#ModernCottage Reveal

What a charmer this house is. From the moment we first set eyes on it with our clients and their Realtor, we knew it could be transformed into a dream home for this family. After seeing our 3D renderings, our clients agreed and purchased the home.


We added a 2 story addition with basement onto the back of the home and completely renovated the existing space. Throughout the process, integrating the original historical details into the new space was priority. Our goal is always to transition seamlessly from new to old.


The home already had charming moments within it’s walls that we were able to play off of in our new design. The arched doorway to the right of the fireplace gave inspiration to add an arched opening to the left, creating a more open flow between living room and kitchen.


While we were at it, we added another arched opening between dining and kitchen, hiding the support beam as well as adding architectural interest.


The existing sunroom received a makeover with new tile and heated floor, keeping this room comfortable year round. Which is great, because couldn’t you just live here year round?


1st floor addition consists of a large kitchen (fit to entertain), dining room, breakfast nook and mudroom.

Concrete countertops and other “green” materials were used throughout this project.

Concrete countertops and other “green” materials were used throughout this project.


We kept the foyer with it’s black stone floor and swoon worthy arched front door. Second story addition made room for a master suite and larger upstairs hallway. The master bathroom and bedroom are not short on natural light or charming details. We added windows wherever we could and the glass French doors allow light to flow freely between the two spaces.


We could go on forever about #ModernCottage. And we just might. Follow the hashtag on our social for more details to come!

Architectural Digest Design Show

Recently we packed our bags and headed to the city that never sleeps for a big ole dose of inspiration! Specifically, we were going to the Architectural Digest Design Show, a celebration of the best in interior design, furnishings, handmade decor, appliances, and more. But let’s be honest, New York City is a design muse in itself. We’ve returned invigorated and excited to share what we experienced while we were there.


This sign by one of our favorites, Frank Lloyd Wright, really captured the trend and tone of the show and beyond. This blend of inside and outside themes, intersecting and collaborating in strikingly cohesive ways. Organic patterns, lush, moody colors and wood grains happily mixing with hard lines and architectural vibes. Very otherworldly, but not in the least overwhelming.


At the show, Diffa Design, which stands for Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids, enlisted a range of companies and designers to decorate tables, raising funds for its cause. Many embraced the inside/outside theme, and others just had fun with it! Here are some of our favorites.

Herman Miller + Studios Architecture

Herman Miller + Studios Architecture

Studio TK + Tarkett + Hunstsman

Studio TK + Tarkett + Hunstsman

Novita Communications + Maiarelli Studio

Novita Communications + Maiarelli Studio

Gensler + Knoll + Evensonbest

Gensler + Knoll + Evensonbest

We ventured out to the New York Design Center, another place with just so much raw inspiration.


This window in particular really struck a cord with us. The idea of the “New Traditionalist” is something we feel like we embrace with every project we work on. Updating, making modern, while embracing and never forgetting the history and tradition. Like this chair, with its modern lines, traditional tartan and pop of millennial pink- a mixture of genres to make the perfect piece.


Took a stroll through Restoration Hardware resisting the urge to sit down and pretend we live in this New York loft. So many floors of effortless elegance!


We had to visit the Beekman Hotel, known for it’s beautiful architecture and design. Click here to see more!


It would be a missed opportunity to visit NYC and not enter an art gallery. So we did! Pop culture at its finest.

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Back at the AD show we came across a section of independent craftsman and designers. We had some great conversations and heard some truly inspirational stories. Very unique designs!


More than just the most organized pantry you’ve ever seen, this one features the open air drawers for fruit and veg storage. We’ve been learning a lot about proper food storage, who to separate and who gets along. Something we are definitely going to incorporate!


A green fridge, yes, please! True coming out with residential refrigerators, super heavy duty and amazingly beautiful!


And rounding things out with a breath of fresh spring air- this tablescape!


