#STL365 – The Foundrie

The Foundrie – Featuring the work of over 100 local and independent artists at Chesterfield Mall


The Foundrie is an independently owned shop at Chesterfield Mall in St.Louis, featuring handmade and vintage items.  Owners Shelah McClymont and Elizabeth Hahn-Lawrence, each designers in their own right, take the utmost care in choosing the best, most unique products and displays to set The Foundrie apart from uninspired big box retailers.


“We currently carry the work of 100 local and independent artists.  Products range from jewelry, clothing, and accessories to furniture and home decor…..and even records and books from local musicians and authors!  We love everything local and handmade, and are ecstatic to be a part of St.Louis’ bustling indie scene!”

Be sure to visit The Foundrie for your unique, local, and handcrafted gifts!  They can be found here:



265 Chesterfield Mall

Chesterfield, MO 63017



2013 Holiday Hours (December):

Monday-Saturday 11-7 pm

Sunday 12-6 pm

** We are closed Mondays and Tuesdays January thru November **



Phone: 636-730-4130

Email:  elizabeth@thefoundrie.com

Email:  shelah@thefoundrie.com


Find The Foundrie online:

Website: thefoundrie.com

Facebook: facebook.com/thefoundrie

Instagram: @thefoundrie

Twitter: @thefoundrie









Sustainable Living out of reach? I do not think so! by Elaine Freund

The famous St. Louis Art Museum debuted their new East building to the public on June 29th.  Weightless and airy are just a few words to describe the white oak floors, dark polished facade, skylights, and concrete coffers. Designed by British architect David Chipperfield the expansive East building is 210,000 square feet and Gold LEED certified. St. Louisians should be proud!

Even though the Art Museum is a large project the same sustainable elements can be incorporated into your home renovations too. A lot of people get the idea that designing green or eco-friendly cost millions but in reality it will save you millions. Follow with me as I break down some of the elements used in the East building to show you that it is possible to update sustainably on an individual level.




In three of the building’s galleries floor-to-ceiling windows compliment gorgeous views of Forest Park and the Art Museum’s sculpture garden. To continue that open energy designers have created a special shade system triggered by sunlight to protect art work from over sun exposure without compromising the atmosphere it suggests.

As an individual Mermet fabric shades are designed for solar protection, energy savings, as well as acoustical comfort.  Mermet is a USGBC member that continues to introduce new sustainable fabrics and technologies that reduce up to 100% of harmful UV radiation. As much as Mermet values their customers they also continue to commit to educating associates and consumers about green design.





Who knew the exterior walls connecting the two buildings and the entrance steps are composed of trap rock and sand from Wisconsin and Missouri rivers? Reusing a plentiful resource is a great way to achieve an eco-friendly balance as well as bring an aesthetically pleasing look to the space.

To be able to apply this element in your home you can use Curava® recycled glass surfaces. Curava®, a member of the USGBC, is durable, heat, scratch and wear resistant. It also reduces energy consumption and cuts down on usage of raw materials.  You are one step further to a greener future.

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The East Building utilizes their advantages of new construction by using the floor for more than one purpose. The ventilation system is hidden in metal grates that run the length of the gallery floors. This allows for peace of mind that the artwork will not be damaged by forceful airflow. Smart thinking!

There are great ventilation systems out there to use for your home but I have come up with some simple updates you can apply to your home now.

                -Eliminate doors as much as possible for balance of air flow throughout your whole house

                -If you are finishing your basement, adding windows would be optimal to increase ventilation through out

                -Installing ceiling fans will contribute to air balance as well as increase comfort to you during hot weather months




Seeing as art is why people come to the art museum it was smart to enclose temperature controls and fire extinguishers within the walls. People might have started to think those were a part of the artwork.

This was a bit challenging to relate to our home projects but I realized it is possible to use that dead space in your house to create new spaces. Nothing puts your square footage to better use than a built-in.  They are perfect to maximize every inch of your house for other things and allows for function to be restored to your home. Creating a new space for your children could also make your updates more appealing to them.

