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Sophisticated Lake Forest Showhouse

Designers transform a gorgeous Chicago-area home

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • Werner Straube

    Since 1985, the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens has featured the talents of area designers to raise more than $3 million for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. The 2013 showhouse—set in an Italianate mansion built in 1916 by prolific Chicago-area architect David Adler—is poised for stylish transformations by 26 design firms. Open April 27 through May 19. For information, visit lakeforestshowhouse.com.

    Shown here, designer Gail Plechaty’s living room is dressy without apology. Its design—inspired by the famed salons of Paris—makes no attempt to relax the inherent formality of the chamber; rather, it enthusiastically celebrates its classical proportions and rich ornamentation.

    But intimidate it does not. “I didn’t want traditional sofas and chairs centered around the fireplace,” Plechaty explains. “I wanted to expand traditional arrangements of furniture to create intimate gathering spaces.”

    Plechaty was guided by symmetry as she placed appointments throughout the stately room. A grand presentation of botanical prints hangs between soaring windows dressed in luxurious silk panels. The coral color of the prints echoes the hue in the rug that grounds a marble-topped coffee table and a pair of Louis XVI chairs flanking a sofa slipcovered in ivory cotton.

    See more from this room on the following slides.

    Photography: Werner Straube
    Produced by Hilary Rose
    Interior design: Gail Plechaty, Real Simple Design, 17405 E. Millburn Rd., Old Mill Creek, IL 60083; 847/507-4000.

    Sofa: vintage.
    Sofa and fabric on oblong pillow (“Tamika Silks”/Pearl #3032): Harlequin, 201/339-0500, harlequin.uk.com. Through Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com.
    Pillow trim (“Le Musée Silk Woven”/Putty Melange #977-27894-667): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, samuelandsons.com.
    Side chairs (Louis XVI-style, custom): Elizabeth Dow, 631/267-3401, elizabethdow.com.
    Chair fabric, front (“Cross Weave”/Ivory #NC0850-003): Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com.
    Chair fabric, back (“Seaton Stripe”/Salt & Pepper #1161/06, by Classic Cloth): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-7200, dessinfournir.com.
    Trim (“Le Musée Silk Gimp”/Putty Melange #982-28842-667): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, samuelandsons.com.
    Coffee table (Louis XVI-style): custom.
    Rug under coffee table (antique Ghiordes, 5x9 feet): Minasian Rug Co., 847/864-1010, minasian.com.
    Sconces: original to house.
    Framed coral prints: antique.
    Grey drapery (“Academy Satin”/Grey #36288-003): Scalamandré, 800/932-4361, scalamandre.com.
    Cream drapery (“Tamika Silks”/Pearl #3032): Harlequin, 201/339-0500, harlequin.uk.com. Through Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com.
    Drapery hardware (Versailles Collection): Brimar, 800/274-1205, brimarinc.com.
    Drapery trim (“Le Musée Silk Woven”/Putty Melange #977-27894-667): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, samuelandsons.com.
    Paint (custom color): Socko Painting & Decorating, 847/854-8474, sockopainting.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Living Room

    A sophisticated, understated gray bathes the perimeters, showcasing the rich architectural details. The shell also provides a glamorous backdrop for furniture covered in civilized shades of ivory, classic and modern artwork, and arresting exterior views.

    Alluding to the warm tones in the botanical prints, a round table draped in decadent coral velvet damask rests in the room’s center. A tailored chaise with a simple, graceful profile and matching carved armchairs are spotlighted in a corner. Above, a classic oil painting emphasizes the height of the grand space.

    Paint (custom color): Socko Painting & Decorating, 847/854-8474, sockopainting.com.
    Chandelier (“Danieli”/Venetian Silver Leaf): Niermann Weeks, 212/319-7979, niermannweeks.com.
    Coral tablecloth (discontinued): Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com.
    Trim (“Rouen Tassel Fringe”/Magnolia #984-41594-10): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, samuelandsons.com.
    Area rug (“Oconomowoc”/Platinum, sisal): Carpet Colors, 847/254-9401.
    Chaise (Louis Philippe, antique): Ivy & Co., 847/681-8003.
    Chaise fabric (“Cross Weave”/Ivory #NC0850-003): Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com.
    Silver tray on chaise (antique): Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com.
    Oil painting of nude: private collection.
    Chinoiserie game table under oil painting (antique): Ivy & Co., 847/681-8003.
    Chairs by chinoiserie table (Louis XVI): antique.
    Chair fabric (“Tamika Silks”/Pearl #3032): Harlequin, 201/339-0500, harlequin.uk.com. Through Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Living Room

    Cream and gray drapery from Scalamandré subtly incorporates the room’s palette with elegant woven trim.

