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Holiday Home in Black and White

Gray areas never silence this family’s style—everything sings in beautiful black and white

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • Werner Straube

    Hitting the high note comes naturally to the Fierz family. Justin, Lauren, and their three daughters are all musicians with an ear for beautiful melodies—and a predilection against distracting background noise. So it’s no surprise that the interiors of their Chicago home are as crisp and clean—as black and white—as a fresh sheet of music. Life pops against this quiet backdrop, especially during the holidays, when rooms burst with sparkling decorations, joyful music, and youthful holiday cheer. 

    The foyer, decked in black-and-white tile and leaded-glass windows, establishes the holiday season with a soaring tree, greenery woven through the stair railing, and a pair of wreaths, all from Frontgate. 

    Photography: Werner Straube
    Produced by Hilary Rose

    Architect: Brad Lewis, Schwarz Lewis Design Group, Oakbrook, Illinois; 630/518-4038;
    Interior designer: Soledad Zitzewitz, Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors, Inc., Lake Bluff, Illinois; 847/234-2336;
    Builder: Craig Ross, Ross Builders, Inc., Hinsdale, Illinois; 630/253-5177.

    Trees, garland, wreaths: Frontgate;
    Cookies, cupcakes: Schlegel’s Bakery, Lincolnwood, Illinois; 847/568-1750.

    Pages 62–63. Entry—
    Black-and-white flooring: Exquisite Surfaces;
    Bench antique: 1st Dibs;

  • Werner Straube

    Cozy Family Room 

    “They wanted a house that was interesting and detailed with architecture,” designer Soledad Zitzewitz says. “The black-and-white scheme delicately blends creativity and order, which are a nod to both Justin’s and Lauren’s personalities.” 

    Black and white present a striking and sophisticated design statement throughout the house, not only meshing with the family’s holiday trimmings but also their everyday life. Here, music takes center stage—collectively, the Fierz five play the piano, drums, guitar, viola, trumpet, and ukulele. Katarina is enrolled in voice lessons, too. 

    At Christmas, black-and-white accents enhance the neutral theme. Striped ribbon winds around the tree, and dots and checks wrap packages. 

    Drapery fabric, sofa and fabric: Kravet; 800/645-9068;
    Rug similar items available: Momeni; (for a retailer near you).
    Side tables: homeowners’ collection.
    Fabric for black-and-white accent pillows “Kuba Cay Dalmatian”: Zinc Textiles, through Romo Fabrics & Wallcoverings;
    Ottoman custom: Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors, Inc., Lake Bluff, Illinois; 847/234-2336;
    Light above bookcase “Dean 24-Inch Picture Light” by Alexa Hampton: Circa Lighting; 877/762-2323;

  • Werner Straube

    Music Nook 

    Setting the stage for all this creative expression, Zitzewitz called on some artistry of her own, designing spaces with balance, impact, and moments of visual silence that politely take a back seat when appropriate. Case in point: the piano. Situated in a corner off the formal living room, the heirloom baby grand on which Lauren and her two sisters took lessons as children bears a functional purpose and also plays to Lauren’s sentimentality. Simple drapery panels of ivory cotton on the surrounding windows ensure that nothing distracts from the songs that are played by Lauren or her daughters, who have carried the piano ritual to a new generation. 

    With four pianists in the house, the baby grand is a popular spot for Justin and Lauren Fierz and their three daughters, Natalia, Melania, and Katarina. 

    Piano: homeowners’ collection.

  • Werner Straube

    Formal Living Room

    Along with music, other bits of tradition pull on the Fierz family heartstrings. Also in the living room sits a pair of matching tables handed down to Lauren from her grandmother. The leggy beauties mingle effortlessly with new pieces, including sofas that are upholstered in ivory velvet and chairs with whimsical silhouettes that radiate a golden finish. 

    A study in symmetry, the living room boasts a pair of Hickory Chair white linen sofas, glass lamps, dark-wood occasional tables, and shapely gilt-frame Victoria Hagan chairs upholstered in black velvet. Twin brass sconces light the fireplace mantel, dressed for the holiday season with festive garland.

    Chandelier: “Signature Chandelier” by Barbara Barry, nesting tables in foreground “Mahogany Nesting Tables” by Barbara Barry: Baker Furniture; 800/592-2537;
    Daybed “Reese Bench”: Plum;
    Sofas “Marler”: Hickory Chair Co.; 800/349-4579;
    Fabric for daybed and sofas: Kravet; 800/645-9068;
    Tables flanking fireplace, table lamps, piano at left: homeowners’ collection.
    Chairs “St. Simone Occasional Chair”: Victoria Hagan, New York City; 212/888-1178;
    Fabric for chairs: Osborne & Little; 877/322-7420;
    Round mirror: through Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors, Inc., Lake Bluff, Illinois; 847/234-2336;

  • Werner Straube

    Sophisticated Dining Room

    The open dining room defies tradition, or at least gives it—and traditional expectations—a new spin. The room’s stately table, positioned on an arresting diamond-pattern tile “rug” inset in the wood flooring, adds another chapter to the home’s heirloom story. 

    When the Fierz family decided to build a new house where another house had stood, the construction process required tree removal, so Justin and Lauren had the logs milled and made into a table that Zitzewitz designed. 

    “We wanted something to commemorate this place,” Lauren says. “The family who lived on this lot before us also had three girls. So a table—a place where we gather as a family every night—seemed appropriate. It’s special and a reminder of the attention that we put into the details to make this house for us, our tastes, and our traditions.” 

