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Bill and Giuliana Rancic's Chicago Home

Giuliana and Bill Rancic cue a fresh take on life in Bill’s old hometown 

Written and produced by Krissa Rossbund
  • Werner Straube

    Don’t even try to give Bill and Giuliana Rancic the old line that you can’t go home again. This is one couple who write their own script—and Chicago is definitely their kind of town. It’s where Bill grew up and where family and friends roll out a red carpet that’s very different from the ones that Giuliana frequents in her role as an anchor for “E! Live From the Red Carpet” specials. “We have such a rich social life in Chicago,” Giuliana says. “That just wasn’t the case in Los Angeles—it seemed like one giant office with great weather.”

    So when an 1880s brownstone went on the market in the Windy City’s Gold Coast neighborhood—where the couple once lived part-time—Bill and Giuliana jumped at the chance to purchase it and call Chicago home again. 

    These two are masters of new ventures. Bill, an entrepreneur and real estate developer, is also an author and recently a Food Network host. In addition to her work on E!, Giuliana designs a clothing line for HSN, has introduced her own wine collection, and has written three books, including a new memoir, Going Off Script. Did we mention they also own Chicago restaurants RPM Italian and RPM Steak? Doing it all in their work lives meant they could use a hand when it came to reinventing their new house. Giuliana knew exactly who she wanted for the role: Lonni Paul, the designer behind the welcoming interiors of their home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.

    Paul’s first challenge was to address the brownstone’s narrow, vertically driven architecture and delineate space so excessive trips up and down the stairs were eliminated.

    Bill and Giuliana Rancic’s renovated brownstone in downtown Chicago was built in the 1880s.  

    Photography: Werner Straube

    Interior designer: Lonni Paul, Lonni Paul Design, 310/475-2022, lonnipauldesign.com.  

  • Werner Straube

    Light and Lovely

    Her second hurdle was the palette. The designer needed a cohesive flow to suit the house: The main level streams from living room to dining room to kitchen, then elevates to the family room and outdoor patio, all within the sight line from the entry foyer.

    Paul’s solution was to reinterpret the couple’s beloved blue color scheme to suit the sometimes-cloudy Chicago weather, so unlike the L.A. sunshine that the Rancics were accustomed to. “I used blue in California to tribute the water,” Paul says. “But in this rowhouse, which doesn’t allow light to pour in from either side, the blue functioned as a tool to create light and airiness that wouldn’t read heavy and dull when the sky turned cold and gray.”

    Pale blue infuses the living room, decorated in traditional fabrics that include floral linen for the window panels, windowpane-plaid on a pair of wing chairs, and wide blue-and-gray stripes covering an ottoman. The soft color scheme, which also includes plenty of mood-lifting white, allows a bold, graphic Tony Tasset painting hung above the fireplace to command attention.

    Designer Lonni Paul chose pale blue and ivory in the living room with fabrics including a floral linen by Lee Jofa used to make window panels, and a Vervain stripe on the ottoman. The chandelier is from Circa, and the rug is from Stark. 

