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True Colors

Chicago is a lot less gray thanks to the designers (and their clients!) who embrace color. These tastemakers share some of their work and the hues that make them happy.

SCARLET TIDE

Designer Summer Thornton in the British telephone booth-inspired Gold Coast office of @properties 

SCARLET TIDE

“A bold rug with a beautiful beast!” Max Red rug, from $1,575, tufenkian.com 

SCARLET TIDE

“I love anything with bees right now!” Velvet cushion with bee embroidery, $1,150, gucci.com  

 

SCARLET TIDE

“In a very traditional space, modern art is a must to keep things fresh.” Ronnie Tallon’s “Square 3” (2013), $2,183, 1stdibs.com 

CLAY & SEA GLASS

Steve Somogyi (left) and Filip Malyszko of Steve + Filip Design approached the library of this Palmer Square home with layers of color to “provide a warm and collected environment” that is a perfect backdrop for their clients’ rug collection and beautiful paintings. 

CLAY & SEA GLASS

“This long and low bench is the perfect accent seating in an entry or gallery.” Field bench, price upon request, by John Derian for Cisco Brothers, ciscobrothers.com 

 

CLAY & SEA GLASS

“We love the texture and age that an antique rug offers to a space.” Kurdish 5’1”-by-6’ wool rug, $1,520, Oscar Isberian Rugs, isberian.com

CLAY & SEA GLASS

“We are obsessed with this color combination!” Jackson in Dix, $1,778, The Urban Electric Company, urbanelectricco.com 

CLAY & SEA GLASS

“Nothing says luxury like shagreen.” Harlow nesting tables, from $2,600, madegoods.com  

BOHO BLUES

“I love this lamp and use it often,” says designer Shelley Johnstone. Culloden table lamp in pebbled aquamarine, $420, aerin.com

BOHO BLUES

“I love these as an accent; we carry them at Shelley Johnstone Design.” Lacquered natural ostrich eggs on brass stand, $1,000 per set, 1stdibs.com  

BOHO BLUES

Jardins du Roi Soleil manufactures pieces from the original Certified Authentic Versailles Garden Collection. Chateau de Versailles orange tree planter, $3,100, jardinsduroisoleil.com 

ORANGE CRUSH

The deep blue sofa is a custom design by Brynn Olson. “We wanted to infuse the space with a timeless, modern angle and splashes of color to reflect the clients’ personalities,” she says.  

ORANGE CRUSH

Equis D’Hermès chair, $11,500, hermes.com 

ORANGE CRUSH

“I love a cashmere throw that can double as a scarf.” Hermès Casaque III Stole, $960, hermes.com 

ORANGE CRUSH

“This ebmroidery is exquisite.” Canasta pillows, price upon request, hollandandsherry.com 

ORANGE CRUSH

“We get a lot of requests for sectionals, and Anthropologie has some of the prettier ones I’ve seen.” Edlyn sectional, from $3,298, anthropologie.com  

SCARLET TIDE
“When we get a chance to push color boundaries, we are at our happiest,” says designer Summer Thornton of her namesake firm, Summer Thornton Design. For the new @properties office in the Gold Coast, Thornton was inspired by a British telephone booth, referencing the color in the real estate company’s logo. Fully embracing the theme, she covered the walls from floor to ceiling in Farrow & Ball Incarnadine (No. 248) lacquer, then used “polished brass accents and bold graphic floors to up the drama.” Kelly Wearstler tile for Ann Sacks on the floor is a perfect foil to the saturated walls, while a vintage desk, a Jonathan Adler chair covered in Moore & Giles leather, and sconces and a table lamp from Circa Lighting add to the glamour. As for her color of the moment, she is currently renovating her own home and has a lot of plum-colored marble going in. “I love plum and red together,” she says, “but I’ve never done an all-red room, so this was a lot of fun!”

CLAY & SEA GLASS
Steve Somogyi and Filip Malyszko of Steve + Filip Design unanimously agree that they love working with color—and anyone who has caught a glimpse of the business and life partners driving their vintage bubble gum-pink cadillac to their lakeside cottage wouldn’t be suprised. “There is joy that comes from color that you simply cannot get from gray and beige,” says Somogyi. When it comes to working with clients, the design duo’s approach is to reference an item their clients already know and love. In the case of the Palmer Square home of Shawn and Karen Biazar, it was the gorgeous collection of Persian rugs the couple had amassed and Shawn’s beautiful paintings they found hidden away in his den. After gutting the stately graystone and overhauling the interior architecture and design, Steve + Filip picked up on the tones in the rugs and artwork through tile, furnishings and textiles. Clay or oxblood and sea glass are their hues of the moment, but regardless of the pairing, the duo love using color in their multifaceted design work. “We think it’s important to maintain a sense of fun, curiosity and confidence,” says Somogyi. “Life is too short for greige.”

BOHO BLUES
“I’ve hardly met a blue I didn’t like,” says designer Shelley Johnstone of Shelley Johnstone Design. “It’s a classic. I don’t think there is ever a client who doesn’t like it.” Inspired by Schumacher’s Orient Express collection and the tone of the brand’s Octavia Paperweave, Johnstone transformed an unused storage area by the back door into an office and garden room. The cheery space coordinates with a lacquered blue butler’s pantry down the hall and references the beautiful views of Lake Forest. A vintage shell chair—reupholstered in a Schumacher high-performance velvet—and table lamp are vintage finds through Shelley Johnstone Design, paired with prints by Kayce Hughes, accessories from Serena & Lily and a garden chair from Ballard Designs. After decorating the entire house, Johnstone explains that “it was so nice to make this place special because [my client] really does spend a lot of time here.”

ORANGE CRUSH
Designer Brynn Olson of Brynn Olson Design Group admits that a dark slate blue is one she loves to see in any application, but for this project—a new build in Oak Brook with a killer backyard—“the jewel tones loved by the client greatly inspired the color palette.” In the words of Olson, the home “boasted tired browns and the upholstery felt overstuffed” when the young family moved in. They smartly turned to Olson to inject the space with color and more of their personality. To wit, purples and fuchsia are seen throughout, along with a healthy dose of mustards and coral. Olson’s favorite deep slate blue made its way into the custom sofa she designed, while a Stark carpet adds lightness and warmth to the space. Even though orange jewel tones aren’t what the designer naturally gravitates toward, she says it was good to be pushed outside her comfort zone, and once that happened, she “embraced that direction and ran with it.”