For the first time in the magazine showhouse’s history, an all-female design and build team revamped a historic home for House Beautiful’s latest iteration, located in a mansion in the leafy suburbs of Chicago. In partnership with luxury builder J. Jordan Homes, a roster of 15 designers — Hema Persad, Isabel Ladd, Laura McCroskey and Leann Lynn, Kate Marker, Marita Simmons, Krysta Gibbons, Arianne Bellizaire, Claire Staszak, Roxy Owens, Deborah Costa, Kristine Renee, Emma Beryl, Caitlin Wilson, Jenna Gross, and Rasheeda Gray — joined forces to turn the turn-of-the-century home into a modern refuge.
Located on three-plus landscaped acres on a picture-perfect street close to the village square, the home represents its local community’s push to promote restoration over tear-downs, particularly in historic homes. Architect David Adler crafted the home, which spans 13,000 square feet, at the turn of the 20th century. The goal of the showhouse is to inspire homeowners to tackle their own renovations and home improvements. “We could not be more thrilled about this historic renovation in Hinsdale with this innovative build team, inspiring group of designers, and our design-leading brand partners,” said Carisha Swanson, Director of Editorial Special Projects at House Beautiful. “This new-old house demonstrates how every room of your home can (and should!) have a purpose that doesn't just look incredible, but also works for you and your lifestyle.”
. . . we loved the warmth and texture it brought to the space, the convenience of being powered, the classic look of a Roman shade, and [that] it allows for some light to come through during the day.
For the design pros, ideating for a history-filled showhouse — where there are no typical clients with accompanying demands — provides a deeper level of artistic freedom. “Working on a historic home has been such a fun experience,” Betty Brandolino, founder and creative director of Fresh Twist Studio, who supported the office design, shares. “It allows us to use our creativity in an exaggerated direction and in a free manner — no clients involved, so [there were] fewer parameters.”
Lighting was a challenge throughout the home . . . We found many workarounds to bring the home up to today's standards of living!
In addition to completing the general renovation, a number of baths, and the nursery, Julie Laux, owner of J. Jordan Homes, even designed a bowling alley. But the home was not without its age-specific challenges, with lighting being one of the most universal. “Each of the spaces presented their own unique challenges,” she says of her approach. “Lighting was a challenge throughout the home as the walls are plaster and lathe so [it was] very difficult to move anything. We found many workarounds to bring the home up to today's standards of living!”
Designers faced the lighting challenge in their own ways, all while balancing old and new throughout their chosen rooms. Says Brandolino of her approach to her self-described “gentleman's office”: “We wanted to incorporate a vintage feel to keep with the character of the home but with a modern twist to the space.” She opted for Provenance® Woven Wood Shades “because we loved the warmth and texture it brought to the space, the convenience of being powered, the classic look of a Roman shade, and [that] it allows for some light to come through during the day.”
We selected this artisanal offering as it was an organic way to infuse an extra layer of texture into our space while welcoming in the gentle play of natural light.
Meanwhile, Roxy Te Owens, founder-designer of Society Social, also managed lighting hurdles in her whimsical “dreamy garden escape” bedroom. “Our space is inherently dark, as the bedroom windows are situated underneath a grand, covered porch with views of the sprawling estate. In order to infuse light into the space while preserving the historic walls and molding, we opted to skip electrical hardwiring and instead selected battery operated sconces to be placed above our vanity moment and bed, in addition to table and floor lamps.” She and her team also “wrapped the walls and windows in a flow-matched wallpaper and fabric pairing, creating custom valances and drapery panels to artfully frame the historic windows.” But she couldn’t update the home’s old radiator covers, so, instead, Owens used a special Italian stringing technique, “gracefully pulling up” the drapery with hidden cords that “beautifully frame” Hunter Douglas Provenance Woven Wood Shades in the First Frost colorway. The choice allowed her to inject a bit more light into the otherwise darkened room. “We selected this artisanal offering as it was an organic way to infuse an extra layer of texture into our space while welcoming in the gentle play of natural light.”
. . . it was important to me to dress the windows in a way that added a decorative layer without blocking such a valuable light source.
The stairwell, reimagined by designer Arianne Bellizaire, of Arianne Bellizaire Interiors, provides another instance of modern melding with traditional — and a unique approach to capturing elusive light in the historic property. “While the formal sitting area downstairs is rooted in tradition with its blue damask fabric wallcoverings and historical details,” Bellizaire explains, “I loved the idea of juxtaposing a more modern aesthetic on the stairwell and in the landing area. The landing area also serves as the main source of natural light for the downstairs sitting room, believe it or not, so it was important to me to dress the windows in a way that added a decorative layer without blocking such a valuable light source.” Since the room only has a single ceiling light, accessing light from nearby windows was a priority for Bellizaire, who used Hunter Douglas Vignette® Modern Roman Shades in New Mauve “as a touch of color and light control.”
“But the truly stellar moment,” she shares, “is the top-down/bottom-up orientation of the shade that lets us enjoy the light while also blocking the unattractive views of the rooftop. Adding on the motorized element just took this particular design element to another level. Win-win!”
. . . the top-down/bottom-up orientation of the shade that lets us enjoy the light while also blocking the unattractive views of the rooftop.
The designers join a selection of brand partners that includes Farrow & Ball, Lee Industries, Minted, Phillip Jeffries, Sanderson, Serena & Lily, Visual Comfort & Co., California Closets, Hunter Douglas and more. In addition, House Beautiful is also collaborating with two notable organizations, Humble Design, a charitable organization based in Chicago that provides design services to families transitioning out of homelessness, as well as Wellness Within Your Walls, an internationally renowned group dedicated to offering education and guidance on toxins present in homes.
Experience Whole Home virtually on HouseBeautiful.com and in the November/December 2023 Renovation Issue, on newsstands November 28.