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Design Home Tour


A north shore Georgian gets dressed for the party.

dining room

Soft hues and handsome antiques—including a Georgian mahogany sideboard and breakfront—give the dining room a deliciously substantial air. Dining chairs by Century Furniture. Chandelier, sconces, and lamps by Visual Comfort, through CAI Designs. Draperies by Clarence House, through Wells Abbott, with trim by Samuel & Sons.

Classic homes never go out of style, but keeping a classic home stylish takes some doing. Sticking to tradition is one way to go about it. But for John Cialone, vice president at Tom Stringer Design Partners, tweaking the expected was the way to go when it came to helping a client update a brick Georgian in Highland Park.

The client, who had worked previously with the Stringer office on his city residence, gave Cialone and his team carte blanche to make the home work for him, and look great while doing it. “The client loved our process for the in-town project, and he let us run with it here once the team was built,” relates Cialone. “He had specific ideas that we incorporated, but he always allowed us to think outside of the box.”

The initial, motivating goal was to improve the layout and flow, making the house suitable for entertaining while also creating cozy areas for the homeowner to enjoy daily. Cialone reconfigured the kitchen to meet today’s notion of that all-important space by removing an unused back stair and incorporating a once separate breakfast room to produce a large, inviting environment for serious cooking and great gatherings. He reconfigured the guest bathrooms, the primary bathroom and dressing room, and introduced several built-ins in here and there as an homage to the home’s original style. “And the mechanical systems and lighting were improved throughout,” notes Cialone, “as the house needed the layers and options of both recessed lighting and decorative fixtures in every space. I knew fixing the backgrounds and the architecture was key for the success of the decoration that followed.”


Left: The foyer and main staircase are enveloped in de Gournay’s Earlham, a hand- painted wallcovering drawn from a 17th-century European pattern. The stair runner is by Watson Smith.
Right: A sunlit corner of the living room is set with a custom tea table designed by Tom Stringer, and chairs by O. Henry House and Michael-Cleary. The windows are dressed in Cowtan & Tout’s Mara Stripe.

When it came to fleshing out the home with furniture, window treatments and accessories, Cialone’s design scheme gave a good nod to the traditional while incorporating pieces that sport a leaner, more minimal look. “I love traditional interiors, but I am very conscious of them feeling stale or tired,” shares Cialone. “So we mixed in clean-lined pieces based on traditional designs. We also layered in pieces from the client’s collection. Each room has a blend of old and new. For example, in the living room, a new custom sofa from O. Henry House is flanked by a set of wood-stained nesting tables from the client’s collection. I also love high-low design and there are many pieces that I might consider extravagant—such as the Baker Furniture Chinese Chippendale cabinet in the living room—but there are also items that give the house a feeling of not taking itself too seriously that includes accessories picked up at local vintage stores.”

Living Room

A relaxed formality pervades the living room, with a sofa and chairs from O. Henry House through John Rosselli & Associates, and covered in fabric by Cowtan & Tout. Console table by Made Goods, through CAI Designs.


The office seating area features a sofa covered in Cowtan & Tout, a side table by Arteriors, through CAI Designs, and wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries.

Cialone’s past-and-present approach makes for subtle, engaging contrasts, such as that between the richly-hued, dramatically patterned rug and mirrored coffee table in the living room. Equally eye-catching is the play of colors throughout the house, from the banquette-lined breakfast nook, where shades of blue and green echo the hues of nature right outside the bay window, to the hunter green of the bar that adjoins the basement entertaining area. Balancing the guest-welcoming appeal of the home’s public spaces is the comforting attention Cialone devoted to its private areas, most notably, the primary bedroom dressing room, which is generously appointed with handsome cabinetry, leather-clad walls, and a seating area set with a chaise lounge and a good reading lamp.


Painted in Benjamin Moore’s Boreal Forest, the bar exudes a classic, clubby vibe. A Sub-Zero beverage cooler is ready to serve.


A spring-green stove hood provide a playful pop of color over the Wolf range in the clean and simple kitchen.

“We loved the bones of the house, and we were determined to build on its original character,” says Cialone. And he has. Sober—in the best way—yet refreshingly alive, these interiors possess a gravitas spun through with good spirits. Whether company is coming or not, this is a sweet place to call home.

Left: A custom banquette in sky-blue Edelman leather wraps around a Baker Furniture table. Chairs covered in Clarence House fabric, through Wells Abbott. Chandelier from Visual Comfort, through CAI Designs. Roman shade fabric by Galbraith & Paul, through Holland & Sherry.
Right: There’s an air of ritual in the primary bath, with its millwork-framed tub and symmetrical cabinets topped in Calacatta Gold B Marble. Draperies by Kravet. Wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries. Sconces by Visual Comfort, through CAI Designs.


From its antique Persian rug to the joyfully tasseled window treatments, the primary bedroom is a subtly colorful retreat. Drapery fabric by Schumacher, trim by Samuel & Sons.The curvaceous bench at the end of the bed is by Century Furniture, covered in fabric by Cowtan & Tout. Table lamp by Stephen Gerould, through John Rosselli & Associates. The deep-blue ottoman is covered in fabric by Pindler.