Clean lines and gracious proportions pair with fresh color to give this new Chicago home classic elegance.
As welcoming as a glass of sweet tea on a steamy day, this Chicago home reflects the Southern roots of its owner in a fresh, colorful way.
This photo: A deep blue ceiling adds drama and coziness to Gloria and Mike Masterson’s sunny dining room. Opposite: Placed atop the mahogany dining table rather than hung on a wall, a brass-framed midcentury mirror serves as a reflective tray.
The family room is open to the kitchen and sees a lot of daily activity, so designer Christine Hughes dressed furnishings in durable linen. The mohair-clad ottoman is a surprisingly resilient choice that invites the Mastersons to put their feet up.
Gloria Masterson adores her new home’s front porch—even when the summer breezes that blow through it turn into the howling winds of Chicago’s legendary winters. The home’s dormers, gables, columns, and abundant architectural detailing remind her of her Southern roots, but it’s the porch that returns Gloria to her Alabama childhood. “I’m a Southerner, too,” designer Christine Hughes says. “The porch—in fact, the whole house—is a modern version of what we remember growing up.”
Architect Chip Hackley designed doorways with wide pocket doors topped with transoms and surrounded each room with walls of French doors and floor-to-ceiling windows reminiscent of the historically Southern triple-hung style.
Walls with a hint of cool gray unify the open, airy floor plan— and establish the home’s fresh, yet still recognizably traditional, feel. “We were trying to create something that was timeless and quiet, but with some modern elements that were appropriate for a young family,” Hughes says.
The dining room—where an antique crystal chandelier is suspended above an acid yellow geometric rug and classic Swedish-style seating covered in faux stingray leather— exemplifies Hughes’ and Gloria’s approach to turning their Southern heritage on its head. There are plenty of vintage lamps and a few sentimental furnishings that belonged to Gloria’s grandmother peppered throughout the house, but they’re placed alongside bleached wood tables, linen block-printed fabrics, and Lucite accents. “Nothing in this house is fussy or serious,” Hughes says. “It’s a really great balance of old and new, traditional and modern, and white with color.”
Vibrant color plays an important role in bringing personality and life to the mostly white house. “Any time there was a decision to be made about color,” Hughes says, “Gloria went straight for the bold, unexpected version of the blues, greens, and yellows that she loves. They’re like her personality— fun and bubbly.”
Gloria appreciates the hues for another reason. “Greens and blues are the colors that make me happy,” she says. “It feels like it’s summer in my house all year round—even during Chicago’s gloomy winter days.”
Above: Timeless simplicity and function reign in the all-white kitchen. Convenient recessed shelving hides behind sliding doors built into the range’s sleek backsplash. A band of nickel embellishes the natural quartz island; the custom range hood is also nickel. Right: Recessed glass-front cabinets deliver contemporary storage to the breakfast room. An overdyed Persian rug provides a splash of cheery color that’s also surprisingly functional. “It’s so forgiving, and it hides everything!” Hughes says. Opposite: The library is wrapped in walnut. A brilliant blue velvet sofa keeps the look bright. "I like to keep overall color palettes airy,” Hughes says. “Then I put items with more saturated colors in the center of the room, or underneath the windows. That way, your eye is drawn to them but doesn’t get stuck, and keeps moving outward toward the view.”
This photo: An upholstered bench introduces a vintage element to the master bath, where a geometric pattern of marble mosaic tiles reads like a graphic rug. Opposite: The master bedroom’s shapely sofa once belonged to Gloria’s grandmother. Hughes updated it with lacquered gray paint and new velvet upholstery.