01 of 07
A Colorful Display
Summer Thornton is the interior designer and principal of Summer Thornton Design. Her Chicago-based firm is known for bold interiors where color, pattern, art and design all come together to create vibrant spaces. Named as one of Chicago's best traditional designers, it is no surprise that Summer was able to take a historic Wilmette home and give it a modern update that still honors the home's classic bones.
"A lot of my work is really centered around contrast - be that atypical... color combinations or eras that may not be frequently paired. In this home my inspiration was to do something that created contrast between the stately architecture of a historical home and the client's irreverent personality. It needed to feel chic, but [not] stiff," says Thornton about the design of the interior.Continue to 2 of 7 below.
02 of 07
For inspiration, Thornton looked to a variety of eras, and it shows in the home's unique design. "I sought inspiration from the glamour of the 1970s, particularly with the Italian bent for its modernity, but it needed grounding and sophistication so I brought in some Parisian '30s as well," remarks Thornton. "It creates a space that is modern but still timeless since it isn't of one singular era, most notably not the present."Continue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
The layered interior is filled with beautiful pieces from Chicago and beyond. "A few favorite pieces include the shell encrusted mirror above the fireplace, sourced from Darrell Dean Antiques in North Carolina, the purple lamps from Assemblage here in Chicago, the stools from Briggs House Antiques in Port Chester, New York, covered in Scalamandre Le Tigre, the Murano fixtures were from Palm Beach, and the custom blue velvet sofa in the living room we designed with a brass base which is... really cool and something you don't notice immediately but when you're in the space it catches your eye from across the room."Continue to 4 of 7 below.
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As Summer is known for bold design, it's no surprise that she made some truly bold moves in the design of this historic space. Design was brought all the way up to the living room ceiling. "My favorite element has to be the Piet Mondrian style ceiling treatment from Brunschwig & Fils we used in the living room." Speaking of the classic wallpaper that adds a colorful treatment above, "It really pushes the envelope, drawing the eye up, and giving the traditional home and... architecture an unexpected twist."Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
"Personally I hate homes that look entirely new - it feels cheap and quickly looks dated." To keep things from feeling dated, Summer sourced from a number of brands at home and abroad. The end result is an interior where every piece has interest. "When we blend pieces from a variety of eras it feels curated and timeless, but we can still create a very modern look."Continue to 6 of 7 below.
06 of 07
The Sum of Its Parts
"I source from all over the world for our projects, but sometimes we find the best things right in Chicago. Other times we find the perfect piece and have to ship it in from Europe. On this project we had quite a few things we sourced in Palm Beach but also several custom pieces. For me design is really never about one piece, it's really about the entire room. Sure there are tidbits that excite, but I truly believe that the whole room should be better than the sum of its parts. In fact... I think some pieces need not stand out so that others can. Think of an orchestra...the beauty is in how it plays together, the ebbs and flows, the rests are as important as the high notes. For me that's what makes a great room. The white paint on the walls isn't exciting on its own, but it allows breathing room for the Piet Mondrian ceiling."Continue to 7 of 7 below.
07 of 07
Accessorize In Color
For a final note, Summer designed a dining area with an incredible orchestra of elements. A designer who is known for being daring with color, lilac floor-to-ceiling drapes dominate the dining space in the best way. The colorful display of textiles is a beautiful backdrop to the other stunning elements in the dining area, from modern dining chairs with a unique shape, to a colorful Persian rug underfoot that completes the room's color palette.