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New Home in Navy and Indigo

A generous use of color amps up the energy in this Illinois home

Written by Candace Ord Manroe
  • Werner Straube

    Bespoke walnut moldings, French antiques, and fabulous fabrics are just a few of the features interior designer Megan Winters tapped to transform a Lake Forest, Illinois, builder’s spec house into a home rich with character. Yet jaw-dropping beauty is not the laurel on which this designer prefers to rest. “Yes, I think the rooms are beautiful, but the reason the home is a success is because it’s a reflection of the family and the things they love,” she explains.

    Rest assured, these active homeowners—Julie and Michael Eckert and their three children, ages 12, 15, and 19—have a plethora of passions. Winters not only kept pace but was often a step ahead.

    Take color. Winters gave Julie first dibs on the house’s palette. The full-time mom was the one likely to spend the most time at home. “Navy blue is my favorite color, so Megan wanted to use it throughout the house,” Julie says. “But I said, ‘It’s hard.’ Her response was, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll get it’—and she did.”

    Thanks to the designer’s cool confidence, Julie’s beloved blue-and-white palette connects every room—from the foyer’s color blocks of navy and white linen covering antique seating to the living room’s ikat and Chinese jar-patterned fabrics. “Julie loves every iteration of blue,” notes Winters, who strayed slightly from the predominant navies and indigos to a lighter yet still rich variation for the living room’s grass-cloth walls. “It’s a hard color to describe, but it makes the walls sing,” she says.

    Grass cloth is a theme replayed throughout the spaces. “Before, there wasn’t a single wallcovering. Nothing but paint,” says Winters. “I told them the house needed texture. They learned a lot about layering.”

    In the dining room, she dipped down to a dark navy grass cloth to envelop the space with drama. Overhead, she created a counterpoint of sparkle with the ceiling’s gold-leaf grid. A crystal chandelier illuminates the homeowners’ Chinese export collection, displayed in an antique English cabinet. A pair of old wooden chairs came from a church in England.

    In the master bedroom—which actually was one of the two rooms Winters was initially retained to design—the designer lightened up the look with a sandy-hued grass cloth on the walls. White bed linens and white window shades reinforce the clean look, featuring only a smidgeon of navy blue accents on the bed’s monogrammed pillows and the trim defining the shades.

    “The Eckerts are happy, energetic people, and their home needed to feel the same,” says Winters. She rid the windows of heavy draperies and let in light with variously styled custom shades. In the family room, trunks serve as side tables for an easygoing look. She also replaced gray carpet with sisal rugs for additional textural interest.

    “I’m big on rooms flowing together,” Winters says. “An easy, economical way to get that is with sisal rugs and runners. In this home, they serve as a response to the smoothness and formality of  the new moldings.”

    Michael, CEO of a global interactive display manufacturer, got plenty of perks in the design. “He’s the family chef, and he wanted a cook’s kitchen,” says Winters, who reconfigured the space with a more  efficient work triangle and replaced the “big block” island with a more navigable one that allows the family to gather as Michael cooks. Throughout the Eckerts’ home, total accessibility for a trio of children is paramount. “Even our master bedroom includes a conversation area that is inviting to the kids, who always end up gathering here,” Julie says.

    Both Julie and Michael got their own offices in the redesign. Michael, a passionate sailor, enjoys the eight antique pond yachts displayed on the newly paneled walls of his office. He balked at having three crystal chandeliers in the home, so Winters suggested adorning the center-hall foyer with a masculine carved-bronze French antique chandelier. “Michael said he wanted a ‘mandelier,’ ” laughs Julie, “and he got it.”

    “Despite some fine French pieces, the house doesn’t feel too precious,” suggests Winters. “It feels like the Eckert family. And the Eckert family rocks.”

