Overview

When a city has such a rich tradition of historically important architecture, it needs the interior touches to match. Chicago is an active hub for the interior design industry. Each year Chicago’s Merchandise Mart houses NeoCon, the largest international interior design convention. And with hundreds of showrooms, the Design Center at the Merchandise Mart is the world’s largest resource for custom home furnishings and interior design. Ten of the most active and respected design firms in Chicago are ranked below, and each helps their clients transform their spaces in outstanding ways.

Top Designers

10
Kaufman Segal Design

Designers:
David Kaufman
Tom Segal

Awards:
CS Interiors Best in Design Award

Address:
900 N Franklin, Suite 710, Chicago, IL 60610

Contact:
312-649-0689
info@kaufmansegal.com

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About Kaufman Segal Design

This residential design firm was founded by David Kaufman and Tom Segal in 1995. The studio has since expanded to include commercial design, as well. Kaufman became an Illinois licensed interior designer in 1989 and worked as senior designer for the late Paul Granata, a well-known Chicago designer, before starting his own firm. Segal earned a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago and started as a residential architect for Frye, Gilian, Moliaro Architects, focusing on interiors. He has served as president of the Board of Trustees of Harrington College of Design. The firm has received several Illinois Design Excellence Awards Honorable Mentions from American Society of Interior Designers, as well as a Best in Design award from CS Interiors. Their work has also been featured in several HGTV shows.

Featured Projects

A 14th-floor apartment offers spectacular views of downtown with its floor-to-ceiling windows. To make it feel more like a home, the design firm called on the owner’s large collection of colorful art to be a central design theme. The well-traveled couple filled the studio with curios from around the globe. From there, Kaufman and Segal used velvet, leather, and silk-upholstered furniture to add warmth, comfort, and class. The 2,400-square-foot apartment has two bedrooms and three baths. After a historic family home in Lakeview underwent an architectural and interior renovation, Kaufman Segal were contracted to re-conceptualize the new open floor plan. The team used a muted color palette juxtaposed with dark wood and nickel accents that work to visually enlarge the space.

9
Alexandra Kaehler

Designers:
Alexandra Kaehler

Address:
928 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, IL 60093

Contact:
847-386-9066
alex@alexandrakaehler.com

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About Alexandra Kaehler

House Beautiful named Kaehler one of the 25 Next Wave Designers to Watch in 2015. A native Chicagoan, Kaehler has made a national impact, with work featured in Vogue, Domino magazine, and House Beautiful. She’s also a local favorite, often covered by Chicago’s Modern Luxury magazine and Chicago Home and Garden, Chicago Magazine’s design publication. Kaehler’s philosophy is to fill a home with things you love and go from there. She leans toward modern with simple textured pieces, modern patterns.

Featured Projects

Kaehler designed a Lincoln Park home to match the fun and lively owners in a project featured in Modern Luxury Interiors. The home’s comfortable, durable design works for the family of four and their dog. She started with a lilac and navy palette and then added pastels from a commissioned painting by local artist Linc Thelen. She balances the rich, colored and patterned accessories with solid, neutral-toned furniture. Domino Magazine showcased Kaehler’s own Chicago townhouse, which the designer shares with her husband and two-year-old daughter. Her home displays the original artwork of friends — colorful abstract pieces that offset the largely white walls and white-paneled, built-in cabinets. The townhouse’s open floorplan is filled with sturdy textured seating meant to hide day-to-day wear. Her green velvet, brass dining room chairs pop, and richly contrast the white crystal chandelier hanging above. Kahler carefully thinks through her client’s use of space, a philosophy she applied to her own home as well. Because she and her husband love to cook, their biggest expense was the kitchen cabinets, which she commissioned a carpenter to custom design.

8
Elizabeth Krueger

Designers:
Elizabeth Krueger

Awards:
HGTV Faces of Design

Address:
124 W. Kinzie Street, Third Floor, Chicago, IL 60654

Contact:
773-599-0441
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About Elizabeth Krueger

Principal of the four-person design firm, Elizabeth Krueger has been named one of HGTV’s “Faces of Design” and Chicago’s “One to Watch” by The Editor at Large — the daily news source for high-end residential interior design. She started her career working on the highly esteemed Holly Hunt design team. She is a member of the Leaders of Design Council, one of the industry’s notable member’s organizations. Krueger’s work has appeared in LVBX magazine, Elle Décor, and LUXE Magazine, among others.

