Welcome to My Home with Summer Thornton Design


I was sitting on the couch ready for picture and my dog Louis actually jumped onto my lap and looked at the camera.  He really does love to pose.  






Pictures taken by Summer Thornton Design

Take a look at the before pictures below when we did our walkthrough when purchasing our home!


random guy at the walkthrough with us 



I walked through a lot of homes when we decided to move to Chicago and due to my previous job I was always good at envisioning the potential of things and what it could become.  My talents are typically only in fashion and apparel, but when my husband and I saw the bones of this house, we knew we could update it to what we loved.  We loved the high ceilings in walking in and we knew minus the red drapes, pink walls, and country style we could make it our own.  Although I could envision the home in a modern take, I struggle with space measurements, picking the right pieces to go together and accessorizing for the home.  I don’t like buying pieces from one retail store and wanted it to feel like me but at home.  Similar to my merchandising work, my talent isn’t designing, but narrowing down pieces I love after it is designed.  In buying our house, my lovely husband agreed to let me choose a designer, within a budget, for our first home together.  How excited I was and still am!  I looked at hundreds of portfolios online and interviewed quite a bit, but when I found Summer Thornton Design I knew I wanted to work with them.

I loved the overall look of luxe fabrics, wallpaper, mixing of classic and vintage pieces and I fell in love with her chic and glamorous rooms.  Looking at her portfolio was like looking at my dream rooms!  I feel extremely lucky my husband agreed upon the big project of our dining/living room because I love it so much.

We had the pleasure of working closely with Whitney and Summer and Whitney who was the lead on our project was so kind to let me ask her some questions for my blog!

thornton design headshots

Who or what influences your design aesthetic?

My design aesthetic is a merging of my traditional childhood home and a modern design firm I interned at in London. I traditionally stay true to my roots with injections of sleek, vintage pieces. The 70’s are a great decade to find such pieces! I love to exercise the eyes which I do through layers of pattern and color. There’s no such thing as over-the-top!

How would you describe the style in your own home?

Eclectic is such a general, overused term but there is not one particular “style” scene throughout my home. I would say masculinity is a pattern you will see from almost black walls in the bedroom to a cowhide in the living room to framed tartan in the entry. I like to soften these bold choices with my collection of floral oil paintings, the bamboo curvature of a vintage etegere or with light and airy drapery panels with fun and playful fringe trim.

Where do you get your inspirations for your projects?

Architecture, whether grand or in shambles, has always been an interest of mine. I love collecting ideas from the interesting angles or curves of a building, the different materials and textures used or simply the color of the front door. There is so much to take away from architecture. It’s a continuing learning experience.

What has been your favorite project so far? What has been the most difficult?

All of my projects have been fun, it’s always thrilling to start something new! I would say one of my favorites has been a little girl’s bedroom. It was so much fun to let go and live vicariously through the three year old. She has what would have been my dream room as a child. Let’s just say, there is a lot of pink! Most difficult would probably be working with family members! We’re family so we don’t hold back. There is no playing nice, it’s all hardball. 🙂

Best tips for readers?

Mix it up! Don’t buy all of your furniture pieces and accessories from one store. Throwing in a few vintage pieces can make all the difference in the world.

Pillows, pillows and more pillows! If you are tired of a room but aren’t ready to do a complete overall, pillows are a great way to spice up the space. Go wild with color and pattern, they are just pillows after all!

Showcase your quirky collections. Whether it be floral oil paintings, decorative boxes, candlesticks, china or whatever, come up with a cool way to make it a part of your decor. It will personalize your space in a standout way!

How do you keep a room looking fresh every season?

It always comes back to pillows. 🙂 Changing out pillows season to season is a great way to keep your place looking fresh. Velvets and wools in the winter and linens and cottons in the summer. Another great way to liven your space with the season is with fresh flower arrangements reflecting the time of year – a simple vase of peonies in the spring or an arrangement of ivy and holly greens in the winter!