So long, NYC…. until next time! XOXO, E&B

Perfect Paint Colors : The Dark Side

Let’s talk dark paint colors! We are absolutely loving all the brilliant blues, enchanting greens and even the moody charcoals. We’ve been adding them to a number of projects lately and thought we would share some of our favorite shades with you!



This is the master bedroom from #TheRambler. The homeowners were a bit reticent to go with this gorgeous green, but boy are we glad they decided to! It’s crisp and colorful and just perfect here.



Brandie used this mood-setter on an accent wall in her own home. It creates instant ambiance, and pairs so well with the wood and brass tones it’s almost ridiculous.



The name sounds so dramatic, and it’s definitely an intense color, but it leans happy here in a bedroom. With a warmth and coziness, this shade of blue/green has been known to change depending on how the light hits it.



Not that we want to spoil #ArtdeVivre’s big reveal, but this is the perfect time to show off the dark blue color we picked for the mudroom walls. Not only a style statement, it’s actually super practical in a room like this with heavy traffic.

You can’t go wrong with any of these choices, they are a great guide to going dark!

As Seen In 2018

As the year comes to an end, we always get a bit nostalgic looking back at everything we have accomplished, and how thankful we are for every opportunity. This year Ember & Brune was featured on a number of blogs and publications. In case you missed them, we’ve put together a little round up of some of our favorite features for the year!


Top Knobs featured #TrestleWilliams on their blog, highlighting their Brixton Series hardware we used in the project. Click here for the full article.


Greenfield Cabinetry featured #BerylGlen on their blog, highlighting the beautiful custom painted cabinets. Click here for the full article.


GE Monogram Appliances featured #SmithBarrow on their blog Save Room for Design. It’s still such a good story from start to finish, click here for the full article.


#SmithBarrow was also chosen as one of four homes featured in the Glen Ellyn Infant Welfare Society’s 2018 Housewalk, an event we also sponsored. Touring the home with others was surreal but amazingly fun!


Brandie herself received a couple notable accolades this year. She was named one of 2018’s Top 50 Innovators by Kitchen & Bath Design News! Read through the full article here and here.


Brandie was also interviewed by Voyage Chicago Magazine for their Inspiring Stories feature. It’s a fun look back at where she started and how far she’s come, check out the full article here.

#TheRambler Reveal

We know you’ve been waiting with bated breath ever since we teased this project here and here. Don’t worry, this one’s worth the wait. What started solely as a master bath project soon spiraled into working with the homeowners to redefine and remodel most of this split level home. 


This home is a quintessential mid-century ranch. Opening things up in the kitchen not only helped with the flow of things, but you get a wonderful view of each room when you walk in the front door. And who wouldn’t want to walk into this?


The cabinets are book matched walnut, which means the grain from the tree lines up from drawer to door. Now that you know you can’t look away, right?


The kitchen is flanked by dining areas, a breakfast nook on one side and more formal dining room on the other- both with spectacular views.


Heading to the master bedroom and the original remodel plan, we created a hallway with plenty of closet space and a master bath.


If you didn’t above, definitely take a peek at what this area looked like originally, here. An awkward dressing area was transformed into this spacious hallway lined with enough closet space to make anyone jealous.


The master bath now has a walk-in shower, a tub and style to spare. There are so many elements of design in here, but they work together so well it doesn’t feel the least bit busy.


We also remodeled a hall bath and powder room. This is the former, a sleek style in keeping with the mid-century vibe.


This is another view upon entering the home. We just adore these hanging sculptures found by the client. The original stone stairs and iron railing paired with a custom cement planter and gorgeous wood sculptures create the most perfect pathway between floors. 


What do you think? Let us know on social by tagging #EmberandBrune and #TheRambler!

#BrickandGable Reveal

#BrickandGable has a truly well-balanced design. It has all the charm this historic house started with, but with some clever space planning, we were able to eliminate the challenges. It has modern moments, but when you add up all the classic details, settles into a more timeless narrative. Click here to see how far it has come!