    Interior design: Megan Winters, project manager: Kimberly Dahl, Megan Winters Atelier and Maison, 675 Forest Ave., Lake Forest, IL 60045; 847/295-1675, 

    Photography: Werner Straube

    Paint (“Super White”): Benjamin Moore,
    Sisal rug (“Madagascar”/Tupelo): Merida,
    Window treatment (custom); loveseat (custom): Megan Winters Maison,
    Roman-shade and pillow fabric (“Vasi”/Sea of Blue #1030069558, by Travers): Zimmer + Rohde,
    Loveseat fabric, back (“Madison Linen”/Cloud #32330.101): Kravet,
    Loveseat fabric, cushion and pillow (“Saphia”/Ocean #FW135/03, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Pedestals; carved busts: antique.
    Pair of chairs; 3-piece coffee table: Megan Winters Maison,
    Chair fabric (“Madison”/Cloud #32330.101): Kravet,
    Pillows on chairs (“Les Touches”/Blue #8012138.5): Brunschwig & Fils,
    Chandelier: Keil’s Antiques,  

  • Werner Straube

    Living Room

    A Ralph Lauren “Acacia Grass” wallcovering in French blue enriches the room, along with shades fabricated in a Travers linen with a pattern of Chinese export vases, which the homeowners collect. Chair pillows are covered in “Les Touches” by Brunschwig & Fils. Accent fabric on the vintage Jansen bergères is “Saphia” by Designers Guild. 

    Wallcovering (“Acacia Grass”/French Blue #LWP62741W): Ralph Lauren Home,
    Mantel; mirror above mantel (antique, Louis-Philippe style); accessories on mantel (collection of Baccarat crystal spheres and finials with bronze hardware); tables in front of windows (vintage, gilt bronze); candelabra on tables: Megan Winters Maison,
    Sconces: Keil’s Antiques,
    Roman shades (“Vasi”/Sea of Blue #1030069558, by Travers): Zimmer + Rohde,
    Window treatment (custom): Megan Winters Maison,
    Chairs flanking mantel (custom); round side tables (antique Bagues gilt bronze bar carts); coffee table (antique gilt bronze French table with black glass top): Megan Winters Maison,
    Chair fabric, plain (“Madison Linen”/Cloud #32330.101): Kravet,
    Patterned fabric on chairs and pillows (“Saphia”/Ocean #FW135/03, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,

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    English antique benches covered in Kravet’s “Madison Linen” cluster around an 1800s table.

    Chandelier: Keil’s Antiques,
    Pedestal table: owner’s collection.
    Benches around table: Megan Winters Maison,
    Bench fabric (“Madison Linen”/Ink #32330.50, and “Madison Linen”/Cloud #32330.101): Kravet,
    Accessories on table (antique collection of Blue-and-White): Candace Barnes Antiques,
    Flowers: Art Quest,  

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    Blue-and-White China

    A collection of blue-and-white vases are displayed in a wooden cabinet, carrying the home's repeating palette into the dining room.

    See more of the dining room on the following slides.

  • Werner Straube

    Dining Room

    “Haruki Sisal” by Schumacher covers the walls; Stark’s dramatic “Hand-Hammered Gold Leaf” dresses the ceiling. 

    Wallcovering (“Haruki Sisal”/Indigo #5004722); Schumacher,
    Ceiling wallcovering (“Hand-Hammered Gold Leaf” #WTO GA3): Stark Wallcovering,
    Chandelier; sconces: Keil’s Antiques,
    Sisal rug (“Madagascar”/Tupelo): Merida,
    Dining table; dining chairs; landscape painting (antique); server (antique); dinnerware; stemware; flatware: owner’s collection.
    Chair-seat fabric (“Madison Linen”/Ink #32330.50): Kravet,
    Chair-seat trim (“French Grosgrain Ribbon”/White): Samuel & Sons,
    Picture light (“Dorchester”/Antique Burnished Brass): Circa Lighting,
    Mirror over server (antique, Louis Philippe); placemats; chargers; napkins and napkin rings: Megan Winters Maison,
    Cabinet; chairs flanking cabinet: owner’s collection.
    Blue-and-white urns in cabinet: Megan Winters Maison,

  • Werner Straube

    Dining Room Server

    An antique server in the dining room matches the classic look of the table and chairs. A large mirror above reflects the ceiling's gold tint.

