Playing It Cool

February 2022 View more

Good design partnerships involve careful communication—and an almost uncanny ability on the part of the designer to size up a person’s style and desired level of involvement in a project. While some clients arrive armed with inspiration from Instagram and Houzz, others prefer to let a professional guide their choices.

When Lauren Fasolo, owner of Naperville-based Ellce Home, was asked to help a father of three outfit his new Clarendon Hills home, he gave her mostly free rein to design the house of his dreams.

“He trusted me to make it look great and I think everyone was pleased with the end result,” Fasolo says. The client moved into the 3,400-square-foot space, built by Oakley Home Builders, in late spring 2021. It has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and two half baths.

For this particular project Fasolo envisioned “California cool”: sophisticated yet laid-back, contemporary and low maintenance. She carefully considered the color palette, choosing white oak finishes accented with shades of gray and jewel tones. When the client did weigh in, it was mostly to request additional color. “He liked neutral, but not too neutral,” Fasolo says.

The interior designer just signed a lease for the Jefferson Street space formerly occupied by Lululemon Athletica, where she’ll move her firm this year, offering retail furniture and home accessories. Fasolo hopes it’s the starting point for many more fruitful designer-client partnerships. 

Oakley Home Builders clad this family room wall with aluminum to serve as a striking backdrop for the television and fireplace.

Anchoring the room is a comfy Verellen sectional in a velvety sharkskin fabric.

A two-tiered, white oak coffee table by Precedent Furniture provides multilevel options for activities, such as serving snacks or working on a laptop.

The Clarendon Hills home is set up for entertaining, with features such as an eye-catching, mirrored dry bar just steps from the places where guests gather. Oakley Home Builders installed brass hanging shelves on which Fasolo arranged stemware and drink mixers. Keeping drinks and glasses in view encourages guests to help themselves, freeing up the host to focus on cooking or conversation. “The bar area isn’t huge,” Fasolo says, “but it is very functional.” 

A covered patio with overhead heaters makes gathering outside possible for most of the year. The homeowner traded grass for artificial turf and a putting green in the name of low maintenance and fun. Comfortable outdoor furniture is by Four Hands, a brand Fasolo favors for its combination of quality with an affordable price point. The swinging chairs were a surprise find on Wayfair. 

Clean and contemporary was the vision for the kitchen, with white oak cabinets by Brakur Custom Cabinetry, transom windows, and gold lighting from Hinsdale Lighting. Fasolo’s novel design for the space included six-by-six-inch ceramic tiles from Viking Flooring Solutions spanning the wall and enveloping the range hood. Quartz countertops edge 18 inches up the wall, culminating in a four-inch ledge that keeps spices and cooking tools within arm’s reach, yet off the main counter.

Photos courtesy Oakley Home Builders