Rethinking A Classic Georgian For Artful Living


eclectic foyer red staircase chandelier

A 1950s Austrian chandelier hangs in the foyer of Betsy Nathan's Highland Park home. The front door is framed by circa-1800 Beijing demilune tables from Betsy's store, Pagoda Red. A persimmon-and-rose weave from House of Tai Ping adds energy to the stair runner; the 1940s striped kilim, likely from Turkey, is from her mother's collection.

eclectic living room Chinese scroll...

The 1750 Chinese scroll pot in a corner of the living room would once have held a scholar's paintings; today, a cactus grows in it. Midcentury Pierre Chareau benches sit beneath windows framed by draperies made of Knoll Luxe Cummings fabric. The circa-1800 chest from Pagoda Red has an unusual honeycomb veneer.

eclectic living room velvet sofa...

The living room's eclectic mix of furnishings includes a velvet Donghia sofa and a 1970s Brutalist table by Silas Seandel. Next to the fireplace is a midcentury rosewood burl credenza with book-matched panels; above it hangs Kara Walker's The Keys to the Coop. The rug is 1920s Chinese Deco, which--along with the two Almudena Rodriguez paintings above the fireplace--is from Pagoda Red.

eclectic white kitchen barstools

Topped with quartzite, a 19th-century elm-wood Chinese calligraphy table serves as the kitchen island; de Giulio Kitchen Design provided the stainless- steel storage behind the AllModern stools as well as the SieMatic cabinetry. Shelving holds circa-1900 Guan Zhong apothecary jars from Pagoda Red. The backsplash consists of iridescent hand-cut Moroccan tiles.

A midcentury bronze Gene Summers...

A midcentury bronze Gene Summers table in the new breakfast room centers a collection of Mao-era chairs made of rare huanghuali, a type of wood normally reserved for imperial furniture. The 19th-century scholar's chest from Shanxi, China, is inset with traditional Chinese porcelain.

eclectic blue dining room vintage...

The dining room's Flos chandelier hangs from a ceiling shimmering with glass-beaded Maya Romanoff paper with gilded-gold leaf. Underneath, a pair of 1970s brass pedestals support a white-oak Aaron Bladon dining table topped with stained deep walnut; surrounding it are vintage Saarinen chairs covered in Sahco fabric

eclectic living room built-in bar...

A built-in bar in the family room is part of a storage unit created using 19th-century Chinese courtyard panels wearing Knoll fabric. Nearby, Holly Hunt sofas covered in Knoll mohair velvet pull up to a custom Aaron Bladon coffee table made of bleached ebony with zebrawood. A circa-1850 Chinese elm altar table sits behind one of the sofas.

eclectic bathroom graphic vintage Chinese...

A custom washstand from Pagoda Red in the lower-level bathroom holds a circa-1900 Chinese ceramic bowl on a soapstone top; the reverse-glass Chinese mirror above it is circa 1920. Nearby, the back wall of the lav room is clad with graphic vintage Chinese roof tiles. The floor is metallic bronze tile from Ann Sacks.

eclectic mudroom walnut table oak...

In the mudroom, an 18th-century 8-foot-long Chinese Provincial walnut table from Pagoda Red serves a variety of purposes, from planting to gift wrapping. Cabinetry is cerused oak, and the red ceramic knobs are from Anthropologie. The Chinese painted-glass lantern overhead is circa 1850.

exterior sitting area orange and...

Drew Johnson of Rocco Fiore & Sons brought to life outdoor plans by landscape architect Craig Bergmann of Craig Bergmann Landscape Design, Inc. "Betsy was very concerned about looking out the living room window and not losing the view to the ravine," Bergmann says. In a courtyard, a Knoll Bertoia chair faces an orange pouf from Room & Board and gray one from CB2.

hicago antiquities dealer Betsy Nathan and her husband, Daniel Goldberg, lived in their north suburban 1926 Georgian-style home for years before deciding to remodel the residence.

When it came time for the task, however, they tapped architect Carlos Martinez, a principal at Gensler who’s highly regarded for his commercial work — but who also has a passion for art.

Working with fellow architect Fred Wilson, Martinez decided to leave the dwelling’s front facade and rooms intact and focused, instead, on the back of the home, which sits on a ravine.

The team relocated a freestanding garage to allow for a new screened porch and family room, along with an expanded kitchen and breakfast room that overlook a new courtyard. A guest bedroom and several hundred feet of lower-level space — which includes a spa, game room and media room — now also make up the home.

When it came to the interiors, Betsy brought on designer Daniel Krause to incorporate her Asian pieces, along with midcentury furnishings and contemporary art, throughout the abode. “He was the secret sauce,” she says.

The new and old spaces were furnished with a rich blend of Chinese antiques, a bronze Brutalist cocktail table from the ’70s, Italian and French lighting, Pop art and more.

“It’s an amalgam of rooms that succeeds,” says Wilson.

Indeed, the finished product is a celebration of design.