The Eye of a Designer

DesignSTL|July/August 2020

The Eye of a Designer
Homeowners take inspiration from the work of professional designers. Where do interior designers find theirs?
KELLY SIEMPELKAMP & SAMANTHA STEVENSON

Jessie Miller, of Jessie D. Miller Design, was charmed by this stylish kitchen made by Chicago-based firm Summer Thornton Design. Framed in white-painted brick, with touches of rustic and fine woods throughout, the design represents a departure for Thornton, who’s known for her use of color and feminine florals. Here, however, her facility for blending styles and materials is beautifully on display. “The range of finishes is balanced and nothing feels too designed,” Miller says. That effortlessness, coupled with a deep sense of luxury, creates intimacy even though the space is large: “I love the adjoining sunroom. I can imagine sitting there and having my coffee in the morning,” says Miller. The island resembles a piece of antique furniture, and conjures up the image of a family “baking Christmas cookies there together,” she says. “Overall, the kitchen appears as if it’s been there for years.” It’s a sensory space, says Miller, “which I think is what cooking’s all about.”

The Piero Lissoni HIDE Tall Units changed Susan Bower’s perspective on kitchen storage. The matte two-tone brown cabinets, with stainless steel ladder-pull handles are built into the wall, maximizing space and imparting a minimalist feel. “They’re an elegant solution to storage,” says Bower, noting the depth of the cabinets, which permit storage of an oven, microwave, or, as Bower sees it, the kitchen sink. “It leaves the possibility that you could just cram all the dirty dishes in there, close the doors, walk away, and not have to deal with them,” she says, laughing. Every couple of years, Bower, founder of Bower Leet Design, travels to Milan, which is how she became acquainted with the design company. “In the U.S., we don’t think about doing tall cabinets as much as the Europeans do,” she says. “We seem to be stuck on the base cabinet, the countertop, and the wall cabinets.” This new approach to organization has inspired Bower’s work, in which she strives to “respect the principles of solving some things simply and elegantly.”

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July/August 2020