When interior designer Jennifer Frost of JSF Designs, LLC teamed with builder Rudy Upton of Upton & Co. for the Parade of Homes in 2016, they won the silver in the category of homes between $1.3 and $1.4 million. Their chemistry was undeniable, which created a magic that earned them the recognition they needed to place in the Parade of Homes that year. Flash forward to
2018, and the pair teamed up again to help a family build their dream home, one just under 8,000 square feet on a large lot inside the beltline. Having seen Frost’s work and discovering the award-winning team, the clients requested that the duo unite again to work with them.
“The couple has three children and already lived in the area,” Frost says, “so they purchased this private lot and asked Rudy and me to help design and construct their new home.” Over the next eighteen months, they all worked together to make it happen. Frost immediately started by tweaking the chosen floorplan a little to create more functional spaces for the family and choosing fixtures, finishes, and exterior selections. “They wanted big impacts in subtle ways, and every room had to have a memory point,” Frost says. “I pulled this off with a mix of fine details and a few wow factors.” The fine details can be found in moldings and ceiling features in many rooms. “People often forget about the ceiling details, but I find they add so much unexpected interest and beauty to a room,” Frost says. “I love the stained wood recess above the breakfast table and the beams and herringbone pattern in the office.”
Aside from the unexpected details, Frost also designed and presented a few big-impact elements, particularly in the foyer. A staircase with floating-glass rail walls is paired with rich hardwood floors laid in a chevron pattern for added interest. “Many people with small children might flinch at all that glass on the staircase—just the thought of having to keep it clean—but the homeowner loved it so much and couldn’t resist the beauty it added to her home,” Frost states.
Though everything had to be kid-approved and family functional, Frost was able to bring the home to life with interesting fabrics, luxurious architectural details (with the help of Upton, of course), and plenty of pretty, yet practical, layering. “Every bathroom has its own custom-designed cab inetry, which I was able to draw up,” Frost explains. “Plus, I connected my clients with an art vendor I work with and got some pretty, but subtle, art for layering. They aren’t big collectors, so we kept it low-key, but beautiful.”
Working with mostly neutrals, Frost used a combination of black, white, neutrals, and navy while mixing metals, adding gold touches where she could. “The homeowner wanted a tailored look with a mixing of textures. She also wanted to incorporate gold accents wherever possible, so I tried to do it in a way that would stand the test of time,” Frost says. She always tries to mix metals in her designs because it gives a home a layered and lived-in look, especially when paired with texture and layers. “It really brings a room to life, so that it doesn’t fall flat.”
The finished home truly speaks to what makes Frost such an interesting designer: an appreciation for architectureand historical architectural details combined with a clean, tailored, and sophisticated aesthetic joined in the same space. Having lived in Chicago for many years and traveled quite a lot, she likes to bring that inspiration home to her projects and carries the interesting details she finds among the buildings back home to client residences. “I love mixing historical styles with tailored and simple looks,” she says. “I think less is more, and I don’t like a lot of fuss. Larger pieces can bring such a presence to a room without much ado. Don’t be afraid to be bold, even in small doses. Mixing patterns, textures, metals—go for something personal and different.”