Pink Influencers – What drives the evolving design trends?


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, February 16, 2017

I recently read a story about a man who bought a mid-century Chicago bungalow from the original owner, who apparently never moved into the home. For some undisclosed reason, it was left vacant more than 50 years. It was like the new owner had purchased a piece of history that was perfectly preserved in museum-like condition. The kitchen was never used, and still had the original manuals taped to the appliances. I was fascinated to find out that this state-of-the-art kitchen was almost entirely pink; it’s countertop was pink, the sink was pink and even the GE appliances were accented in pink.

Design trends have piqued my interest lately, so I’ve been studying the history of how our ideas have evolved throughout the 20th century., figuring that anything that be can learned about the present or future, is better explained by our past.

Much of our design trends came out of function, not style, and up until the 1920’s, designing one’s home was left for the rich and affluent. So how did we get to this point in history that many home interiors look so similar? Who influenced us with the modern farmhouse, white kitchens, white subway tile, marble counters and gray walls (specifically Benjamin Moore – Revere Pewter HC-172)?

I’m interested to know where the trends began and who started them.

Certainly that 1950 pink kitchen was influenced by Mamie Eisenhower. It was the first lady’s favorite color and well known to American women at the time. She was such a pink influencer, while her husband, Dwight D. Eisenhower was our president, that the press began calling the White House “the pink palace”. Without even having a social sharing platform like Pinterest, she was the reason so many homes around the country were filled with pink.

So who is influencing us today?

Maybe it comes from the California designers, or from Pinterest, or a it might come from plethora of magazines that promote the sale of new building products.

My Houzz.com account recently sent me a “push” notification with its 2017 predictions for paint colors, lighting, hardware and other home design ideas. Do they have their finger on the proverbial fashion pulse? I actually do love the Houzz Web site, because it allows you to store pictures and ideas of projects that you’re dreaming of doing in the future, but since they sell products and services, they might be just a little bias.

Having moved into our home in October 2015, we wanted to live in the space for at least a year before making any changes. The former owners had meticulously built the home in 1998, custom for themselves, and their three children. It is a wonderfully warm and inviting family home, but it is now 19 years old, and we are considering some changes. I would like to integrate more smart-home technology, so it will serve our lifestyle better, but we’re trying to avoid making changes that will soon be gone with the next trend. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t oppose the fashionable and trendy, but by the time we downsize, chances are high that the changes we make today will go over then like the pink of the 1950’s.

Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The architect must be a prophet… a prophet in the true sense of the term… if he can’t see at least ten years ahead don’t call him an architect.”

Who knows how long the current trends will last, and if gray will be gone today or tomorrow, but according to Houze.com, Jewel tones are on their way in, and so are gold fixtures. Maybe even the pink kitchens will too.

Who is influencing us today? Will it be Melania Trump?

I think it might just be, each other.

 

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 27 years, and his office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514.

His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

 

Pink Influencers

Pink Influencers

Pink Influencers

Pink Influencers

Pink Influencers

Pink Influencers

Pink Influencers

My Simple Little Town


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, February 2, 2017

For the folks who rack up the miles while globetrotting all over the planet, you get to stay in those wonderful hotel rooms, and you go to business dinners in those fantastic restaurants. You must think my simple existence here in Clarendon Hills is pretty dull. My occupation doesn’t take me all over the place, like you, and like many of my friends. Yes, I retreat occasionally to Florida, but for most of the time, I stay put in our small town. My car’s odometer doesn’t change all that much, because I leave it parked at home, and walk just one block to my office into town. When I have an appointment outside of my office, I’ll walk back and get my car, as if it was parked in a parking lot.

The only miles I rack up are on my credit card, and that is from buying too much stuff at Costco.

With the extra time spend around around town, I oftentimes stare out my office window and dream. I dream about what our downtown will become, and how it will look in the future. I wonder what kinds of businesses would do well, and we consumers would want here. There has been plenty of change lately, too, and with recent vacancies, come new opportunities. It has got me thinking about the possibilities.