“Well, I think the “designer” genes were in me from the beginning. As my parents can attest to, I used to constantly rearrange the furniture in our home when I was a kid. Always trying new combinations and layouts. Nothing ever lasted very long as I was always thinking about the next arrangement. That interest in design never truly went away, which is why I ended up pivoting my career and pursuing a degree in interior design after getting an undergrad degree in an unrelated major. ” – Elizabeth Krueger

Featured Projects

To decorate a Lincoln Park apartment, Krueger was tasked with the goal of making a sophisticated and inviting space. Krueger accomplishes both using plush fabrics, functional modern furnishings, and a light color scheme filled with tans, greys, and ivory. Soft rugs and pillows offer cozy but elegant finishing touches. Elaborate light fixtures and abstract modern art serve as the perfect show pieces. A couple who recently purchased a seventh-floor condo in Lakeview liked Krueger’s blend of industrial and modern aesthetics. They were looking for bold, stylish, and yet personal details for their two-bedroom unit in a historic Beaux-Arts building. Krueger started with a bold color palette with black leather and velvet furniture and gold accent pieces. Krueger and her client mixed local art with elegant antiques in this finely detailed apartment covered by Elle Décor. Dramatic from the start, custom black and white marble tile, along with a painting from Chicago-based artist Francine Turk, welcomes guests in the foyer. Silk wallpaper lines the master bedroom, while custom metal barn doors replace the tasteless sliding closet doors.

“After school, I had the opportunity to work for, and with, amazing individuals including the team at Holly Hunt and the extremely talented Tracy Hickman. Each opportunity guided me to the decision to build my own design firm, Elizabeth Krueger Design, in 2012. From there it has been a wild, expansive, and humbling ride. Our team has grown, our client network has been enriched and expanded, and our design process has evolved and matured into a well-oiled machine. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of bumps in the road, but when I think back to moving furniture around as a kid, it’s clear that myself, and the firm, have come a long way, and there’s nothing more fulfilling than that.” – Elizabeth Krueger

7
Anthony Michael

Designers:
Anthony Michael

Address:
2825 N Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657

Contact:
773-770-3729
anthony@michael-associates.com

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About Anthony Michael

With the interior design completion of more than 1,100 homes, Anthony Michael’s work has spanned single-family residences, restaurants, retail stores, yachts, and private aircrafts. Michael has been named Designer of the Year and Retail Designer of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. Michael has received “Best of Houzz” awards for design and customer service. His philosophy is one of adaptability and he is inspired by European and contemporary South American styles, as well as Parisian styles from the 1930s and 40s. The firm’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications, such as Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury Weddings, Millennial Home, and Traditional Home.

Featured Projects

Michael helped a West Coast transplant feel at home in his new Lakeview residence. Michael and his associate Emily Roberson went for “Ralph Lauren glam” using stone, wood, and concrete paired with dark, lush-colored fabrics. Key bold pieces include orange velvet chairs in the dining room, a blue velvet headboard, and a kitchen banquette with leather and nailhead trim. Newlyweds combined their styles and belongs in their new loft in Bucktown with the help of Michael’s firm. The couple was drawn to the wood-burning fireplace and large living room. The team created distinct living spaces within the large open design by contrasting black floor-to-ceiling back drapes, black painted walls, natural and white painted brickwork. A fun detail is the sliding chalkboard panels that cover the open kitchen shelves instead of traditional upper cabinets. The space features the couple’s diverse artwork, including the yoga-lovers’ 2,000-pound Buddha head.

6
Buckingham Interiors and Design

Designers:
Julia Buckingham

Address:
1820 W Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622

Contact:
312-243-9975
info@buckinghamid.com

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About Buckingham Interiors and Design

Founder and Principal Julia Buckingham runs her design studio, founded in 2007, out of the growing West Town neighborhood. The team produces custom-designed interiors using their signature style known as “modernique,” which is also the name of Buckingham’s new book: Modernique, Inspiring Interiors – Mixing Modern and Vintage Style. Buckingham contributes to Traditional Home magazine’s Color Master Classes and is a founding contributor to Material Girls, a popular design blog. In 2015, Buckingham launched her own custom collection of furniture and home goods through the wholesale company Global views. The studio’s work can be seen in the Elle Décor, The Wall Street Journal, Décor Magazine, Traditional Home, and House Beautiful, among others.

Featured Projects

The Spruce, a decorating blog, featured a North Shore Tudor home designed by Buckingham’s team. The home pairs vintage and custom designed pieces from Buckingham’s own Global Views collection. The furnishings and accessories work together, with their lively patterns and rich royal purple, red, and gold color palette. Statement pieces include a brass and agate chandelier and a chair featuring a suzani textile. When Buckingham purchased a 6,000-square-foot Queen Anne townhouse, she tag-teamed with her husband to plan the space, décor, and art of their massive new home. Before moving in, they transformed the attic into a third-story master suite peppered with skylights. The couple chose to cross the centuries, from Beaux Art artwork to modern lighting from design superstar Tom Dixon. Each room offers a distinct aesthetic with patterned wallpaper, tin ceilings, and signature wood and metal pieces. The finished home is quirky, eclectic, and filled with art.