    Wall paint (“Classic Gray” #1548): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
    Trim paint (“White Heat” #DEW338): Dunn-Edwards, dunnedwards.com.
    Drapery, sofa pillow (“Parnham”/Blue, Oyster #BFC-3519/516, by Blithfield): Lee Jofa, leejofa.com.
    Mantel (custom): Lonni Paul Design, lonnipauldesign.com.
    Sconces flanking mantel (“Small Georgian Hurricane Wall Sconce” #CHD2102): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
    Art over mantel (Arrow Painting 11, by Tony Tasset): Kavi Gupta Gallery, kavigupta.com.
    White urns on mantel (“Larissa Urn” #DS9005, by Windsor Smith): Arteriors, arteriorshome.com.
    Fire screen (“Langeais Fire Screen,” by Jonathan Browning): Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com.
    Fire tools: Wilshire Fireplace, wilshirefireplace.com.
    Console, left of mantel: Bernhardt, bernhardt.com.
    Chandelier (“Classic Ring Chandelier” #SL5812): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
    Area rug: Stark, starkcarpet.com. Sofa (“Thomas”): Reagan Hayes, reaganhayes.com.
    Sofa fabric (“Broadway”/Oyster #66991): Schumacher, fschumacher.com.
    Blue-and-white geometric pillow on sofa (“Moro” #2168/05, by No. 9 Thompson): Jim Thompson Fabrics, jimthompsonfabrics.com.
    Side table by sofa (“Sheridan Cocktail Table,” by Jonathan Browning): Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com.
    Ottoman (“Radcliffe Rectangular Ottoman” #SRC56 CH NO SK): Kravet, kravet.com.
    Ottoman fabric (“Portofino 06” #4644206 ): Vervain, vervain.com.
    Tray on ottoman : Made Goods, madegoods.com.
    Lead crystal candleholders on tray (“Oslo Pillar Holder”): Crate & Barrel, crateandbarrel.com.
    Wing chairs (“Josephine” #1529-55, by Suzanne Kasler): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
    Chair fabric (“Corsica”/Sky #11152-05): Cowtan & Tout, cowtan.com.
    Pillows on wing chairs (“Parterre”/Gulf Stream #3486/02): Jim Thompson fabrics, jimthompsonfabrics.com.
    Round table between chairs (“Cricket Side Table,” by Ironies); statue on table (Female Walking, by Corbin Bronze): Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com.
    Round table by window: Hellman-Chang, hellman-chang.com.
    Shutters: Hunter Douglas, hunterdouglas.com

  • Werner Straube

    Blue Dining Room

    In the adjacent dining room, the blues intensify to cobalt and indigo. A dynamic damask pattern wraps the walls above classic white wainscoting. Dining chairs covered in rich blue velvet team with a patterned floral rug underfoot to support the color theme, which sees the blues fade away as it goes to gleaming all-white in the adjoining kitchen.

    Artwork by Hunt Slonem features bunnies that are painted on a base of indigo-colored diamond dust. The piece adds shimmer to the room and nods to the grand sparkle of a floating chandelier from Windfall Contemporary Crystal Lighting.

    Wallpaper (“Kashgar”/Zinc #P619/07, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little, designersguild.com.
    Wall paint (“White Heat” #DEW338): Dunn-Edwards, dunnedwards.com.
    Area rug: Stark, starkcarpet.com.
    Chandelier (Balance Collection): Windfall Contemporary Crystal Lighting, windfall-gmbh.com.
    Dining table (“Aberdeen” #740-70): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
    Host chairs (“Haven” #346-562); side chairs (“Haven” #346-561): Bernhardt, bernhardt.com.
    Chair fabric (“Versailles” #E25602): Kravet, kravet.com.
    Centerpiece bowl (“Millicent Large Centerpiece” #6805): Arteriors, arteriorshome.com.
    Console table (“Meridian Console”): Hellman-Chang, hellman-chang.com.
    Mirror above console (“Lauren”): Bradley, bradley-usa.com.
    Art (by Hunt Slonem): Jean Albano Gallery, jeanalbanogallery.com.  

  • Werner Straube

    Crisp White Kitchen

    The veining of Calacatta marble adds an electric presence to the all-white kitchen. A Wolf range is a necessary tool for the family gatherings and holidays that the Rancics host. 