With after 30 years at one location, (for now) Quinn’s is out, opening up a retail space in the #1 space in town.

I can’t help but to envision that building having some new windows, a new sign and a business where it will not only survive, but thrive, (I really do see this building from my office window, every day). Maybe another sandwich shop or a bourbon tasting room?

This space has such a prominent location that it would be fantastic to have a great retailer there to help encourage and be an ambassador for more retailers and patrons to come into town.

Maybe Quinn’s will re-open after all. There has been some talk lately that Quinn’s was looking to stay. Would the town support it re-opening? They were in the space for 30 years, so it would kind of be a nostalgic comeback.

On December 31st, Scapa Italian Kitchen left a void – and left a beautiful space – at 1 Walker Ave.

The 1 Walker building is arguably the nicest, if not the biggest venue around, having the capacity to host large parties and gatherings. So many of us have been to after-hour functions and special occasions there, and for a while, the space was the go-to location for Clarendon Hills families. Now that gift cards have (hopefully) been reimbursed, surely a new and exciting restaurant will want this place, right? Does anyone remember Soul Restaurant, which occupied the space before Scapa? What would you want there now?

And then there’s the property that was previous home to Mario’s (or The Hills, or whatever you want to call it) at 34 S Prospect Ave.

This space left a gaping hole on the side end of town. I dream of an Irish pub-restaurant, or a really good burger joint, where you walk in anytime and meet friends. Many people have wanted to bring Mike LaGrange back to town to revive the old Delizioso’s Pizza. It was recently told to me that a new pizza restaurant will open this coming spring called, Brama La Pizza.

It won’t be long until that corner around Prospect, Park and Walker Aves. will look much different, and more modern. The residential building behind Mario’s will be built soon, and will replace a longstanding eyesore of a vacant piece of land. The Fifth Third building is now empty but hopefully a new business will value the people who take up residence next door, and they will support and shop in town in turn.

From my window, I can see the old Village Art’s building, which sat next to the police station. I’m still hoping for a beautiful restaurant, a gazebo and gardens to meander. I’m wondering, like you, what will become of it?

So when you return home from your trip –  maybe one day soon -, we will have more of those fantastic places for me, and you to go, right in our own simple, little town.

Clarendon Hills

My Simple Little Town

A Day Off – What does MLK mean to us


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, January 19, 2017

How has MLK changed us?

This past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr.’s (MLK) birthday. We were enjoying a day off of school, and I wondered what the holiday meant to my family, and to others I know. I began noticing my Facebook feed leading up today were spattered with MLK tributes and quotes. There were a few longer ramblings speaking out against the social injustices and discrimination, so it was easy to see that on social media this was an important holiday to people I know.

To find out what my children thought, I decided to interview all four of them separately. I would ask: “What do you know about MLK, and what does this day mean to you?” A little disclosure here – I took each of them away from playing games on the Nintendo and X-box. They were interested in the questions but more interested in getting back to the games.

Here were some of their answers:

“We are celebrating him and his ‘I have a dream speech’, and that he changed the rules about dark and white people. And sitting on the bus, dark people don’t have to give up their seats.”

“I read a book about him and he was a good leader, and helped people who were mistreated. He helped our world be different so that everyone would be treated equally.”

“He was great because he helped all people, and was a protector.

My oldest child said’ “Blacks were freed but were still segregated, and he was a great person in the Civil Rights movement to help start that change. He went against the rules of society and paved the path for others to speak out.  

After my deposition of their young minds, (and in their small world) I don’t think they can fully understand the meaning of discrimination – nor do they believe segregation still exist.

Growing up in Indianapolis, in my high school had a demographic split of around 60 percent white, and 40 percent black. I certainly had an opportunity for a good mix of cultural experiences. As I went off to college, I had roommates of color throughout. With that said, I still don’t know what it would be like to walk in the shoes of an African-American – to be denied service, routinely pulled over, or to be scrutinized by the color of my skin. I cannot even begin to understand what that is like, and it’s simply not my world.