Reading-Nook-Pretty-Handy-Girl closet-office-l under-stairs-storage-picture

Saint Louis is home to some other wonderful green designs just like the new Art Museum addition. I hope this gives you an insight into sustainable living and how it is possible for you to do it in your own home. Happy designing!

Contribution by Elaine Freund

#STL365 – What’s it all about?

#STL365  – Our campaign to highlight local gems this summer & beyond!

It’s no secret that all of us here at DesignSpeak love our city, and we know you do too. We frequently hear about so many great local places around town; places that make St. Louis a unique and vibrant community. Since we depend on so many of these small businesses in our day to day lives, we feel that they deserve to be highlighted for what makes them stand out.  Using our twitter hashtag, #STL365, and by posting highlights on our blog, we will endeavor to share these small businesses with you.

These aren’t your “big box” type of stores; these are going to be small local boutiques and businesses that are open to the public. Whether it’s a brand new local restaurant that just opened with an amazing design, a boutique that has a great selection or service, or a small city park that you might have forgotten about, we want to help our friends discover the city. Especially the designers, craftspeople, and local building resources we know and love.   If there is a place around town you would like for us to scout out, please let us know, as we might already have a connection there.


We will be posting our finds on Fridays to give everyone a bit of inspiration for those weekend home improvement projects, or for a place to kick back after the work is done. If you love our city also, and want to support local businesses, we encourage you to connect with us and join the conversation as we go out and explore what makes St. Louis unique.

Connect with us here!
Blog: http://www.designspeakstl.com
Twitter: @DesignSpeakSTL
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/designspeakstl

The Blodgett Lighthouse…an experience like no other by Kieara Crisp


In-house design consultation, custom lamp design and repair, and professional installation are just a few of the many services available at the Blodgett Lighthouse. With over 30 years of experience, the lighthouse claims to be more than just another lighting store. According to them, they are your only lighting store. Quick disclaimer: If you are looking for professional help when it comes to selecting a lighting fixture and want a piece that sits quietly in the background, this is not the place for you. If you want expert advice and have a desire for a fixture that speaks to you, your client, and/or a specific project, look no farther.

Initially, I took The Lighthouse’s bold claim of being, “the only lighting store you need,” as a challenge. When I entered the building I was flooded with an odd sensation, which continued while walking around the store  (literally ever inch of the store is covered by a lamp, fixture, or the components to make one) and couldn’t decide if my feelings were a good or bad thing.

Because the Blodgett Lighthouse is set up like a museum with every collection on display, you have to give yourself adequate time to take it all in. If you don’t take the time, you would fail to notice how the motion-sensored lamps were constructed from vintage jars, bottles, and cans. Sure you would see the typical pendent fixture made with colored glass, but would completely miss the vintage and contemporary factory lamps (3x times cheaper than most without a loss of quality) to the right. Did that bright yellow sticker imply that they could turn any strange item I desire into a lamp? Why yes, yes it did.


Custom fixtures go beyond picking a different color than what is stocked. After fully appreciating what this means; all the cords, wires, and screws sitting neatly on the shelves start to scream creative potential and possibility. The staff here is friendly, funny, and completely obsessed with their job; these lighting gurus know what they are doing!  If you want a piece that sits quietly in the background, theres a lamp for that here as well. Good luck finding it. You may find yourself hours later coming up with items that spontaneously need to be turned into a wall sconce to go inside the future home of an unknown client… just in case.

Be sure to check out The Blodgett Lighthouse. An experience you will not soon forget!

P.S.  The old sensation was labeled a good thing upon reflection.

Selecting A Bathroom Vanity

Design Speak team member, Jennifer Steward, recently went shopping with her brother to select the best vanity for his bathroom renovation.

Jennifer asked a few good  basic questions to help select the  right vanity.

What size vanity will fit in the space?

If your space measures 40″, the 42″ wide vanity you want is not going to work.   A slightly smaller vanity may give you space for a towel bar or toilet paper holder.

Vanity shown is from Pottery Barn

How do you use the space?  What kind of storage do you need?  A cabinet with doors provides typical storage for larger items.  Drawers are important for storing smaller objects.

