Chicago-based designer Summer Thornton calls herself a "personal stylist for the home," and this apt description fits her perfectly. Concentrating mostly in ceramics during college, she shapes a home — an 1890's Lincoln Park condo, a North Shore mansion, a down-state country home — much like she would a clay pot, infusing it with color and texture and then sending it off to the kiln, ready to stand the test of everyday life. It's no surprise that she can make a Chicago high-rise and a country cottage look equally charming: she is rooted in both. She recently gave me a little introduction, saying:
I grew up in the country where I learned to appreciate the simple things. I was surrounded by nature with its colors, textures, and relaxed mood. When I moved to the city I became obsessed with the architecture of Chicago, the history and glamour of the city. My design style is really about combining those two aesthetics.
This duality translates to a slightly off-kilter traditional style: an industrial filing cabinet used as a side table beside a sofa filled with brocade prints and soft velvets, a cast-iron bed angled diagonally, retro chrome stools in a country kitchen. "I love to mix something high polish and traditionally 'formal' with something rough and lowly," she explains. Be sure to check out Summer's website to see more. And if you're not Chicago based, but want to replicate what you see, she says her favorite resources include Oly Studio, Osborne & Little, Jayson Home and Garden, as well as many antique and vintage stores. To see more images of her work,