Fabulous Room 05.05.17

Wendy Labrum

Green is one of my favorite colors, especially when it is in rich, mossy shades. Nothing is chicer or more timeless in my mind! I also love to mix modern and traditional elements. The juxtaposition creates wonderful tension and drama in a space. Given my affinity for a modern traditional space and the color green, it is no wonder that I am completely smitten with this stunning room by Wendy Labrum at the Lake Forest Show House in Lake Forest, Illinois. I featured the dining room in the same showhouse by Shelley Johnstone earlier in the week. Between these two beautiful rooms, I am sorry that I can’t make it to Chicago before the showhouse closes to see it in person. I spoke with Wendy about her inspiration for this super chic space and loved hearing about how it came together.

Paloma Contreras: What was your inspiration for your room at this year’s Lake Forest Showhouse?

Wendy Labrum: The real inspiration for this room started with the grounds of the home.  I know you haven’t seen it in person yet, but it is a beautiful, old Howard Van Doren Shaw mansion built in 1922 that sits on immaculately lush acreage of green space. This room was originally a sleeping porch when the house was built, so the back wall is all windows, as well as a window on each side, which allows for beautiful views of the grounds behind the home.  There is a giant, old, historic oak tree in the backyard that (I was told) is the oldest living oak tree in Illinois!  With these beautiful views of the grounds of the home, I really wanted to create a space that would bring the outside in and feel totally aligned with the view – hence the green.
Wendy Labrum 1
PC: I love lacquered walls. The look is so chic and glamorous. What prompted you to go for this application in your space?
WL: I love lacquer and thought that would really up the luxe factor of this formerly blah little room, so I conjured up a scheme to lacquer all the walls before I realized the walls were all exterior stucco covered in decades of paint!  Given this added challenge, I decided to cover all the stucco walls with new wood paneling, which helps highlight the sheen of lacquer and adds dimension.  Farrow & Ball custom-made this color for me to match the lovely Oscar de la Renta for Lee Jofa curtain fabric. I named the color “Ellis Green” after my youngest child 😉 The whole process of paneling and then painting took about six weeks.
Wendy Labrum 4
PC: How did you go about selecting the mix of modern and traditional pieces for the space?
WL: Then I went about filling the space with my favorite mix of contemporary pieces and traditional antiques – a contemporary white sofa to contrast with the walls, a white oak Louis chair with a green floral cotton (a little nod to the English influences in the very American house), a Maison Jansen desk and Maison Bagues cocktail table (because I love all things Jansen and Bagues), and white Serge Mouille chandelier which I wanted to flow right into the ceiling.  Then I layered in my favorite mix of contemporary art and antique lithographs and sketches, some of which I pulled from my personal collection. The mirror was a 1st Dibs find that I hope doesn’t sell because I’d like to keep it!!

Wendy Labrum 3

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  1. As a fellow designer I appreciate the confidence Wendy portrayed to get this project implemented. In a sea of minimal, billowing white these days…this is comfortable and shows classic design. It is a show stopper. Laurel Bledsoe

  2. Luxurious and comfortable. Well done melding of traditional and contemporary with a collected look. Thanks for sharing this one!