Vanity shown is from Restoration Hardware

Vanity shown is from Restoration Hardware

Do you want a vanity with a one sink or would two work better for you?

Vanity shown is from Restoration Hardware


Vanity shown is from Restoration Hardware


How tall do you want the vanity to be?  Standard heights for vanities are 32″, 34″ or 36″.

Vanity shown is from Lowe’s.

The height of the vanity above is 34″.  The top of the back splash is at 38″.

Vanity shown is from Pottery Barn.

The height of this Pottery Barn vanity is 36″.

The vanity is an integral part of a bathroom’s design. Asking the right questions and taking good measurements will help you  select a vanity that is  right for your bathroom.






august “speakeasy” at Frazer’s

August saw another fun & entertaining “speakeasy” event, this time at Frazer’s in Benton Park!  We had a great turnout and enjoyed fabulous eats from Frazer’s!  Thank you!!

In addition, this month, we tested out a new portion to our event, freespeak, a pre-event discussion of relevant topics.  Our goal in creating freespeak is to continue in furthering the conversation between different facets of the industry.  We broached the topic of mentoring students and immersing recent grads into the workforce.  An engaging round table ensued with people voicing their perspective on the topic.  The conversation was so engrossing that we’d like to give it it’s own spot on our calendar.  Look for specific “freespeak” events in 2013 and feel free to give us your feedback to ensure the quality of the topics and events.

Since Frazer’s has a funky vibe, we chose T.F.A. or The Future Antiques as our surprise raffle vendor!  They raffled off a unique set of 3 blown glass ashtrays which could easily double as votive holders!

Lastly, I was having fun with Instagram when I took the pics for the night.  Check out the visual recap of the fun below!




Design 101: Embracing the Recliner by Kimberly Reuther

Ladies, we are going to discuss a topic today that you are very familiar with yet want to avoid at all costs.  Yes, I am talking about the recliner, a piece of functional furniture that is seemingly a vital organ for the men in our lives.  Unfortunately, not everyone has a “man-cave” in their home where they can relegate such offensive pieces of masculinity.  So, we hope to integrate a piece of furniture that is both comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing into our living rooms.

Gentlemen, you are in luck, as the assembly line of products at our disposal is increasing in style and attractiveness.  Here are a few tips and pieces to inspire you to go shopping!

1. Incognito: For me concealing the recliner is key to integrating it into the space.  The design of the chair should stand on its own with the other pieces in your room.  This one from West Elm is probably my most favorite chair/recliner in recent history.  The wool fabric with baseball stitching is phenomenal.

2.  Leather, leather, leather: This is similar to the phrase “location, location, location”.  Quality leather upholstery will stand the test of time and will always add a level of sophistication to your room.  If you choose wisely, like these classics from Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn, you will be able to enjoy your chair for years to come and won’t regret your purchase.

3.  Fit & Function:  Obvious to guys, we must pay attention to how well it fits our physique in relaxation mode.  These 2 options from Room & Board offer different back heights, which is key when reclining and supporting your head comfortably.  Testing out the chair before you purchase is recommended, but not always an option.  However, measuring your room and allowing enough space for the chair to properly recline is essential.

4.  Make a statement:  Instead of an eyesore, the recliner can actually be the most intriguing piece of furniture in the room.  For instance, this recliner from Design Within Reach was modeled after a luxury airline seat.  It reclines to 4 positions and comes in an array of leathers and fabrics.  Not to mention, it looks flawless.

5.  Design is in the details:  When choosing a recliner, just like any other piece of furniture, the details can make all the difference.  Nailhead accents, baseball stitching, bold colors and unique bases/leg options all add a bit of personality to your furniture choices.  These options from Vanguard, Thomasville and Lee Industries are all great examples of stylish recliners.

Hopefully, this ends a few debates in your household!  Happy designing!

