!

Article written by Harrington Interior Design Alumna Karen Carpino, as featured in Chicago Now’s TCW

Upholstered furniture is made of three components: the frame, support system and fabric cover. Here’s a good tip to determine if a furniture piece is worth the cost of recovering. Set the piece down, and then pick it up. If you can pick up the piece with one hand, it is not made of a quality worth redoing. Also, check out the frame. If it is not made well and of quality materials, don’t invest in recovering that piece of furniture.

What about cost and value? In my experience, professional reupholstery of a good quality sofa or lounge chair, including the price of the fabric required to cover the piece, will cost about 50 percent to 65 percent less than the price for a comparable quality new piece of furniture. The price varies according to the fabric you select. A new, standard grade sofa in a basic fabric costs a small amount more than a professionally reupholstered excellent quality sofa covered in a superior grade fabric.

Slipcovers are an option to recover your furnishings. The price for labor is about the same to slipcover or reupholster but slipcovers require more fabric. The big difference is in the look. The slipcover style is less tailored, more relaxed and casual chic.

To select a professional upholsterer, I recommend that you use a source whose work you have seen. I even suggest visiting the upholstery shop to see work in-progress and completed furniture pieces. Reupholstering is a great way to keep the furniture pieces that still look wonderful in your home, while updating your decor with the new, luxurious fabrics and colors you love.
About Karen Carpino:
Karen Carpino is a professional interior designer with more than 25 years of practice in the Chicago area and is an alumna of the Harrington College of Design. Karen’s extensive design experience includes creating interiors for both residential and commercial clients. Karen Carpino creatively designs interiors with careful attention to your specific requirements, budget and dreams. Visit her site at www.carpinodesign.com.

Photo courtesy squint

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Article written by Harrington Interior Design Alumna Karen Carpino, as featured in Chicago Now’s TCW

Are you in a decorating dilemma deciding to either recover your present sofa or lounge chair versus to buy new furniture pieces? This can be a difficult choice.

I suggest you start by answering the following questions.  Do you still like the style? Does the size compliment your furniture plan? Does it accommodate your seating needs? Is it comfortable? Does it support your back? Is it structurally sound? If you answer yes to these questions your furniture piece is salvageable.

The following information can also help you to answer some of these questions. I also asked for an expert’s opinion. Vince Chiavetta of Vito’s Upholstery in Chicago said if your sofa or chair was built at least 10 years ago, you will find the quality of the structure is better than the way most newer upholstered furniture is made. Most older furniture was made with hardwood frames, free of knots; glued and dowelled joints; eight-way hand-tied coil springs or heavy gauge sinuous springs spaced close together; cotton or horsehair padding or superior high density foam.  However, newer furniture is typically made with inferior knotty woods, plywood or particle board; joints stapled and sometimes fast-drying epoxy is used; light-weight sinuous springs and less of them per seat; low density foam which looks nice at first but breaks down after little use.

Keep reading tomorrow!

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Near the end of last year, students and alumni from the Harrington College of Design teamed up with the Chicago Dramatists for a unique competition: an opportunity to redesign the lobby and exterior space for a historic downtown theater!

On December 1st, a panel of professionals made up by members of Chicago Dramatists, Harrington College of Design and the West Town Chamber of Commerce selected the winning design based on its adherence to the Chicago Dramatists’ brand identity, use of finishes, fixtures and displays, and other considerations. The design competition was made possible through a grant from Chicago Community Trust, as a part of the Arts Engagement Exchange.

The winners of the competition were:

First place: Sarah Kuchar and Matt McGrane

Second place: Kristin Over, Arthur Garcia-Clemente, and Sheryl Schulze

Third place: Jennifer Lea and Momi Jahn

As winners of the competition, Harrington student Matthew McGrane and Harrington alumna Sarah Kuchar were honored with a cash prize of $750 and a plaque in the theatre lobby, along with the construction of their winning design.

Currently, the estimated date of completion for the interior construction will be ready for the Chicago Dramatists’ premiere production, BORDELLO, on February 4, 2011. The second phase of exterior renovation should wrap up in time for the opening of the final 2010-2011 production of HICKORYDICKORY in May. The construction budget for both interior and exterior improvements is approximately $13,500. 

