Monday, August 24, 2015

Revisiting Ruthie Sommers

Last week, I featured this amazing home for sale in Illinois, decorated by one of my favorite interior decorators, Ruthie Sommers. I have been obsessing over her work lately, and I thought it would be fun to feature another home in Illinois that she decorated. It is from the March 2014 issue of House Beautiful, but it is definitely worth revisiting. Built in 1926, this French Provincial style house is located in Lake Forest, Illinois. Sommers layered cheerful colors and patterns to create a happy house that exudes an old-school preppy vibe. Let's take a look inside!

Sommers cozied up the living room with classic furnishings in a preppy palette of pink, green, and chocolate brown. For a contrast with the original white brick walls, a custom sofa was covered in a mocha cotton velvet. The menagerie of pillows was made mostly from leftover fabrics. "Maybe I overdid it on pillows, but it was all in the same zealous spirit of the house," Sommers said. "I wanted to create that squishy, everyone-squeezing-onto-the-sofa feeling." A lover of traditional hand-blocked floral prints, she re-covered the homeowners' slipper chair in Lee Jofa's Eldon. The plaster sconces, once part of a Dorothy Draper interior, are from David Bell Antiques, with pink pleated shades by Munder & sons. 

Contemporary photography, including this huge print by Reinhard Görner, adds a refreshing touch of modernity to the living room. The love seat is covered in Pindler & Pindler's Ghent.

On the entry's chocolate-brown walls — Benjamin Moore Aura in Mink — Sommers had Patrick Roullier paint a mural of ivory trees and squirrels based on the flora and fauna of the Illinois countryside. The bench from the Antique & Artisan Center is covered in a Pindler & Pindler ticking stripe.

In the dining room, walls in Farrow & Ball's Blue Ground in Full Gloss are a foil for pink Murano glass lamps from Swank Lighting. Vintage Louis XVI–style chairs around a Jansen dining table are covered in Talcy Velvet by Clarence House.

Both sofas and the curtains in the family room are covered in Chenonceaux, an ikat by Brunschwig & Fils. Another bold ikat covers the ottoman. Custom dining chairs by Chapman Radcliff are uhpolstered in Pierre Frey's Le Grand Corail. An end table from John Rosselli Antiques is topped with a blue-and-white ginger jar lamp from Hollywood at Home. Sommers designed the large grass cloth-covered coffee table to accommodate everything from stacks of books to cocktails. 

Sommers brightened the client's club chairs in the family room with Kravet's Versailles blue velvet and celery-green strap work.

Sommers converted a storage room into a handsome passage with a purpose: Under a green chinoiserie mirror she set up a bar on an Italian marble-top console from Thomas Jolly Antiques. 

Used horizontally on slanted walls, the powder room's green stripe wallpaper by Rose Cumming is "a total Dorothy Draper move," Sommers says. "It could be the Greenbrier."

In a house full of strong rooms, the master bedroom's pale colors offer a serene respite. Sommers began with the patterned rug from Melrose Carpet and the striped Acanthus wallpaper by Farrow & Ball. The matching headboard and bed skirt are in Madeleine by Carleton V with Samarkand trim by Old World Weavers. The custom nightstand is covered in Fortuny's Papiro and topped with a lamp from Filament Lighting. The vanity is from Habite, and the mirror over it is from Harbinger. 

In a guest bedroom, Sommers covered walls in Cowtan & Tout's Amelie and piped the corners in Samuel & Sons' Cambridge Braid to play up charming architectural angles. The suzani bedcover is from Pat McGann. 

A chair seat and dressing table skirted to match the wallpaper envelop the guest bedroom in flowers. Wallpaper and fabric are Cowtan & Tout's Amelie. The pair of lamps is from Rubbish, with shades by Munder & Sons.

I am so in love with this gorgeous home! To learn more about the inspiration behind the design, you can read an interview with Sommers from House Beautiful here.


  1. Andrea,
    Funny, I have the HB tear sheet of the LR on my bulletin board in my home office! Love that white painted brick and the pretty, effortless palette !

  2. Such a Palm Beach feel to this design, fun and flirty! xo K

  3. I remember this feature in HB. God how I love Ruthie!

  4. Andrea the color palette in the living room is fabulous!! Love this home!!
    Have a great weekend!

    The Arts by Karena


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