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    A handsome wooden desk is appointed with nautical polished nickel desk lamps. Framed by the window behind is a large antique wooden sailboat. 

    See more of the office on the following slide.

    Paneling (custom); finish (custom color stain): Megan Winters,
    Sailing ships: Briggs House Antiques,
    Wall sconces (“Singleton Sconce”/Polished Nickel #RL2600PN), ceiling lights (“Marine Porthole Light”/Polished Nickel #RL19026PN): Ralph Lauren Home,
    Settees (custom): Megan Winters,
    Settee fabric, cream (“Province Duck”/White #2634481): Schumacher,
    Settee fabric, blue (“Great Hall Ottoman”/Navy #LCF64294F), desk lamps (“Carthage Table Lamp”/Polished Nickel #RL11094PN): Ralph Lauren Home,
    Desk; desk chair: owner’s collection.

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    Office Sofas

    Antique pond yachts sail on wood paneling.

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    Family Room

    The designer replaced heavy window treatments with custom shades in Pindler & Pindler fabric to lighten the space. Fireplace chairs are covered in “Rajah” by Cowtan & Tout. 

    Wallcovering: existing.
    Fireplace: original to house.
    Firescreen; ladderback chair; area rug; coffee table; landscape painting; bookshelves: owner’s collection.
    Roman shades (“Dunmore”/Custard #1517): Pindler & Pindler,
    Horse sculptures on mantel: Megan Winters Maison,
    Mirror over fireplace: Keil’s Antiques,
    Pair of armless chairs in front of fireplace (custom); pair of sofas (custom); pair of lounge chairs (custom): Megan Winters, megan​
    Fabric on armless chairs (“Rajah”/Beige #11028-01): Cowtan & Tout,
    Floor lamps: owner’s collection.
    Hurricanes on coffee table; pair of trunks; lights over bookshelves (“Anette Library Light”/Polished Nickel #RL2270PN) Ralph Lauren Home,
    Sofa fabric (“Classic Corduroy”/Deep Sea #67284): Schumacher,
    Pillows on sofa (“Saphia”/Ocean #FW135/03, by ​​Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Lounge-chair fabric (“Corbet”/Blue #26423-002): Scalamandré,
    Chair trim: Samuel & Sons,

  • Werner Straube

    Breakfast Room

    Benjamin Moore’s “Super White” brightens walls. The comfy chairs are from RH, and the handsome nickel-and-leather chandelier is by Ralph Lauren.

    Striped rug (“Blue & White Buche Wool Flatweave Carpet”): Madeline Weinrib,
    Dining table: owner’s collection.
    Dining chairs (“Deconstructed Slope Arm Dining Chair”); chair fabric (burlap and linen): Restoration Hardware,
    Chandelier (“Westbury Double Tier Chandelier”/Polished Nickel and Leather #RL5183PN-L); Roman shades (“St. Kitts Paisley”/Indigo #LFY29830F); hurricanes on table: Ralph Lauren Home,  

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    Hallway Details

    A wall of blue-and-white plates arranged in an eye-catching formation guides visitors into the kitchen.

  • Werner Straube


    Crisp white walls and cabinetry with plated nickel details keep the kitchen bright and inviting. A large custom range hood designed by Winters stands out against the ceramic wall tiles behind. 

    See more of the kitchen on the following slide.

