By Kristin Boza
Now is a great time to get inspired to make some changes to your home’s interior — especially once you’ve seen the gorgeous homes featured on this year’s BAPA Home Tour on Sun., Sept. 26.
These three resident experts can transform a space into a Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour-worthy home.
Fantasy Walls by Jo-Marie Frigo
Curious about what wall paint colors would work best in your home? Connect with the “Color Whisperer,” Jo-Marie Frigo of Fantasy Walls, whose talent lies in finding the perfect color to match her clients’ décor and personalities, while completing a high-quality finished product.
Frigo began her home painting business in 1995. “I live in an old home and was always working on it, so I gained experience in that way,” she said. “I have always been very creative and artistic and this was a great fit for my talents.”
But, Frigo’s work is not just about paint or choosing the right color to match the home’s décor. She recognizes how expensive it is to paint a room, so she ensures that it lasts for years to come by first doing precise preparation, like caulking and plaster repair.
“I fix everything before I paint so that the walls look perfect,” she said. “It’s not about just slapping on some paint. Using good products and doing the proper prep work makes sure the finished product is of high quality.”
Building a trusting relationship with clients is at the top of Frigo’s priorities. “People feel most comfortable having one person in their home to do work, rather than a big crew of people,” Frigo said. “It’s their home and I respect that. I always want my clients to be satisfied with the finished product because they have to look at it every day! I aim to do the job once and do it right.”
Homes are very personal and reflect the style and preferences of their owners. “When you walk into someone’s house you can look around and tell what colors and design patterns they’re drawn to,” Frigo said. “When you’re doing one room, you have to make sure it makes sense with the rest of the house. I always look at a room from all angles and doorways to capture every viewpoint. I need to know what will look good when you’re sitting in one room and looking into another one.”
As for color trends, Frigo tends to veer more toward the classic palette rather than what’s “hot” at the moment. “If you want a trendy color, you can buy a throw pillow or something to bring that color into the space,” she said. “Since paint should last years and materials and labor are expensive, it’s not realistic to redo the paint often.”
Also, keep in mind that what may work in your neighbor’s house may not in your own. “Every house has different lighting and styles, so each house I paint is totally customized to that home and its owners,” Frigo said.
Frigo notes that customers choosing their own color are moving toward neutrals, blues, and greens. “I think that what we’ve all been through in COVID, people want to feel safe and calm at home,” she said. “People are investing in their homes because they’re spending more time than ever at home. Everyone wants to make their home more enjoyable.”
Fantasy Walls by Jo-Marie Frigo, 773-848-2871 or search for business name on Facebook. Free estimates available.
Ross Weiler’s woodworking career began as a hobby. In 2012, he and his wife purchased his grandparents’ home in Mt. Greenwood and needed a kitchen table. Inspired by what they saw in different retailers’ catalogues but shocked at the price tags, Weiler decided to make a version himself.
“Our kitchen table, which we still have now in our home in Beverly, was my first project and I fell in love with making stuff out of wood from there,” Weiler said. He built end tables, coffee tables, and other things out of wood as a side hustle before quitting his day job as a mechanical engineer and pursuing his dream full time.
“It was a big jump, but my wife and I decided to go for it and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” he said. “I love making custom furniture for people’s houses, and I love the flexibility to work when I want with who I want.”
Weiler also has done extensive work with local businesses, creating customized furnishings for Two Mile Coffee Bar, Tranquility Salon Co., Beverly Dry Goods, Made Artisan Collaborative, and Horse Thief Hollow.
“I love working with local businesses and getting to know these owners and building pieces that they can use in their space,” he said.
Special attention to detail is paid to maintain historical accuracy in Beverly/Morgan Park homes. For example, Weiler has worked on renovating or revamping existing fireplace mantles to make something that fits the period that the home was built.
“Built-ins are common in older homes, but many people tore them out in the past. I work to recreate the original built-in, or create new ones, like foyer benches, that match the home,” Weiler said. “I once created four radiator covers for a bungalow and stained the wood to match the original trim in the home. This is the work that gets me excited, knowing that this piece is going to be there forever.”
One surprising trend that cropped up during COVID is customized baby gates for stairs. “I’ve done about 20 baby gates and not a single one is the same size as the other,” Weiler said. “People want something to match their house, not some plastic molded thing from a big box store. I make the baby gates match the trim of the house so it fits into the look of the home.”
In the future, Weiler is expecting to get into metalwork to complement his woodwork. Currently, he’s creating bottle openers and knives and plans to have fun figuring out how to incorporate metal into his other designs.
Connect with RPW Creations on Instagram @RPWCreations.
Redesigning or reimagining a space can quickly become a complex endeavor. Eileen Reckinger, Beverly/Morgan Park resident and owner of Chesterfield Designs in Palos Heights, has designed every space within a home since her start at the company. She enjoys keeping up with the trends and recommending unique ways to design and decorate a space.
The Chesterfield name is well-recognized in the southwest side and suburbs, as it is an old company that still has a few businessess operating today. What once started as a window company ultimately grew to a design firm when Reckinger purchased that arm of the company in 1990; Chesterfield Awning is another division of the firm that is now separate from the design side.
“Chesterfield Designs has evolved over the years; we now focus on residential interior design and window treatments,” Reckinger said. “We make customized drapes and window treatments, and are exceptionally well-versed in textiles, color consultations, and space planning.”
Reckinger and her team stay up-to-date on the trends, ranging from traditional to modern to farmhouse styles. “The modern farmhouse grey and white is still popular for its brightness and simplicity. But, we are seeing a shift to people wanting more color in their home, which is great because that means there’s room at the table for everybody’s style,” she said.
One big trend in kitchens right now is cabinets in a variety of blues. “It’s a lot of work to take a kitchen apart to paint, so people have to be mindful that they’re not going too far in either direction to ensure longevity of the design. You want to be fashion-forward while not choosing something that you’ll regret in a year,” Reckinger said. “We’re seeing white cabinets accented in deep blues, teal, pale greens, and earthy colors.”
Wallpaper is a great way to add an accent color and depth to a room. “In the past, people papered everything; now, there’s a good balance in design. Wallpapering one wall in a powder room, dining room, or primary bedroom gives you a show stopper,” Reckinger said. “Wallpaper is fun and unique, and it’s highly unlikely that someone will have the same paper as you.”
‘Granny Chic’ is a style making its way into the forefront in 2021. “I’ve been seeing younger people love this trend or the ‘country’ look. People have inherited so many unique pieces from family members and I’m seeing people back into design by focusing it on a special piece,” Reckinger said.
Reckinger said her favorite part of the job is walking into a home and really getting the impression that it belongs to the person who lives there. “This is much rarer than you may think. I get the sensation that someone put a lot of thought into making their house a home that really reflects their soul,” she said. “It takes time to create a lovely home; your house needs to be a safe haven. We always feel very honored that we’re invited in to help someone put their home together and we are always respectful of their budget.”
All the time spent at home during COVID has made many homeowners realize that their space is in dire need of a makeover. Reckinger and her team have never been busier. She’s also an expert in helping homeowners organize, prioritize, and make good decisions during the overwhelming home remodel process.
“We start with an in-home consult and clients are also welcome to our studio to view our extensive library of textiles and wallpaper,” Reckinger said. “We then move onto taking measurements of the space to configure it in a way that makes the room comfortable, conducive to conversation, and provides a good walk-through flow. We give homeowners the wow factor that they deserve.”
Chesterfield Designs, 708-448-7373 or ChesterfieldInteriors.com.