What are the top 5 things needed in every home besides the essentials (like a kitchen, stove, etc)?  

MY Top Five Essentials: 1) Good lighting, there is nothing worse than a dark, hard-to-see room. Every surface needs a great lamp! 2) A cozy area where you can completely relax and curl up to watch a movie, read a good magazine and of course sip on a glass of wine. A furry throw can help with the cozy factor. 🙂 3) An organizational system. To me, there is nothing worse than stacks of paper laying everywhere, waiting to find a home. 4) Don’t skimp on bedding. A good night sleep is vital and comfortable bedding plays a big part in that. 5) Trays! I love trays. They work in every situation whether it be a cocktail table, bar cart, console table or dresser. Trays are a great wait to contain accessories in a stylish way. There are so many great trays to choose from, the sky is the limit!

What’s your favorite place to shop for interior goods on a tight budget?

Revision Home in Chicago http://revisionchicago.com is my standard go-to place. They have great vintage pieces that have been smartly refinished and their prices are completely reasonable! Katie, the owner, is wonderful to work with. I’ve also been known to find hidden gems at The White Elephant. I rarely ever leave empty handed, and even better, proceeds go to charity!

Thank you Whitney for the lovely interview and thank you and Summer for creating a space I adore, love, and have always dreamed of!

See more of Summer Thornton Design work at http://www.summerthorntondesign.com/



  1. DiamondsandTulle
    July 14, 2011 / 4:17 pm

    Wow Jen! Your home is GORGEOUS! I am jealous of your marble-top Saarinen Tulip table (I've yet to find one to my specs and I can afford). And in love with your ultra glam wallpaper and chandelier! Thanks for sharing! I love seeing home design!xx Vivian @ http://diamondsandtulle.blogspot.com

  2. Kate Lewis
    July 14, 2011 / 6:30 pm

    What a transformation! I love the all the layers and texture. 🙂

  3. JustPatience
    July 15, 2011 / 3:29 pm

    Lovely home Jen!Everything tied together perfectly. Where did you get the cream long drapes. I have been looking for something similar for my bedroom?www.justpatience.com

  4. Kristina
    July 16, 2011 / 8:12 pm

    Wow – what a transformation. Your home looks so bright and inviting! Thanks for sharing!Kristina

  5. alma
    July 16, 2011 / 10:14 pm

    love it

  6. Alma
    July 16, 2011 / 10:17 pm

    second try!

  7. Jaclyn
    July 17, 2011 / 5:29 pm

    This is beautiful! I love the whole aesthetic and the little touched like the deer on your table are adorable.

  8. Anonymous
    July 17, 2011 / 11:45 pm

    Who is your dress by? Luv it!

  9. Jen
    July 18, 2011 / 2:18 am

    For those wondering, my dress is from my lookbook here:https://www.redsolesandredwine.com/2011/06/wednesday-lace-inspired-lookbook.html

  10. Elaine A (TOBeautyReviews)
    July 18, 2011 / 3:04 am

    So fabulous! Your house is completely magazine worthy – amazing!!!! I don't have an eye for design – I'm spatially challenged LOL and I can't envision things, I only know if I like something or don't like it right away 😛

  11. Mai
    July 19, 2011 / 11:28 am

    Your home is amazing! I esp. love your sofa and dinning table!

  12. FrillsandRuffles
    July 27, 2011 / 5:02 am

    I love the wallpaper! It adds I think wallpaper is making a come back!

  13. B.Inspired
    July 30, 2011 / 2:46 am

    I didn't know you lived in Chicago? I am actually right downtown by Trump Towers! What a small world and I may contact this Interior Design team, I'd like to do something new with my condo, I've lived here for 7 years..time for some revamps!

  14. A Girl with Taste
    August 16, 2011 / 1:53 pm

    I am absolutely in LOVE with your design asthetic. I have to have that wallpaper for my house! So gorgeous:-)

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