Our Recent Trip to Chicago - Home Decor Edition

Chicago Trip - Home Decor Edition | Classy Glam Living

We were on a much needed R&R trip (read Rest and Retail therapy ha!) to Chicago last week.  Of course, we just couldn't help but also checked out some decor and home accessories along the way.  Here are some snippets of our trip, home decor edition.

With the Mr. being a beer lover, where else would be a better place to go on our first night in town than Hofbrauhaus!   It's a German micro brewery/ beer hall - the place to be for a guys' night out!  Aside from the beers and sausages, I was impressed with the hall's great ambiance, high ceilings, casual air mixed with traditional architecture and large windows.  I wasn't even bothered when the guys around us were paddled in their butts as they ordered rounds of shots (a tradition, as we were told by our server).  Our friends pointed out this remarkable wall of locked beer mugs.  All of them have beautifully crafted distinctive details.

We always love wandering into Z Galleries - we can easily get lost in the store for hours if we didn't have little man with us.  The furniture pieces, home accessories, and artwork are all curated to our liking!

I always love single seat cushion sofas, like this one below.  No one would need to sit on the crack between seat cushions.  Also loving the curved legs and detailing on the sides of the chrome coffee table.  We're on a hunt for a bar cart as well, and this one is a mix of classic contemporary.

Z Galleries Chrome coffee table and bar cart | Classy Glam Living

Love this dining table vignette, and that thick giant silver mirror tray.  It looked stunning in person, and the thickness of the rims screamed elegance.

Silver Mirror Tray | Z Galleries | Classy Glam Living

The Mr. said, the office would rock this trunk style architect desk.  It has a darkened mirror top is an intelligent touch, such that it doesn't compete with its chrome sides.  This is such a cool piece!

Chrome Trunk Style Architect Desk | Z Galleries | Classy Glam Living

Speaking of the home office, a group of these deer and moose antlers in gold and silver would definitely make a statement for our nook area.

Gold and Silver Antlers | Z Galleries | Classy Glam Living

This bench was placed with the dining table at the store, but I think it's just the perfect piece for our foot-of-the-bed bench.

Rustic wooden bench | Z Galleries | Classy Glam Living

During our raid at Neiman Marcus, we also stopped on the home accessories floor.  I finally got to see in person this jaw-droppingly gorgeous Cheval bar cart by Jonathan Adler.  Loving the regality of the sculpted horse head finials at the corners and the lucite detail on the handle bar.

Jonathan Adler bar cart | Classy Glam Living

And this crystal decanter set with simple lines would go nicely on any barcart!

Neiman Marcus crystal decanter set | Classy Glam Living

For my love of all things agate and geodes!  That huge gold-rimmed geode platter glams up any dinner parties!

Neiman Marcus agate collection | Classy Glam Living

This collection of crystal vases and giant obelisk (at least 2.5' high!) will for sure create a statement on a console table.

Neiman Marcus Crystal vases and obelisks collection | Classy Glam Living

Knowing that we're foodies, our friends brought us to Eataly.  The interiors were nice and bright, desserts were delicious, walls of cheeses and cured meats were impressive, and the espressos...  to die for!

View from 2nd floor Eataly | Classy Glam Living

The eatery on the second floor of Eataly has industrial style standing height tables.  The marble tops of the tables elevate their utilitarian look.  A lower version of it may work as our powder room vanity, with a bowl sink on the marble counter.  Those slots under the marble top can be storage for hand towels or bathroom tissues.  Funny, the inspirations I got even at eateries!

Marble top standing tables Eataly Chicago | Classy Glam Living

It sure was nice to reminisce about our Chicago trip...  the fun little boat cruise on the Chicago river, the food and drinks, the shopping, and of course having great hosts during our trip!  The trip sure did serve its R&R purpose!  Now back to the grind....  and daydream about our next vacation!

Objets d'art for Our Office Built-in

I always knew it, but pretended to ignore it.  As I was looking through the photos of our office built-in for last week's post, I knew I had to face it.  The diagnosis - the shelves glaringly lacked some objet d'art.  We tried to be cost conscious and dared not venture into our favourite home accessories stores...  knowing us, we would go on a shopping rampage to fill up our book shelves!  To furnish the built-in shelves, we shopped around the house, and digged out from our office boxes packed from several years ago, for anything displayable.  But a picture is worth a thousand words, and our built-in is begging to be dressed up - it totally deserves it.   And so, here I go for some window and virtual shopping.

