Thursday, June 10

Profile: Stephanie Wohlner

As I mentioned yesterday, I love the relationships that often develop from writing All the Best. Just last month, after writing a profile on Frank Ponterio, I received an email from his friend Stephanie Wohlner—a fellow Chicago designer. The name was vaguely familiar to me, so I had a quick glance at her website. Looking through her impressive portfolio I found a photo of her work from Traditional Home (November 2004). This particular room has been a favorite of mine for years. Stephanie’s quote, printed across the pages of the 2004 article, “Symmetry promotes serenity,” has always stuck in my mind.

Excited to have made the connection, I picked up the phone and called Stephanie. Without a doubt, she is as charming and interesting as the interiors she creates. I am most fond of the way that she mixes periods and textures to create looks that are modern, yet warm, inviting and sophisticated.

A graduate of Harrington School of Design, her work has appeared in many publications including as House Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home, Renovation Style and The Chicago Sun-Times. Currently, she is working to complete a project at the renowned 15 Central Park West in New York City. That is one project that I would certainly love to see.

The room from Traditional Home that I have loved for so many years!

How would you describe your personal style?
My style is classic, livable, layered and soulful. At the same time, as reflected by my choice of Hugh Newell Jacobson as a style icon, I enjoy and respect the modern classic as well as traditional. I love mixing vintage with new to achieve depth. I also like to wear Bakelite jewelry and vintage accessories with crisp, white linen or grey cashmere to make ordinary, edgy.

What inspires your creativity and designs?
My primary inspiration comes from nature and natural materials. When I look at my garden I see colors that work together naturally. When I travel I see design in a fresh and new way. I am always inspired by the contrasts and differences.

What is your most prized possession?
My most prized possession(s) is my family photos, of which there are many in my house. The faces of the people that bring me the most joy always surround me.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
As a mother, I cannot live without my three children. Along with them, my husband. He is my best friend.

Who are your style icons?
Ralph Lauren
Jeanne Marie Lanvin
Jackie Kennedy
David Adler
Hugh Newell Jacobson

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
H.N. Jacobson, I.M. Pei or Robert A.M. Stern; they would be able to create the ideal space in which I could achieve my most fulfilling designs.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
Numerous shelter magazines
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
Little Bee by Chris Cleave

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Travel and staying in the world's finest hotels. I enjoy great service in beautiful places.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
To laugh often, to love much and to be there for others when I am needed.

Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
My mother most contributed to my direction in life overall, as everything that she touches becomes beautiful. However, my life's circumstances have influenced where I am today.


Jaime Rogers said...

I love her approach and am a huge fan of symmetry myself. Thanks for sharing Ronda! Keeping your sister in my prayers, besos.


ALL THE BEST said...

Thank you Jamie!!

Mona Thompson said...

Great interview. I would love to meet Stephanie. I love her style and grace. You always bring the "best". Thanks.

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

What a gorgeous, understated and refined look this designer creates. Beautiful.

Gwen Driscoll said...

Very nice interview. Always enjoy learning more about designers. Hope you are well.

shiree segerstrom said...

Oh how gorgeous. Stephanie is a great talent.

Shiree Segerstrom

Karena said...

Wow Ronda, Stephanies work is fabulous. I love her use of great art in her designs!

Art by Karena

Arlene Grasman said...

Love the mismatches, modern, it!
A whole new world in each room.


Unknown said...

What beautiful interiors --- and we share the same reading list. So glad to get insight into Stephanie's world!

Shani said...

Gorgeous. I want all of those rooms for my own. What great style and a beautiful, unselfish approach to life.

Pangaea said...

I have to agree that the most unexpected bonus from writing a blog are the new relationships and friendships gained. That has been a welcome surprise.

Also have to say I really love that deep, dark and curvy fireplace surround and minimal but luscious crown molding in the mocha colored room.

Francine Gardner said...

Really enjoyed this interview. Just finished the book, while in France, Cutting for Stone...could not put it down. As a result I am planning to visit Ethiopia this Spring. Her work and style is very beautiful, her sense of color very acute. I buy every book published by a designer and really love to read your profiles. I feel that, as a designer, it is critical for me to look at other creative minds, work, inspiration, whether it relates to my own sensitivity or not, I feel that I always learn more, strive to be better, different and even more daring. I will be starting a project designing a Jean Nouvel space in New York and that is very intimidating since he is my all time favorite architect, back to the books I'll go...architectural books though...

Jen of MadeByGirl said...

Loved this post....The 3rd picture I have saved for inspiration!:))))