Designer Jessica Lagrange created a softly minimalist tableau with a lacquered pedestal table and Knoll Saarinen chairs on a bare floor and a 14-pendant Bocci chandelier.
Designer Jessica Lagrange created a softly minimalist tableau with a lacquered pedestal table and Knoll Saarinen chairs on a bare floor and a 14-pendant Bocci chandelier. See more photos in our gallery below.


Designer Jessica Lagrange faced a dilemma. Granted, she had a terrific client with great taste whose three-bedroom pied-à-terre in the posh 900 North Michigan Avenue building was turning out beautifully. It needed rugs to pull everything together, but her client was hesitant.

“I’ve never had rugs in my house on the North Shore,” the homeowner says. “I like metal and I like wood, and I like the way they look against each other.” So began a classic decorating dialogue—how to bring warmth to a modern space without compromising its cool.

From the beginning, they had talked about ways to soften the apartment’s contemporary architecture. “The client is such a minimalist, she heard ‘draperies’ and thought ‘swags.’ She heard ‘rugs’ and thought ‘Orientals,’” Lagrange recalls. “We had to show her that those things could be done in a contemporary way.”

Lagrange and her senior designer, Christina Stillwaugh, approached the issue by adding texture and little hits of color within a largely neutral—taupe, gray, and white—palette. The living room got a tactile fireplace of split-face limestone tiles, and the dining room got luscious suede-covered arm-chairs. Art adviser Patti Gilford helped the family scatter some fascinating pieces of art around the 2,900-square-foot apartment, and Lagrange and Stillwaugh took permission from a painting in the family room to insinuate burnt orange and red accessories into various spaces.

In the two teenage daughters’ bedrooms, Lagrange says, they got to go (relatively) crazy. “The colors we did in those rooms are basically what the girls responded to. For instance, the younger daughter wanted hot pink and orange.” (That particular acorn apparently fell from Mom’s minimalist tree and onto a passing truck.) For the older daughter, who is into fashion, a headboard covered with tribal Donghia suzani fabric inspired a plum-and-brown bedroom, finished with Missoni curtains. “It’s a robust mix of patterns, that’s for sure,” says Lagrange. “But the colorful rugs came last. Rugs took some convincing.”

With modernist touches such as the kitchen’s stainless steel mosaic tiles and Bertoia stools in place, it was time to broach the question of a custom rug for the living room. After refining the design of a sample too many times to count, Lagrange and Stillwaugh had a rug they knew would make a difference. “When you’re using so many shades of  gray in a living room, it’s important that the carpet has a pattern that pulls it all together,” Stillwaugh says.

To the designers’ delight, the client not only agreed but also became a full convert to the Church of Drapes and Carpets. “I asked Jessica to come out to our house on the North Shore,” she says. “Now we have rugs, now we have curtains, and I didn’t think I’d ever like color—but I do!”


Photography: Werner Straube
Styling: Christina Dunne-Anderson




The kitchen, daughter's bedroom, living room, daughter's study nook, and corner of the master bedroom.
See more photos in our gallery below.

1. The kitchen’s dark-stained oak cabinets contrast dramatically with light oak floors. Bertoia stools facilitate casual dining around an island topped with flamed granite. 2. In a teenage daughter’s bedroom, a panel upholstered with brown fabric grounds the colors pulled from the vibrant headboard. Shelves run only halfway across the panel to create some breathing room in this small space. The striped rug echoes the headboard fabric with strong color and a large-scale pattern. Missoni drapes add another bold but compatible pattern. 3. Zographos Designs’ glass-topped Metron table keeps the lively rug in sight in the living room. 4. In the master bedroom, soft grays and taupes seem to spill from a dreamy painting above Roman Thomas’s Avery chair and a dresser by Studiowai. 5. Fusion wallpaper by Elitis jazzes up a daughter’s study nook.

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Photography: Werner Straube
Styling: Christina Dunne-Anderson