    Wall and cabinet paint (“White Heat” #DEW338): Dunn-Edwards, dunnedwards.com.
    Countertop and backsplash: Calacatta marble.
    Cabinetry (custom, “Lonni” door style): Hartmark Design & Cabinet Mfg. Inc., hartmark.com.
    Cabinetry hardware: Emtek, emtek.com.
    Lights over island (“Medium Round Edwardian Entry Lantern” #CHC3423): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
    Counter stools (“Windsor”): Restoration Hardware, rh.com.
    Microwave in island; range: Wolf, subzero-wolf.com.
    Marble bowl by range (“French Kitchen Marble Fruit Bowl”); ceramic apples: Crate & Barrel, crateandbarrel.com.
    Urn on island ( “Woodford Tall C’pote” #43-0226A): Chelsea House, chelseahouseinc.com.
    Wire basket: owner’s collection.
    Flooring (“Seine,” Riverstone Collection): DuChateau, duchateau.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Breakfast Room

    A built-in banquette provides seating on one side of the kitchen table, while a pair of versatile ottomans on the other side can be moved to suit different functions in the space. 

    Built-in banquette (custom): Lonni Paul Design, lonnipauldesign.com.
    Banquette hardware: Emtek, emtek.com.
    Banquette cushion (#71047-209 in Mist): Duralee, duralee.com.
    Pillows (by Missoni Home): AllModern, allmodern.com.
    Table (custom): CFC, customfurniturela.com
    Tray on table (“Logan”): Made Goods, madegoods.com.
    Bucket with flowers: owner’s collection.
    Pair of ottomans (“Etienne Ottoman,” by Gregorius Pineo); ottoman fabric (“Rive Droite”/Lin #F2686003, by Pierre Frey): Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com.
    Wall sconces (“Boston Functional Library Two Arm Wall Light” #SL2923): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
    Television: Samsung, samsung.com.  

  • Werner Straube

    Breakfast Room

    Like color, art plays a big role in the home’s design. Art aficionados Giuliana and Bill evaluated the works of emerging artists as well as more established counterparts to discover pieces that spoke to them and enhanced their decorative style. One of their favorite finds presides over the breakfast room’s seating area—an image of a limousine printed on a 120-inch-wide pink sponge. For Giuliana, this piece by Adam McEwen evokes a specific moment in pop culture.

    “When I began collecting, it was suggested to me that I start with artists from my generation,” the 41-year-old says. “In my youth, the limousine represented wealth and status. It was chic to pull up in a stretch limo. Now, the limousine is somewhat archaic, and high-profile event transportation happens in a black SUV.”

    A Lee Industries tufted ottoman contrasts the geometric chevron of the rug. The floor lamp is by Ralph Lauren.

    Wallpaper (“Manilla Hemp”/Bliss #5235): Phillip Jeffries, phillipjeffries.com.
    Ceiling and trim paint (“White Heat” #DEW338): Dunn-Edwards, dunnedwards.com.
    Area rug (“Torsa”/Smoke); sofa (“Allegro” #7L I 74 TF); sofa fabric (“Sumptuous Gray” #31195.11): Kravet, kravet.com.
    Pillows (by Missoni Home): AllModern, allmodern.com.
    Floor lamp (“Ashcroft Floor Lamp” #RL1209, by Ralph Lauren Home): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
    Round table, right of sofa (“Eden Side Table,” by Ironies); statue on table (Hiero Woman, by Corbin Bronze): Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com.
    Photograph above sofa (by Adam McEwen): Gagosian Gallery, gagosian.com.
    Ottoman (#1613-90): Lee Industries, leeindustries.com.
    Ottoman fabric (“Whippersnapper”/Chalk #925-224): Perennials, perennialsfabrics.com.
    Blanket (“Avalon”): Hermès, usa.hermes.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Deck

    Just steps from the kitchen is the spacious deck. A brick fireplace breaks the wooden grid of the lattice walls on the outdoor space. 

    Lanterns on stairs (“Duomo”): Restoration Hardware, rh.com.
    Planters: Home Depot, homedepot.com.
    Television: owner’s collection.

  • Werner Straube

    Deck

    Ample deck space provides room for an outdoor dining area. Heat lamps installed in the ceiling above make it usable even in cooler weather. “The outdoors is what they loved about California,” says Paul.

