CB2 tweets

designer profile: donna piacenza of studio 1a.m.

Where was your favorite place to live?
My first little studio apartment was on the north side of Chicago—plenty of inspiration and design ideas to test. But Woodside, California, is definitely the prettiest place I’ve lived. My husband and I go each summer to bike up our favorite mountainous roads, take in the unforgettable scent of eucalyptus and hopefully spot a banana slug among the redwoods.

What one item do you wish you owned?
I wish I owned fewer items.

What are your interests outside of design?
Running, cycling, yoga. Starting (not necessarily finishing) projects at home. Experiencing everything for the first time with my two girls.

Who are you design icons?
Hella Jongerius, Alexander Calder, Nina Tolstrup, Scholten & Biajings.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Travel. Just being outside on a hike or run—letting thoughts go and ideas flow. Plus found objects and industrial remnants have always inspired my work.

What is your personal decorating style?
Minimalist mixed with a dose of vibrant color in a vintage setting. I’ve been accused of being a chromophobe (afraid of color) but I love color (bold, pure, fearless COLORS). I typically prefer a neutral space with a pop that makes you take notice of something really special.

What’s your favorite possession?
Photographs. Work traded with other designers/artists.

What do you drive?
A Jorg & Olif bicycle complete with milk crate is my preferred mode of transportation. It was a gift (or is it borrowed?), is way too big for me, weighs a ton—but it’s so charming and takes me back to vacationing in Amsterdam. There’s no other way I’d rather get around town.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Time to myself. And chocolate.

Do you have one low budget decorating tips?
Take away until you can’t take away anymore. Then put your favorite thing back. Also, use stencils or masked areas in unexpected colors/orientation to create a large impact on a limited budget. And a little industrial charm goes a long way.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
I have a few favorites from friends and colleagues that I find myself passing along:
When you can no longer work for someone else, it’s time to open your own practice. -s.t.
Be careful what you’re good at. -c.k
You get the clients you deserve. -j.d.
Best I ever gave: Be patient and persistent (and fake it ‘til you make it).

To see all of Studio 1a.m.’s current works for CB2, go here.


how it's made: vixen blockprint tablecloths

To create the modern striped pattern of the vixen blockprint tablecloth, the process of transferring a pattern on to wood blocks using paper and charcoal—then hand-carving the pattern out of the solid wood—has been the first step for hundreds of years.

In 2008, we happen to pass by a small group of workers carving very traditional patterns in Jaipur, India—an area famous for block printing and where vixen is produced today.

While vixen’s pattern is much cleaner and more simplified than the detailed patterns shown above, it actually makes the process all the more challenging to precisely align each press of the block—and to keep its very long lines as straight as possible.

To get started, the printer prepares the fabric by measuring the length to be folded for the hem—so that the stripes start from the corner—points are then marked on all four corners using a tailors awl.

The cloth piece is then laid out diagonally across the printing table aligning the awl points and a strong line of twine is stretched across the cloth and connecting the corner points—creating a full-length guide for the printer.

Printing begins with the darker color as the background, then the fabric is repositioned and pinned for the second color—so the diagonal stripes cross each other and create the overall pattern.

Once completely printed, the cloth is hung to dry then washed to process and set the colors. Lastly, the hem is sewn and the finished tablecloth pressed for packaging.
hint: if you look very closely at a finished tablecloth, subtle breaks or overprints in the line can be seen which indicate each hand-pressed print of the block.


animal rescue: cassius

Nicknames: Cash-Money, Roast Beast.

Favorite Snacks: Carrots, Peanut butter, Smoothie leftovers.

Before he became famous: I found Cassius at the Chicago Animal Care and Control shelter—I was told it was his second time behind the CACC bars since his previous adopters had to return him.

He had already been housed at the shelter for over a month when I visited and things were looking grim for this energetic Lab/Pit—but fast forward 6 years, Cassius is still with me and very happy to share a home with two cats.

Hidden Talents: Despite his size—and 85lbs—Cassius thinks he makes for a fantastic lap dog… he is however very good at pulling me around Humboldt Park on my bicycle… raiding the recycling bin for plastic bottles he can chew on… sneaking on the couch when we’re not home.

Cat and dog adoption fast facts:
…every year approximately 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters.
…25% of adoptable dogs in animal shelters are purebred.
…adopting a dog or cat from the Humane Society, ASPCA—any rescue group—can save their life.
…and, being a pet owner can add years to your life too.
To find your next pet, check out


independence day, 2014

photo by: aa7aeHave a very safe and happy 4th of July!


how to: create paint-bombed wallpaper 

DYI self-adhesive wallpaper
wall paint
acrylic faux glaze liquid
bowl of water
containers for paint mixtures
drop cloth
rubber gloves
rubber bands

1. Measure and cut sections of wallpaper that will fit the wall that you want to cover.
hint: be sure to mark which section goes where so the pattern flows accordingly.

2. To avoid paint drippings in the pattern, clear a large area of the floor or set up a long table and cover either with a drop cloth to best contain the liquids—then lay flat a section of wallpaper, DIY side up.
hint: the artwork we created is per panel so if a matching pattern is desired, use painters tape on the backside and join panels to create a mural effect.

3. We chose a look that required round/ball-shaped sponges. If this type isn’t readily available, or if another shape is desired, one can be made with a few scissor snips and rubber bands. For our project, we cut off about a third of the end of the sponge and formed the large part of the sponge into a ball by folding corners back and under, securing it with a rubber band so it stayed in a ball shape. Cut the remainder in half to use as secondary tools.
hint: a damp sponge is easier to shape than a dry one—just dip, squeeze, and then form it.
hint hint: if the sponge is large enough, simply use scissors to cut a ball, or other shape out of it.

4. Pour about a 1/2 cup of each paint color into separate containers. Ultimately the consistency of the paint mixture should be similar to milk so add about 1/4 cup of faux glaze liquid and a little water
hint: the glaze is optional but we found it was helpful to thin the color without making it too watery.
hint hint: disposable plates worked well as containers for the paint since they allowed the sponges to easily absorb the paint mixture and clean up took no time.

5. Immerse the sponge ball in water and give it a couple squeezes to make sure it’s saturated. Dip the end of the sponge into the paint mixture and with a little force, pounce the sponge against the wallpaper to achieve the paint-bombed/splatter effect.
hint: test the technique on scrap paper to know how much force is needed.

6. Cover the wallpaper with a desired pattern and layering colors as desired, then use a clean sponge to pick up any excess paint mixture.

7. Allow the painted wallpaper to dry for a full 48 hours—initially the paint may be fragile and easy to scratch off, this will allow it to cure fully and be more stable.
hint: set up a fan on low to help air circulate and speed the drying process.

8. Lastly, apply the self-adhesive wallpaper per the enclosed directions.
hint: to avoid cracking the paint, bend the paper as little as possible when peeling/adhering.