When Lauren Jacobsen moved to Hinsdale, the town where she grew up, to raise her four children, she found herself with several rooms to style and little time to do it. So she turned to family friend Trish Kinsella to help make her design dreams come true.
“I don’t think interior design has to be overly complicated,” explains Kinsella, who starts every project reviewing what her client already owns. “Lauren had some beautiful pieces she had inherited from her family that had character and great lines, but for the most part we had a blank canvas to work with. Our goal was to create a fresh, livable space that no one had to worry about ruining.”
Kinsella was also keen to ensure the designs they came up with for the living room, dining room, and family room was in-keeping with the special red brick street where the Jacobsen’s home was located.
Kinsella quickly went to work, much like a sister helping you with a project, looking for inspiration online and pinning boards on Pinterest with ideas for Jacobsen’s space. “I always tell my clients in the beginning that they are the makers of their own destinies,” she explains. “I’m happy to do as much or as little for them as they like. I only charge for my tangible Kinsella and Jacobsen first chose a soft color palette that would play through out the first floor, and delicately tie one room to the next. They then selected from a family of blues, teals, and turquoises that they mindfully repeated throughout the rooms as pops of color in artwork, pillows, dishes, and centerpieces—sometimes even using the clothing in family photos to tell the color story in a particular room.
In the living room, Kinsella used a classically styled mirrored chest, a family heirloom, to make a focal point for the room. They then turned to the website etsy.com for a piece of art that was made to custom-fit the colors and space of the room. “For many clients, choosing art is an intimidating task,” Kinsella says. “But by finding an artist on Etsy, we were able to order exactly what the room needed at a fraction of what it might cost in a gallery.”
Family photos, with creative and uniform framing, can also make impactful art statements on a wall.
“The Jacobsen’s have beautiful children and incredible photography of them. This is a great example of taking something they already had and incorporating it into the design. It makes their home very personal to their family,” she adds.
Kinsella also likes to play up the personality of a homeowner in rooms she consults on, often adding whimsical pieces like the Mongolian fur bench in front of the Jacobsen’s fireplace, contrasting with the more formal white moldings, to ward off any stuffiness that might creep into a more traditionally furnished living room.
Kinsella easily mixes retail pieces from Restoration Hardware, Mitchell + Gold, and Crate & Barrel with specialty items from the Merchandise Mart to outfit a project—and serenaandlily.com is an online go-to. And according to Kinsella, “the icing on the cake is always the lighting—my favorites are Circa Lighting on Wells downtown and Tower Lighting in Western Springs.”
She also encourages her clients to invest in having pillows and window treatments made. “This is an easy and cost-effective way to make sure that your room looks like you and not like anyone else,” she says. She turns to Jane Melilli in Western Springs for her window décor. And when in need of custom rugs and runners, Yonan Carpet in Downers Grove is her first choice.
Kinsella has great luck shopping locally for accessories—610 Home in Geneva, Classic Remix and Jayson Home & Garden in Chicago, and Yankee Peddler in Hinsdale are among her must-stops.
Books are another way that Kinsella economically elevates the style of any room. “I always bee-line to the clearance section of any book store to find books that can dress up a coffee table, book shelf, or bar cart. Books are great conversation pieces, as well.”
Kinsella reassures people considering working with an interior designer that they need not be scared. “Collaborating with a designer can be a completely transparent and fun process,” she adds. “It’s always important to me that my clients get a design that they love at a price they appreciate.”
Trish Kinsella can be reached at [email protected]