  • Werner Straube

    Library

    A sophisticated gray palette rules in the library where subtle patterns add interest. The sofa from Kravet pulls out into a queen sized bed, perfect for accomodating extra guests. 

     

    Shutters: Hunter Douglas, hunterdouglas.com

  • Werner Straube

    Master Bedroom

    A vaulted ceiling and rustic beams add volume and detail to the master bedroom. A pair of alabaster lamps from Circa Lighting, inlaid mother of pearl mirrors from Serena & Lily, and bedside tables from Bernhardt create symmetry on either side of the wood-and-iron bed, also from Bernhardt. Drapery fabric is from Duralee. Silk wallpaper is from Phillip Jeffries.

    Wallpaper (“Solstice Silk”/Teal Equinox #3346 ): Phillip Jeffries, phillipjeffries.com.
    Ceiling paint (“White Heat” #DEW338): Dunn-Edwards, dunnedwards.com.
    Chandelier (“Montmartre” #CHC1554); table lamps (“Michelangelo Table Lamp” #TOB3362, by Thomas O’Brien): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
    Area rug (“Concerto”): Restoration Hardware, rh.com
    Drapery (“Baroque/Chambray #800273H-157, by Highland Court); sheers (“Gino”/Linen #F0415-3, by Clarke & Clarke): Duralee, duralee.com.
    Drapery hardware: custom.
    Bed (“Auberge Poster Bed with Metal Canopy”); bench (“Belgian Oak Bench” #337-508); bedside tables (“Auberge Chest” #351-033A): Bernhardt, bernhardt.com.
    Bench fabric (“Time and Again”/Sterling #29479.1615): Kravet, kravet.com.
    Bed linens; duvet; scalloped bedspread: Schweitzer Linen, schweitzerlinen.com.
    Mirrors (“Maya Inlay Mirror”): Serena & Lily, serenaandlily.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Master Bedroom

    For the artwork in the master bedroom, architecture teams up with technology—and represents the fully charged, plugged-in activity of this social-media-savvy couple’s existence. Digital photographs, taken by Kevin Lynch and intended to be hung horizontally, were cropped and stretched to fit vertical insets that flank the white fireplace. The oceanic hue of the images complements the luxe blue silk wallcovering.

    Chairs (custom); mantel (custom): Lonni Paul Design, lonnipauldesign.com.
    Chair fabric (“Brisley Stripe”/Pale Blue #J685F-16, by Jane Churchill): Cowtan & Tout, cowtan.com.
    Pillows on chairs (“Sedona”): Ankasa, ankasa.com.
    Area rug (“Concerto”): Restoration Hardware, rh.com.
    Coffee table (“Bronze Stool,” by Formations): Holly Hunt, hollyhunt.com.
    Urns on mantel (“Onyx Vessel” #AM-640X): Noir, noirfurniturela.com.
    Television: Samsung, samsung.com.
    Photographs: Kevin Lynch Photography, kevinlynchstudios.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Master Bathroom

    A work of art in itself, the airy two-story master bath/closet suite features a marble-capped tub and a huge shower that showcases a tile design that Paul created—in shades of blue, of course. Cabinets along the walls are fitted with rods, drawers, and shelves to organize the fashionable homeowners’ wardrobes. 

    “We debated between glass or mirror fronts on the cabinets,” says Giuliana, who dresses to the hilt for her lavish E! assignments. “But I don’t keep pieces that I don’t wear. I edit my things often, and knew that the cabinets would be visually organized.”

    The two-story master bath/closet features tile from Walker Zanger. Plumbing fixtures are by Hansgrohe. Wing chairs from Bernhardt are covered in blue linen. 

