Peg Carmack Short
and white-as clean and fresh as a summer morning's
sky, as comfortable as a faded pair of well-worn
denims, and as welcoming as a garden filled with
hollyhocks, bluebells, and hydrangeas. No matter
the shade of blue from palest Robin's egg to rich
royal blue, this soothing palete invitess one
surprsing then that this is the color scheme selected
by Lake Forest homeowner, Bonney Pope, to turn
her historic, Tudor Revival mansion into a cozy
family home for her husband Jack and their two
boys, Bretton and Taylor, and daughter, Cameron.
magnificent house was built in 1925 by noted Chicago
archietct, Howard Van Doren Shaw. Often compared
in stature with Frank Llyod Wright, Shaw is responsible
for designing many prominent Chicago landmarks,
including the GoodmanTheater, Lake Forest's Market
Square, and more than 30 of the Northshore's grandest
Though the Pope home now rests on 8-acres of what
was once an 102-acre estate, it manages to retain
the air of a country mannor. "Knowing the history
it's fun to look around and see the original stables
have been turned into a house, the original pool,
formal gardens, and tennis court are three separate
properties now," says Bonney. "You can somewhat
visualize what it was like in its heyday."
Though the house is wonderful, finding a new home
was the last thing the Popes were thinking about
when the home came on the market in the summer
of 1990. "We weren't really looking for a house
when we found this one," Bonney says. "Our neighbor,
a realtor, told Jack about the house and took
him to see it."
then pregnant with their youngest child, went
to see the house a couple of times just because
she found the history of the house so interesting.
"When we asked to see the house a third time,
the home's owner said, 'Not unless they want to
put a bid on it,' " Bonney relates. Jack did,
and to their surprise, they soon found themselves
the new owners of the home.
Bonney, that was when the real work of turning
this 21,000 square foot house into a warm, intimate,
and comfortable home began. While a 25-room, historic
mansion is certainly interesting to visit, Bonney
didn't want her family to feel they were living
in a museum. "When we looked at the house, it
was so dreary and cold," she says. And knowing
she would need help in making the home inviting,
Bonney called in prominent Lake Forest designer,
Mary Southworth of Southworth Interiors.
has a wonderful shop in town, Samelsbury Antiques,
that has many English pieces," says Bonney. "And
since the house has an English country feel, using
Mary just seem suitable."
was drawn to the very details, which in its present
state, made the house appear too cold to nurture
a young family-the majestic bare bones of the
house, which included exquisitely paneled walls,
spacious rooms with long, narrow windows, high
ceilings, terrazo floors, and impressive moldings
and cornices. All were sadly in need of brightening
and polishing, but Southworth knew the stunning
backdrop was in place. All that was needed to
set the stage and make the home truly inviting
was a light, bright color scheme, over-stuffed
furnishings-arranged in cozy groupings, plush
area rugs, and a few antique pieces worthy of
the surroundings. For the finale, numerous lights
were added to flood the dark corners or the rooms
Southworth's inspiration for transforming the
rooms from dark and dreary to charming and cheery,
began with the selection of the blue and white
color scheme. "I wanted the house to be cheerful,
but still traditional," says Southworth.
Southworth suggested blue because it seemed in
keeping with the house, Bonney approved the color
scheme because it felt so welcoming. The friendly
blue and white recminded her of vacations to the
ocean, near the east coast homes where she and
Jack grew up-she in Long Island, New York and
he in New Jersey.
always thought that we'd return there when we
retired," says Bonney. But when the opportunity
arouse a few years ago, after Jack retired as
president of United Airlines, the Popes realized
they wanted to stay in Lake Forest. "In the past
we had talked about settling in Connecticut,"
Bonney says. "The ocean and water are so close,
and we miss it. But it's so nice here!"
settled, Bonney realizes she has created the comfortable
home she wanted for her family. "I had heard stories
from people who grew up in Lake Forest and had
visited the house when they were in high school,"
she explains. "They said that while the living
room didn't have cording across the doorway, you
just knew you would never sit in there. But I
want the children to be in every room."
that one caveat, Southworth started her decorating
in the living room working her way into the adjacent
sunroom. Combining old English sensibilities with
the needs of a young contemporary family, Southworth
used her expert eye to bring the rooms into focus.
