Jessica Lagrange Interiors LLC

Secret Sources That Aren’t Only To The Trade—Part II

Sharing Design Secrets: Every luxury interior designer has their secret sources for the finer things in life, from bench made upholstery to household managers and literally everything in-between. These sources work directly for them rather than directly with clients, and in many cases are closely guarded secrets. At JLI, our interior designers scour Chicago and beyond to locate and partner with the finest sources we can find to meet our discerning luxury standards. But in our case, we believe in sharing when possible, and some of our secret sources welcome working directly with clients. So this is Part II of a series we started last year and hope to bring to you annually (this year as a downloadable list!).

State Pkwy 19 Master Bed 1

(Image: Villa Savoia)

Caveat Emptor: Think of our secret sources like a great fix-up. We have vetted everyone below, use them frequently, hold all them in high regard and recommend them unequivocally. But if you have a business relationship with them directly, and issues arise, you’re on your own.


Art conservator Jackleen Leary of Paper Restoration & Conservation has worked wonders on whole sets of etchings and wood blocks for our clients. (Image: Jackleen Leary)

Art Services: Museum-quality frames cost dearly, and more so if they’re archival or feature UV-blocking glass. And choosing a frame can be confusing; what style, material and rim widths to use? Framer Bill Dougherty has solutions, often for the top Chicago artists who use him for their work, whether the medium is paint, paper, textiles or sculpture (he also builds large-scale 3-D box frames and custom pedestals). Even better, Bill installs artwork, an equally challenging skill (Bill Dougherty Studio;; 1907 Mendell Street, 112-B, Chicago; 312-208-5190). But before you frame anything made on paper—maps, etchings, drawings, documents, watercolors or photos—you may need the careful restorative hand of art conservator Jackleen Leary. She trained at the Chicago Conservation Center and has worked wonders on whole series of etchings, wood blocks and prints we have mounted en masse in clients’ homes (Paper Restoration & Conservation;;; Lake Bluff; 708-771-5607).

Archistoric 1

(Image: Villa Savoia)

Friends of Faux Diptych

(Image: Archistoric)

Furniture Help: Because furniture is the backbone of every project we do at JLI, we are rigorous when we vet our sources, be it for faux painting or repair and restoration work. ARCHistoric, dating back to 1923 when Chicago was a lighting hub and now owned by Tom Stemen, restores historic lighting, manufactures decorative lighting and fabricates custom lampshades to best reveal light’s special glow (ARCHistoric Products;; 2444 W. 16th Street, Chicago; 312-829-6290). Faux painter Amanda Rieb transforms furniture and walls through a repertoire of special decorative finishes such as crackle, faux tortoise shell, gold leaf and more. She studied at the respected Lorenzo de’Medici University in Florence (Friends of Faux;;; 773-899-3101). Favorite furniture should be lovingly used rather than just viewed, which means it periodically needs repair or restoration, especially centuries-old antiques. European-trained furniture conservator Kristopher Kwasny is our go-to-guy to recreate carving when parts are missing or “magically” remove watermarks and scratches (Kristopher’s Furniture Service LLC;; 2416 W. Barry Avenue, Chicago; 773-972-3882).

De Geeter

We use Jayson DeGeeter (above) and Deirdre Toner to transform outdoor spaces of every size and scope—be it balconies to acre-sized lots—from pedestrian to spectacular. (Image: Baron Clay via Jayson DeGeeter)

Garden Design: Talented and imaginative green thumbs can make outdoor spaces not just visually delightful, but also a place for recreational, healthful and edible possibilities. Jayson DeGeeter, who has designed and planted some of Michigan Avenue's most dazzling medians, sees his role as forging relationships between clients and their environments to produce personal art that yields joyful sights, smells and touches (Jayson DeGeeter;; 4144 N. Sheridan Road, Unit 204, Chicago; 312-608-3657). Deirdre Toner, known for her lush and sustainable landscapes and exceptional plant materials, is gaining attention for restoring large native sites. She's also our muse for perennial gardens, seasonal containers and healing gardens with soothing waters and aromatic plantings (D.T. Design LLC;; 7337 W. Kelley Road, Old Mill Creek, IL; 847-338-2963).

Villa Savoia Diptych

Michael Savoia’s bespoke embroidery is a far cry from the expected versions of the art and can have a transformative impact on curtains, bedding, pillows and more. (Image: Villa Savoia)

Exceptional Accessories: Sensual pillows, sumptuous throws, kicky lampshades—the extras that make life visually richer, more tactile and luxurious—also personalize rooms. Barbara Rapattoni, who lives in Venice, keeps alive the ancient textile traditions she fell in love with in her adopted city with her curated collection of pillows, lampshades, bedcovers, runners, benches and wooden frames (Oggetti Veneziani;;; Venezia 30124, Italy, +39 333-6630-652). Here in Chicago, Lynda O’Connor collects antique and vintage textiles from around the world and turns them into pillows and throws. She also takes on custom work that might show off favorite trims (Textures;; 445 W. Erie Street, Suite 101, Chicago; 312-576-6200). For a bespoke touch, we add custom embroidery, an age-old art that has returned and is valued once again for its ability to transform textiles and upholstery from pedestrian to spectacular. Among its premier practitioners is Michael Savoia, who earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in weaving and textile design, and designs and executes custom embroidery for curtains, upholstery, bedding and pillows—sometimes embellished with delicate beads and shimmering pailettes. He also imports fine linen textiles (Villa Savoia;; 89 Eddy Street, Providence; 401-277-9900).

Strollers Stilettos

Strollers and Stilettos for home management and housekeeping services and JAR Corp. for maintenance and repair professionals have come to our aid more times than we can count. (Image: Strollers & Stilettos)

Household Upkeep: A well-run household is similar to a finely tuned watch. All the parts are in perfect shape and tuned to perfection so it can run smoothly. Though most large, luxurious homes, or even bona fide estates, may no longer require a Downton Abbey size staff, they periodically need a handyman or other pro. JAR Corp. vets maintenance and service professionals to do everything from painting to renovating, and the more nitty-gritty tasks of installing hardware; replacing faucets, batteries and light bulbs; and more. Handyman services cost $85 per hour; painting is $55 per hour; and both require a minimum of $150 (JAR Corp.;; 1574 Old Deerfield Road, Highland Park, 847-926-9476). For those who do need to channel a little Downton Abbey cachet, Strollers and Stilettos founder Katie Lewis fills the myriad needs of luxury homeowners who seek estate or house managers, executive or personal assistants, housekeepers, butlers, nannies, private chefs and drivers (Strollers and Stilettos;; 980 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400, Chicago; 312-768-8030).

Secret Sources That Aren't Only to the Trade Part II

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27 Jun 2017

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