When Suzanne Pappas decided to update her urban-suburban Glencoe home, she knew that, more than anything else, she wanted her family’s personalities reflected in the décor. Pappas is a passionate equestrian, which is evident in the design created by interior designer Aimee Wertepny of PROjECT. Partly in honor of what Wertepny calls “horsing around,” the undertaking was aptly nicknamed Giddy Up.
“Horses have been such a huge part of my entire life,” says Pappas. “A lot of the elements are inspired by my most recent competition horse C’est Moi, C’est Moi with whom I had a very special connection.”
Those elements include chic, wink-and-nod references to equestrianism, like a saddle poised in the foyer to add a little funk to a spiral staircase, black and white photography of C’est Moi, C’est Moi throughout the home, a set of stools with horse legs in the kitchen, and a special four-piece plexiglass framed set of C’est Moi, C’est Moi’s last horse shoes. “That was Aimee’s idea, and I could not think of a better way to display them,” explains Pappas. “Simply gorgeous!” In essence, Wertepny explains, the entire home was really an homage to C’est Moi, C’est Moi while also honoring both the family and the way they live their lives.
Wertepny’s favorite pieces are those that embrace what PROjECT has become known for, an organic glam mash-up. “I love the series of six-to-eight foot long black fringe chandeliers cascading down from the second floor,” says Wertepny. “It’s a really fun, whimsical moment with an element of surprise. The wacky element in the library is an ottoman we had custom upholstered in a gray metallic, animal-print, snakeskin-type fabric. It’s shiny but also velvet and is really cool paired up against the zebra-hide and the traditional dark molding.”
Wertepny and her team at PROjECT are known for showcasing homes that are unexpected yet still sophisticated and with Giddy Up, the overall aim was to help Pappas pull the home together with some existing pieces while trying to add a bit of pizzazz at the same time. The project scope included interior furnishings and some new lighting, paint, wallcoverings, accessories, and rugs throughout the home. “I like clean lines with a little bit of edge,” says Pappas. “I love the touches of metal, fur, feathers, and tonal texture throughout our home. It just gives me a bit of coziness and comfort.”
So rather than go the predictable route and play off the formal architecture details and rich mahogany bones, Wertepny satisfied Pappas’ love of edgy materials with a black lacquered Demilune, graphic art, Philip Jeffries grass cloth on the ceiling, Maya Romanoff wallcoverings, lots of fur, modern zebra-hide rugs, and petrified wood. Wertepny also notes Pappas has a love for purple but instead of adding pops of color, Wertepny incorporated the shade with a silky rug in the living room and through art.
“We revved up the excitement with our custom designs and added the sexy surprises, like leather fringe seating off the kitchen,” says Wertepny. “We love that tension of rebellious and polite. I don’t know what our secret sauce is, but it’s just naturally how we play with the elements of design: something light, something dark, something gritty, something smooth. So, across the breakfast area, one sees a very handsome and well-behaved transitional white kitchen.”
To find those standout pieces, Pappas likes to shop at a few places on the North Shore for interiors, including Material Possessions, Neiman Marcus, and Valentina. “There’s also a lot of online shopping that took place, along with visiting the Merchandise Mart, CB2, and West Elm,” explains Pappas. “And when we travel, we like to find unique pieces that we can add to our collection so there are great memories tied to each item.”
Pappas was introduced to Wertepny through a family friend. “I was sold the moment I looked through their photos,” says Pappas. “Everything that Aimee does is amazing. Her ideas are pure gold.” Wertepny is equally smitten with Pappas, touting her great eye and calling her a “cool, funky chick.”
Up next, Pappas and her family are considering a move to the Nashville area and would, of course, love to use Wertepny and her team again for the next home. “We’re really happy we were able to give Suzanne a home that reflected her and the way she wanted to feel in it,” says Wertepny. “Design can be a quiet affair or a heart-racing experience. That’s the kind of work we like to see—the show-stopping interiors that inspire us to think and to see differently.” That said, if they head south, then giddy up!
For more information about PROjECT, visit projectinteriors.com.