What I am on the look-out for...


I was the reader of the house (not anymore, been lazy) so I have a small collection of books.  The Mr., hmm...  I actually don't remember ever seeing him reading for more than 5 minutes, and if he did, that was most likely a picture-filled magazine of his hobbies.  Anywaysss...  Aside from their usefulness, bookends are the simplest way to add whimsical visual interest to balance the seriousness of a bunch of books on the shelves.  

Gold is all the rage these days.  This pair of gold aircraft and propeller bookends on chrome backing would bring some shininess to the shelves.  I really regretted not getting them!

Aircraft & Propeller bookends shelves styling | Classy Glam Living

I was at Target the other day and saw this pair of brass anchor bookends for their Coastal collection.  Again, why didn't I just grab them? (Click to view source)

Hubby loves anything with an equestrian theme.  He would be happy with this pair of brass horse bookends, and I love the marble base!

To keep with the equestrian theme, I've been seeing a lot of these vintage stone carved horse head bookeneds...  but have yet to find a pair in decent condition at a good (bargain) price.

Since we're on a natural stone path, how about a pair of agate geode bookends?  I love the variety of colours they're available in.  They add an instant colour pop on the shelves.  I think I used to have a pair of amethyst bookends.  Don't tell me I tossed them!

2. EARTHENWARE (vases)

If the boys can have their share of aircraft/ anchor/ equestrian  bookends, then I think we need something feminine to balance the masculinity.  I'm a vase hog and I know I have more than enough at home.  But they're easy to work with on shelves - either on a standalone basis or in groups.

I love anything girly, and the current trend of lace ceramic vases is just my cup of tea!  I saw similar lace vases at Homesense in irridescence...  again, you know what I'm gonna say...  WHY DIDN'T I JUST GRAB THEM??

This one from Target's Nake Berkus collection would be my touch of gold...  on clearance now!

This group of earth vases can be scattered in small groups through the shelves.  I like the toned down colours of the pieces against our dark neutral blue background.


You can never have enough boxes in the office.  Knowing me, I'm bad with filing and can be messy with my mail, opened or unopened.  Large boxes would be great for hiding mail, while knick-knacks can reside in the smaller ones.  I love these stacks for a geometric design or a laquered color pop.

Stack of Boxes | Shelves Styling | Classy Glam Living

Sources:  1. / 2.

Just as the Mr. is a sucker for anything equestrian, I'm one for agate geodes (as I've introduced above).  These boxes would hold their own, looking all ready and dressed up!

Agate on Box Lids | Shelves Styling | Classy Glam Living

Sources:  1. / 2.


The hubby has a nice replica of "The Thinker" sculpture on the shelf.  Here are some more fancy stuff that I have my eyes on...

We saw a similar spindizzy at Homesense and the little man couldn't get enough of it!

This pair of gold antlers look very luxe rustic.  Or maybe I should keep it in our dressing room for hanging bracelets?

And lastly, remember my love of natural geodes, need I say more?  This piece is absolutely stunning!  How can I not love it when it's even gold-dipped on the back?

The best objets d'art of our shelves right now?  They're undoubtedly the trophies that the Mr. had proudly displayed.  Those I will not (and cannot) touch =)

Personal momentos are by far the best objects to be displayed on shelves.  But all shelves need some focal interest to complement our personal collections.  Let's take a look at the results of my virtual shopping spree!

Before After Shelves Styling | Classy Glam Living

Hoping to gradually transform our built-in with these objet d'art!  What was your most recent purchase of objet d'art?  What's your favourite item on display at home right now?

DIY Built-in Office Cabinet

DIY Office Built-in Cabinet | Classy Glam Living

After we've moved into our current house for more than 2 years, the room that we had destined to be our home office was anything but!  

Before DIY Cabinet | Classy Glam Living

The Mr. was complaining about all the mail and junk that were piled on our kitchen island and the IKEA desk in the office, but where else can I store anything?  The closet of the "office" room was already filled up to the top with STUFF.  Not to mention, we still have tons of office-destined stuff still in boxes in the basement! 

And so I bombarded the Mr. with pins from my Pinterest office board.  Once he sees something inspiring, he would get to work =)  

I wanted the layout to have a storage unit similar to this at the long wall, with a desk in front. This is the layout I came up with for our office:  

Office Layout | Classy Glam Living

The storage unit measured about 8-feet, leaving enough room for the closet door on the adjacent wall to swing out fully.  The Mr. removed the baseboards at the built-in area, so that they can be re-used on the unit.  

