Clean-lined with carefully chosen classic pieces
Sometimes what you don’t want is more important than what you want. What designer Frank Ponterio didn’t envision in this space in the Ritz Carlton Residences in Chicago was “anything jumpy, jarring, or off-the-wall.” Hence, it is clean-lined with carefully chosen classic pieces. Here, Frank answers some questions about his timeless style and how he incorporated it into this comfortable and completely livable urban apartment.
TH: How did you begin to form a vision for this project?
FP: For the most part, I wanted to design this like it would be my own in-town apartment. That would mean clean lined, tilted toward the masculine, not cluttered, and not necessarily feeling decorated but rather that we had collected and gathered things over time. There’s a heavy emphasis on artistry in the whole suite.
TH: The details in this apartment are exquisite. How did you go about collecting pieces to add to it?
FP: There’s a beautiful handmade floor in the powder room that we designed in New Ravenna, which The Fine Line made for us. It’s stainless steel and marble tatami sticks—small slats of stone that have been cut up and put into a mosaic pattern. Then we have great Degournay custom silk–screened walls. We really tried to focus in on handmade details throughout the space. We’ve got a couple new furniture pieces from my furniture line, a new licensed line we’re doing for Avrett. They’re a great family company that’s been in Charleston for 27 years. They’ll be available at John Rosseli and Michael Taylor around the country. We are very excited about that new partnership. We have a new bed from them, a great console table in the bedroom, and a fantastic cocktail table with a chagrin top in the living room. In addition to that, we designed a new piece in the living room for our own private label. It’s walnut with horn handles, a bellum top, and metal gallery edges. Again, everything is handmade here in the States, by relatively local artists—that was important to me.
TH: How did these details tie into the general aesthetic of the apartment?
FP: As far as the general aesthetic goes, beyond being a little more masculine and clean-lined, we didn’t want any big pops of color, or for one thing to scream louder than anything else in the room. We wanted balance. The palette is more neutral, but hopefully not boring. There’s a lot of texture, a lot of pattern. There will be a lot of tactile experiences for people in the space. The walls in the vestibule to the master bedroom are in cashmere. We’ve got great silk walls in some rooms, parchment in others. We really wanted to take advantage of some of the views that we have. This was designed as an in-town place to come to relax, and not have anything too jumpy, too jarring, too off-the-wall. We’re not trying to shock and awe anybody.
TH: How does all of this fabulous artwork tie into that?
FP: I wanted to have a heavy emphasis on artwork. We spent a lot of time with a great art consultant out of L.A., Joanna Burke. The gala here benefits the Art Institute of Chicago. I’m a board member there, so it’s a double win. We have some pieces from artists that I own at home: a great Hiro Yokose, some Lillian Bassman prints. Also because of my tie to Lake Forest and historic preservation as well as this building itself, we were able to find original prints of historic plat surveys and landscape design along Chicago’s North Shore. I thought that was fitting, and those are scattered throughout.
There’s also a tilt toward a bit more of a modern line by displaying some new media throughout the apartment. We wanted to bridge that gap between historic and very current, very modern. That was important to do in this space.
TH: What were you hoping for guests to feel in this apartment?
FP: I think that in most of my interiors, no matter how formal they are, people feel like they can actually interact with the things that we do. That they can put their feet up if they want to. They’re not afraid to sit on anything. That’s really important to me as far as the design sensibility—it would be tragic if people didn’t want to interact with the space.
Photography: Werner Straube
Produced by Hilary Rose & Jo Ann McVicker
Interior designer: Frank Ponterio, Frank Ponterio Interior Design, 500 N. Wells, 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60654; 312/464-1133; and 1450 W. Old Mill Rd., Lake Forest, IL 60045, 847/234-5704, frankponterio.com .
Kitchen designer: Mick De Giulio, De Giulio Kitchen Design, 1121 Central Ave., Wilmette, IL 60091; 847/256-8833, degiulio.org .
Flowers: H. Bloom, 312/846-1194, hbloom.com .
Wall covering (“Grecian Squares”/Olympus Linen #5724): Phillip Jeffries, 800/576-5455, phillipjeffries.com .
Ceiling and trim paint (“Gentle Cream” #OC-96): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com .
Sofa (“Marilyn Sofa”): Bradley Hughes, 312/624-9997, bradley-hughes.com .
Sofa fabric (“Polidoro”/Taupe #4234-92, by Manuel Canovas): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, cowtan.com .
Throw pillow on sofa, left: Coraggio Textiles, 800/624-2420, coraggio.com .
Custom embroidery on pillow: Frank Ponterio Interior Design, 847/234-5704, frankponterio.com .
Pillow design: Mia Tavola, 773/404-4901, miatavola.com .
Throw pillow on sofa (“Lucrezia”/Brown, Gold #5668): Fortuny Fabrics, 212/753-7153.
