Homepolish designer Guinevere Johnson may be based in Chicago, but her influences range from New York's museum scene to experiences in Mexico.
Photos by Dustin Halleck.
Guin! It feels like you’re one of our veteran Chicago designers! How long have you actually been with Homepolish?
“I’ve worked for Homepolish since August 2014. Together with some part-time teaching at The Art Institute of Chicago, Homepolish was my first Chicago job! Homepolish has been ideal for getting to know the city as my consultations and projects take me all over the city.”
Oh, so if you’re not a Chicago native, where are you from?
“Well, I was born in Chicago and grew up in Vermont and New York City. I returned to my Chicago roots in 2014 after spending much of my adult life in NYC and Mexico.”
Wow, do you still keep contacts in Mexico?
“Yes! I keep in contact with my Mexican colleagues through Fundación PICUDA and also the Iberoamerican Council of Interior Designers of which I am the Chicago delegate. And I’m actually planning to go back this year. I’ve been busy writing my curriculum for a workshop I’m going to teach in Oaxaca this summer.”
So besides Mexican architecture and design, what would you say are some other inspirations?
“Art is definitely my biggest inspiration! This weekend I’m meeting my friends in NYC for the Whitney Biennial and other museum-hopping. I also LOVE walking the furniture showrooms and being inspired by ‘industrial design.’ Lake Michigan also provides endless inspiration with its ever-changing blues.”
That’s so poetic! With all of these influences, we can’t imagine your dream home…
“My dream home is a renovated airplane hanger in the Swiss Alps.”
Ha, didn’t see THAT one coming! What about a REAL space you’ve designed? Do you have a favorite?
“There’s an element to love in every project, but my most recent photoshoot for Homepolish for a single family home in Lakeview stands out. We changed every single finish throughout, updated the kitchen, did a gut remodel of the master bath, powder room, and entry, and designed the first floor throughout. The scope was amazing in and of itself but what made it most fun was that I was given one wish list item for each room by the client and then designed around that. So for example, teal in the dining room, a hammered silver sink in the powder room, a jewel tone sofa in the living room… Having these key elements was essential for making the client’s vision come to life. My favorite part of the project is the breakfast nook because it boasts the Carnival Toile wallpaper. Her son talks to the animals in it everyday. I think that’s special for everyone.”
That’s adorable! And the space sounds like a dream. Would you say that there’s anything that is your foundation when it comes to designing in Chicago?
“All of my friends on the East Coast make fun of my use of gray. We use it a lot in Chicago. A few of my faves are Cement Gray, American White, and Kendall Charcoal, all by Benjamin Moore. I was really happy that Simply White was the color of the year last year. It helped push my clients back towards white, which is my all time favorite paint to use. It’s timeless and works well with any era of décor.”
Gotta love our bright, neutral colors. And would you say you have any secret Chicago sources?
“I currently live in Andersonville, which is a historically Swedish neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago known for it’s vintage and one-of-a-kind stores. I love so many shops, but among them are ROOST (amazingly inspired styling/vignettes by the owner, Daniel), Winifred Grace, SCOUT, and Brownstone Antiques.
When we come for a visit, you’ll have to show us around!
Follow Guinevere as she designs in Chicago (and travels the world) on Instagram, @eggandchrome. And see more of her Homepolish work in the slideshow!