The dated colors, fussy wallpaper, and harsh lighting in the windowless foyer outside her North Side condo were bringing Cindy Schwartz down. Too-cute flowers were simply not what this stylish woman wanted to come home to. With the blessing of her neighbor, Schwartz, the vice president and general manager of the Chicago outpost of Barneys New York, called on interior designer and stylist Arden Nelson to infuse the space with some contemporary sophistication.



Soft Lighting
Two crystal sconces disappear into the wallpaper and illuminate the windowless space.

Bold Furniture
The clean-lined Parsons table is covered in pale shagreen to complement the floor tiles.

Neutral Hues
Creamy travertine flooring and subdued color on the walls make the space look less busy than before.

New Mirror
The silver-framed mirror visually expands the space and allows for last-minute primping.

Big Pattern
The oversize blooms on this 1940s bark-cloth-inspired wallpaper by Osborne & Little make the hallway seem larger.

Natural Texture
Real flowers and grass-cloth wall covering soften the effect of the metallic wallpaper.

Photography: After Kate Roth, Before Arden Nelson
Styling: Arden Nelson


  • Arden Nelson, ABN Interiors, 773-251-9510;
  • Osborne & Little Sakura wallpaper, Sterling Prints and Specialty Papers grass cloth, Benjamin Moore Silver Marlin (2139-50) paint on walls, Midsummer Night (2134-20) on details, at Sappano’s Hi Grade Decorating Center, 2940 N. Halsted St., 773-528-3100
  • R & Y Augousti shagreen Parsons table and Simon Pearce Bristol vase at Chelsea Passage, Barneys New York, 25 E. Oak St., 312-587-1700.
  • Ivory travertine 18-by-18-inch tiles at Belstone, 1439 W. Hubbard St., 312-421-8500.
  • Sconces and mirror, owner’s own.