    To boost Christmas cheer during family meals, evergreen boughs are tied to the horizontal light fixture. Black-and-white bows affixed to Oly’s “Sussex” chairs with seats made of oversize woven leather straps support the home’s graphic color story. 

    Tile for floor rug “Cement Tile Encaustic” from the Fashion Runway collection: Clé;
    Table: Soledad -Zitzewitz Interiors, Inc., Lake Bluff, Illinois; 847/234-2336; and Flores Antique Restoration, Lake Bluff, Illinois; 224/430-2133; Facebook: Flores Antique Restoration.
    Chairs, including fabric “Sussex Side Chair” with Ivory leather strapping: Oly Studio;
    Armchairs “Townsend”: Lee Jofa; 800/453-3563;
    Drapery fabric, fabric for armchairs: Kravet; 800/645-9068;
    Chandelier by Jonathan Browning: RH Modern;

  • Werner Straube

    Sleek Kitchen

    In accordance with Fierz family tradition, they intentionally did not include a breakfast nook in the kitchen that flows easily off the formal dining space. Instead, on occasions when the big dining table isn’t called into service, the Fierzes embrace the dine-at-the-kitchen-island movement that so many families have adopted for everyday meals. 

    The bar stools that snuggle up to the marble-top island make another of Lauren’s wishes come true: to interact with her daughters as she cooks—just as she did with her Italian grandmother throughout her own childhood. “I want my daughters to develop memories that parallel what I had,” she says. 

    Designer Soledad Zitzewitz stretched Calacatta marble beyond its typical use as a counter surface, applying the white-and-gray stone to the walls as a backsplash and using it around the archway and windows. “It links the cooking area and sink area together,” Zitzewitz says. Ebony floors, stools covered in black leather with nailhead trim, and a Lacanche range and hood in black metal supply sharp contrast to the otherwise light kitchen. Topiaries scent the sink area with whiffs of rosemary. Glass globe pendants over the island are by The Urban Electric Co.

    Cabinetry: HCI Cabinetry, St. Charles, Illinois; 630/584-0266.
    Cabinet hardware custom design: Classic Brass; 800/869-3173; (for a retailer near you).
    Marble for walls and countertops “Calacatta Marble”: Exotic Marble and Tile; 888/763-4015;
    Light fixtures over island “Globus”: The Urban Electric Co.,
    Stools at island “Madigan Backless Counter Stool”: Hickory Chair Co.; 800/349-4579;
    Range, hood: Lacanche; 800/570-2433;
    Pot filler at range “Wall-Mount Swing-Arm Pot Filler,” sink fixtures “Single-Lever Single-Hole Kitchen Faucet with Side Spray”: Perrin & Rowe, presented by Rohl; 800/777-9762;

  • Werner Straube

    Warm Sunroom

    Like the kitchen, the sunroom was devised to be a space for family interaction. Without a television or other electronic distractions, it’s a place for games and conversation—warmed by the natural light that spills through French doors and an arched window. It’s also the perfect spot for a touch of holiday cheer, including a tree on one side of the gray stone fireplace.    

    Slipcovered sofas offer a comfy spot for games, music, and talks—a place for family time. “This room has the most meaning because of what it represents,” Lauren says.


    Slipcovered sofas “Square Grand” from the PB Comfort collection: Pottery Barn; 800/922-5507; (product line varies).
    Rug custom: Yonan Carpet One;
    Chandelier “Choros Chandelier” by Barry Goralnick: Circa Lighting; 877/762-2323;
    Drapery fabric: Kravet; 800/645-9068;
    Check pillows on sofas “Victor”: CB2; 800/606-6252;
    Side tables: homeowners’ collection.

  • Werner Straube

    Family Office

    “I love to decorate for Christmas,” Lauren says. “But I appreciate that this house doesn’t beg for anything over the top. Our family can express our creativity but keep it simple. To me, this time of year is about being cozy together, with a sense of calm and stillness.”

    A custom wallcovering from Spoonflower in oversize plaid sets a creative mood. Chairs covered in faux fur inject the laboratory of imagination with texture and sass.  

    Wallcovering custom: Spoonflower;
    Marble countertops: Exotic Marble and Tile; 888/763-4015;
    Cabinetry: HCI Cabinetry, St. Charles, Illinois; 630/584-0266.
    Cabinet hardware custom design: Classic Brass; 800/869-3173; (for a retailer near you).
    Pendant lights “Goodman Hanging Shade” by Thomas O’Brien: Circa Lighting; 877/762-2323;

  • Werner Straube

    Master Bedroom

    The dramatic high pitch of the ceiling softly contrasts a calming palette of ivory, gray, and black. A quiet diamond motif introduces pattern behind the  bed, upholstered in crushed velvet. 

    Chandelier “Cannele” by Jonathan Browning: RH Modern;
    Drapery fabric: Kravet; 800/645-9068;
    Bed custom: Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors, Inc., Lake Bluff, Illinois; 847/234-2336;
    Bedding: Sferra;
    Bedside tables “Conrad Double Nightstand” in custom color: Made Goods;
    Table lamps: homeowners’ collection.

  • Werner Straube

    Bunk Room

    This kid-friendly space buzzes with contemporary vibes from geometric-pattern carpet, a knit pouf, and a wiry chandelier by Jonathan Browning for RH Modern.   

    Cabinetry custom: homeowners’ collection.
    Poufs similar available as “Knitted Graphite Pouf”: CB2; 800/606-6252;
    Rug similar available as “Hadera”: Stark Carpet Corp.; 800/752-9000;

  • Gordon Beall