After stints with renowned designers in Chicago and New York, where Jennie Bishop managed all aspects of high-end residential projects from initial concept to final installation, she ventured out to create her own namesake firm, Jennie Bishop Design.
“At first, I was going to make pillows,” says Bishop. “I did that for four months before I realized it had become a sweatshop instead of a fun hobby. I got two, then four, then more clients and then an email, a name, a file cabinet, and away we went.”
Eventually she realized she wanted to grow, so she turned to her former colleagues Melissa Benham and Kristen Ekeland, and Studio Gild was born in February 2014. Their combined experience in commercial, retail, and residential design allows the collective to deliver refined interiors with enduring style.
“The stars aligned,” says Bishop. “We met off and on for six months, wondering if we could, if we should, and how we would. Then, we just did it. My motto has always been to jump into the pool and then check to see if there’s water.”
Today, the trio’s design approach fosters unique artisan and client relationships while embracing an emphasis on thoughtful detailing. It is the meticulous gilding of each project that serves as a reflection of the firm’s trademark aesthetic and namesake. The resulting environments are curated, provocative, and timeless.
While the Studio Gild team collectively agrees on a design philosophy that embraces clean architecture and subtle beauty, Bishop focuses on weaving clean lines and rich contrasts with deliberate pops of color and texture. Bishop offers a fresh approach to existing framework, ensuring each project aligns with her client’s needs and aesthetic.
Studio Gild has created spaces for a distinguished roster of clients from Los Angeles to New York to Puerto Rico to Canada. “Studio Gild still leans much more modern than traditional, in the purest sense,” explains Bishop. That’s why, when relocating from the city to Highland Park, a young family turned to Studio Gild for help designing their forever home—“whatever ‘forever’ means anymore,” laughs Bishop. They found the perfect lot overlooking a ravine (they tore down the existing home on the property) and hired their team: builder Red Rock Custom Homes, architecture firm Northworks, led by Lake Forest’s Austin DePree, and interior design firm Studio Gild. “They had a strong vision of what they wanted with Northworks from the onset,” says Bishop.
“They wanted warmth in the wood exterior, stately limestone and stucco for lightness, and an abundance of glass in the rear to spotlight the views. For the interiors, we were tasked with tempering the starkness of the modern architecture with a textured and layered interior to ensure it never felt too cold.”
Moving from 2,400-square-feet in the city to more than 8,000-square-feet on the North Shore, the family brought just a few keepsakes with them and otherwise looked to Studio Gild for help filling the home.
“The client was game for anything, open and daring,” says Bishop. “Nothing in this house is unaddressed. Every single thing you see was completely planned and specific to this home.”
Even though Bishop describes the client as a little scared of color, there’s no lack of color and contrast in this house thanks to a collection of art Studio Gild consulted on for the project. Standouts include an Edward Lipsky piece—sourced through Alan Koppel Gallery—in the foyer that pairs perfectly with the chevron flooring and Gabriel Scott chandelier. The colors unintentionally match a sari silk area rug by Lee Jofa.
“I’m obsessed with the deep pink,” says Bishop. “It’s so powerful and shocking to the space. The Ed Lipsky was the first piece of art purchased for the house.”
Studio Gild also worked with Carrie Secrist Gallery on an ink and oil painting by Whitney Bedford that sits under what Bishop calls a “remarkable element of the house,” the staircase designed by Northworks. “They knew how important it would be,” she adds. While not typically an important place to hang art, the piece draws the eye toward the wall of glass at the back of house, opening up the space.
With 12-foot ceilings throughout, even in the basement, Studio Gild addressed every inch from floor to ceiling to guarantee the home would always feel cozy and comfortable despite its sprawling, semi-open floorplan. “It had to have human scale,” she says, describing the six-foot brass range hood in the kitchen, and the 25-foot ceilings in the subterranean sport court.
Even so, elements like an exaggerated sofa custom-designed by Studio Gild in the living room, a dramatic fireplace, blackand- white Schumacher wallpaper in the powder room, and myriad soft textiles all add a human element that keeps the home family-friendly.
Eighteen slabs of imported limestone from Italy for the primary bath and 12 slabs of Calacatta Extra Gold for the kitchen took “years off my life,” laughs Bishop. “It took nine months to figure out two rooms of stone.” That said, the result is well worth the wait.
“This project was a true, seamless, fun collaboration with Northworks and a dream from start to finish,” says Bishop of the two-and-a-half-year process. The word modern means nothing and everything at the same time. This project embodies modern design but with warmth, interest, and uniqueness.”