Designers make over rooms in mansion where filmmaker John Hughes lived
Top Chicago designers inserted subtle tributes to the late John Hughes in the Lake Forest mansion where he lived and created legendary movies like "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink" and "Home Alone."
Open through May 17 for the Lake Forest Showhouse, the Tudor mansion Edwin Hill Clark designed in 1929 presents windows everywhere to provide almost constant views of the gardens on the estate's two acres.
Beth Lamotte of Southern Manner Antiques & Design pointed out two paintings of pink flowers she commissioned as her ode to Hughes in the west powder room.
"I just had to work on the house when I heard it belonged to John Hughes," said the Winnetka designer. "I think you will find many designers incorporated touches of pink."
Alessandra Branca of Branca of Chicago, the "headline" designer, chose a coral shade to dot throughout her living room. Liz McEnaney of E. Claire Design LLC in Northfield placed a small photo of Hughes in the library where he liked to work, and Mikel Welch of Chicago commissioned Sergio Quinones to paint a portrait of the filmmaker to hang over the fireplace in the man cave.
The return of the 1960s to interior design appears throughout the home. Branca put a brass étagère with rounded corners in the living room, and at least three rooms show smoky mirrors. A bentwood rocker provides solace in the nursery, and Soledad Zitzewitz of Lake Bluff used a starburst mirror over the dining room fireplace.
Nancy Hughes, widow of the writer, director and producer who died at the age of 59, has donated the estate one block from Lake Michigan to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, which will list it for sale at just under $5 million.
The home has at least 27 rooms in its 11,000 square feet, and Susan Brunstrum of Sweet Pea Designs in Libertyville and Chicago thought one more bedroom might be overkill, so she created a fashion writer's retreat for a fictional blogger.
"The simple black-and-white backdrop is relaxed and elegant, chic but not fussy -- the 'little black dress' of design," wrote Brunstrum.
A chalk-white dining table with shapely deer legs serves as the desk, striking against the black walls. Famous brand names like Hermes, Prada and Cartier shine in black on the white ceiling.
M2057 by Maria Pinto, known for dressing first lady Michelle Obama, and Azeeza Kahn, who boasts her own celebrity following, contributed clothing, along with shoes by James Sommerfeldt and handbags from Diego Rocha.
Annika Christensen of Midnight Sun, LTD in Mundelein found the most gorgeous Farrow & Ball greens for the Coat and powder room. Mizzle is a mixture of mist and drizzle in the evening, and Chappell Green is more green than blue green. They work with Nina Campbell's flowing tree patterned wallpaper. A 36-diameter SKYGARDEN ceiling light fixture from Marcel Wanders for Flos of Italy features a plaster floral design inside its outer hemisphere.
After climbing the west entrance staircase where Loren Reid Seaman of LRS Interiors, Inc. ran a sisal carpet trimmed with large nailheads, visitors see the Arlington Heights designer's cozy retreat. He put a large taupe and black stripe on the walls of the upper hall, added a leather chair for reading and a desk for quiet note writing. Inspired by the earthy colors of the Mexican tiles from Saltillo and the mansion's Tudor architecture, he chose iridescent glass chandeliers. The Farrow & Ball wallpaper with light and dark taupe stripes more than 5 inches wide is labeled BP1382. Paint colors include Mahogany, which mimics the dark tones of the wood, and Elephant's Breath, a gray with a hint of magenta.
Leslie Bowman of Wells Street Design in Burr Ridge used a neutral palette to create a respite in the upper hall. The subtle Farrow & Ball Ocelot pattern wall covering; the barely off-white Wimborne White; the grayed Shaded White and soft but pure All White.
Other rooms that stand out include the red lacquer nursery. Steve Somogyi and Filip Malyszko of steve + filip designs, inc. of Chicago say the home's movie heritage led them to "The Grand Budapest Hotel," a 2014 Oscar-winning movie. One wall holds hundreds of biodegradable diapers.
Every parent entering Amy Courage's teen retreat will wonder how to keep pizza off the 300-pound white shag rug. A plaid window swing provides fun as do game boards laminated on the tops of cube tables. And check out the ceiling light fixture where the main decoration is provided by clips for holding little notes.
Lori Lennon's welcoming and cheerful family dining room starts with taupe silk drapes embroidered with large orange/red lilies that might bring a fleeting memory of '70s design. The Lake Forest designer also chose red cushions for her rosewood klismos dining chairs and a Michael Taylor/SeripOrganic Lighting chandelier with long teardrop-shaped crystals.
It would be difficult to imagine a more sophisticated man cave than Mikel Welch created. For example, he had the pool table recovered with light gray felt so it works with the Farrow & Ball White Tie walls and the natural linen color of the two sofas with a wingback feel. Welch covered 200 books with white linen. The man cave is really a suite of three rooms, including a bar and bath by Joey Leicht of Chicago.
If you goWhat: 2015 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens
When: Now through May 17; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends
Where: Visitors must park and take the free shuttle bus, which runs from the north parking lot between Westminster and Scott at the East Lake Forest Train Station, 691 N. Western. On weekdays, it also runs from Christ Church, 100 N. Waukegan Road.
Tickets: $37 in advance; $40 at the door.
Benefits: Lake Forest Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago