This month we'll be headed to Italy, home to some of our absolute favorite places in the world:

Positano, Capri, and Rome.


 Photo via Gray Malin.

Photo via Gray Malin.

I first found Positano in 1994 while studying for my MBA on Loyola University Chicago's Rome campus.  I can vividly remember grabbing a few of my buddies, hopping into our little yellow stick shift convertible we nicknamed "limoncello," and heading south along the Italian coast... I was naive enough to drive this tiny rental car from Rome all the way down to Positano, which totals almost 200 miles and probably 400 hairpin turns.

 Photo from our trip back in 2012.

Photo from our trip back in 2012.

I found myself there again in 1997 for my honeymoon -- Doug and I loved exploring this beautiful beach town and surrounding coastal towns like Ravello together.

It was during this trip that we first stumbled upon Ristorante Donna Rosa.  It instantly became a favorite of ours thanks to the amazing family who owns it and their incredible food and hospitality.  When you enter you may hear them singing Neil Diamond.

It was so special that we felt we had to return again 15 years later, this time with our three girls.  We took this sweet photo (below) of all the girls (Mamma Raffaella, her two daughters Erika and Rosida, and our girls Mira, Alexa, and Petrea) doing a "girl power" pose.

 Our girls with the ladies of Ristorante Donna Rosa in 2012.

Our girls with the ladies of Ristorante Donna Rosa in 2012.


 Sweet Alexa in front of the Blue Grotto back in 2012.

Sweet Alexa in front of the Blue Grotto back in 2012.

During our time on the Amalfi Coast, it was a must to visit Capri and the Blue Grotto on the way.

We loved visiting this sea cave last time because of how stunning it was when the sun pierced through the water, illuminating the entire cavern in a bright blue reflection.


 The iconic JK Place Capri.

The iconic JK Place Capri.

During our time on Capri, I'm especially looking forward to visiting the iconic resort hotel - JK Place Capri.

This hotel's decor inspired the entire look, feel, and color palette of one of our most exciting projects to date.  We were chosen to redecorate the ladies' locker room at one of the North Shore's most historic country clubs.

The crisp white interior is balanced with deep navy hues, bright brass accents, and contrasting pops of high-gloss black accessories.  Look for me there enjoying an Aperol spritz (or two)!

 An interior shot of JK Place Capri.

An interior shot of JK Place Capri.


 One of our very favorite restaurants in Rome - Ristorante Roscioli.

One of our very favorite restaurants in Rome - Ristorante Roscioli.

Since we fly out of Rome, we plan to spend a couple of days eating our way through the city.

A must-visit while dining in the city is Roscioli - This unconventional restaurant is home to a salumeria/deli, restaurant, and wine bar all in one.  Upon entering, you'll be enchanted by the secluded spaces available to dine in.  It's quite romantic and wildly delicious!  This hidden little gem wows us and every friend we send there every time!!

 Our family in 2012 before a plate of bolognese was dropped on Doug.

Our family in 2012 before a plate of bolognese was dropped on Doug.

Have any recommendations for Positano, Rome, or Capri?!  I'd love to know them so be sure to leave a comment below!!


A North Shore Summer

Summer is finally in full-swing on Chicago's North Shore!

And since we only have a few short months to soak it in, we're mapping out all of the events that offer lots of fun and (weather permitting) lots of sun, all summer long !!


With the fun offered weekly, it's easy to find time to attend these events.

Music on the Esplanade
Tuesdays @ 6-8PM
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe

Wednesdays in the Woods
Wednesdays @ 6-8:30PM
Hubbard Woods Park, Winnetka

Family Fun Night Karaoke
Fridays @ 6:30-9PM
Rock House, Wilmette

Glencoe French Market
Saturdays @ 8AM-1PM
Wyman Green, Glencoe

Winnetka Farmer's Market
Saturdays @ 7:30AM-12:30PM
Village Hall East Parking Lot, Winnetka

Wilmette French Market
Saturdays @ 8AM-1PM
Wilmette Village Center


Events that only happen once throughout the summer!