The kitchen received the biggest makeover. Space was added with the elimination of a stairway and pantry. A new back entrance was incorporated with large sliding doors and an exterior stairway.


The arched wall leading into the kitchen is a nod to an old architectural detail of the home. A wall similar to this had to be removed during remodel, so it was recreated it here.


The tile breathes life into the kitchen! Made by Walker Zanger, this hand-painted Moroccan mosaic creates that special kind of design depth we love! It definitely adds dimension, offsetting the clean white cabinetry and countertops.


Since a kitchen pantry was eliminated, we did have to be creative with storage. In addition to the cabinetry, floating shelves make this little nook extra functional.


Since this side of the kitchen doubles as an entryway, we added extra storage and a bench to switch shoes Mr. Rogers style.


We bumped into the dining room a bit to make room for the double stairway. During demo we found a few things that required us to move the new staircase approximately 10 additional inches from the wall. We turned lemons into lemonade and added this beautiful built in bookshelf!


And this is the view from the front door, we’ve come full circle!


Just wait until you see the bathroom remodel, coming soon!

#BerylGlen Reveal

We love clients who aren’t afraid of bold choices, and the owners of #BerylGlen certainly fit the bill. Their kitchen needed an update: walls had to come down, storage added, increased functionality, etc. Click here to see how the kitchen looking originally.


When choosing cabinetry, they were happy to entertain the idea of a bright color. We ended up choosing Greenfield Cabinetry’s color matching cabinetry in Benjamin Moore’s Bavarian Forest. Isn’t it ah-may-zing??


This kitchen is such a stunning focal point within the open floor plan, acting as a gateway between breakfast nook, dining room and living room.


We also designed a custom concrete hearth piece for the fireplace. Click here for the Before/After, it’s a transformation! Chicago Concrete Studios does amazing work, we love collaborating with local artists.


In the midst of the kitchen remodel we also renovated their master bath. The use of space and strikingly simple design choices makes it feel extra roomy and relaxing.


Photography by Stoffer Photography Interiors.

Meet #ArtdeVivre

Our newest project is here to show us all how amazing a galley kitchen can be. Art de Vivre translates to "the art of living", the knowledge of how to enjoy life. If their choice of materials is any indication, these clients really do know how to enjoy life! 

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This kitchen has a very "classic vintage" feel, from warm wood countertops and brass latches to the beautiful blooming wallpaper and blue cabinetry in the butler pantry.

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Follow the hashtag #ArtdeVivre to keep up to date on this project!

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#TheRambler Progress

You've met #TheRambler, but you may not recognize this particular angle. The original plan was to open up and enlarge their master bath (read through the plan here). When we finished that, the homeowners loved it so much they decided to add the kitchen to their remodel!

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We are going to open up the space in a big way, so the flow of the living room, kitchen and dining room is more cohesive. The kitchen is getting a super style upgrade with some natural black walnut with a brand new touchless matte black finish that feels like velvet. Modern bliss!

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We are so excited to show you the finished kitchen AND master bath. Continue to follow along with the hashtag #TheRambler to keep up to date on this project. 

Meet Bea!

We are so excited to announce a new addition to the E&B team! Meet Bea (pronounced bee-ah). Bea is our Junior Designer. We did a little Q&A so you can get to know her a little better.


Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

A. I am a young design professional. I have a degree in Interior Design, as well as Fashion Marketing, so I enjoy everything about interiors, fashion and everything in between.

Q. As Junior Designer, what will you be doing for Ember & Brune?

A. As Junior Interior Designer for Ember & Brune I will utilize my creative eye to select materials, finishes and furniture, create drawings and 3D rendering images to communicate the design to the client and assist with the client interactions. 

Q. What do you do for fun?

A. When I am not working I enjoy exploring the city, admiring the architecture, enjoying the cuisines, and attending a concert, a comedy show or a farmers market.