Pillow trim (silk, #1106.03): Rogers & Goffigon, 302/532-8068.
Fabrication: Primo Interiors, 773/880-8042, primointeriors.com .
Coffee table (iron with inlaid shagreen top): for Avrett, 843/554-1409, avrett.com .
Lounge chairs (“Cee Chairs” #KJ2001, by Kerry Joyce): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, dessinfournir.com.
Fabric on chair seat and back (“Royal Silk Mohair Velvet”/Llama #U13011): Coraggio Textiles, 800/624-2420, coraggio.com.
Leather on chair frame (“Sevilla”/Espana #6005-03, by Hunt Leather): Holly Hunt, 312/661-1900, hollyhunt.com.
Wood and steel side table, to left of sofa (“Roe Side Table,” by Case): Holly Hunt, 312/661-1900, hollyhunt.com.
Oval side table, to right of sofa (“Tristan Table”): Rose Tarlow-Melrose House, 323/651-2202, rosetarlow.com.
Sconces above sofa (“Salon Sconce”): Frank Ponterio for Avrett, 843/554-1409, avrett.com .
Table lamps (“Steve Jensen Oscar Lamp”): Michael-Cleary LLC, 312/464-0800, michaelclearyllc.com .
Art over sofa (by Hiro Yokose): Winston Wächter Fine Art, 212/255-2718, winston wachter.com, through Joana Burke Art Consultant, 310/305-1313, joannaburke.com .
Demilune cabinet, to left of sofa (“Aline Demilune” #304): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, dessinfournir.com .
Art on demilune cabinet (by Jean Marc Louis); sculpture on demilune cabinet (Burning Bush #AD003-2): through Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, dessinfournir.com .
Drapery (“Beaumont Linen Sheer”/Champagne #65271): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, fschumacher.com .
Fabrication: Primo Interiors: 773/880-8042, primointeriors.com .
Rug (antique Tabriz #7364): J. Iloulian Rugs, 323/651-1444, jirugs.com .
Frank’s firm, Frank Ponterio Interior Design, has offices in Chicago and Lake Forest, Illinois. He is widely recognized for designing well-curated, award-winning residential and commercial properties.
As an expert in historic architecture and interiors, Frank wanted the space to represent fine living within a historical landscape. Taking his lead from the reconstructed building, he offers a modern translation of a 1920s European interior. “This was designed as an in-town place to relax,” he says.
For Frank, a board member of The Art Institute of Chicago, using art in design is a given. He used some of his own art collection in his design. Here, the painting over the demilune is by Jean Marc Louis; the sculpture is entitled “Burning Bush.”
Frank designed the living room coffee table, constructed in iron with an inlaid shagreen top.
We like the subtle stripe in the espresso colored wing chair and ottoman. The drapery fabric is by Schumacher.
Wing chair (“Ellington” #5004); ottoman (custom, “Ellington”); wing chair and ottoman fabric (“Astrakhan”/Dark Brown #5582/04, by Rose Cumming): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, dessinfournir.com .
Leather piping for wing chair and ottoman (“Leather Piping”/Espresso): Samuel & Sons, 212/704-8000, samuelandsons.com .
Side table by wing chair (“Ashley Occasional Table” #OT1295): Avrett, 843/554-1409, avrett.com .
Floor lamp (antique): Frank Ponterio Interior Design, 847/234-5704, frankponterio.com .
Etagère (“University Bookshelf”): Julian Chichester, 336/886-2454, julianchichester.com .
Art behind wing chair (Jean Marc Louis); circle sculpture on second shelf of etagère (Solar Eclipse #AD005-2): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, dessinfournir.com .
Sculpture on top shelf of etagère (petrified wood): Material Possessions, 888/241-1190, materialpossessions.com .
The antique rug references the past, while the plant nods to nature. A side table is a nice perch for a drink.
The dining room with its simply draped windows makes the most of the view.
Table (“Cipresso” #2331): Michael Taylor Designs, 415/558-9940, michaeltaylordesigns.com .
Dining chairs (“Gustavian Klismos”): Niermann Weeks, 212/319-7979, niermannweeks.com .
Leather on dining chairs (“Silverado”/Medium Brown #NC3800-020): Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com .
Bar cabinet (custom): Frank Ponterio Collection, 312/464-1133, frankponterio.com .
Mirror over bar cabinet (“Dentil Mirror,” by Formations): Holly Hunt, 312/661-1900, hollyhunt.com .
Horn sculptures on bar cabinet (“Bernard Authentic Horns ” #6323): Arteriors Home, 877/488-8866, arteriorshome.com .
Frank designed the walnut bar cabinet, which is made by artists in the United States.
The general aesthetic of the apartment, Frank says, is “a little more masculine, a little more clean-lined. We didn’t want any big pops of color, or for one thing to scream louder than anything else. We wanted balance.”
Paint (“Mineral Lime Wash” #077): Rose Tarlow-Melrose House, 323/651-2202, rosetarlow.com .