Read tomorrow to see the 1st Place design work! Also, be sure to keep following the blog to see the renovation in-progress and final construction.

See all photos from the Jury event here!

Jury photos courtesy Peter Klick.

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Over the past few days, we shared some great tips from Christy McCarthy on ways to update the exterior of your house in preparation for its sale. Christy McCarthy graduated from the Harrington College of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, then started her own business, Interiors Revitalized in 2006. She is I.R.I.S. Certified in Interior Redesign and Staging.


Currently located in sunny Jacksonville, Florida, Christy specializes in home staging and interior redesigning. In every room she works with, Christy works to blend design, affordability and function.  Her company, Interiors Revitalized, is a design firm that specializes in model home merchandising, interior redesign and real estate staging. Pulling from a wide range of education and experience, the team works together to achieve their goal: deliver an outstanding design that achieves their customer’s vision, while working within their budget. The team’s combined education and experience allow us to take on a wide range of projects.

If you would like to learn more about her business, visit the website www.interiorsrevitalized.com.

Photos courtesy Interiors Revitalized

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As one of DIFFA’s largest fundraising events, Dining By Design brings together top designers to create breathtaking three-dimensional dining installations. Since its inception, the fundraiser has raised more than $5.5 million. Each year, a team of design students from the Harrington College of Design partners up with a faculty member to create an annual DIFFA Dining by Design concept to show at the event held in the Merchandise Mart. This year, Harrington’s team included students Troy Atwood (ID), Erin Costello (MAID), Tim Naus (ID), Manuel Navarro (MID) and Danielle Vevea (MAID) led by their faculty advisor Constantine Vasilios, Interior Design instructor.

“Connections,” Harrington’s table for DIFFA’s Dining by Design 2010 took five interior design students five weeks, $2,000, and 6,500 coffee filters to complete.

Student designer Danielle shared, “Our design concept “Connections” was born at our first meeting in late September from two ideas. Our primary goal was to design a table that would engage attendees from across the room. A secondary focus was an observation that sharing a meal with others keeps us all connected in a way that technological methods of connecting with others never will. These two ideas fueled even the smallest design decisions displayed at the DIFFA event in the first week of November.

The round shape of the room mirrored the round KNOLL Tulip table to maximize conversation between diners. The backlit paper ceiling installation constructed from coffee filters connected the ceiling to the table and created an experiential environment. Carpet fiber connections defined the dining room walls. We even overlapped the chair legs to symbolize “Connections.” In the end, the opportunity to plan and execute a design for this event was an invaluable experience that would not have been possible without a dedicated team, the advice of Constantine Vasilios, or Harrington’s sponsorship.”

Great work Troy, Erin, Tim, Manuel, Danielle and Constantine!

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With a mission to support Chicago’s playwrights and encourage innovative artistic partnerships, the Chicago Dramatists have been active in Chicago since their founding in 1979 by four playwrights. For its 32nd year anniversary, the Chicago Dramatists is sponsoring a competition with the Harrington College of Design Alumni Association to redesign its interior theatre lobby and exterior entryway. The design competition was made possible by a generous Arts Engagement Exchange grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

In October, eligible student teams from Harrington’s Interior Design program and Harrington Alumni visited the site and were briefed on the project, producing their submissions just one short month later in November. A panel of professionals made up by members of Chicago Dramatists, Harrington College of Design and the West Town Chamber of Commerce will select the winning design based on its adherence to the Chicago Dramatists’ brand identity, use of finishes, fixtures and displays, and other considerations. The winning design will be constructed and honored with a plaque in the theater lobby, as well as receive the first place cash prize of $750. The 2nd place design team will receive $250.

The historical building where Chicago Dramatists is located was originally erected as the Yondorf Block and Hall and in 1886 and designed by architect Fredrick W. Aschlager. Featuring a 77-seat theatre, a 1,000 square foot lobby and box office, two dressing rooms, two classroom/rehearsAl Halls, a reception area and lounge for the playwrights, and administrative offices, the Chicago Dramatists is visited by over 11,000 people each season. Chicago Dramatists’ goal is that the tangible design improvements will enhance and contribute to its patrons’ experiences and impressions of the theatre while also making the exterior facade more visible and identifiable.

