Designs for Life
Take one of the North Shore’s top designers, a fabulously chic boutique owner, and a home in need of decorating, and the results are outstanding. Kate Ancell takes you inside one of Winnetka’s most beautiful homes.
Look at the outstanding photos in the gallery below
Local business owner and fashion maven Kelly Golden and interior-design impresario Cindy Galvin met the way women so often do—they got to talking about fashion. “I was a shopper at Neapolitan, Kelly’s store. She said to me, ‘You keep buying all my favorite things!’” says Cindy. And a relationship was born and one thing led to another. Kelly and husband Michael were looking to make a move (“They’re serial movers: they’ve moved six times in six years—Michael loves a project,” says Cindy) and they were on the hunt for a designer to transform their newly built, rather modern, hard-edged city apartment into a warm, inviting family home. The results of their vision and partnership were so outstanding, and so fitted to the family’s lifestyle, that when the Goldens and their then-two children decided to make the move North, they knew exactly what they had to do.
“Kelly called me and said, ‘We bought a house,’” remembers Cindy, who immediately rushed right over, designs in head and pen in hand, and began to plan.
“We didn’t have much time at all,” says Kelly. “Only a few months—and somehow we managed to use almost everything from our old place, but almost nothing in the same place or way.”
Take the 1920s turquoise glazed Chinese pedestals in the living room, for example, which once graced the foyer on Oak in the city and now anchor one end of the elegantly cozy living room. “I saw them at the RIC Antiques Fair and called Kelly. I said, ‘I love these; I don’t know where you’re going to put them, but we have to buy them.’” So they did—and she was right. They are perfect and look lovely topped with faux flowers, as they often are, because the one-eared cat, Van Gogh, can’t control himself around living blooms. “He eats them all. His favorites are roses and tulips, but he’ll eat orchids. I can’t keep a real plant in this house,” says Kelly.
The living room itself is a feat of design over space. “This is a fairly small room,” says Cindy, “so I knew I wanted to make it a special little jewel box.” Which she did, taking as her inspiration the Bergamo-covered sofa which led the color palette of the space. Add in a few vintage Ikat pillows; a custom-built table (made by the industrial-furniture designer from Gump’s after Cindy cold-called him because she couldn’t find the perfect table anywhere); black walnut floating end tables “without a single nail in them,” which are topped with lamps from the Paris flea market and are some of Kelly’s “favorite things in the house”; a standing Vaughan lamp; 18th century walnut Louis XV commode covered in family pictures and Kelly’s favorite elephant; a couple of petrified wood pedestals; and—not to be forgotten—walls which were painted in lines “achieved by using a straight-edge and a razor-cut squeegee to let the undercoat and different top coat show…” and you’ve got a room.
“Every one thing has 50,000 layers to it,” admits Cindy, which may be why every little thing is fabulous. Or, in some cases, every enormous thing, like the Italian crystal dining room chandelier, which Cindy found in Paris and which necessitated its own new J-box in the house to cope with it. “I saw it and I called her and said, ‘Trust me, this is like nothing you’ve ever seen,’” says Cindy of the gorgeous monster which takes pride of place in the room. “Imagine the trust!” Well placed, too: the dining room, with its Colefax & Fowler wallpaper, invisibly framed prints (one of Cindy’s signatures—as are bamboo, interlocking circles, geometrics, and herringbone), and opposing three-drawer pale jade parchment chests topped with Kelly’s favorite things—shagreen boxes and shells—now makes the perfect place to host dinner club.
Not that anyone actually eats in the dining room. “Everyone always ends up in my kitchen,” says Kelly, “no matter how big it is. So when we were looking to buy in Winnetka, I knew the one thing I had to have was a big kitchen, because this was where we were going to live. This kitchen sold the house to me.” As well it should with its gracious proportions, enormous island, and accompanying McGuire laced-rawhide counter stools, double-wide fridge (now covered in special artwork by daughters Grace, 4, and Caroline, 2; son George, who just turned 1, is not yet represented), and breakfast nook; it’s nothing if not a great place to be. The kitchen opens to a warm family room, whose comfortable proportions make the space an ideal family chill-out spot. There’s a Warhol Butterfly over the sofa, a pair of Laura Kirar-designed, Jane Shelton-covered McGuire chairs by the windows, and a coffee table made from a daybed from the Pagoda Red warehouse sale.
Upstairs, the girls’ rooms are charming studies in texture and color. Grace’s place is down a long hall carpeted by a runner Cindy made from end pieces in Kashian Bros.’ warehouse. The room is a delight in blue and white, with a charming blue armoire keepsake-bookcase from Rhode Island, one of the set of matching, custom-painted beds covered in a sweet Porthault design (the other has set up shop in Caroline’s room), and a Christopher Spitzmiller table lamp. “It’s a happy lamp,” says Kelly. And, “this is a happy room,” agrees Cindy. So is Caroline’s, which is fab in pink, white, and green, with a chandelier from Delray Beach in Florida (“We call it vintage Lilly Pulitzer,” says Cindy), a darling collection of vintage children’s book prints from International Poster Gallery in Boston, and a very dashing pink piano that Schroeder would kill for.
The master is chicly serene. “It’s a replica of their bedroom in the city,” says Cindy. “It’s heavenly. They loved it so much they decided to have the same thing here.” Not hard to see why, with the Manuel Canovas curtains (“To me, this fabric is the sun, the sea and the Earth,” says Cindy. “I just love it.”), custom bedding from Leron with a duvet by Porthault, layered Italian linens on the round table with another Spitzmiller lamp, and a rather special John Roselle Louis XIV convex sunburst mirror. A John Traynor painting leads the way to the master bath, which is luxely fitted out in Porthault mats, towels, and cloths (many of which live in a lovely cast-resin clamshell which sits next to the built-in dressing table). “We love this space because we can fit all the kids in the shower like a production line,” laughs Kelly. “These things are a priority when you have little ones—like the playpen in the family room and the diapers in the wine cellar.” We’re betting, though, that the Goldens wouldn’t have it any other way.