A sophistocated, yet friendly, linen floral from
Gray Watkins fabrics was used to adorn sofas,
cover window seats, and create a window treatment
complete with pom pom trim. Large scale furniture
pieces, in keeping with the expansive room, was
arranged into two groupings that surround the
fireplace and add to the cozy feel.
you have a small group of people together, you
can sit on one side of the room and feel that
you are close together," explains Southworth.
Adding that it was also necessary to float the
pieces in the center of the room because of the
many windows and openings. Though, it also serves
to make the room seem more intimate despite its
the furniture from Baker is comfortable and casual,
its classic lines are traditional enough to embrace
an 18th century Pembrook side table and a custom-made
red laquer coffee table that anchors the cozy
grouping. "I think splashes of red put some life
into the room," Southworth says, who also added
red throw pillows to the sofa.
off the room in style, is Bonney's collection
of antique blue and white china, which appears
on tabletops, mantels, and paired as vases that
flank the fireplace. Bonney enjoys a few period
pieces which lend a hint of traditional charm,
but she has been careful to use a light hand,
so that the rooms don't become too untouchable
to the children. For after school, the children
are allowed to become "kings and queen of the
castle!" It's not unusual to find the children
and several of their school mates collapsed in
giggles and rolling over the plush area rugs that
warmup the terrazo floors. In the sunroom, this
would be the cheery blue and white needlepoint
rug from Shumacher that was added to the sunroom
by designer Jackie Renwick of Green Shutters Home
has a shop in town and I would walk past, and
say, 'Oh, that's so cute.' She does such nice
work with finishing touches," Bonney says. So
after giving hersef a brief hiatus from the major
decorating, Renwick was commissioned to finish
had done a beautiful job," says Renwick, refering
to wonderful foundation established by Southworth,
like the simple, monochromatic background found
in the wallcovering and window treatment. This
stately pattern is reminiscent of a Staffordshire
china. A crisp stripe fabric covers the comfy
wicker furniture, whose texture contrasts nicely
with the stone table that nestles in a corner
of the sunroom.
Both Bonney and Jackie longed for a splash of
color in this happy room that Bonney deems her
favorite room in the house. "I love blue and white,"
says Renwick. "It's so fresh, airy, and clean.
But sometimes you have to do something to add
warmth to it." Thus, Renwick added yellow bringing
the room a French country feel.
with a pale, yellow, floral chintz from Cowtan
and Taub, throw pillows and a large, impressive
ottoman brought pizzaz into the room. Yellow,
white, and blue accessories such as lamps, vases,
and a handpainted table, all from Green Shutters,
finished off the room in playful style. "This
room is where our company always seems to gravitate,"
the room embodies the easy-living style favored
by the Popes, they have, nonetheless, still managed
to maintain the homes architectural sensibilities.
Trademark Shaw elements, such as the decorative
ceiling medallions found in the sunroom, have
been allowed to shine. Here, a lighter shade of
blue highlights the medallions without making
them overly accented into the room.
Throughout the home, redecorating was always nicely
married to the architectural integrity of the
house. Though updating the bathrooms proved necessary,
sensitivty to detail and structure was maintained.
Sue Walker, the architectural designer, who helped
with the structural and design changes advises,
"It's important in a historical home to be as
accurate to the original as possible-a fact agreed
upon by both Southworth and Renwick. Though Renwick
hastens to that while "it's important to keep
it classic; there is, however, a wide range of
acceptability." She emphaisizes it's important
to offer ideas that are "compatible with the family's
lifestyle and needs."
Bonney continues to make major decorating changes
in her home with the help of Renwick. "I don't
think you're ever through," says Bonney. "By the
time you finish, something changes. The children
are getting bigger and their needs change, as
one thing that has remained constant, Bonney still
loves her blue and white rooms. "When I think
back to when we first saw the home, there was
no warmth," she says. " Now when I think of our
home, it's so bright-even without lights on-the
sun just comes barreling through."
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