If you were to ask my husband where is the one place I’d move to immediately, he’d answer “Chicago.” I fell madly and forever in love with Chicago during my first visit during a business trip there several years ago. I was completely captivated by the city, the architecture, the restaurants and the infamous shopping available on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Within a year of my first visit, I returned with my husband and our son (who was a toddler at that time) to take in more of the city. I remember walking into Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and having those “jaw dropping” experiences when I saw the multi-level indoor aquarium, that is one of the largest, if not the largest in the world. Suffice to say, I fantasize about living there and whenever I come across an article about Chicago I drop everything to read it. Most recently, in Traditional Home magazine, there is a story and gorgeous photos of Bill and Giuliana Rancic’s 1880’s brownstone home (they recently moved there). I wanted to share the images with you. Enjoy the eye candy!
A pair of chaise lounges and an extra long sofa provide ample seating in the media room. Pink wallpaper in the guest room from Mary McDonald for Schumacher departs from the home’s blue theme. “This pink has a masculinity to it and reads as the color of a gentleman’s shirt, not a party dress for a little girl,” Paul says.
Letters above the television in the playroom say it all—this is Duke’s place. Comicbook posters and primary color seating pieces bring a happy dose of color to the space.Although Paul’s design polished the interiors with elegant flair, she credits the entire team, especially contractor Bert Connolly, for helping to execute the vision. Bill agrees, and also gives a tip of the hat to his native Chicago for providing the family with an active, down-to-earth life where he and Giuliana can establish their roots and raise their 3-year-old son, Duke. Custom wallpaper featuring vintage planes adorns the walls in Duke’s room. Books, toys, and artwork decorate the bookcase.Light flows through a glass-encased opening that looks up into a series of closets on the top floor, used for storing special-occasion and off-season garments.A work of art in itself, the airy two-story master bath/closet suite features a marble-capped tub and a huge shower that showcases a tile design that Paul created—in shades of blue, of course. Cabinets along the walls are fitted with rods, drawers, and shelves to organize the fashionable homeowners’ wardrobes. “We debated between glass or mirror fronts on the cabinets,” says Giuliana, who dresses to the hilt for her lavish E! assignments. “But I don’t keep pieces that I don’t wear. I edit my things often, and knew that the cabinets would be visually organized.” The two-story master bath/closet features tile from Walker Zanger. Plumbing fixtures are by Hansgrohe. Wing chairs from Bernhardt are covered in blue linen. For the artwork in the master bedroom, architecture teams up with technology—and represents the fully charged, plugged-in activity of this social-media-savvy couple’s existence. Digital photographs, taken by Kevin Lynch and intended to be hung horizontally, were cropped and stretched to fit vertical insets that flank the white fireplace. The oceanic hue of the images complements the luxe blue silk wallcovering.A vaulted ceiling and rustic beams add volume and detail to the master bedroom. A pair of alabaster lamps from Circa Lighting, inlaid mother of pearl mirrors from Serena & Lily, and bedside tables from Bernhardt create symmetry on either side of the wood-and-iron bed, also from Bernhardt. Drapery fabric is from Duralee. Silk wallpaper is from Phillip Jeffries.A sophisticated gray palette rules in the library where subtle patterns add interest. The sofa from Kravet pulls out into a queen sized bed, perfect for accomodating extra guests. Ample deck space provides room for an outdoor dining area. Heat lamps installed in the ceiling above make it usable even in cooler weather. “The outdoors is what they loved about California,” says Paul.Just steps from the kitchen is the spacious deck. A brick fireplace breaks the wooden grid of the lattice walls on the outdoor space. Like color, art plays a big role in the home’s design. Art aficionados Giuliana and Bill evaluated the works of emerging artists as well as more established counterparts to discover pieces that spoke to them and enhanced their decorative style. One of their favorite finds presides over the breakfast room’s seating area—an image of a limousine printed on a 120-inch-wide pink sponge. For Giuliana, this piece by Adam McEwen evokes a specific moment in pop culture.
“When I began collecting, it was suggested to me that I start with artists from my generation,” the 41-year-old says. “In my youth, the limousine represented wealth and status. It was chic to pull up in a stretch limo. Now, the limousine is somewhat archaic, and high-profile event transportation happens in a black SUV.”
A Lee Industries tufted ottoman contrasts the geometric chevron of the rug. The floor lamp is by Ralph Lauren.A built-in banquette provides seating on one side of the kitchen table, while a pair of versatile ottomans on the other side can be moved to suit different functions in the space. The veining of Calacatta marble adds an electric presence to the all-white kitchen. A Wolf range is a necessary tool for the family gatherings and holidays that the Rancics host.
A dynamic damask pattern wraps the walls in the dining room above classic white wainscoting. Dining chairs covered in rich blue velvet team with a patterned floral rug underfoot to support the color theme, which sees the blues fade away as it goes to gleaming all-white in the adjoining kitchen. Artwork by Hunt Slonem features bunnies that are painted on a base of indigo-colored diamond dust. The piece adds shimmer to the room and nods to the grand sparkle of a floating chandelier from Windfall Contemporary Crystal Lighting.
Pale blue infuses the living room, decorated in traditional fabrics that include floral linen for the window panels, windowpane-plaid on a pair of wing chairs, and wide blue-and-gray stripes covering an ottoman. The soft color scheme, which also includes plenty of mood-lifting white, allows a bold, graphic Tony Tasset painting hung above the fireplace to command attention.
Article by Traditional Home, written and produced byKrissa Rossbund – Photography: Werner Straube
Interior designer: Lonni Paul, Lonni Paul Design, 310/475-2022, lonnipauldesign.com.