Summer Thornton

Summer Thornton juxtaposes elegant grays and yellows with blues both muted and bright at the Palmolive Building.

“I’m a layering kind of girl. I like using a lot of patterns. Injecting even one pattern keeps a space from feeling stagnant.”


A wingback chair, with black lacquered frame, covered in silk tartan.

It’s hard to believe this chair originally had a grandma-ish mahogany frame with red velvet upholstery. Thornton had the wood lacquered black and the back re-covered in a silk tartan, the seat in a complementary fabric. “I was going for that sort of cheeky, youthful British look,” she says.



A room decorated in various shades of blues and grays

“The client likes blues and grays, which we used in various shades to pull in the gorgeous views of the lake from the living room,” says Thornton. She added chartreuse and lavender pillows for accents. “In a project like this, where there is a lot of gray, small elements in brighter shades add energy.”


Photography: (Interiors) Nathan Kirkman


A den, decorated in deep, dark colors

In the den, a graphic gray-and-white Scalamandré fabric on the sofa pops beautifully against charcoal-colored wallpaper. A huge oil painting of a horse by James McLaughlin Way anchors the space. (“The owners love horses, and I love animal figures, so we used them a lot in acces­­sorizing this space,” Thornton says). Finally, contrasting silk pillows in rich ocher make this setting chic and dramatic.



A bedroom decorated in dark, floral graphic wallpaper

“I use wallpaper as much as I can, and this pattern from Cole & Son is a great graphic interpretation of a floral,” says Thornton. The paper’s cocooning darkness makes the bedroom feel cozy; a black-and-white-striped faux chinchilla throw at the end of the bed lightens the look in this moody yet glamorous space.



Framed plaid fabric, horsey bookends, Maize brass lamp with gold silk shade, and Benjamin Moore shades in Bali, Pacific Ocean Blue, and Teal

Get the Look

Tip your hat to tartans by having a piece of your favorite plaid fabric framed at Artists Frame Service ( Add equestrian style with horsey bookends, $295, from Mecox Gardens ( Gold always equals glam. Maize brass lamp with gold silk shade, Laura Kirar Collection for Arteriors Home, $1,319, at George Lowell ( When Thornton has the blues, these Benjamin Moore shades never fail her: Bali (“We used this in a high-gloss finish and painted all the moldings, walls, and ceiling in the dining room the same color for a dramatic effect”); Pacific Ocean Blue  (“an intense blue-green that would be great for a front door”); and Teal (“I am using this color on a wood-paneled family room in a lacquer finish to give a formal, traditional room a kick”).

Resources: See Buy Guide.


Photography: (Interiors) Nathan Kirkman; (Mecox horses) David LeMier