5
Michael Del Piero

Designers:
Michael Del Piero

Awards:
Chicago Design Community’s Ones to Watch,
11 ASID Awards,
IIDA’s 2017 Best Residential Design

Address:
428 N Wolcott Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622

Contact:
773-772-3000
info@michaeldelpiero.com

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About Michael Del Piero

Michael Del Piero founded her interior design company in 2007. The New York Times named her a style maven. Her work has appeared in many publications including Traditional Home, House Beautiful, the New York Times, Interiors, Milieu and the Chicago Tribune. She has also been featured in several interior design books, including the international publication, Visions of Design. She runs a design studio of nine people with offices in Chicago and the Hamptons. Del Piero also runs an interiors boutique in West Town, filled with unusual furniture and art pieces that have captured her eye. Del Piero’s style fuses “rough with luxurious and ancient with modern.”

Featured Projects

Stuart Grannen, owner of Architectural Artifacts, lives in an old charcoal factory in an industrial district. The home was converted by architect Patricia VanderBeke, who has supervised the renovation of many historic landmark structures throughout Chicago. Grannen cared about his art — featuring Chicago artists like Joe Boudreau and photography legends like Edward Curtis — but left the rest of the interior decisions mostly up to Del Piero (who also happens to be his significant other). They agree on one thing: minimalist. The home is sparsely furnished, with a mix of antique and modern pieces the couple have collected while traveling. To make the best use of the renovated factory space, she used a steel-plated industrial fireplace, countered by the original timbered ceiling and wide plank flooring. Charcoal-colored walls and dark drapery contrast a warm earthy color palette used for the furniture and accessories. Del Piero’s own Chicago home is also filled with her European finds, like the French Rye baskets that she found in the Netherlands. Del Piero has them cleverly hanging on the wall. Her modern Holly Hunt sofa balances out the room’s rich antiques, such as the baskets and a ceramic garden stool Del Piero is using for a coffee table.

4
Tom Stringer Design Partners

Designers:
Tom Stringer

Awards:
Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame 2015,
11 ASID Awards,
IIDA’s 2017 Best Residential Design

Address:
919 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 320, Chicago, Illinois 60611

Contact:
312-664-0644
info@tomstringer.com

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About Tom Stringer Design Partners

Stringer Design Partners guides their clients through a space evaluation using computer modeling and then intimate style conversation, utilizing the studio’s rich collection of pieces and interior design library. House Beautiful has named Tom Stringer one of the nation’s Top 100 Interior Designers. The work of his studio has been featured in Elle Décor, Traditional Home, among other publications. Stringer is the author of An Adventurous Life: Global Interiors by Tom Stringer.

“Our design philosophy is client-centered and geographically specific. We seek to develop highly layered interiors that reflect our client’s sensibilities and tell a story about their lives”.  -Tom Stringer

Featured Projects

Stringer did more than just the furniture and accessories for a large Lincoln Park pied-à-terre. With the help of his design partner John Cialone, the team stripped the apartment to its studs and raised the doorways to create a statelier appearance. They also thickened the walls, which added new hidden storage spaces. Stringer personally designed a bespoke chair rail in the entry foyer. They used an assortment of global antiques including an 18th century English secretary and a 19th century French sideboard with a marble top. The finished apartment has an elegant eclecticism. The home was featured in Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago magazine in 2017. In 2016, Cottage White magazine covered a 100-year-old, nine-bedroom cottage, which Tom Stringer helped decorate. The cottage, which sits on the shore of Lake Michigan, is decked out in whites, yellows, and blues, like a classic beach getaway. White wicker chairs and a navy blue sectional custom designed by Stringer’s studio stick to the theme of a cozy cottage. The design theme used accent colors on the walls to break up the palette and to help each room feel distinct.

3
Jessica Lagrange Interiors

Designers:
Jessica Lagrange

Address:
216 W Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654

Contact:
312-751-8727
jlagrange@jessicalagrange.com

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About Jessica Lagrange Interiors

Founder and Principal Jessica Lagrange manages a team of designers that focuses on upscale interior design and architecture projects. After graduating from the interior architecture program at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, Lagrange worked with the prestigious Skidmore, Owings and Merrill firm. She then founded her own practice in 1998. This year, Lagrange was inducted into the Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame for her significant contributions to Chicago’s residential design industry.

