From Farmhouse and French Parisian to Cape Cod and Craftsman, no matter the style, Interior Designer Stephanie Wohlner relies on intriguing design elements to capture the spirit of those who live inside.
Take for example the recent renovation of a 70-year-old Highland Park home. Wohlner noticed the lack of architectural intrigue and relied on her time-honored approach to rectify the situation. “One of the most important steps in any redesign is getting to know the client. In this case, the homeowner was sophisticated and elegant. I knew it was my job to create the depth and intensity that would lead to an atmosphere that suited the client,” Wohlner explains.
Armed with an accurate picture of her client, Wohlner assessed the bones of the home, striving to create a unified flow. Old stone and tile flooring was replaced with a rich wood throughout most of the home. Many of the walls were painted an elegant neutral color, thus creating the home’s first layer.
With the foundation laid, the fun began. The dining room bears a similar neutral foundation but with an intentional modern flair. A Lindsey Adelman chandelier adds sophistication. Sculptured light fixtures and texturized wallpaper give the room individual personality, while specific accents blend with the rest of the home.
“I selected a modern, but delicate chandelier, because I wanted to draw attention in a subtle way. The light fixtures and wallpaper also give a unique feel, while pops of blue found in the wall-hangings connect to hints of blue found in other areas of the house. These little details tie it all together,” Wohlner notes.
A room lovingly referred to as “the green room” was designed with coziness in mind. The vinyl wallpaper adds texture and tension and to add a personalized touch, the homeowner hung artwork of the family’s beloved dog.
“This is the room where most time is spent, so comfort was the main goal. Some of the personal touches give the room that, ‘I don’t want to leave this space’ type-of-feel,” Wohlner says.
A second living space presented a unique challenge, due to multiple seating areas. Wohlner strived to create individuality while maintaining a unified feel. Furniture from FORMATION sold by Holly Hunt, adds character, thanks to the twisted design pattern of the chair’s legs.
“I created separate spaces within one room, connecting them with complementary colors found in the wall-art, window dressings, furniture, and wall coloring. I want someone to walk into this room and ask themselves, ‘why am I so comfortable in this space?’ I would respond by telling them it is because the room is cohesive; there is flow,” Wohlner explains.
Upstairs, a walk-in closet was transformed into a feminine changing space, giving the room a new feel. “I added a powder room chandelier, giving the space a delicate touch. I also included a chaise lounge, complimenting some of the animal print décor found in the bedroom,” Wohlner notes.
Perhaps one of the most simplistic, yet intricately designed rooms is the downstairs powder room. The small but elegant space bears the same color scheme seen throughout the home. The wallpaper infuses Trompe L’Oeil—an art technique that uses realistic imagery, creating an optical illusion. The bench was hand-selected from a Parisian market and an overstated mirror designed by Jean de Merry enhances the visual intricacies of the room.
All in all, Wohlner said that regardless of the client’s style, she most enjoys working with one who has opinions and a strong desire to work collaboratively.
“Many assume I prefer a client who hands over the reins, letting me do whatever I want, but that’s not the case. I enjoy working as a team with my clients, as I can help them develop their vision,” Wohlner says. “Plus, I learn something new on every job, so the work is always new.”
For more information, visit swohlnerdesign.com.