Buy Guide

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Interior design: Jessica Lagrange, Jessica Lagrange Interiors, 605 N. Michigan Ave., 312-751-8727, Art consulting: Patti Gilford Fine Arts, 325 W. Huron St., 312-951-9472, Dining room: UFO oval table by Emmemobili, Glass flask and decanter by Joe Cariati, Elements, 741 N. Wells St., 312-642-6574, Custom black lacquer bowl (holding flowers), Holly Hunt, Merchandise Mart, 312-661-1900, Saarinen Executive chairs by Knoll, Merchandise Mart, 312-454-6920,; leather, Trailblazer: Ghost Rider by Holly Hunt Leather, Holly Hunt. Fourteen-pendant chandelier by Bocci, Luminaire, 301 W. Superior St., 312-664-9582, Drapery, Two Sides: Frost; contrast hem, Venetian Glass: Black Pearl, both by Great Plains, Holly Hunt. Art, David Shapiro, Origin and Return #7 (top), Origin and Return #9 (bottom), 2004, collagraph, relief, and handcoloring on handmade paper, through Patti Gilford. Wallcovering (in entry), Weathered Metals Iridium by Maya Romanoff, Merchandise Mart, 312-212-8792, Living room: Latin chairs by Christian Liaigre, Holly Hunt; fabric, Putti by Rogers & Goffigon, Cowtan & Tout, Merchandise Mart, 312-644-0717, Back pillow fabric, Discretion by Great Plains, Holly Hunt. Custom Beluga sofa by Christian Liaigre, Holly Hunt; fabric, Silk & Sexy: Platinum by Great Plains, Holly Hunt; fabric for back cushions, Taffetas Plisse by Bergamo, Holly Hunt. Silver and hide pillows on sofa, Barneys New York, 15 E. Oak St., 312-587-1700, Marble moons on stands, Anthropologie, 111 E. Chicago Ave., 312-255-1848, Chrome wire bowl, Elements. Bee shelf, Niedermaier, Merchandise Mart, 312-467-7008, Steel candleholders, Martha Sturdy, Vancouver, 604-872-5205, Art, Tomas Vu, through Patti Gilford. Transcendental area rug, Tai Ping, Merchandise Mart, 312-644-0400, Metron table, Zographos Designs at Versteel, Merchandise Mart, 312-321-9377, Family room: High-back Metropolitan chair by B&B Italia, Luminaire; fabric, Lario Cat, Lusso, by B&B Italia, Luminaire. Handwoven Mosaic carpet, Atelier Lapchi, Merchandise Mart, 312-321-0090, Drapery, Cirrus-Pewter, Lee Jofa, Merchandise Mart, 312-644-2965,; lined with wool muslin crepe, Coraggio Textiles, Merchandise Mart, 312-828-9930, Mister sectional sofa by Cassina, Manifesto, 755 N. Wells St., 312-664-0733,; fabric, Solna: Pussy Willow by Pollack, Donghia, Merchandise Mart, 312-822-0766, Custom pillows: fabrics, Aerial: Jacquard by Donghia, and Tulip: Persimmon by Galbraith & Paul, David Sutherland, Merchandise Mart, 312-205-7700, Lima alpaca throw, Crate & Barrel, 646 N. Michigan Ave., 312-787-5900; Custom C console table in powder-coated aluminum, Seaton Scarff Studio, 1544 N. Sedgwick Ave., 312-217-7781. Custom Talea coffee table base, Evan Lewis, 3368 N. Elston Ave., 773-539-0402,; limestone top, Poma Marble, 9779 W. Berwyn Ave., Rosemont, 847-678-7662, Orange tray by Dransfield & Ross, Elements. Knitted pouf, CB2, 800 W. North Ave., 312-787-8329, Breakfast area: Solo dining chairs by B&B Italia, Luminaire. Higgins sofa (as banquette), Niedermaier; fabric, Dedar: Zante, Holly Hunt. Pillow, Dransfield & Ross, Elements. Fulton dining table with Starfire glass top, Niedermaier. Stoneware and porcelain vessels by Joanne Trestrail, Drapery, Cirrus-Pewter, 935 by Threads, Lee Jofa; lined with wool muslin crepe, Coraggio Textiles. Art, Scott Fortino, through Patti Gilford. Kitchen: Bertoia Full Cover stools, Knoll; fabric, Ingot-Iron, Knoll. Dance Round pendant lights, Plug Lighting, Los Angeles, 323-653-5635, Elisse bowl by Magpie and woven rubber basket, Elements. Daughter’s bedroom: Custom upholstered bed, Parkwest Furniture, 456 Illinois Rd., Wilmette, 847-724-1890. Fabric for headboard, suzani jacquard: Pink Passion, Donghia. Fabric for platform, Tabularasa: Champagne, by Dedar, Holly Hunt. Custom upholstered panel behind bed, Gleason Woodwork, 2850 N. Pulaski Rd., 773-205-2260,; fabric, Rocca, by Dedar, Holly Hunt. Modern silver picture frames, Pottery Barn, 1000 W. North Ave., 312-944-0467, Yoko small vases, Sprout Home, 745 N. Damen Ave., 312-226-5950, Sea Urchin vases, Crate & Barrel. Archimoon K lamp with table base by Philippe Starck for Flos, Lightology, 215 W. Chicago Ave., 312-944-1000, Quilt and pillows, Macy’s, 111 N. State St., 312-781-1000, Bexley throw, Crate & Barrel. Handwoven Deco Stripe rug, Atelier Lapchi. Bishop stool by India Mahdavi, Ralph Pucci International, West Hollywood, 310-360-9707, Drapery, Eian Frangia: Chocolate by Missoni, Stark, Merchandise Mart, 312-329-9043, Master bedroom: Custom dresser by Studiowai, 701 S. Wells St., 312-588-0153, Snakeskin boxes, Elements. Avery chair, ottoman by Roman Thomas, New York, 212-473-6774,; fabric, Fifty Fifty: Argent by Dedar, Holly Hunt. Art, Darren Waterston, Fugue, through Patti Gilford. Drapery, Two Sides: Frost, by Great Plains, Holly Hunt. Mirage handwoven carpet, Atelier Lapchi. Daughter’s study nook: Wallcovering, Fusion: Rose by Elitis, Donghia. Eames aluminum Management chair by Herman Miller, Edelman Leather, Merchandise Mart, 312-467-4433,; burnt orange all-grain leather, Edelman Leather. Drapery, Mokum: Fakhari, Holly Hunt. Handmade custom corduroy rug, Tai Ping. Orange sailors’ knot, Crate & Barrel.