This was previously posted on AT HOME’s website.  View the post here.
You can view more of Kimberly’s work at www.kimberlyreuther.com

Here are the links to the above recliners:

Room & Board 
Harper Recliner
Harper Tall Back Recliner

Normandy Recliner
Tate Recliner

Lee Industries

Design Within Reach
Flight Recliner

Pottery Barn
Manhattan Recliner

Hightop Recliner

Restoration Hardware
Lancaster Recliner

West Elm
Sedgwick Recliner

Networking 101

Almost nothing scares a recent graduate or a young professional more than the concept of networking, of breaking into or starting a conversation with a complete stranger “with an agenda”. Professors don’t explain this in college, but there’s almost nothing more important to a budding (or practicing) design professional than networking. Looking back on twenty years, I’ve come to realize that having a good network was maybe the single most important thing I could ever have been, should ever have been, working on. As many of you have I’m sure, I’ve witnessed talented graduates languish unwanted, and watched experienced designers, project managers, and specification writers find themselves suddenly unemployed due to sudden changes in the market or the economy at large.

Not viscerally understanding the importance of, and the practiced skills involved with, building quality professional relationships is a serious flaw in design education and maybe just education in general. For a number of reasons, we have become more focused on the final product and the time and technology involved, than we have on the relationships necessary to first acquire and then execute it. With a broad and diverse network, a person can more effectively connect with potential employers and clientele, find better services and consultants, learn about new products and methods, meet kindred design spirits, and find complementary working associates. These connections individually and collectively are opportunities for “lucky” coincidences to happen, and when added to skill makes for a powerful combination that almost inevitably leads to success. Indeed, success is not an accident, it is a combination of intentional actions fortuitously combined with chance opportunity. Networking is simply intentionally building that web of opportunity, and the more strands you have the more likely you are to catch something.

How does a person “network”? Get to know people…lots of people…all sorts of people. Get to know them in meaningful ways by having real conversations about real topics, i.e. build relationships. As with any relationships, personal or professional, they must be built on sincerity and trust, involve risk, and they take time, patience, and skill to first establish and then maintain them.

Don’t sweat proper technique. Be yourself.

Be the genuine you, not some schmoozing character you play when professionally socializing. Learning who you really are (what you want and need, strengths and weaknesses, etc.) takes time to fully understand, and it’s a work in perpetual progress. Likewise, accept others for who they are; people just like you with needs and wants, goals and ideas, skills and talents, flaws and beliefs that may differ from yours (and viva la difference). Coming from a place that isn’t true to you is deceitful, and while there are those that are good at misrepresentation and even successfully benefit from such behavior, it is still a lie and almost guaranteed to get you into big trouble.

In order to speak of trust, let me speak of sales, which is often seen as synonymous with networking. As human beings we are “selling” all the time- it’s a natural part of interpersonal communication. However, “sales” taken literally, is persuasion with an expectation of getting somebody to buy something, be it an idea or a product or a service. It’s a slippery slope from persuasion to coercion, from choice to force, from dialogue to diatribe. Consider the classic “used car salesman”, whose task it is to quickly move product regardless of the point of view of the buyer which leads to an immediate breech of trust, compromising the new relationship before it even begins. By contrast, a good salesman patiently speaks as well as listens, teaches as well as learns, in an open and fluid conversation accepting of the idea that the available product (or service) may not even be appropriate. In so doing, trust is earned and a natural relationship (two people relating to one another) builds, in both the short and long term, setting the stage for future business well beyond the limits of the initial two-party relationship.

Give and Take.
A natural and necessary part of relationship is risk. In order to gain, you must give, and to give is to risk; rejection, failure, ridicule, even being taken advantage of. Volunteer and get involved, in the conversation and the action. And for maximum effect, make sure to go outside your comfort zone and traditional circles, although those are good too, especially at the early stages. Get out there and offer up what you have (time, skill, and passion), that which you are comfortable with laying out there for others to benefit from. And you will find others will do the same for you (resources, connections, wisdom). There is no hurry, just pay attention and listen at first and then speak when you’re ready. You can give more and risk more as you develop your understanding of self, the profession, and the world at large. Understand that the rewards will grow as you risk more, and give more, but no risk, no reward.