    Cabinetry (custom): Megan Winters,
    Cabinetry hardware (custom): Al Bar Wilmette,
    Ceramic wall tile (“Streamline” 3x6-inch/Crisp White #60501): Florida Tile,
    Range (60-inch): Viking,
    Range hood (custom): Megan Winters,
    Pot-filler faucet (polished nickel): Rohl,
    Hardwood flooring: existing.
    Perimeter countertop: premium white statuary marble, honed.
    Island countertop: Nero Marquina marble, polished.
    Chandelier over island (“Westbury Double Tier Chandelier”/Polished Nickel and Leather #RL5183PN-L); Roman shades (“St. Kitts Paisley”/Indigo #LFY29830F): Ralph Lauren Home,
    Faucet (“Traditional Extended Reach Pulldown Faucet” #5500-PN PLP): Waterstone Faucets,

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    Kitchen Bar

    A marble backsplash and countertops boast white veins that contrast against the rich tones of the bar area.

    Cabinetry (custom); cabinetry finish (solid walnut, custom color stain by Megan Winters); ladder (custom): Megan Winters,
    Cabinetry hardware (custom, polished nickel): Al Bar Wilmette,
    Countertop and backsplash: Nero Marquina marble.
    Wine Coolers (by Sub-Zero): Sub-Zero/Wolf,
    Faucets (wall mounted, polished nickel):  Rohl,
    Crests (antique English tapestry embroidered crests): Megan W inters Maison,  

  • Werner Straube


    The Eckerts' home sits on a shaded lot in Lake Forest, Illinois.

  • Werner Straube


    Julie and Michael Eckert with designer Megan Winters (right).

  • Werner Straube

    Master Bedroom

    Schumacher’s “Sachi Root” in multi-tan brings texture to walls. Winters stood her ground for the antique Baccarat crystal chandelier, which the couple now agrees is the room’s pièce de résistance. Yves Delorme bed pillows are monogrammed with navy stitching. 

    Wallcovering (“Sachi Root Multi”/Tan #5002212): Schumacher,
    Chandelier: Keil’s Antiques,
    Bed (“Brighton California King Bed”): Mike Bell Inc. Antiques & Reproductions,
    Bed linens; monogrammed pillow: Yves Delorme,
    Bed cover; Roman shades (“Cumulus”/Pear #ED85071.100, by Threads): Lee Jofa,
    Roman-shade trim (“French Grosgrain Ribbon”/Navy): Samuel & Sons,
    Art behind bed: owner’s collection.
    Bedside tables (vintage gilt bronze mount marble ​gueridons): Candace Barnes Antiques,
    Flowers: Art Quest,
    Loveseat (custom): Megan Winters,
    Loveseat fabric (“Slendang”/Blue, White #10304-90, Ikat): Nobilis,

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    Master Bedroom Desk

    A vintage Maison Jansen writing table and Jansen stools add a sense of fun.  

    Mantel (custom); chairs flanking mantel (custom): Megan Winters,
    Chair fabric (“Brera,” and “Varese”/Marine #F1190, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Pillows on chairs (“Slendang”/Blue, White #10304-90, Ikat): Nobilis,
    Sconces; box on table: Keil’s Antiques,
    Art above mantel: owner’s collection.
    Vases on mantel; urns in fireplace: Megan Winters Maison,
    Table (Maison Jansen); stools (Maison Jansen); blue-and-white urns on table (antique): Greenwich Living Antiques, greenwich​
    Stool fabric (discontinued): Cowtan & Tout,  

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    Master Bath

    Gilded étagères, gilt benches from France, and custom gilt mirrors create sparkle. “Cumulus” fabric from Threads for Lee Jofa covers the benches; window treatment is in “Slendang” fabric from Nobilis.  

    Flooring (polished statuary marble): existing.
    Chandelier: Keil’s Antiques,
    Roman shades (“Slendang”/Blue, White #10304-909, Ikat): Nobilis,
    Pair of étagères: Megan Winters Maison,
    Tub; tub faucets; vanity; sink; sink faucets: Kohler,
    Mirrors (custom); benches (custom); cabinetry (custom): Megan Winters,
    Bench fabric (“Cumulus”/Polar #ED85071.100, by Threads): Lee Jofa,
    Cabinetry hardware (polished brass): Whitechapel Ltd.,