I wonder if today’s segregation is now a symptom of lack of opportunities, and is undergirded by discrimination. Yes, we see there are now football coaches, quarterbacks and even a president who is black. These achievements have all happened in my lifetime, but there are so many industries where the glass ceiling is still a reality for many today.

I know that MLK’s work is not yet done – especially when we see pockets of poverty around us and where there is limited opportunities for these folks. The city of Chicago deciding to eliminate many of the low-income housing options forced a lot of these residents to find homes in Dupage County.

You don’t need to look far to find opportunities to continue the work of MLK.

Many people in our community are involved in a charitable organization called Willowbrook Corner. Located in unincorporated areas near Interstate 55 and IL. Rte. 83, Willowbrook Corner is an outreach of The Community House in Hinsdale, providing academic tutoring and social support to local at-risk youth and families.

Another pocket that gaining traction is known as the Roosevelt Road Initiative. My home church is involved in this venture, and is partnering with organizations and people to develop sustainable relationships so that folks in need get the education and opportunity that MLK had hoped for.

Helping people to have more opportunities and to be treated as equal is just the beginning, and my hope is that my children will one day see a new reality – a reality that MLK saw at the mountain-top.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” MLK

 

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 26 years and his office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

Courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution King family portrait: The last official portrait taken of the entire family. Photo was taken in the study of Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1966. From left are Dexter King, Yolanda King (standing next to MLK), Martin Luther King Jr., Bernice King (sitting on Coretta's lap), Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King III.

Courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
King family portrait: The last official portrait taken of the entire family. Photo was taken in the study of Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1966. From left are Dexter King, Yolanda King (standing next to MLK), Martin Luther King Jr., Bernice King (sitting on Coretta’s lap), Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King III.

Leaving for Vacation with Nowhere to Go


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, January 5, 2017

With 13 cards left in my hand, someone shouted “UNO!”

No! How could this be? I usually own this game, and am the first to go out. I know it’s a silly game of cards, but I don’t like to lose – even to my own children. I have no choice but to pass along the dreaded plus-4 card to keep the game going.

In Uno, there are some really dastardly cards through which you can force your opponent to draw more cards, and effectively keep the game alive. After all, it’s a rainy day on vacation, so this game must continue.

Most people I know plan their vacations, securing their travel and lodging well in advance of leaving from home. Not me – for what I’m about to tell you, you will most likely think that I’m crazy, and it will probably make you a little uncomfortable.

In my 17 years of being married and vacationing to Florida for winter break, we have only booked lodging in advance twice. On a few occasions, we have secured a place while driving down, but mostly, we don’t know where we’re going to land until we pull into town – confession over.

I realize that most marriages would not last, and don’t recommend this type of travel-planning for the faint of heart. I’m not only lucky that I have a very patient wife, but also lucky she has stuck with me over the years in spite of this crazy vacation behavior. There have been a few moments, however, where I’ve heard my full name spoken in a stern voice to simply pick a place and make it happen.

The benefits of riding by the seat of my pants, I believe, is overwhelmingly compelling. And because of my vacation shenanigans, we have stayed at some of the most luxurious beach properties, for at least half off of the retail price. Yes, there are vacancies everywhere, and when you find them, the owners are willing to deal. If they haven’t rented their unit by the time you pull into town, it will stay vacant for another week, and they will lose the revenue.

Doesn’t everyone love a deal?

In the art of negotiations, there is a term called “win-win”. Both parties win, and when you are courteous and respectful of the process, there usually is a big “W” and pay-off.

We also get to see the product before we buy it. Most vacationers rent sight-unseen, and don’t know exactly what they’re getting until they’ve unpacked. On one of the rare occasions we ordered in advance, we were disappointed to find the pool was in the shade, all but for 45 minutes of the day (a shaded pool in January is not popular pool). I’ve been handed multiple sets of keys (by rental agencies) to go check out the properties before we decide. Imagine the possibilities of getting to pick out the property of your dreams at half the price

The sun came out, and we’re back to the pool, and then to the beach. The UNO game was not good to me, and I came in dead last. The kids enjoyed their dad’s contorted losing expression on his vacation bearded face.

