As the daughter of architect Paul Konstant, of Konstant Architecture & Planning, Natalie Konstant grew up immersed in the design world and received an education in the subject at a young age. Fast forward to today and that same background is what gives Natalie her edge. As the principal designer of Konstant Home, a full-service interior design firm that originally started within Konstant Architecture, Natalie understands the value in cohesive design and the impact it can have on a space.
“One of the great things about working with Konstant Architecture is that it’s seamless,” she explains. “We can ensure all aspects of the interior design and architecture relate to one another.”
The father-daughter duo joined forces on a recent North Shore renovation—“If you can call it that,” says Natalie, who only recognizes the red brick on the family room’s fireplace from the initial structure—to restore an original neo-classical colonial home in Evanston. The goal? To update the house for a modern-day family of five, including three boys and a dog.
“I use the term ‘new traditional’ when describing my style—modern, yet timeless. It is really just an honest response to the times and how people are living today,” she says. “This home’s original floorplan was very chopped up and consisted of a lot of little rooms. It lacked flow. The second floor was dormitory-like, with many small bedrooms. The house was meant for lots of staff, with maids’ quarters and a tiny kitchen. It was built for a different time, designed for a more formal way of living.”
Architect Paul Konstant made the space more efficient with an open floorplan, anchored by a large kitchen open to the family room, breakfast room, and screened porch. The architecture was designed to reflect the house’s vintage … with a few fun upgrades, like a full-size basketball court in the basement. For the interiors, Natalie worked to achieve a balance between formal and family-friendly, making sure that all selections were conducive to an active lifestyle, while still responding to the original aesthetic.
“What we’re doing is so intimate,” says Natalie. “We’re creating spaces for people to live their lives in. So, while it’s our job to make it beautiful, it also has to function and work for their lifestyle.”
The homeowners took Natalie to the Ralph Lauren showroom in Chicago, where they found inspiration in the store’s grasscloth wall coverings, sisal stair runner, signature plaids, roll arm sofas, oversized tufted wing chairs, and brass nailhead trim. While many of these aspects were incorporated
in the design, “It was really the warmth and coziness in such a traditional setting that they were responding to,” says Natalie. In achieving this, she upholstered traditional silhouettes in textured indoor-outdoor fabrics that mirrored the look and feel of real wools and linens.
In the kitchen, the warm tones of the red brick fireplace are what led to the selection of the ebony island and mahogany countertop. “It’s that play of texture, material, and color that really bring the space to life,” she adds.
In the master, a custom-designed four poster bed sits in front of bookshelves that allow the owners, who she describes as “avid readers,” easy access for a nighttime read. The array of books also enhances the room’s otherwise calming palette, which has Benjamin Moore’s Blue Lace paint on its walls and Konstant White molding (the same throughout the entire home). Natalie designed the master bedside tables, set in front of windows, to have two lower drawers and a shelf to ensure they wouldn’t block the room’s light, or what she calls “the best accessory.”
“My dad has always designed every aspect of a house himself,” she notes. “So when a room calls for a particular design, like the master nightstands, I love to create a one-of-a-kind piece.”
While custom design is beneficial when it comes to the function and personalization of a space, Natalie notes the importance of incorporating the old with the new. “There is such a thing as ‘too perfect.’ It can make a space feel sterile,” she explains. For this project, she sourced a vintage fire truck wheel from an Evanston antique store, which hangs above the family room sofa, and a game table from Maze Home in Winnetka. “It’s the character of those pieces that really bring the room to life,” she adds.
Another essential to finishing a space, “the owner’s personal items,” says Natalie. Never over accessorizing, she leaves space for the client to add their own personal touches and room for them to grow into. “That’s what really turns a house into a home,” she notes. In this case, that meant hanging a large Richard Misrach photograph, which the client purchased at a gallery during a trip to New York, above the living room sofa. Natalie then complemented the piece with a George Constant—yes, her great uncle—which hangs above the fireplace.
Ultimately, Natalie helped the family build a home that will stand the test of time, one that will never go out of style.
For more information about Natalie Konstant, visit konstanthome.com.