Meet #BrickandGable

#BrickandGable is a beautiful bungalow built in the 1920's. What it needs is a kitchen for the 2020's! This isn't solely a kitchen remodel, we are also consolidating the staircase to the attic and basement into one, opening up more space for the kitchen and a mudroom. Add in a bit more space reconfiguration and a bathroom remodel, and #BrickandGable is a full first floor remodel!

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Here are our plans for the kitchen. It's going to be so open, bright and spacious! We can't wait to show you some of the materials chosen, a mix of modern and historically balanced with pops of pattern. 

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Don't miss a moment of this remodel, use the hashtag #BrickandGable to follow along with the progress!

#PennyPark Reveal

#PennyPark proves that you can pack a lot of style in a small space! We put a slightly modern twist on a 1930's classic with this master bath remodel. Period style hex and dot tile floor were traded for a large format hexagon. Traditional brass finishes were kept but in a sleeker plumbing style. And a juxtaposition of Carrara marble and warm afrormosia wood is a marriage made in heaven. #PennyPark is complete and here is a complete tour!


Meet #BerylGlen

#BerylGlen is our newest kitchen remodel and we can barely wait for the Before/After on this one! These clients are not afraid of color and have chosen color matching cabinetry in Benjamin Moore’s Bavarian Forest. There are not enough heart-eye emojis to express our excitement!

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Here is the plan. As you can see, the kitchen will be completely opened up creating a much more functional, efficient space.

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In addition to the kitchen, we are also remodeling the master bath/closet. Keep track of this project by following the hashtag #BerylGlen! Progress to come soon!

#HomeBase Reveal

#HomeBase is really a home run in our book! Ok, we'll quit the baseball puns, but as you can see our clients at #HomeBase are sports enthusiasts. Our challenge here was to improve the layout and flow of the basement and embrace the homeowner's interests to create a stylish and functional space for all ages.


We pulled accent colors from the artwork, but overall kept the furnishings neutral and let the texture do the talking.


The fireplace was rebuilt with stacked stone and a beautiful wood mantle.


What basement would be complete without a built-in kitchenette? Perfect for entertaining and keeping refreshments handy.


All memorabilia and other artwork was provided by the homeowner and we had everything professionally framed and installed.


A big part of the remodel was the reorganization. The stairway was opened up and the bathroom was relocated and rebuilt for easier accessibility to the living space. We love the combination of this custom vanity, patterned tile and black accents on the hardware!


This basement is so full of light, with a real casual elegance. We definitely wouldn't mind coming over to watch a game or two!

#ClearView Reveal

#ClearView is aptly named because that is exactly what we provided for this homeowner!


This is how it looked originally. As you can see, space wasn't really the issue here. The layout was not using the space to it’s full potential and the arched detail separating the kitchen from the living area made re-organizing the layout challenging. 


With the open layout, we created some much-needed fluidity throughout the kitchen, breakfast nook and living room.


The dining room remains as it was before with the exception of the entrance, it was relocated and supported with beautiful bold beams. We also added the spectacular light fixture. PS- It's articulating! It can be reconfigured into endless creative positions.


The living room was updated with a sleek stacked stone hearth and custom shelving. 

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The warm mix of materials is what make this home so stunning. From warm wood cabinets to textured marble countertops, all pieces are working in harmony here. We love how this whole space immediately announces a sense of style, while still maintaining a relatability making anyone feel welcome.  

Photography by Aimèe Mazzenga, aimeemazzenga.com.

Beam Me Up, Scotty

We are talking support beams, actually! Whether they were structural and load-bearing or simply an eyesore, we've had to get creative with a few projects where beams just didn't want to leave the party.

Case 1 - #SmithBarrow


It was really important to the homeowners that the kitchen/living room area have an open layout with a very clean look. However, with the large open floor plan it is impossible to not have a load-bearing beam. We found that we could create structural support by building a coffered ceiling. Not only did it solve the problem, but it added so much character and dimension, we now can't picture the room without it! 