As far as the vacation rental, we did secure a sweet spot on the beach – in the nick of time, while pulling into town.

 

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 26 years and his office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

Going on Vacation with Nowhere to Go

Leaving For Vacation with Nowhere to Go

Leaving For Vacation with Nowhere to Go

Leaving For Vacation with Nowhere to Go

Leaving For Vacation with Nowhere to Go

Leaving For Vacation with Nowhere to Go

Open the Door – “MY WIFE WROTE MY COLUMN!”


Amy McCurry is wife to Mike McCurry and is his guest columnist this week. She grew up in Hinsdale and is a busy mother with four children.

From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, December 22, 2016

“When you step over the threshold of Christmas there’s mystery for you to explore. A story. A message. Rich beauty. The wonder of childlike joy….Turn the handle and open the door.” –Greg Asimakoupoulos

These are the words my children long to cuddle up and listen to every year, and mark the beginning of a cherished book in our home – words that invite back the magical four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas morning.

Long ago, when I was a new mom, I attended a group at our church, called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). Our first child wasn’t even born when I found myself eager to join this organization. They all desired one thing; fellowship along the journey of motherhood. It was there that I learned so many wonderful tips, where I ate my only warm meal for the week, made many of my best friends, and found a safe haven.

One of the best gifts I received in the first months of being part of MOPS was when Jack and Kathy Stockman spoke at our December meeting. They brought along with them a beautiful story to share of their own family Christmas tradition. They had perfectly captured their homemade life-size “Doors of Advent” into a treasure simply named, “The Advent Book”. It was a thick and sturdy book, where for each page and day that passed, a new experience of the Advent story was revealed, beautifully and artfully. Similarly to the chocolates that are hidden behind the traditional Advent calendar doors, hungry young readers are encouraged to come back each night for a new flavor, and enjoy and read what is behind all 25 uniquely designed doors of the Christmas story.

I’m well known in my family for my love of reading and traditions, so I didn’t hesitate to purchase their book for my own new family – not knowing how it would transform this season for us for many years to come.

With each passing year and more children to crawl onto a lap, Mike and I cherished reading this book aloud each night. And in the course of time (and as our children were each developing their reading skills), we have watched them try to first sound out a few syllables to the point  where they eventually memorize “their page” with impressive expression. Being a former teacher, it’s very satisfying to listen and observe their annual improvements in fluency and comprehension.

It’s not always happy or easy when it comes to the nightly reading. There’s a “scramble” to sit next to mom, dad or their favorite sibling of the day, and feelings get hurt – and the undeniable disappointment, too, like when the favorite “Lion Door” goes to another sibling. They fight and complain when someone read too fast or too slowly, or if someone else got to blow out the candles.

I love that while this parenting journey sometimes feels like a fight in the moment, it somehow evolves into years of warm memories that permanently touch the soul.

Our children, like so many others, look forward to Santa, the sweets and gifts to exchange, but they primarily look forward to the experience of Christmas beginning December 1. The sacred Advent book and the four candles that represent faith, joy, love and hope have been a cornerstone of our season, and are the first Christmas items to resurface at the end of November.

And I would would like to think many of my friends from MOPS – and maybe yours, too – the kids can’t wait to cuddle up on the couch, and unveil the doors of Christmas, as they say together, “And His name shall be called Immanuel -which means, God with us.”

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a happy new year, full of memory-making moments.

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 26 years and his office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

Open the Door

Believe


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, December 8, 2016

The Conductor: Well, ya comin’?

The Boy: Where?

The Conductor: To the North Pole, of course! This is the Polar Express!

We sat in our seats and took the long trip up the mountain. It was a wild ride, and routinely had dips, twist and turns where it seemed impossible the train and it’s passengers would make it to the destination. You need a golden ticket to ride to the North Pole, right? Not to fear, the “conductors” came down the aisles with one for each of us – an authentic ticket, paper-punched with the word “believe”. And then, with another magic moment sequenced to music, the piping hot, hot chocolate was served to all of the attendees, while perfectly tracking with the movie – The Polar Express.

