Fashionista Jillian Horn needed a well-designed spot to snap outfit photos for her Instagram (@jilliankhorn), where more than 50,000 followers await her latest looks of the day. But when she first attempted selfies with the floor mirror in her contemporary Lincoln Park townhome, it reflected a backdrop that did not quite fit Jillian’s aesthetic.
She turned to Chicago-based interior designer Kurt Jacob Miller for help, and he seamlessly transformed the space with a pale pink hue that let Horn’s feminine style shine. “I can safely say that was the first time I’ve ever been hired to do interior design for a photo backdrop,” he laughs. “Luckily, Jillian has amazing taste in both home décor and fashion.”
That first-time project in the city for Jillian and her husband Dr. Michael Horn, the famed plastic surgeon behind The Michael Horn Center for Cosmetic Surgery in the Gold Coast, soon turned into another project for Miller in Florida and then, most recently, their new home in Glenview.
“I was born and raised in downtown Chicago and I think a part of me will always be a city girl, but I knew once our daughter was born that the North Shore was a better fit for our growing family,” says Jillian, mom to son Greyson, age 3, and daughter Lincoln, age 1. “The convenience of bike rides and playing in the yard has brought a lot of happiness to us and our kiddos!”
Adds Dr. Horn, “Having grown up and attended high school on the North Shore, it was always my goal to go back and raise a family in the area.”
The couple left the city for the shore last fall and tasked Miller with an urgent priority: Finish the dining room and guest bedrooms in time for the family to host a 20-person gathering at Christmas. “This was near Thanksgiving,” says Miller. “It was quick!”
For his favorite family, Miller moved fast. He added an oversize dining table that could accommodate the Horn’s extended family and friends along with a mix of lavender accents that would complement the purple- and pink-hued adjacent home office. The palette lends a sophisticated aesthetic to the sleek Italian contemporary furniture favored by Dr. Horn.
“This is house number three that I’ve worked on with the Horns, so I have a good sense of what they like,” says Miller. “That said, I still try to get inside their head to figure out how they live day-to-day. What kind of vacations do they take? Do they eat dinner in the kitchen? What are their favorite colors? Things like that help me establish a comprehensive design plan.”
Miller credits the Horns for making quick decisions and for giving Miller carte blanche. “You do you,” Miller recalls Jillian saying to him. True to his design mantra—it’s not the match, it’s the mix— Miller expertly layered in everything from mementos from the duo’s wedding in Bora Bora and grasscloth wallcoverings to macramé stools and abstract artwork sourced from Wendover Art Group.
Miller paid homage to the interests of the man and woman of the house with a blue bust inspired by French artist Yves Klein, best known for his trademark ultramarine pigment, that subtly touts Dr. Horn’s artistry with a scalpel. He then added a contemporary painting of blue lips biting on a diamond in the office where Jillian manages her blog dedicated to all things fashion, lifestyle, and motherhood.
“When she’s not in Louboutins, she’s barefoot,” says Miller fondly of Jillian. “They are young, hip, and cool but like to be cozy and comfortable, too. People tune into her Instagram because she shows real-life, like the pitfalls and perils of pancake batter on the walls. They even have a little dog, Bella, who’s always running around.”
To that end, Miller swathed the family room in a neutral grasscloth along with an oversize oriental carpet. In the dining room, Miller used a cork wallcovering by Astek with a gold leaf underlay that lets the room sparkle at nighttime. In the family-friendly butler’s pantry, he jazzed up the space with emerald green paint and a ceiling wallpaper printed in Poland that resembles a slice of agate.
One special request came from Jillian, who dreamed of a black porch swing that could be decorated for the holidays—and for Instagram—with birch logs, striped cushions, and a tartan throw. Miller made it happen. The family is also adding a home gym and an outdoor pool, just in time for summer, and a walk-in wine cellar called for by fine wine collector Dr. Horn.
Of course, Miller made sure to incorporate a perfectly placed floor mirror for Jillian’s outfits of the day, as well.
“This is a traditional house, but it’s full of color and fun elements that make it unique and special,” says Miller. “But my favorite thing about the house is the people who live in it. They are the cutest family, and they all truly make the house a home.”
For more information about Jacob Lukas Design, visit jacoblukasdesign.com.