DIY Built-in Office Cabinet Bottom Instructions | Classy Glam Living

1. This picture was of the Mr.'s original plan with 2-sectioned bottom cabinets.  But I fought for having 3 sections instead.  For one, the swing out doors would be smaller, which means we wouldn't need as much space between the desk chair and front of the unit.  Yes, several inches would make a huge difference in this room!   

2. He used plywood for the countertop and floor-bottom of the cabinet.  The cabinet's frames were made of 2"x4" at 20" deep.  We wanted the top of the counter to sit just below window trim at the far wall, so the Mr. made the bottom frames just high enough to account for the thickness of the plywood countertop (3/4") and the 2"x4" laid across the length of the cabinet frames to support the top.  

3. and 4. Next up, he screwed in 0.5" thick MDF boards on the sides of each section, and the front plates of each section frame.

5. He added the ornate trims on the front plates, and enough space on the sides for the doors to swing out fully.  The trims were only the same height as the doors, because he added an MDF board that would go across the bottom where he would attach the baseboard to.

DIY Built-in Office Cabinet Bottom Instructions | Classy Glam Living

6. The cabinet frame and countertop were painted, and the top screwed in... 

7. and chair rail trim added around the countertop.  The baseboards can finally be added back on!

8. The cabinet doors were made of MDF.  The Mr. added a decorative trim in the front to match the ornate design of the section trims.  He left around 1/8" of spacing between the doors to ensure they don't brush against each other when open-and-closing.  

DIY Built-in Office Cabinet Upper Shelves | Classy Glam Living

1. We wanted the shelves to come out to just beside the window trim at the far wall, which was 15" deep.  The Mr. took the easy way and got pre-drilled laminate boards as the shelf supports, and they were just shy of 15".  He painted them first before they were attached to the wall by 1"x4".  The shelf supports were also connected to each other by 1"x2" at the top for added sturdiness.

2. After the shelf supports were up, The Mr. nailed in 0.5"x1.5" plywood trim to hide the seam front of the shelf supports.  He also nailed in an MDF board across the top of the frame to add boldness to the crown moulding. 

3. And then, his favourite part ever - filling in the nail holes with wood fillers and sanded them down.

4. This is my favourite part, we added a contrasting backing to the upper shelves.  This creates more visual impact.  Even though we chose a blue, the colour is still neutral enough as a background.  See colour source below. 

5. For the height of the cabinet, the shelves would look more proportional with 4 tiers.  As you can see in the photo, one of the boxes of office items was already waiting to be unpacked after being in the box for 2+ years since we moved!

6. The shelves were finished with a tiny chair rail trim, glued and nailed to the front of each shelf. 

7.  All was not done until a coat of minwax was applied all over the surface of the unit.  We definitely didn't want to leave a tacky feeling on the painted shelves and countertop!

Grey and Blue combination | DIY Built-in Office Cabinet | Classy Glam Living

We love this colour contrast of the cabinet unit and the shelf backing.  The grey and blue combination takes on different depths as the natural light changes throughout the day from our window wall.

Again, here's our layout and outcome. 

Office Layout | DIY Built-in Office Cabinet | Classy Glam Living
Completed Office | DIY Built-in Office Cabinet | Classy Glam Living
Complete Side View | DIY Built-in Office Cabinet | Classy Glam Living
Front View | DIY Built-in Office Cabinet | Classy Glam Living
Side View | DIY Built-in Office Cabinet | Classy Glam Living
Front View | DIY Built-in Office Cabinet | Classy Glam Living

The Mr. really built this unit to last.  He was even showing me he could stand on the counter and it wouldn't even move an inch.  Uh, please get off before the little man sees you!  

The big kid had once again outdone himself.  I would say this was more labour intensive than our kitchen island and dressing room projects.  We finally have a functional office space, with a storage unit large enough for our office essentials  (and more importantly, to hide my mess behind those closed doors)!  

side view | DIY Built-in Office Cabinet | Classy Glam Living

Paint colours:

  • Grey colour of unit - Behr 730F-5 Nature Retreat
  • Blue backing of shelves - Para Paint P5201-52 Coastal Views
Completed View | DIY Built-in Office Cabinet | Classy Glam Living

How do you like the colour contrast of the cabinet?  Or would you prefer a traditional white built-in?