Ceiling paint (“Royal Silk” #939): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com .
Bed: Frank Ponterio for Avrett, 843/554-1409, avrett.com .
Headboard fabric (“Cannon”/Storm, Lombard Collection): Andrew Martin, 212/688-4498, andrewmartin.co.uk .
Mattress (Vi-Spring Coronet Supreme”): Chicago Luxury Beds, 312/985-0836, chicagoluxurybeds.com.
Bed linens (custom): Mia Tavola, 773/404-4901, miatavola.com.
Sham fabric (“Maroc Linen Damask”/Smoke #65632): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, fschumacher.com .
Sham trim (“French Piping”/Butter): Samuel &Sons, 212/704-8000, samuelandsons.com .
Chandelier (“Lumiere”): Jean De Merry, 312/527-1800, jeandemerry.com .
Bedside table (“Clark Side Table” #G4069, by Gérard): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, desinfournir.com .
Bedside table lamps (“Andre”): through Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com .
Drapery (“Bark”/Ash #BARK2): De Le Cuona, 212/702-0800, delecuona.co.uk .
Fabrication: Primo Interiors, 773/880-8042.
In the master bedroom, these upholstered stools in a graphite-colored velvet work well with the texture of the carpet.
Upholstered stools (“Soho Baby”); upholstery fabric (George Smith velvet): George Smith, 312/464-0242, georgesmith.com .
Here, the custom-made bed linens are fit for a king.
The chandelier is a focal point for this bedroom—its prickly sea urchin-like shape adds organic shape to the space.
Schumacher fabric in linen damask in a smoke-and-gold ikat pattern lends a touch of global flair.
The rich chocolate of the chair pairs well with neutral draperies and a Lucite table. We like the wit shown in the “eureka!” quality of the teardrop lamp on a bronze pole.
Lounge chair (“Aubrey Swivel Chair” #772-01); lounge-chair fabric (“Louisville”/Charcoal): DeAurora Chicago, 312/644-4430, deaurora.com .
Lucite table (“Scott Arthur Yerkey Oval Balustrade Side Table” #ACR-A 210-BAL); floor lamp (“Teardrop Floor Lamp”/Bronze finish #Y1030): Filsinger Chicago, 312/245-0404, filsingerchicago.com .
Historic landscape designs from Chicago’s North Shore hang above the handsome desk, alluding to the building’s history.
Art over desk (by Jonathan Higgins): Manneken Press, 309/829-7443, mannekenpress.com .
Writing desk (“Perth Writing Table” #7000); desk chair (“Luxford Side Chair”#KJ1000, by Kerry Joyce); desk-chair fabric (“Antibes”/Pepper #1125-08, by Classic Cloth): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, desinfournir.com .
Table lamps (“Andre”): through Nancy Corzine, 312/645-4500, nancycorzine.com .
Draperies in an ash hue allow the more saturated colors to take center stage.
Ebony walnut cabinetry, polished nickel hardware, and a countertop with leather finish provide subtle texture in the master bath.
Cabinetry (“SieMatic BeauxArts”/Ebony Walnut); hardware (Polished Nickel): De Giulio Kitchen Design, 847/256-8833, degiulio.org .
Vanity countertop (Calcatta Gold Marble with Leather finish): Acorn Tile Co., 773/463-5608.
Sinks: Kallista, 888/452-5547, kallista.com .
Faucets: Dornbracht, 800/774-1181, dornbracht.com .
Mirror (“Omni Wall Mirror”): Z Gallerie, 800/908-6748, zgallerie.com .
Wall paint (“Edgecomb Gray” #HC-173): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com .
Art seen in mirror (Chicago Tribune Print): through Joana Burke Art Consultant, 310/305-1313, joannaburke.com .
The beading along the frame of the mirror is a well-chosen detail.
Sconces illuminate the striking design of the powder room. We like the dark frame on the mirror trim, and the soft “White Dove” paint by Benjamin Moore.
Sconces (“Calais” #0608): Johnathan Browning Studios, 415/401-9999, jonathanbrowninginc.com .
Mirror (“Wendy Mirror”): Bradley Hughes, 312/624-9997, bradley-hughes.com .
Wall covering (“English Landscape”/Crystal Grey, Papier Peints Panoramiques Collection): De Gournay, 917/855-4401, degournay.com .
Tile floor (custom, by Frank Ponterior Interior Design): New Ravenna, 757/442-3379, newravenna.com. Available through The Fine Line, 312/670-0300, finelinetile.com .
Sink and stand: Kallista, 888/452-5547, kallista.com .
Faucets: Dornbracht, 800/774-1181, dornbracht.com .
Paint (“White Dove” #OC-17): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com .
Yes, you can use large pattern in a small room, as Frank proves with this gorgeous wall covering in the powder room.
A custom tile floor with a compelling starburst pattern was designed by Frank.