A single mother in Hinsdale manifests every idea she ever had about what her “dream home” might look like, utilizing an innate eye for interior design to make it a reality. The word “home” has many connotations. It is a place but it’s also an idea. And for many of us, the definition of a “dream home” often lives in our imagination. Making those visions a reality often requires the help of an interior designer or architect.
But in the case of Shannon Antipov, the talent and skill required to create the design she envisioned when she bought her Hinsdale home was akin to the fabled ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz. The magic was there all the time. She just needed to click those heels and make it happen.
“When I walk into a home, I can already see the potential of what it can be,” explains Antipov, a single mother of three (two sons and a daughter) who confesses to being obsessed with fashion and design since she was very young. “When it comes to bringing these interior dreams to life, I believe that you either have it or you don’t. When I’m working on my home or helping a friend, I can already see what no one else can. And if you can imagine it, you can find a way to make it possible.”
Her current passion project is the six-bedroom, seven-bath- room home that she has been creating for her family for the last few years. It’s a moving canvas, always changing and evolving. However, that’s what Antipov loves about the process.
“It’s taken me a long time to master this house,” says Antipov, explaining that in the years prior to her divorce, she and the children were moving around quite a bit. They rented houses in Cypress (near the Mediterranean) and in California, but she could never quite make them her own.
“Instead, I would do my mom’s house and my sister’s house and my grandma’s house. I went and did everyone’s house that I could. I was so obsessed with interior design. Since I couldn’t do my own, I did it for other people,” she adds. “When I finally bought this house, I wanted to do it perfectly because it was all mine.”
The home, located near Hinsdale Central High School (her teen son often walks to school), is essentially a showcase of every design idea or inspiration that Antipov has ever had.
No detail is overlooked in the pursuit of perfection. For her daughter (the youngest), there is a bedroom fit for a princess. For her sons, there are rooms that represent their personalities and interests. And for Antipov, there is the satisfaction of finally making her long-imagined “dream home” a reality.
Growing up in South Bend, Indiana, her father’s job transfers meant that her family moved around frequently. Even in college, she was always on the go—leaving university life just short of graduating to get married and then focus on the birth of her son.
“I’ve been interested in interior design as long as I can remember,” she says. “My ex-husband and I moved around a lot. When we got here to Hinsdale, we bought a house that I started to design, but there was that summer that it rained so hard our basement was flooded and we had to redo the whole thing.”
During that renovation, they were back to renting again, inhibiting Antipov’s desire to decorate. Today, with a house that’s all hers and designed to be a “forever home” for her children, she’s having so much fun she says it might be hard to stop.
“I’m obsessed,” she laughs. “For me, decorating is a true passion. I absolutely love to do it. I love furniture. I love to paint it and I love to upholster. I also love a good deal!”
Next on her list is the basement, which she says will be a departure from the glam vibe in the rest of the house. Antipov says that when she bought the house, it was furnished with rooms of “brown and orange furniture.” She has reupholstered some of the pieces and plans to repurpose many of these items for a more sports-themed lounge for her boys to hang out with friends.
Through this process, Antipov has taken time to utilize her talents beyond helping family and friends.
In addition to taking on a few local clients to help them make their own home visions come to life, she also maximized a per- sonal 5,000-square-foot warehouse of excess furniture (from her house in California) to help local realtors stage homes for sale.
“Staging was like moving every week,” she says. “I did 18 houses in three months. It’s a lot of work.”
What she enjoys most is putting smiles on the faces of her friends and clients and making their lives happier through design.
“I love the finished product where they are standing in their newly updated space and can’t believe or couldn’t even imagine that their home could look the way it does when we are finished,” says Antipov, explaining that the transformation is something so dramatic that it doesn’t even look like the same house. “My last client had not touched her house in more than 30 years and I remember her husband saying to me, ‘You are truly a blessing. Thank you so much for bringing back the sparkle in my wife’s eyes and the smile on her face. She is a brand-new person’.”
In addition to the work she does on her own house and in the homes of others, Antipov also keeps a booth at her family’s antique mall in Niles, Michigan.
“My grandma opened it and she passed it down to my mom and my aunt,” she says, explaining how she used to go there after school when she was young and help stage the merchandise. “In every room that I do, I like to add an antique piece, a vintage piece, and a modern piece. I like everything to feel unique and different.”
At the end of the day, Antipov says she finally found what she’s been looking for all her life—happiness and harmony in a home that’s more than a metaphor.
“I don’t follow the rules. I just do what I like. I don’t feel like there should be any rules,” she adds. “And I don’t have a favorite room. They’re all my favorite, just like my children.”