“Grand entrance” is a term that refers to what actors do, but its impact extends further than theatrical settings. Just as actors work hard to ensure that every nuance of their posture and speech creates a specific personality—so do luxury interior designers. The difference is that rather than elaborate costumes and sets, the tools of our trade are fixtures and furnishings that do the exact same thing in some of Chicago’s most memorable foyers, vestibules and entry halls. Not only does every grand entrance we craft tell a very specific story about its owner, it also creates an impactful space that plays to their needs as shown by the following four examples.
Starting from scratch: We were tasked with making raw space reflect old world grandeur but meet new world needs with the interior design of a new construction luxury penthouse on Chicago’s lakefront. Tailored yet majestic millwork and wide plank chevron floors lay a foundation in the space, and reference the past in a modern way. But how to outfit it to play to both periods, create a wow worthy of the home’s epic stature and size, yet still provide storage for accessories and seating for waiting and changing shoes? Our tall orders were fulfilled with a roomy Regency commode, new fauteuils that call Louis XVI styling to mind but pack present-day drama with their zebra print hides and a tableaux of intriguing accessories.
Making every inch count: Even a tiny alcove can become a grand entrance with big personality. More significantly, it can offer all the bells-and-whistles of a much more spacious foyer through astute space planning and utilizing the right pieces. A trim, two-level parsons console has a minimal presence but makes a maximal impact with doubled surface space and adequate “leg room” for two full-scale yet multipurpose stools that move to the living area when extra seating is needed. An oversized mirror amplifies the light from the overhead fixture, while the horizontal lines in the rug visually expand the narrow space.
Highlighting major assets: A prized mid-century painting has the place of honor in this Gold Coast home, where handsome neo-classical furnishings and a glamorous hide rug heighten its importance and establish an ageless aesthetic that infuses the entire home. To play to the statement-making power of this vignette, and the established style, a foyer gets equally ageless—yet also understated—trappings. Tailored benches and sconces in pairs and a luxurious silk moiré wallcovering add just the right hit of decorative gravitas and a huge dose of utility to the foyer. Most significantly, this grand entrance draws the eye to the grander setting beyond.
Establishing a theme: Victorian an Art Deco styling gets a 21st century update in this Lake Shore Drive apartment with bold colors and bona fide period pieces used in irreverent ways. The goal was to establish the singular mix of styles immediately upon entering the home, as well as turn the straightforward foyer into a truly grand entrance. Two period pieces with big personalities—a birdcage chair and a frothy side table—get modern updates with olive green velveteen and lavender paint, while a new door is embellished with period millwork then given a bold brass knob and an adventurous lacquered finish. A checkerboard paint job on the floor speaks to the fantastic foyers and kitchens of the 20th Century Deco era.
13 May 2016