Eternal Eden

It’s hard to believe that the Lake Forest Infant Welfare Showhouse will only be open for a few more days. What a whirlwind it has been! Tickets for the house have officially sold out every weekend which is incredible as the showhouse benefits the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago which serves some of Chicago’s most medically underserved communities providing much needed medical services to the entire family. Knowing that the showhouse supports such a wonderful cause has been one of many reasons I have loved being Honorary Chair this year. The camaraderie of a showhouse is unlike anything else. We met so many lovely people who helped us bring the dining room I designed, “Eternal Eden” to life. I shared a tour of the showhouse a couple of weeks ago, but also wanted to share a more in-depth tour of my room. If you see something you like, be sure to let us know because just about everything in the space (and house!) is for sale with a portion of the profits benefitting the charity. Before I delve into the resources, I’d like to extend a huge, heartfelt thank you to Annie from the Paloma Contreras Design team and Jennifer Mower and all of the chairs and volunteers who helped with all of the logistics of bringing this room to life and kept it looking beautiful after it opened and I couldn’t be there. Of course, a huge thanks goes to the generous vendors and showrooms who loaned or donated items for my room. It truly takes a village– THANK YOU!

{We worked with George from The ABL Group who did a wonderful job on the construction portion of our room. The design is centered around the “Eastern Eden” wallpaper by Iksel. I had the ceiling lacquered in a barely there shade of pink (Sherwin Williams Venus Pink) to add an element of surprise. The host and hostess Loop chairs (from Bungalow 5) are an homage to Frances Elkins and are upholstered in the Miles Redd for Schumacher Cubist fabric. The side chairs are French antique 19th century Louis XVI upholstered in a Schumacher velvet on loan from designer Amy Kartheiser (SOLD) while the beautiful mahogany flame dining table (SOLD)is from Anna’s Mostly Mahogany. The beautiful chandelier is the The Sarafina Chandelier in white tole by Coleen and Company. The “Keno” jute rug (SOLD) by Patterson Flynn Martin grounds the room and adds a dose of texture.

{A Vignette Showing the Beautiful Detail of the Wallpaper Alongside One of the Loop Chairs | The Sarafina Lantern Sconce is also by Coleen and Company. The potted white tole flowers are by artisan Tommy Mitchell and are floating atop acrylic brackets that we will soon carry at Paloma & Co!}

{The gilded butterfly fireplace screen (SOLD) is also by Tommy Mitchell. I custom-designed the fireplace and had it executed in “Blackpool Matte” Cambria stone. The beautiful painting above the fireplace is by one of my favorite artists, Jane Timberlake Cooper whose work we carry at Paloma & Co. This particular painting has SOLD.}

{I love incorporating unexpected touches into the spaces I design. All of the beautiful millwork in the room is original to the house. It’s timeless so I kept it and updated it with a fresh coat of paint (Sherwin Williams Snowbound on the trim and Bosporous inside the built-in china cabinet for an unexpected pop of color. The framed “Bunny” is by Hunt Slonem and is from art consultant Hope Lloyd Brown. The shelves feature a mix of hand-blown glassware from Paloma & Co, AERIN Vases from Shelley Johnstone’s showroom in Lake Forest, and a framed Kayce Hughes painting (SOLD)and Alexis Walter painting (SOLD) also from Paloma & Co.}

{A Lovely Shot of the Details}

{You can really see the beautiful flame detail of the mahogany table here. Who says brown furniture can’t feel modern?! The linens are handmade from Julia B. while the striking dinnerware was my play on classic chinoiserie without going the typical blue and white route. It’s by Richard Ginori and is called “Oriente Italiano” and is available in multiple colors. This came from M on the Square in Lake Forest as did the William Yeoward wine goblets and the beautiful flowers in the room. Missy Poth is a dream to work with and her florals are exquisite as is her chic shop.}

{Details on the Table: The candlesticks and AERIN Salt and Pepper Shakers are from Shelley Johnstone; the Octagonal Water Glasses are from Paloma & Co; the gold bamboo flatware was a bargain find on Amazon (surprisingly nice quality for the price!), and of course, the gorgeous flowers are by Missy Poth at M on the Square.}

{I love this vignette as it really illustrates my love of mixing modern and traditional elements! An ebonized 19th century Louis XVI buffet (SOLD) from Old Plank Antiques anchors the moment while a framed Josef Albers print from Hope Lloyd Brown adds a graphic, modern touch. The vintage Tommi Parzinger for Stiffel lamps are from my personal collection (not for sale, but we’ve had them at our shop!). The chic, custom lampshades are from a wonderful resource, Sorella Glenn.}

{The View Towards the Fireplace}

{I am known for the fresh way in which seamlessly I blend modern and traditional elements in my interiors. That juxtaposition is what can make a room feel both timeless and fresh. Since this was a showhouse setting, I wanted to incorporate some bold, unexpected touches. The dining room has a large bay window with a stunning view of the gardens. Since it is a bay window with a soffit above, the placement of traditional drapery hardware could have been odd and traditional curtains would have obstructed the lovely view. Instead, I opted for old-school London-style shades expertly crafted by The Shade Store, but I designed them in a graphic silk with grosgrain ribbon appliqué called Legere by Schumacher. I love designing settees for large dining rooms so that guests have a place to lounge with a cocktail before or after dinner. I designed a skirted settee with graceful, feminine lines and executed it in the same Cubist fabric that I used on the Loop chairs. The little drinks table is by Bunny Williams Home from Paloma & Co and the fun wicker urn was from Shelley Johnstone’s showroom (sold). We also carry them at Paloma & Co.}

In addition to meeting wonderful people, my favorite thing about showhouses is getting to design in my core aesthetic and pushing my creative boundaries. The sad thing about them is that they are short-lived. All that aside, the 2020 Lake Forest Infant Welfare Showhouse has been a tremendous success in spite of the fact that we are in the midst of a global pandemic! The organizers, volunteers, and designers all worked tirelessly to bring this showhouse to life and the community showed up in droves. This is the last weekend the showhouse will be open as its final day will be August 11th. If you are unable to attend, you can still make a donation to the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, if you are so inclined. It has been so fun working on this showhouse and in beautiful Lake Forest. I have fallen in love with this special, idyllic town, its stunning architecture, and the kind people there. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work on another project there someday soon!

{Photography by Aimee Mazzenga}

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