South­ern Ex­po­sure

Décor - - Contents - Writer Mara Boo pho­tog­ra­pher Wer­ner Straube pro­ducer Hi­lary Rose

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.


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