A few years ago, my family acted on a posted announcement that the Christian Church of Clarendon Hills was hosting a free interactive viewing of The Polar Express.

It was a well received invitation for many reasons. First of all, our daughter’s birthday was coming up soon. We knew that she loved the classic Christmas movie, and we were looking for a place large enough for a birthday party for 20 of her closest friends.

With it being wintertime (and the church within walking distance), we could have stumbled through a real polar blizzard if we absolutely needed to. It was the perfect venue to have her birthday bash!

After attending the viewing, I told their senior minister, Matthew Rogers, that the free event was a really great idea, and that it was such a gift to us and to the community. I know they’ve gifted other events over the years, including non-church meetings, for the Village of Clarendon Hills, a backdrop for the Westview Hills Middle School musical, and a voting place for the local communities. It’s just nice to have such a large, beautiful venue that not only provides a place for worship, but also gives back by opening its doors to neighbors.

I think they deserve a shout out – and also a big thanks for being good a host!

In the movie, Santa tells the boy – “This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas as am I. Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.”

And with that, all twenty of our girls (sporting their pajamas proudly) were handed a bell just like the one from the movie. And yes, it also taken from the reindeer’s harnesses. They went home with a piece of the movie.

The best part, in my opinion, the “believe” message.

The magic of Christmas is once again upon us. And some of these classic movies help us get in the mood, to forget about the hustle and bustle, the commercial side of it all, and remember – to believe.

The Christian Church of Clarendon Hills is once again hosting the interactive showing of The Polar Express this Sunday, December 11, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. It is free, and open to everyone. You are encouraged to wear your pajamas, and sit back, and be served by the good folks at 5750 Holmes Ave.

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 26 years and his office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

believe

The Thank-you Note


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, November 24, 2016

The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon does a weekly segment where he pretends to catch up on some personal items – like his thank-you notes. This hilarious skit is usually perfectly timed to piano music played by the stoic, James Poyser. Fallon writes out what seems to be heartfelt thank-you notes to people and things, and is often political or pop culture in nature. A silly example of his notes, are to “hard taco shells, for surviving the long journey from factory, to supermarket, to my plate, and then breaking the moment I put something inside you. Thank you”. And “thank you, thanksgiving football, for giving me a chance to eat too much then pretend to work it off by watching other people exercise.”

One of my close friends and pastors, Tracey Bianchi, recently preached a sermon at my church about gratitude. She asked “if we were to write a thank you note to God, what would it say?” Would we thank him for the parking spot, or that it’s not raining, or for the Cubs finally winning the World Series? Maybe we would thank him for our job or for the people in our lives who love us.

She explained that most words of thanks have a truncated ending, and gratitude usually stops after the words leave our mouths – and that thanks should not just be a quick word of gratitude but should overflow everyday from within us by our service to others, and should change everything we touch. Lives lived with gratitude will actually be contagious, and have a healing effect on us and on others.

Not too long ago, my father in law and I took my boys to United Center to see a Bulls game. While walking around the statues of Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Michael Jordan, I read to them the inscribed accomplishments of the Bulls superstar. For a moment, they seemed to be impressed with the amount of points Jordan amassed and championships he won. But soon, they were bored and began to bicker and fight, as typical siblings would, almost as if they were looking for something more.

I was shocked that they weren’t appreciative of the special moments that we experiencing together. I was expecting excitement, reverence, and of thankfulness, that their grampa and I shared this experience and special place with them.

As adults, we often lose our way, and forget to have an attitude of thanks for all that we have been given. Like children, we get caught up wondering if we have enough, and we get board and oftentimes believe we deserve to have more.

When you think about it, gratitude is the secret ingredient that helps us be more grounded, and helps life to be more joy-filled. An attitude of gratitude makes us a remarkably different people than if we had an attitude of expectation.

American novelist Ann Lemont said, “Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and in the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back.”

If you were writing a thank you note today, what would you say?

 

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 26 years and his office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

The Thank-you Note