Summer Thornton Design

Thornton likes her historicism with a zing, whether it’s lilac curtains in a restrained dining room or turquoise lacquer walls in a living room, a graphic tiger print on a Louis bergère or Middle Eastern patterns in a lake house.

All photos by Werner Straube for Summer Thornton Design

Gender politics is in the cultural air these days, and Summer Thornton plays with it masterfully in a boldly conceived masculine/feminine family room on Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive. Starting with scaled-up and squared-off seating and tables, Thornton introduced a pair of diminutive Danish modern slipper chairs, Achille Salvagni’s jewellike six-arm chandelier and a trio of powerful women portrayed in lithographs by the French artist Françoise Gilot, all from 1stDibs. “We wanted this place to feel light, masculine and sexy,” says Thornton. How that quote applies to the various furnishings is in the eye of the beholder, but this much is indisputable: The decor delivers universal comfort and style.

“I love the little vintage slipper chairs and how they stand in contrast to all the larger, more masculine pieces in the room.Dressed in a smart red and purple herringbone, they are super chic — and from 1stDibs!”

Design philosophy?

“We believe a home should tell your story, whatever that story is — even if you’ve made it up!  I love a little bit of fantasy and want my clients to have the freedom to express that side of themselves, too.”

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