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Publication Date: 2015-12-17

Light and Bright Home in Illinois

All may not be calm on Christmas Eve in this classical mid-20th-century home in Lake Forest, Illinois. With a family that includes five kids—from preteen to college-age—there’s a lot going on. But the holiday vibe is as low-key as it is picture-perfect: holiday playlist cued up and candles flickering, with fresh tulips, roses, and aromatic greens laced throughout. And it’s happy, boosted by sunshine-orange accents, starting with the clementines woven into the evergreen garland that frames the front door.

Photography: Werner Straube

“Even the type on my Christmas cards is orange,” says interior designer Shelley Johnstone Paschke, who created the warm, welcoming home she shares with husband Brett and their blended family: her sons, Hunter, 20, and Ford, 17, and Brett’s sons, Will, 15, and Luke, 14, and his daughter, Lauren, 12.

In the foyer, swags of greenery and holiday flowers dress up the staircase and an antique console table.

Photography: Werner Straube

Simplicity, elegance, and attention to details are the hallmarks of Shelley’s style, and that doesn’t change when she’s decorating for the holidays. “I like to keep it clean and fresh, with beautiful pinecones and greens, apricots and oranges, gold accents.”

A chandelier from Niermann Weeks sparkles above the antique mahogany table. The walls are upholstered in a Fortuny-style damask and antique chairs are upholstered in chocolate-colored Edelman leather.

Photography: Werner Straube

With her global experiences, Shelley happily embraced the idea of layering. In fine European interiors, “nothing is from the same place,” she says. Shelley adds to that collected look with antiques and finds from travels, rounding out with custom-designed pieces.

An elegant George Smith sofa from London mingles with lacquer, faux tortoise, and brass tables. Orange and gold accents dress the living room mantel.

Photography: Werner Straube

For the living room, Shelley designed a banquette to blend with upholstered pieces and antiques she purchased in London. Those are teamed with mid-20th-century modern glass and brass tables, with notes of faux tortoise and chocolate lacquer.

Classical motifs like Greek keys are consistent throughout, and animal prints are repeated fun choices. “I love the juxtaposition of traditional and modern,” she says. “That keeps it timeless and fresh. The brass is a little ’70s vibe.”

Photography: Werner Straube

Inspired by a vintage tortoiseshell box, Shelley had decorative painters replicate the look on the ceiling of the library. An antelope-pattern carpet from Stark anchors vintage rattan chairs with chevron linen cushions.

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Written and produced by Elaine Markoutsas
Interior designer
: Shelley Johnstone Paschke, Shelley Johnstone Design, 140 E. Ridge Lane, Lake Forest, IL 60045; 847/235-2076,


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