    Grey drapery (“Academy Satin”/Grey #36288-003): Scalamandré, 800/932-4361, scalamandre.com.
    Cream drapery (“Tamika Silks”/Pearl #3032): Harlequin, 201/339-0500, harlequin.uk.com. Through Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com.
    Drapery hardware (Versailles Collection): Brimar, 800/274-1205, brimarinc.com.
    Drapery trim (“Le Musée Silk Woven”/Putty Melange #977-27894-667): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, samuelandsons.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Living Room

    On one wall, pairs of metallic console tables and mirrors flank a black-and-white marble fireplace that demands attention with a graphic contemporary painting atop the mantel. “There are very serious pieces in this room,” says Plechaty, “but the contemporary art breaks the formality and brings everything together.”

    Console tables flanking fireplace (Louis XVI-style): custom.
    Mirrors (Louis Philippe); urns (Louis Philippe): antique.
    Art over mantel (Kimono Series, by Adam Siegel): Adam Siegel, 773/615-0099, adamsiegel.com.
    Tufted ottoman (custom): Montoya Upholstery Shop, 847/251-2024.
    Ottoman fabric (“Tamika Silks”/Pearl #3032): Harlequin, 201/339-0500, harlequin.uk.com. Through Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Designer

    Living room designer Gail Plechaty.

     

  • Werner Straube

    Dining Room

    At a party, tension is disastrous. In design, it’s divine. Just ask Darcy Bonner, who played a little game of devil’s advocate when he redid a formal dining room.

    Instead of bowing to the traditional architecture of the room, Bonner used furniture with clean, contemporary lines as a contrast to the rich ornamentation of the walls, wrapped in a warm and handsome shade of gray. As an added modern counterpoint, the designer extended the ivory tone of the marble fireplace surround with an oversized goatskin-framed mirror above the mantel. Its beveled ivory-leather frame reflects the room’s classic wall paneling.

    Atop ebony-stained oak floors softened with a wool sisal rug, Bonner placed a sleek dining table in front of the fireplace. Chairs clad in hazelnut-colored leather surround the exotic Macassar ebony wood table. A Venetian glass chandelier illuminates the setting.

    See more of this room on the following slides.

    Interior design: Darcy Bonner, Darcy Bonner & Assoc., LLC, 205 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 307, Chicago, IL 60606; 847/853-3470, darcybonner.com.

    Wall and trim paint (“Satin Lacquer” #RAL 7039): Fine Paints of Europe, 800/332-1556, finepaintsofeurope.com.
    Chandelier (“Luna Grande Chandelier, 10-arm/Gold Dust #80056-03): Donghia, 800/366-4442, donghia.com.
    Mirror over fireplace (“Grand Marx Mirror”/Vellum): Mattaliano, 312/853-0512, mattaliano.com.
    Dining table (“Margaux Dining Table”/Bronze details in Basalt Brown Lacquer); dining chairs (“Auxerre Dining Chairs”): Mattaliano, 312/853-0512, mattaliano.com.
    Leather chair fabric (“Windy City”/Gold Coast): Holly Hunt, 800/320-3145, hollyhunt.com.
    Rug (Natura Design): Stark Carpet, 212/752-9000, starkcarpet.com.
    Mask on mantel (primitive antique mask): designer’s collection.

  • Werner Straube

    Table Setting

    The dining table is set with elegant purple and gold plates from Bernardaud. Detailed flatware and “Bubbles” stemware from Hermès add textural interest.

    Placemat (“Paddock”/Raisin #C0435, horsehair, Contemporary Collection): Créations Métaphores, 212/921-0200, creations-metaphores.com. Through Holly Hunt, 800/320-3145, hollyhunt.com.
    Charger (Heather and Roseraie Collections); dinner plate (Splendid Collection): Bernardaud, bernardaud.fr.
    Stemware (“Bubbles” in Clear and Aubergine, by Saint-Louis Crystal):Hermès, 800/441-4488, us.hermes.com.
    Flatware (“Acorn”): Georg Jensen, 800/546-5253, georgjensen.com.
    Napkin (Silk Taffeta, by Christian Liaigre): David Sutherland Shoroom Chicago, 312/205-7700, davidsutherlandshowroom.com.
    Napkin ring: Material Possessions, 888/241-1190, materialpossessons.com

  • Werner Straube

    Sparkling Plenty

    Across the room, nestled between French doors, a cerused oak buffet boasts a cast-glass slab top in a textured platinum gold-leaf finish. The sparkle continues with a smoky-glass mirror and plaster sconces, also finished with platinum gold leaf.