Art in the Village
June 23-24 @ 10AM-5PM
Hubbard Woods Park, Winnetka

Gillison Beach Campout
June 23 & July 27 @ 7:30PM
Gillson Beach, Wilmette

Glencoe Sidewalk Sale
June 29-30 @ 10AM
Downtown Glencoe

Cardboard Regatta
July 7 @ 4-5PM
Glencoe Beach

Winnetka Sidewalk Sale
July 13-14 @ 9AM-5PM
Downtown Winnetka

Water Carnival
July 14 @ 10AM-12:30PM
Tower Road Beach, Winnetka

Wilmette Summerfest & Sidewalk Sale
July 20-21
Downtown Wilmette

Glencoe Festival of Art
July 28-29 @ 6-7PM
Downtown Glencoe

Kite Festival
August 11-12 @ 10AM-3PM
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe

Superhero Dash
Sept 8 @ 9-11AM
Sheridan Road, Winnetka

Know of an event we missed?  Be sure to include details in the comments below!

Happy summer solstice, Chicago crew!

- Jeannie Balsam Interiors

Father's Day Gift GUIDE

Father's Day is practically here!

And whether the father figure in your life is a kid at heart, true outdoorsman, trendy fella, or a traditional guy, we've pulled together a gift guide to help you think outside the box and give a gift that he'll love -- While also making you look like a creative gift-giving rockstar!!



one // Amazon Echo // $99
(Currently on sale for $79 with an Amazon Prime membership!)

two // Highline Shorts // $54

three // Cube Tracker // $25

four // Herschel Supply Co. "Novel" Duffel Bag // $85

five // Coyuchi Organic Linen Terry Robe // $120
(Currently on sale at HuckBerry - Originally $150!)

six // Cole Haan ZeroGrand Stitchlite Wingtip Shoes // $180

seven // Top Chef Barbecue Tool Set // $59

eight // Ray Ban Classic Clubmaster Sunglasses // $153

nine // Master & Dynamic Wireless Leather Headphones // $385
(Currently on sale at Nordstrom - Originally $550!)

ten // Spike Ball // $59

eleven // Nest Learning Thermostat // $249

twelve // Ember Warming Mug // $80

Additional ideas include setting up a round of golf for him and a few of his best buds or planning a date night (without the kids!) at his favorite restaurant.

Have another Father's Day gift idea?  Share it with us in the comments below!

Patriotic Recipes Perfect for Memorial Day

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us!

Since Mother Nature has finally agreed to Summer weather -- Let's fire up the grill, call some friends and soak up some vitamin D!

If you're needing a little dessert inspiration, see below for three of our favorite patriotic recipes.

We hope these treats help you celebrate both in style and in taste!

For the busy:


These individual fruit pizzas couldn't be easier or quicker to prepare!  Simply purchase a dozen freshly baked sugar cookies, 1-2 cream cheese frosting containers, and a few cartons of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

Let the kids have fun making their own fruit pizzas and save yourself the hassle of making a dessert.  It's a win-win in our book!

For the health conscious:

Is anyone else thankful that fruit comes in patriotic colors?

Pick up some wooden skewers, fresh blueberries, strawberries, and bananas, and get stacking!  Make sure to make extras as these easy and healthy fruit skewers will be a fan favorite.  Find exact instructions here.

For the baker:

Though we haven't personally made this fresh berry tart before, it sure looks delicious - Doesn't it?!  Tangy and sweet with its mascarpone cream, fresh fruit, apricot jam, and buttery light crust... This dessert sounds like a decadent dream.  Find the recipe here.

Read further:

In keeping with the patriotic theme, did you catch our previous blog post about the latest color trend?  Hint: It's either red, white or blue!  Be sure to check it out here.

And be sure to let us know if you end up using one (or all!) of these patriotic recipes for your Memorial Day barbecue.

Have a fun and relaxing holiday weekend, friends!

I'll be keeping Kleenex in business since Mira is graduating (Loyola Academy - Class of 2018) on Saturday afternoon and my niece is getting married Saturday night.


Celebrating Mother's Day


Mother, Daughter, Grandmother - We have it all!

This year, each one of us is celebrating Mother’s Day in a different role. 

See below for what we’re loving most about each stage of motherhood, and what "tips" our resident grandmothers Karen & Elise would love to share.



Check out this corner of my office …. You have a glimpse of my design studio vision board.  It is filled with special personal and professional photos, words of inspiration, cherished notes from my girls, design partners and clients, inspiring fashion and prayer cards from those special people that I have lost over the years. 