Patience and Time.
Note that there was a critical difference between the two sample salesmen above and it has to do with the investment of time and patience or the lack thereof. One has a “time is money” approach; the salesman’s time is critical and the buyer’s time is irrelevant. Their purpose is to promote the pretense of respect, building just enough trust in the relationship to complete a sale before moving on. The more successful salesman respects the time of all involved, allowing the necessary conversation to happen and thus the relationship to sincerely build, not pushing but pulling. The sale is a goal but it is only a potential byproduct of the relationship. Building quality relationships takes time, so be patient and don’t impose any expectation beyond that of establishing a good relationship. Depending on the situation, numerous encounters under a variety of circumstances may be necessary for the right moment to occur and the “magic” to happen, but never force it or lose it forever. To go in expecting more is to set the stage for disappointment and failure.


Networking isn’t easy, but nothing worth anything is. Are there those naturally talented at it? Sure, but for most it’s an acquired skill, and as with all skills- practice, practice, practice. Extroverts are naturally comfortable with others, which inevitably results in more experience (effort) but not necessarily more talent (gift). It’s a practiced art to be able to meaningfully converse with others, to guide conversation in productive directions in a manner that isn’t uncomfortable, unclear, or unnecessarily time consuming. You won’t be good at it right away and that’s okay, but with time you’ll learn your voice and you’ll learn how to listen, to think on your feet, to see the hint of opportunity, and to paint a beautiful and fruitful conversation.

So, to all those in the design profession or just entering it, to those practicing and those currently unemployed, I sincerely hope this helps. Frankly, I’m still sorting it all out myself. Yes, there are technological tools that make parts of the networking process easier (initial contact, following up, etc.), but they are just tools and do not replace the need for a personal investment. You can use LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Twitter, but the real networking, the real relationship building happens face to face with both feet in the water, your “self” at risk. There’s no way around it. There are no shortcuts. And there is no substitute. So, get started now and prepare to reap the rewards for a lifetime.

Is this all a shameless plug for DesignSpeak? I’ll admit it gladly. Networking is a big part of why it was conceived. But while networking is an important job unto itself, it should also be and is a lot of fun. So, in hopes that you’ll start your network or just expand it, see you soon.

spotted: not just your average framers by rebecca shell

Main Street – A place for everything, and everything in its place.

While strolling along, you will find more than just bars and restaurants on this main street located in St. Charles. To my delight, I ran into this little place called

Framations – Custom Framing and Art Gallery


It’s a fantastic place that can not only meet your framing needs, but also allows you to peruse through local artists’ talent. Artists from all over the metro St. Louis area have their works on display here. But there’s more good news! These special works of art are not only for viewing, they are also for purchasing! It’s a great place to go to to find and support your local artists. So come on in, have a look around, and don’t forget about special event nights. More info can be found on their website: http://www.framations.com/

Framations – Custom Framing and Art Gallery
218 N Main Street
Saint Charles, MO
United States

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Monday: CLOSED

Don’t forget to check out their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Framations-Art-Gallery/126409054042100



junior league kitchen tours – sneak peek #4

With an original plan for custom window treatments, Michelle Llewellyn and her family opted instead, for a Kitchen Remodel.  Having a floorplan of a traditional ranch-style home, meant lots of walls and unused spaces.  As the Llewellyn’s weighed the cost of custom window treatments, they also weighed the cost of these unused spaces, the constant frustration of tight spaces for a family that entertains a lot, and the need to invest in the heart of the home – the Kitchen.  Beck Allen Cabinetry entered the picture and the project was underway! 

Remodeling and knocking down walls to open up a space always has its challenges.  The Llewellyn’s ran into dangling electrical wire within the walls and the need to work around a load-bearing wall.  A summer of paper plates, grilling and eating out, allowed this family to continue living at home while the project was underway. A little over a month past the goal, the project was complete and the result – functional, warm and inviting!

The Junior League hosts “A Gathering Place” on April 21st.  For more information about the Tour and to purchase tickets, please click here!

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