Today, December 1, 2010, the top three designs will be honored at a recognition ceremony, and the designs will be displayed in the Chicago Dramatists’ lobby for the run of the 2011 world premiere productions. The 1st place winner will be announced this coming Friday, December 3, 2010!

Keep following the blog to see the top three designs and photos from the new renovations. Final construction of the design is expected to be complete and ready for the opening of the final 2010-2011 Chicago Dramatists’ production of HICKORYDICKORY in March of 2011!

About Chicago Dramatists:
Chicago Dramatists is a professional, not-for-profit theatre, dedicated to the development and advancement of playwrights and new plays. Founded over a quarter of a century ago in 1979, its mission is to discover, nurture, promote, and produce the plays and playwrights that will contribute to the American theatre repertory and enrich the lives of future audiences. Chicago Dramatists is a place where playwrights, theatre artists, audiences, producers, and donors join forces to build the theatre of the future. For more information visit www.chicagodramatists.org.

About The Chicago Community Trust:
The Chicago Community Trust is our region’s community foundation, built by generations of Chicagoans to support a safe, healthy and productive future for every resident.

Since 1915, generous donors have invested their charitable dollars with the Trust to be transformed, through careful stewardship and deep community knowledge, into positive local impact. In 2008 the Trust and its donors granted more than $100 million to sustain effective, innovative programs throughout metropolitan Chicago. Learn more at www.cct.org.

About the Harrington College of Design:
Established in 1931, Harrington College of Design seeks to foster an environment that maximizes students’ intellectual and artistic potential. Offering a master of interior design, Master of Arts in interior design, bachelor of fine arts in interior design, communication design, and commercial photography and an associate of applied sciences in interior design and digital photography, Harrington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Harrington Alumni Association is active in mentoring current students, providing continuing education opportunities for graduates, and planning social and networking events for its members. The Alumni Association publishes a quarterly newsletter and recognizes a leader in the professional community annually with its Distinguished Alumni Award. For more information on Harrington College of Design visit www.harringtoncollege.com.

Yondorf Block & Hall photo courtesy Essential Architecture, Chicago Dramatists photo courtesy Arts America

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Early last October, Janet Whitmore, Harrington College of Design Critical Studies instructor, had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam and see the opening of an exhibit that she has been involved with for over five years.

The exhibition, Illusions of Reality: Naturalist painting, photography and cinema, 1875-1918, opened at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on October 8th. The conceptual framework for the exhibition was an exploration of Naturalist painting in relation to photography and film. As one of the dominant movements in painting in the late nineteenth century, this style transcended national borders throughout all of Europe and the United States.  More than fifty works, many of which are extremely large, are displayed in conjunction with several of the silent films that used these paintings as their inspiration.

Janet shared, “My involvement in the exhibition began about five years ago when a colleague from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Gabriel P. Weisberg, asked me to edit some essays on Naturalism in preparation for planning the show. Dr. Weisberg was the guest curator of the exhibition. Since then, I have been involved in editing the catalogue essays, but last spring, I was also asked to write the didactic materials for the large wall labels, individual labels for the paintings, and a small brochure to guide visitors through the exhibition.”

Catch some glimpses of the exhibit opening and the city of Amsterdam below!

Janet Whitmore has been teaching the history of design, architecture and art in both the graduate and undergraduate programs at Harrington College since the summer of 2005.

Some of Janet’s recent publications include: “Modern Life and Its Discontents: Naturalism Gets Re-assessed, Fine Art Connoisseur, November/December 2010; “Becoming Edvard Munch, Influence, Anxiety and Myth” Exhibition review, Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, Fall 2009; “Art in the Age of Steam,” Exhibition review, Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, Spring 2009; “Transatlantic Collecting: Paris to Minneapolis” in Re-presentations and Re-constructions in Nineteenth-Century Art: Revisiting a Century (University of Delaware/Associated University Presses, 2008); and “French Landscape Painting” in A Romance with Landscape, Exhibition catalogue, (University of Kentucky Art Museum, September 2006).

I’ll keep following up as our instructors and students travel the world!

Photos courtesy Janet Whitmore

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