Interior Design Firm SKIN Breathes Colorful New Life into This Must-See Lakeview Abode

By Lisa Skolnik | November 25, 2019 | Home & Real Estate

A pair of fearless designers’ lavish use of color helps a Lakeview family bring their newly renovated home to life.

A traditional Gracie wallpaper pattern installed as framed panels—complete with gilt-encrusted frames— establishes an unexpectedly exciting yet sophisticated color scheme in this Lakeview home’s master suite.

Steve Jobs famously said,“Customers don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” As the SVP of a global travel management company, April Bridgeman knows this all too well. “We challenge our clients to think about ‘What if.’ That’s how we achieve transformational results,” she says.

Yet Bridgeman had a hard time bringing that “what if” approach home when she was renovating her family’s 1896 Lakeview home. She and her husband, Randy Bridgeman, had purchased the lot next door and hired Morgante Wilson Architects to enlarge and reconfigure the house. But decorating the newly wrought spaces proved challenging.

“Every time I went on Houzz or Pinterest, I kept pinning images of boring rooms done in tone-on-tone neutrals,” April confesses. “I love color, but I realized that I wanted to use neutrals because they’re safe. Not only was I afraid to use color in my home, I didn’t know how.”

So like any savvy businesswoman, she called in a pro: Chicago interior designer Lauren Lozano-Ziol of SKIN (, already a friend since their children went to the same school. Bridgeman not only admired Lozano-Ziol’s intriguing and confident style. “I knew she got us. My challenge to Lauren was to help us make the house comfortable and sophisticated, but also colorful and fun,” Bridgman explains.

Different paint finishes—satin on walls and high gloss on trim—create contrast on the master bedroom walls.

The request was music to Lozano- Ziol’s ears. If one word could be used to characterize the designer, who named her design firm SKIN to reflect the fact that people are diverse and layered, it would be “intrepid.” She’s known for her deft use of color, mixing pieces of every period and provenance and pushing boundaries. When Bridgeman told Lozano-Ziol she needed help stepping outside of her comfort zone, it was a dream mandate.

Bridgeman’s adventurous and visionary business persona was also the perfect match for Lozano-Ziol’s talents. “April was always so open and willing to take risks,” the designer explains. “Whenever I showed her something for approval, instead of the ‘Oh my god— are you sure?’ I’d get from other clients, April would say, ‘I love this, and I never would have thought of it on my own.’”

“If I’m going to hire a designer, I need to let them do their job. You have to trust your consultants,” Bridgman reasons. The way the house turned out validates her approach.

Today, the living room is a deep, dusky blue that seems poised on the edge of a storm—Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy, renowned for its gray undertones, which make it a true representation of the classic maritime hue. To play off its moody notes, “we used an eclectic mix of unexpected furnishings and vibrant art,” Lozano-Ziol notes.

Unexpected is an understatement. Luminous textiles in happy hues— ranging from a dazzling Mediterranean turquoise velvet on a pair of settees to striped drapes in jewel-toned Schumacher silk—offset the moody blue, while serious seating options—such as the cosseting Jonathan Adler settees and a pair of vintage Louis XVI fauteuils— feel handsome instead of heavy thanks to their svelte legs.

Fanciful colors, plush textiles and an imaginative, totally enchanting mix of period pieces make this home office a stimulating place for the homeowner to work.

To ramp up the decorative tension still further, Lozano-Ziol married the rough and refined. A nubby sisal rug anchors the sleek velvet settees, a gilt-encrusted neo-classic Maison Jansen coffee table and a pair of Mitchell Gold tree stump side tables made grand by their high-gloss lacquer finish. A huge color print—famed celebrity photographer Slim Aarons’ chic, colorful, perfectly composed shot of a Palm Beach poolside party—takes center stage on one wall, balanced by an equally epic but more muted abstract watercolor from Kravet nearby. To ensure great sightlines for the art and add another dash of glamour to the room, a gleaming gold starburst light fixture hugs the ceiling.

Those same mold-breaking strategies and iconoclastic matches prevail throughout the home. To wit, a space off the kitchen where Bridgeman’s school-age children do their homework sports a vintage aquamarine armoire for storage, 1980s campaign desks painted bright navy blue and a fuchsia midcentury chaise. All were found on Chairish and revamped to jibe with Lozano- Ziol’s game plan. To unify the colorful elements, she sheathed the windows and walls with yellow and beige silk ikat Roman shades and Schumacher’s leopard-print wallpaper, respectively.

For Bridgeman’s home office and the master suite she shares with Randy, Lozano-Ziol partnered with designer Michelle Jolas; the two women had merged their design firms earlier that year. With double the creative brain power, they took the two spaces to new creative heights. In the master suite, Gracie handpainted scenic wallpaper the duo showed April was inspirational; the designers used it as panels and edged them in gold-leaf bamboo frames to turn them into works of fine art. To heighten their impact, the team used its colors to inform the rest of the room. Peacock blue Phillip Jeffries velvet wallpaper and Benjamin Moore Polo Blue paint pay homage to the river, midcentury Zanuso-style lounge chairs from Chairish were re-covered in leaf green mohair they found at Fishman’s Fabrics to reference foliage, and sandy rolling hills are evoked by a wool pile leopard rug. To add majesty to the bed, the designers framed it with nail heads in an epic installation that took three tries to get right.

The designer blew up Slim Aarons’ iconic image of a Palm Beach poolside party to epic proportions in the living room.

Another charming wallpaper, this time by Osborne & Little, brought a veritable butterfly garden to Bridgeman’s home office. “It’s bright and playful, but also strong and chic,” Jolas says of the pattern. “It had the kind of energy that reminded us of April.” Ombre velvet from Style Library on an Anthropologie chaise, a reproduction Louis XIV desk Bridgeman found online and two layered rugs—one overdyed magenta flatweave wool and the other downy sheepskin—add texture and opulence to the space, while an epic Venetian mirror from 1stdibs and black lacquered closet doors amplify light and add visual relief to the space.

Next up, Lozano-Ziol and Jolas are tackling the home’s lower level. They plan on sticking to the program—lots of bright colors, intriguing textures, charismatic patterns, high and low price points and playful unions. After all, as another famous adage opines, why change a winning formula?