Featured Projects

The Lagrange team assisted a San Francisco family in making their new Lincoln Park high-rise apartment a home away from home. Taking up 4,000 square feet with 11-foot ceilings, the Beaux Art condo was a considerable undertaking. The team started out by reviewing images of the family’s West Coast home. They used the couple’s taste for clean lines, modern pieces, and mid-century style to inspire the Midwestern design. They used a mix of custom and retail furniture to create a balance of formal and informal spaces that function well for the family with two teens. Lagrange called on the assistance of art consultant Kate Lane Ferraro, who paired abstract art with the home’s simple furniture. For another Chicago high-rise renovation, Lagrange collaborated with kitchen designers Mick DeGiulio and Kathy Manzella to complete a French-inspired space. The priority was guest circulation, which Lagrange encourages through spaced out seating at a built-in banquette and oversized kitchen island. Between two dishwashers built into the island and the double-basin sink on the far wall, the kitchen was designed for easy cleanup — more time to concentrate on the company. The project was featured in Country French magazine.

2
Frank Ponterio

Designers:
Frank Ponterio

Awards:
Classical Architecture and Art Acanthus Award,
ASID Design Excellence Awards

Address:
500 N Wells, 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60654

Contact:
312-464-1133
info@frankponterio.com

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About Frank Ponterio

With more than 20 years of experience designing commercial and residential properties, Frank Ponterio Interior Design is nationally renowned. Principal Frank Ponterio studied at Chicago’s Harrington Institute of Design. He holds an NCIDQ license and is an accredited member of ASID. Besides his interior design, Ponterio is also well-known for his work restoring historic properties from architect greats, such as David Adler and Howard Van Doren Shaw. He has received the Classical Architecture and Art Acanthus Award and multiple ASID Design Excellence Awards for historic restoration, as well as for residential and hospitality design. Ponterio’s first furniture collection debuted in 2010, with two more launching in 2013 and 2016. The firm’s work has been highlighted in Elle Décor, House Beautiful, and Traditional Home, among many others.

Featured Projects

Ritz-Carlton Residences tasked Ponterio to decorate their 1,700-square-foot, one-bedroom model condo. His goal was to create a tasteful masculine space. Ponterio’s team started on the structural level, moving a wall and modifying some of the millwork, which allowed them to see a larger vision. To provide depth, they used varying values of ivory, tan, and gray and added rich textures, such as wallcoverings from de Gournay and Phillip Jeffries. They chose modern, high-end furniture from Michael Taylor, Holly Hunt, and Ponterio’s custom Avrett line. To make it feel less like a showroom, they added small quirky details: a pop-up television, a dining room table that seconds as a game table, and a walk-in closet with luxury clothing. The work was featured in Men’s Book Chicago. When Frank Mariani, owner of one of the top landscaping design firms in the country, wanted to redesign the entertaining area of his 10-acre Lake Forest home, he asked Frank Ponterio for help. Ponterio designed multiple outdoor areas that could entertain anywhere from 10 to 100 people. Mariani was most impressed that none of the areas stood out over the others, and the result is comfortable, non-showy spaces that call more attention to the lush landscape. To work with the English garden design, the firm used a classic aesthetic with subtle, light fabrics.

1
Suzanne Lovell, Inc.

Designers:
Suzanne Lovell

Address:
225 W Ohio Street, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60654

Contact:
312-595-1980
Contact Form

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About Suzanne Lovell, Inc.

Lovell earned an architecture degree from Virginia Tech, where she studied with Bauhaus-trained architect Olivio Ferrari. She moved to Chicago to work with the Skidmore, Owings and Merril firm in 1980, and then started her own firm in 1985 to focus on residential architecture and interior design. She is a member of the Director’s Vision Council at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, as well as the Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. She was named as one of the world’s top designers and architects in Architectural Digest’s AD 100. Her work has been featured in national publications, Veranda, House Beautiful, and Elle Decor.

Featured Projects

While working on a Gold Coast penthouse on Lake Shore Drive, the team added white oak millwork, which contrasts against the darkened wood floor. Bronze, plaster, and stone accents add to the penthouse’s classic elegance. They designed intricate architectural gates, which provide security while allowing light to spill through to the foyer. The pattern re-occurs in a plaster ceiling medallion in the foyer and dining room, and in a repeated ceiling pattern throughout the living room. A 71st floor penthouse within Chicago’s famous Vista high-rise offers 360-degree views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan. To call more attention to the views, Lovell Studio used a neutral beige and gold color palette offset by a rich dark green. They used a layered approach, alternating between sparse a palette of materials and colors to create consistency and depth throughout the space. The sparsely furnished penthouse also utilizes the client’s extensive sculpture collection.

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