Case 2 - #GreekIsland


The post and beam stuck out like a sore thumb in this kitchen. Removing them was going to be very costly, so we decided instead to incorporate them into the design. We used the crown molding detail, particularly where the beam meets the hood, to create a seamless look. Those elements are still present, but now hidden in plain sight.


Case 3 - #TrestleWilliams


The actual inspiration for the name of #TrestleWilliams, these beams luckily required a more straightforward solution. They really just made the space look smaller than it was. With further investigation they were non-bearing and we were able to remove them, making the whole room feel more spacious.


#TrestleWilliams Reveal

Brilliant in blue! #TrestleWilliams is finished and it's pure magic! It has that Parisian glamour meets classic refinement vibe. And one of those open layouts that make cooking, serving, socializing and just basic everyday life easier.


The basic layout didn't change (click here to see how it started) but the addition of floating shelves, hidden storage and reconfiguring the new cabinets and appliances open up the space in a big way, not to mention add a healthy dose of style!


The backsplash is actually marble tile, cut to the size of subway tile. It has the same modern feel as subway tile, but a subtle difference that is stunning.


Another large portion of the project was the addition of a mudroom. Originally, the door to the garage opened directly into the kitchen area and the now-mudroom was used as a laundry room. We moved the laundry to the 2nd floor and turned the entry to the garage into a mudroom. The addition of the mudroom makes that space so much more functional, and with the sliding barn door for privacy, it's really easy to keep the kitchen clutter-free.


Photography by Aimèe Mazzenga, aimeemazzenga.com.

Meet #ModernCottage

#ModernCottage started in much the same way as #SmithBarrow. The clients were looking for a historic home to make their own and had narrowed it down to a few options. We toured these locations and suggested the one we felt had the most "dream home" potential. 

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We are opening up one of the archways in the family room leaving a nice view of the new addition. It will feel more spacious without compromising that historic charm.

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We are also bumping out the back of the home. This additional space will house the kitchen and dining room on the ground floor, and additional bedrooms on the second floor. 


We are utilizing every space in this plan. This project truly follows E&B’s mantra: Less House, More Home.

Demo is already well underway and we've broken ground for the addition. Use #ModernCottage to follow along with the progress of this project.

Five Favorites

From the latest trends to timeless pieces that never go out of style, we are constantly scouting out products and inspiration for our clients. But at the end of the day, we have our own personal favorites we come home to. We created 'Five Favorites' as a fun way to share a little of our individual style from time to time. Carrie is stepping in this time with her picks for winter.

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Living in the midwest, you definitely adopt a healthy appreciation for cold weather. Luckily, there's a lot to look forward to when winter comes around. Personally, it really is one of my favorite times of the year. Here are 5 of my favorite things about wintertime. 

(Clockwise from left)                                                 

SWEET TRADITIONS. Every year Brandie makes her famous rum balls. You really haven't lived until you've had one!

SNOW DAYS. When the whole world seems to shut down. There's something so peaceful about it, not to mention it's a great excuse to spend a lazy day with family.

A CHILDHOOD FAVORITE. Ghiradelli's hot chocolate is the best. It's definitely an adult version of our childhood favorite. Delish!

COZY FOOTWEAR. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Who wouldn't want to spend all day in a pair of fuzzy slippers? 

ANNUAL ENTERTAINMENT. The Navy Pier Winter Wonderfest is something we like to see every holiday season. There is so much to do, and you can't help but get in a festive mood with all the lights, music and the amazing view of the Chicago skyline. 

Meet #TabulaRasa

Tabula Rasa is the idea that we all start with a blank slate. #TabulaRasa, the home, really epitomizes this concept. It is new construction, in a new development, and is our client's new dream/forever home. We were brought in as interior designers for this project, we'll be doing all the interior finishes and furnishings. Below are some plans and inspiration for the design of the space.

The dining room:


The breakfast nook:


The living room:

The style is sophisticated and slightly nautical, full of fabrics and furniture with texture and dimension.

Follow along with the hashtag #TabulaRasa for all project updates, as well as the big reveal!