Chicago Designers On What Puts The Heart In Home


Chicago designers reflect on the simple luxuries of home and designing for the moment.

Joan Craig
“Our palettes are often derived from the landscape beyond. I’ve found inspiration in the blues, creams, ivories, greens and sandy tones we see here in Chicago looking at the lake, parks and White City.” 

Erin Shakoor
“The perfect material palette? Quartzite, vintage leather, horsehair fringe, polished bronze, heavily carved or burnt wood, a bit of eglomise and something pink!”

Jessica LaGrange
“It’s important to keep things light and bright right now—special emphasis on the bright. I painted my entire closet Hermès orange. It’s so unexpected! It gives me a new lease on life every morning when I pick out my attire for the day.”

Frank Ponterio
“Every house needs the perfect napping sofa…something from Verellen usually does the trick!”

Aimee Wertepny
“My plants bring me comfort! When I moved into my new home, my girlfriends bought me a king Ficus tree from Gethsemane Garden Center as a housewarming present. Another go-to is Sprout Home in Wicker Park.”

Suzanne Lovell
“Outdoor landscape is essential and more important than ever. If you can’t have an alfresco space, treat yourself to a gorgeous arrangement of orchids. Seeing the natural world reminds us of our humanity.”

Kara Mann
“The set design from classic films always fuels me. I’m currently on a Jean-Luc Godard binge.”

Claire Staszak
“Three things every home could use are a great coffee maker, a backyard pool and fresh patterns indoors—even swapping your pillows with a new print can make you feel happier!”

Michael Abrams
“Over the years, I’ve collected a range of architecture and design tomes for my personal library. I tend to continually return to books on David Adler, Emery Roth, and Horace Trumbauer to spur creativity.”

Anthony Michael
“When every inch of space has been planned with a pattern or texture, there is a sense of order. It speaks to our inner child, bringing warmth, comfort and a sense of calm.”

Shelley Johnstone
“When it comes to luxury, lacquered ceilings really elevate a space and make the room feel special and brighter.”

Donna Mondi
“Furnishings that tell a story, have history, a pedigree or patina epitomize optimism. Some of my favorite vintage finds are Aldo Tura bar carts from the 1960s, African Dogon ladders and anything from the Art Deco period, which embodies the days of decadence.”

Amy Kartheiser
“Art has the power to bring you into the present moment. Some of my favorite pieces are by local artists—Linc Thelen, Dana De Ano and René Romero Schuler.”

Michael Stornello
“I love a great lounge chair that envelops you, like the Edwin Chair by Rose Tarlow from Holly Hunt. It’s modern and traditional, and surprisingly comfortable for people of all heights.”

Brooke Lang
“I love juxtaposing sleek and textured. We incorporate elements like cozy mohair textiles, curvilinear wood tables, saturated marble slabs and wavy black-and-white wallpapers.”