Worldly Possessions

January 2023 View more

A travel-seeking couple create their perfect refuge in Wheaton


The kitchen of a Wheaton home

Our homes reflect who we are and what we value. That’s especially true for a pair of world travelers who bought and renovated a home they love in Wheaton.

The circa 1995 house was showing its age, with out-of-style carpeting, old wallpaper, and some rooms in states of minor disrepair. Joan Kaufman, design director of Naperville-based Interior Planning & Design Inc., was hired to restyle the kitchen, which led to a redo of many rooms in the 7,400-square-foot, four-bedroom, six-bath home.

The couple, a husband-and-wife who travel for work and pleasure, rank London’s the Dorchester hotel as one of their favorite places. When designing their home, Kaufman used the hotel as inspiration for the wood-paneled library. The wife loves Audrey Hepburn movies, so Breakfast at Tiffany’s was chosen as the theme for the kitchen. Accessories such as canisters for flour and other cooking staples, a toaster and teapot, and a custom Viking range in Bywater Blue add pops of a robin’s-egg hue. Her husband requested a generously sized office for working from home, as well as a theater room and bar for entertaining family and friends. As is often the case, the project expanded when the homeowners saw how well each newly finished room turned out.

Not everything in the home is brand new, however. Many existing features were “keepers,” such as exposed brick in the basement, a kitchen fireplace, cherry and oak flooring, and a unique wall covering in the dining room. These elements and others lend a timeless, European feel.

1. (Above) Robin’s-egg blue as found on a Tiffany & Co. box provided design inspiration for the kitchen. “We had a lot of fun finding accessories in this shade,” says designer Joan Kaufman. The addition of a new island with sink, built-in microwave and refrigerator, and warming drawers modernized the kitchen. The previous version was half island, half built-in desk, giving the space a dated feel.


The kitchen of a Wheaton home

2. Kaufman is a believer in preserving elements that are working in a space. “Not everything has to be new,” she says. Existing cabinetry was painted a fresh white, while the cherry and oak floors were refinished. Custom cabinetry around the hearth ties old and new together.


The library of a Wheaton home

3. The wood-paneled library sealed the deal when the couple were house-hunting. The space, which reminded them of the Dorchester hotel in London, was outfitted with a golden damask wall covering by Romo and matching pillows. Leather furniture by Hancock & Moore lends an academic feel.


The office of a Wheaton home

4. Kaufman modeled the sophisticated office on the colors of George Washington’s Revolutionary War uniform, choosing Benjamin Moore’s Philipsburg Blue and Alpaca shades for the walls. Wood-look ceramic floor tiles and radiant heat keep the window-filled space warm and cozy in wintertime. The ornate table is by Venicasa.


The spiral staircase of a Wheaton home

5. An elegant spiral staircase is another of the couple’s favorite spaces. Kaufman removed oak and white spindles and blue carpeting in favor of scrolling spindles and a custom runner, which was fit into place piece by piece. The chandelier is by Crystorama.


The theater room of a Wheaton home

6. Comfort is key in the revamped theater room, which includes 10 Bernhardt recliners (some on risers) with views of the 100-inch screen. Each recliner is equipped with electronic controls that allow guests to put their feet up and swivel.


The dining room of a Wheaton home

7. The dining room was transformed by swapping green paint for a silvery blue shade paired with wainscoting. Crews restored a hand-painted wall covering by de Gournay that graces the grand space. Kaufman topped the table with a sparkling Schonbek chandelier.


Photos courtesy of Haines Photographic Company