Designer Instinct - Design Bureau

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Designer Instinct

Friday, January 25th, 2013

By Meg Mathis
Photos by Adam S. Jablonski

Sometimes the most challenging part of a project is letting go of the control. This couple proves that trust is always in style.

Anyone who is married knows that trust is an essential part of a happy union. Fortunately, designer Mia Rao worked with two clients on a
second home project who not only trusted each other’s design styles, but also hers. The owners each had a vision for the design of their two-bedroom condo in downtown Chicago: the wife wanted a clean, modern aesthetic while her husband’s lone requirement was a Herman Miller Eames lounge chair for the living area.

But the rest they left up to Rao. “They put a lot of faith and trust in me,” Rao says. This allowed her to test ideas and make seamless decisions, as in the master bedroom, where she painted one wall in a metallic color, and used a backlit bed and a drum-shaped wire chandelier for extra luster (“so flipping cool,” says the designer). Rao decked out the open living and dining area with a mix of neutrals—mostly grays and blacks—along with fun accents, like a peacock green ottoman on wheels and a luxe Italian sofa bed. “When I walk into the living room and dining space, I feel a breath of fresh air,” Rao says. “It feels cohesive and balanced.”

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