A Chicago Family Downsizes To A Charming Lakeside Community

“It’s amazing and so peaceful,” says interior designer Rebekah Zaveloff, co-founder and principal designer at KitchenLab Interiors, of the lakefront locale where she helped clients create a dream home rich with vintage finds and treasured items. Boasting a history with the homeowner that stretches back to their youth, Zaveloff was involved in the project right from the beginning and the finished result speaks to the influences with which they grew up. “The client was my babysitter a million years ago,” the designer explains. “We had a lot in common in terms of the aesthetic that influenced us. We’re both a lot of 70s disco mixed with a more earthy, organic, traveled vibe—that time when the hippie era was rolling over to the more glam era of the 70s. We both grew up in houses that had elements of both and so we were influenced by it as well.”

That influence can be witnessed in the bright and open home where a mixture of textures, patterns, and metals are layered together in a visual story that speaks to the family who lives there. “I’ve always been a big proponent of living like you’re on vacation,” Zaveloff explains. “Trying to really channel that. It’s more casual, it’s more about ease of living, and we’re happier that way.” For this new build, KLI played a role in everything from the window and door orders to the hardware, the beam design, the molding, the flooring… even the stone, the stucco color, and the roofing material for the exterior, not to mention the furnishings and accessories throughout. “It’s about the interior, the exterior, how it flows, how people will really use the space.”

The designer explains one of the issues with a new build is “it’s very hard to create patina.” That issue was tackled via a multitude of vintage finds—like the Gaetano Sciolari light fixture in the foyer. “It was the first thing we bought,” she recalls. “It’s a really cool piece and a great example of that crazy ‘70s, almost Brutalist influence—very organic and also very glam. It set the tone.”

The more aged vibe carries into the kitchen as well, where a custom-designed hutch that was inspired by a 20-year-old tearsheet from a French magazine holds court among vintage seating and hand-painted tile. The terracotta tile from Tabarka Studio includes a brass inlay that won over the designer. “The raw brass and the antiquing on the white is just delicious,” she says. “I could do rattan and brass all day; they’re like my alter egos.”

Throughout the open floorplan, the eye travels easily among pieces that work perfectly together even though they don’t exactly match. The vintage Maguire chairs in the kitchen, the goat skin coffee table and channel back chairs—affectionately dubbed “the hot dog chairs” by the homeowner—in the living area, might all be considered wildly different from one another but here, they live in perfect harmony. “When you’re working on layering a house like this, and making it look like it happened over time, you’re going to have pieces that don’t all match,” Zaveloff explains. “And that’s a good thing.”

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