All Grown Up

March 2020 View more

When Mary Beth and Tim Moran moved into their Wheaton home more than a decade ago, their two children were in elementary school. Now with their daughter in college and son in high school, they were ready for an update. “We felt it needed a refresh as well as a transition from a kid-friendly house … to being more adult friendly,” Mary Beth says. Enter Gaby Alonso-Carmona of Urban 1111 Design in Lombard, the mastermind behind a first-floor renovation that blended existing furniture with new finds. She also enlisted Naperville-based contractor Coan Services to install eye-catching architectural upgrades, such as crisscrossing ceiling beams in the family room and a wall-to-wall built-in for their cozy reading room.

Photos by T. Greene Photography

This brass-finish Urchin chandelier by Dutton Brown (, $549) adds shine and whimsy. “We have a very traditional house, and I never would have thought to throw that fun piece in there,” says Mary Beth.

Alonso-Carmona accessorized these shelves with the family’s existing possessions, including the kids’ sports-themed piggy banks, a music box purchased in Italy, and a mug from the homeowners’ alma mater, Marquette University.

Built-in cabinetry painted in Sea Serpent by Sherwin Williams provides a dramatic focal point. The homeowners use the lower cabinets to store their treasured (but rarely used) heirloom china and crystal.

“These chairs were a hand-me-down from my mom and [Alonso-Carmona] was able to incorporate the fabrics,” says Mary Beth. The Misana rug by Hillsby Oriental (, $373) and Rambagh paisley indigo curtain panels (Pier 1 Imports, $45 each) add complementary colors and patterns.
Alonso-Carmona reworked the family room around the existing cognac leather couch, coffee table, and rocking chair—the latter was purchased for Mary Beth by Tim when they found out she was pregnant with their daughter. For additional seating, Alonso-Carmona added a new window seat cushion and pillows, cushy ottomans, and light-hued chairs. “All our family is local, so when they’re over or we host small group [Bible study] for church, now everyone can sit in here comfortably,” Mary Beth says.
To lighten up the foyer, a heavy wooden cabinet was replaced by the family’s antique sewing machine, which was converted into a table with a glass top. The height of the chair rail was raised under a durable vinyl wall covering with a woven silk-like look. New botanical prints and a vase with faux greenery adds a touch of nature.