    Drapery (“Silk Taffeta”): Dedar, 800/493-2209, dedar.com.
    Two-door cabinet (“Anneaux Oak Cabinet” with gilded cast glass): Mattaliano, 312/853-0512, mattaliano.com.
    Crystal: Lalique, 800/993-2580, lalique.com

  • Werner Straube

    Slight Exaggeration

    The furniture brings a buoyant modernity to the room,” notes Bonner. “To me, a dining room is the stage for entertaining in any house, so it needs to be a little exaggerated to be successful.”

  • Werner Straube

    Designer

    Dining room designer Darcy Bonner.

     

  • Werner Straube

    Master Bedroom

    This master bedroom whispers with a tranquil palette of gray, stone, and cream that calms the senses and promotes relaxation. “It’s serene and dreamlike, and feels comfortable,” says Gemma Parker-McKeon, who designed the space with Joan Craig.

    The expansive and well-proportioned room is divided into three distinct areas—sleeping, relaxing, and working. Placed to take advantage of the classic fireplace, the seating area includes a slipcovered armchair, an ivory sofa piped in gray, and a glass-topped coffee table. Although they do not match exactly, silk pillows on the sofa allude to walls that are covered in silk fabric that has the look of travertine marble.

    “We wanted the room to be sophisticated without being too formal,” notes Craig of the metallic finishes ranging from the silver-leaf bed to mirrors and glass bedside lamps that enhance the room’s quiet chic. “They accessorize the space like the right piece of jewelry accessorizes a couture outfit.”

    See more of this room on the following slides.

    Interior design: Joan Craig and Gemma Parker-McKeon, Lichten Craig Architects, LLP, 4 E. Ohio St., Suite 10, Chicago, IL 60611; 312/321-7400, lichtencraig.com.

    Sofa (custom design by Lichten Craig Architects): fabricated by Al Vivo Upholstery, 312/226-7779.
    Sofa fabric (“Pompeii”/Seasalt #4402-011, by Mokum): Holly Hunt, 800/320-3145, hollyhunt.com.
    Sofa welt (1/4-inchFrench Grosgrain Piping/Charcoal #977-44969-086): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, samuelandsons.com.
    Lumbar pillow fabric (“Federico”/Argento #I6458001, by Fadini Borghi): Pierre Frey, 866/707-1524, pierrefrey.com.
    Coffee table (“Jewel,” by Magni): Kara Mann Design, 312/893-7550, karamann.com.
    Carpet (J. Mish Williston Carpet/Ivory): Oscar Isberian Rugs, 888/900-9595, isberian.com.
    Wallpaper (“Travertine’/Rhea, by Fromental); drapery (“Two Sides”/London Fog #2200-28, by Great Plains): Holly Hunt, 800/320-3145, hollyhunt.com.
    Embroidered trim fabric on drapery (“Rossini” #10374 992): Zimmer-Rohde, 212/758-7925, zimmer-rohde.com.
    Roman shades (“Vionnet Satin”/Ivory #50883): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, fschumacher.com.
    Drapery hardware: Morgik Metal Designs, 212/463-0304, morgik.com.
    Sconces flanking fireplace (“Evasion Wall Sconce,” by Jean de Merry); chandelier (“Evasion Chandelier,” by Jean de Merry): Kara Mann Design, 312/893-7550, karamann.com.
    Upholstered armchair (“Bosque Chair” #F-CH25): Formations, 310/659-3062, formationsusa.com.
    Chair fabric (“Dunbar Linen Weave”/Natural #3318011): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, fschumacher.com.
    Black chair (“Ebonized Biedermeier Side Chair”): Rita Bucheit Ltd., 312/527-4080, ritabucheit.com.
    Mirror over dressing table (“Serge Roche-Style Faceted Venetian Mirror” #R1094): Frederick P. Victoria & Son, 719/392-9651, fpvictoria.com.
    Mirror over mantel: Armand Lee & Co. Ltd., 312/455-1200, armandlee.com.
    Fireplace screen (“Pimlico Fire Screen”): Charles Edwards, charlesedwards.com.
    Dressing table: Maison Gerard, 212/674-7611, maisongerard.com.
    Table lamp on dressing table (“Square Reeded Table Lamp” #TL 123): Charles Edwards, charlesedwards.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Contemporary Touch

    The contemporary stainless-steel-and-glass cocktail table provides visual substance without weighing down the ethereal palette.