Then there is my desk – always a rotating candle, my terrarium with the miniature woman in a headstand while reading a book (my two passions - thank you Laura B.), and my most powerful memento …. My mom’s name plate from her real estate desk.  

Therese Righeimer passed on August 23rd, 2011.  My dad passed almost 18 months later and subsequently, the five siblings were tasked with clearing out our childhood home.  That is when I uncovered this treasure.

My mom was a renaissance woman.  She raised 5 children all while going back to school, becoming a high school special education teacher and eventually finding her true calling as a successful realtor for over 25 years.  After school, I would walk to her Deerfield office, say hi to all the other brokers and sit at her desk while she finished up.  I remember being so proud of her.  Hearing her on the phone and knowing how much her colleagues and clients appreciated her work ethic, loved her sense of humor and admired her unwavering faith.

In 2000, I became a mom and branched out from my traditional MBA corporate business marketing path to launch JBI.  Since I am a self taught interior designer, it started small and grew organically with so many wonderful opportunities and business experiences along the way. If I were to be honest, it hasn’t always been easy to manage, but when I feel emotionally or physically depleted, I simply look at that name plate and know that Therese managed significantly more challenges in all aspects of her life and did it always with a broad smile for all and back rubs (during Sunday mass) for my sister Laura and me.

She is my strength and guardian in everything I do.  Writing this has brought me to tears, but I’m not sad …. I feel infinitely blessed!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Xoxoxo Jeannie



     I have been blessed with having strong women role models in my life - My mother Barb, twin sister Christy, and for the past 5 years, the amazing women I work with: Jeannie, Karen, and Elise.  My mom especially has really impacted me with her selfless ways and has always put the needs of my sister and me first.  I’m very grateful for all that she does and how she constantly cheers us on, always making us feel so special and empowered. 

        As I am currently expecting my first child (a baby girl in October), my journey towards motherhood is quickly approaching!  Although I am nervous, I am also really excited to become a mom myself, and to impart the wisdom these leading ladies have taught me over the years.



I have always thought that being the mother of young children sometimes seems like an endless afternoon that is over in a heartbeat.  It’s the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever done.  Try to enjoy the journey – it will soon be over.  Go at the pace of the children, encourage each one’s individual gifts, no two are alike.

The best part of being a grandmother is that all you have to do is love them!  You don’t have to discipline, clothe or educate them – just enjoy them!  It's God’s special kiss on the cheek at this time of life – you get to spend an afternoon with your sweet toddler again – to have them sit on your lap and read stories, play at the beach for as long as they want, hold you hand to visit the zoo, stand on a chair to help you make pancakes  – and then send them home to come again another day!  I love being grandma!

Elise and B and A.JPEG


There are so many wonderful things about being a grandmother.  Perhaps the greatest joy is seeing your child (my sons) being wonderful, caring parents to their own children and being loving, generous partners with their spouses.  As the song goes in “The Sound of Music,” I must have “done something right” as a parent!

I feel lucky that 2 of my 3 grandsons live here in Chicago and that I get to see them almost weekly.  Being able to see them so often and develop a real relationship with them is a true gift!  And I'm so thankful that Facetime helps us to be involved with our grandson who lives in NYC.

One of my favorite things about being a grandma is getting to be called "Bubbie."  This is such an honor to me because it was also the name I called my grandmother, who I loved and respected so much.  There's nothing I love more than giving their precious little faces lots of "Bubbie kisses" !!!

Being a grandmother is even better than everyone says it is - It is unconditional love, and the best club you can ever be part of!  It's the gift that keeps on giving.



Though I’m not a mother yet (and have no plans to become one soon!), this Mother’s Day I’m celebrating friends who have recently become new moms, as well as celebrating my own incredible mom.  I am so thankful to have such amazing women in my life to look up to and learn from — I've been blessed with such hardworking, selfless women that have taught me how to have both grit and grace.  While I’ve still got a lot of time before I become a mama myself (Lord willing), I’m so looking forward to it and feel lucky to be taking notes from the best in the meantime!  Happy Mother's Day to all of you amazing mamas and grandmas out there!


- Jeannie Balsam Interiors Design Team