    Paint (“Cool December” #DEW383): Dunn-Edwards, dunnedwards.com.
    Bathtub; tub faucets; rain shower; vanity faucets (“Axor Montreux Widespread Faucet with Cross Handles”): Hansgrohe, hansgrohe-usa.com.
    Tub surround: White Venetian marble.
    Ottoman (custom):Lonni Paul Design, lonnipauldesign.com.
    Ottoman fabric (#32186.1): Kravet, kravet.com.
    Patterned tile on shower wall (“Cabana”/Cadet Blue, Jet Set Collection): Walker Zanger, walkerzanger.com.
    Shower surround: custom.
    Vanity cabinets (custom, “Lonni” door style): Hartmark Design & Cabinet Mfg. Inc., hartmark.com.
    Cabinetry hardware: Emtek, emtek.com.
    Wall sconces (“Reed Double Sconce” #TOB2126, by Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Closet Space

    Light flows through a glass-encased opening that looks up into a series of closets on the top floor, used for storing special-occasion and off-season garments.

    Closets and doors (custom): Lonni Paul Design, lonnipauldesign.com.
    Wall paint (“Classic Gray” #1548): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
    Trim paint (“White Heat” #DEW338): Dunn-Edwards, dunnedwards.com.
    Flooring (“Seine,” Riverstone Collection): DuChateau, duchateau.com.
    Wing chairs (Marisa” #B1813): Bernhardt, bernhardt.com.
    Fabric (“Forenza”/Steel Blue #7558-39): Romo, romo.com.
    Pillows in wing chairs (“Parnham”/Blue, White #BFC-3519.15 ): Lee Jofa, leejofa.com.
    Table between chairs (“Pegas Side Table”/White Weathered #GTAB349WW): Noir, noirfurniturela.com.
    Banquette cushion (“Newport”/Sky #11137-04): Cowtan & Tout, cowtan.com.
    Throw pillow (“Forenza”/Steel Blue #7558-39): Romo, romo.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Child's Room

    Although Paul’s design polished the interiors with elegant flair, she credits the entire team, especially contractor Bert Connolly, for helping to execute the vision. Bill agrees, and also gives a tip of the hat to his native Chicago for providing the family with an active, down-to-earth life where he and Giuliana can establish their roots and raise their 3-year-old son, Duke. 

    Custom wallpaper featuring vintage planes adorns the walls in Duke's room. Books, toys, and artwork decorate the bookcase.

  • Werner Straube

    Playroom

    Letters above the television in the playroom say it all—this is Duke's place. Comicbook posters and primary color seating pieces bring a happy dose of color to the space.

  • Werner Straube

    Guest Room

    Pink wallpaper from Mary McDonald for Schumacher departs from the home’s blue theme. “This pink has a masculinity to it and reads as the color of a gentleman’s shirt, not a party dress for a little girl,” Paul says.  

    Wallpaper (“Chinois Palais”/Blush Conch #5007121, by Mary McDonald): Schumacher, fschumacher.com.
    Window-shade and bed (custom): Lonni Paul Design, lonnipauldesign.com.
    Bed fabric (#32260.106): Kravet, kravet.com.
    Striped bed cover; duvet: Schweitzer Linen, schweitzerlinen.com.
    Bedside tables (“Empire Rosette Closed Nightstand”): Restoration Hardware, rh.com.
    Table lamps (“Noble Estate Large Vase Table Lamp” #RL14072, by Ralph Lauren Home): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
    Carpet (custom, sisal): Melrose Carpets, melrosecarpet.com.
    Chair (“Le Clerc Side Chair” #9711-23): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
    Chair fabric (“Sophia Velvet”/Taupe #68158): Schumacher, fschumacher.com.  

  • Werner Straube

    Media Room

    A pair of chaise lounges and an extra long sofa provide ample seating in the media room. 

  • Werner Straube

    Bill and Giuliana Rancic

    “This city has everything to offer, including a community of people with strong Midwestern values,” Bill says of his hometown, and especially their neighborhood, within walking distance of shops, their restaurants, and Lake Michigan. “We knew the family who lived here before, and they put a great vibe in this house that we hope to continue. We’ve always had one foot here, and now we have two. Finally, we’re home.” 

  • Michael Garland

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