  • Werner Straube

    Fab Four-Poster

    The centerpiece is an early-20th-century four-poster with a fretwork headboard and silver-leaf finish placed between a pair of windows. Not wanting to detract from the bed’s intricate detailing, the design team draped bedside tables with tailored slipcovers fabricated from polished ivory cotton with gray insets at each pleated corner. Window treatments of wool sateen drapery panels decorated with geometric borders and backed by ivory shades hug the tables.

    Bed (antique): David Skinner Antiques, 843/853-3104, davidskinnerantiques.com.
    Bed linens (“Derby”): Leron, 800/954-6369, leron.com.
    Fabric on box spring (“Millerighe”/Antracite #1431-1): Dedar, 800/493-2209, dedar.com.
    Gray shams: Bedside Manor, 800/485-4744, shopbedside.com.
    Nightstand fabric (“Tabularasa”/Avorio #2214-32): Dedar, 800/493-2209. dedar.com.
    Lumbar pillow (custom): Al Vivo Upholstery, 312/226-7779. 

  • Werner Straube

    Designers

    Master bedroom designers Joan Craig & Gemma Parker-McKeon.

  • Werner Straube

    Breakfast Room

    Liz McEnaney doesn’t use a magic formula when she designs a room, but her goal is always the same: After the functional requirements of a space have been met, make it pretty—and leave it at that.

    In the light-saturated breakfast room, she achieved an easy elegance that includes a neutral color scheme and natural fabrics that let the intriguing architecture, the exterior grounds, and—most important—the people be the stars. “Elegance is simplicity, and in interiors that means creating a soothing palette that is beautiful and makes the people who are enjoying the space feel comfortable and special,” says McEnaney.

    Beneath the room’s grand vaulted ceiling with its original plaster ornamentation, furnishings are geared for both dining and relaxing. Dining chairs upholstered in natural-colored linen that implies formality are pulled up to the round table, making the space suitable for both breakfasts and grown-up dinners. In an update on traditional toile, a taupe-and-ivory linen fabric depicting deer was fashioned into drapery panels.

    See more of this room on the following slides.

    Interior design: Liz McEnaney, E. Claire Design, LLC, 5 Steeple Chase Ln., Northfield, IL 60656; 847/441-0234.

    Table (“Sutcliffe Center Table” #807): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, dessinfournir.com.
    Chairs and fabric (discontinued):  Area Int’l, 312/644-0595, areainternationalchicago.com.
    Chandelier (“Palma Chandelier” #2139, by Paul Ferrante): John Rosselli & Assoc., 212/593-2060, johnrosselliassociates.com.
    Sofa (“Vienna Angled Sofa” #501009009); sofa fabric (“Lineo Blanco” #AG1027-AA): Ebanista, 800/570-1087, ebanista.com.
    Drapery (“Breithorn” in color 1, by Sahco): Bergamo, 800/366-4442, donghia.com.
    Trim above baseboards (“Cabana Ring Border”/Sycamore #977-41248-04): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, samuelandsons.com.
    Side table: designer’s collection.
    Paint (“Pashmina” #AF-100): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com.

  • Werner Straube

    Breakfast Room

    Playing off the idea that the room is both casual and formal, hand-painted porcelain dinnerware and cut crystal are placed on burlap placemats with frayed edges.

    China (“Syracuse Taupe” by Robert Haviland & C. Parlon): Mottahedeh, 800/443-8225, Fine Pa.com.
    Large wine glasses (“Fern”); champagne flute (“Felicity”): William Yeoward Crystal, 212/532-2358, williamyeowardcrystal.com.
    Placemat (“Curves”): Maze Home, 847/441-1115, mazehome.com.
    Flatware: designer’s collection.

  • Werner Straube

    Breakfast Room

    McEnaney chose a well-cushioned linen-covered banquette with nailhead trim to provide more seating. It measures up to the good looks of the other pieces, elaborating on comfort and inviting guests to stay awhile.

    Sofa (“Vienna Angled Sofa” #501009009); sofa fabric (“Lineo Blanco” #AG1027-AA): Ebanista, 800/570-1087, ebanista.com.
    Beige pillow on sofa at right (“Tsar”/Bolet #4694-05, by Manuel Canovas): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, cowtan.com

  • Werner Straube

    Designer

    Breakfast room designer Liz McEnaney.

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