The selection of antiques at both the Glen Ellyn and Oak Park locations of Maison Suzanne is constantly changing.

Since opening her Glen Ellyn shop Maison Suzanne about three years ago (it was in Wheaton before that), Suzanne Cahill has earned a reputation for tracking down fine European antiques and centuries-old textiles (which she uses to cover pillows and to reupholster furniture) and creating settings that brim with Old World charm, without overdoing it. In the past year or so, Asian antiques have made their way into the mix. And now, with a second location in Oak Park, Maison Suzanne is fully embracing the East-meets-West aesthetic in a very warm, inviting way.

It was Bryan Raymond, an importer of Chinese antiques (he now mans the Oak Park store full-time), who turned Cahill on to the possibilities. He is a big believer that Asian antiques, particularly those from rural areas, can work in any setting.

"The Chinese perfected scale long before we did," he says, referring to the ideal heights and widths of so many of the 100-year-old-plus sideboards, apothecary cabinets, and wedding chests (ranging from $1,500 to $8,000) that dot the store, complementing Cahill’s early-19th- century Italian settees, Deco Danish side chairs, and circa-1850 European portraits. "The Asian pieces bring down the formality of the European pieces," says Cahill. "The mix is more fun." Maison Suzanne, 206 S. Marion St., Oak Park, 708-524-5316.

Try This at Home

1. Insist on age and authenticity.  Part of the reason Cahill’s European pieces work so well with the Asian ones is that they are, in both cases, unadulterated originals. "We strive to find Chinese pieces that haven’t been repainted, or reconstructed from older wood," she says. In short, quality goes well with quality.

2. Look for color. "You can always do something with distressed paint," says Cahill, referring to the chipped black paint on a Chinese sideboard that picks up on dark tones in a painting of a Danish officer. Some hints of blue paint on another Chinese cabinet make it an easy match with the needlepoint on a 19th-century French sofa. 3. Let the simple lines of one thing offset the more ornate lines of another.  A rustic piece from the Chinese countryside, or one with decorative folk-art painting on it, can balance a serious or ornate European piece.


Photography: Matthew Gilson